Mount Hooper, Mount Senger
By: Barbee Tidball
Like so many SPS trips the participant list almost completely changed names between our writing the trip sheet and the trailhead. End the end a group of 5-hikers including the leaders were off for the ride across Florence Lake on the 1st boat Saturday morning. One participant just made the boat, after driving 1/2 way back to LA Friday night to pick-up boots he’d forgotten. The incredible part of that story was his wife left LA at 12:30AM to met him halfway with the boots!
The hike into camp was pleasant although a bit hot.. .we spent some time trying to locate the old shorter trail up to Sally Keyes Lake, but in the end had to abandon the search and travel the regular route up the JMT from near Muir Trail Ranch. Once up to the area we had the lakes to ourselves and set up camp near the middle lake. Then it was off to climb Senger on a perfect summer afternoon.
The route up Senger is cross-country from camp, but very straight forward. We crossed to the South side of the lake and headed straight for the peak. After traveling through a lightly wooded area we came to a wide gully that led up to a saddle just north west of the peak. While in the gully I stepped aside for a break and came across an old section marker from the 1924 US Geological survey of the area. The 3’ high iron pipe with a survey marker on top was in perfect condition. Later on the way down we compared the 1924 section corner location with the “new” 1954 map and found the section corner had been relocated a few hundred feet over and into another dip in the gully.
3 of the group summitted Senger at 7PM just as our shadows were getting about 15’ long, but with plenty of time to hike back to camp and dinner. The other trip participants had elected to nap in camp and get ready for Hooper.
The next day we were all rested and off early for Selden Pass and Mt. Hooper. From Seldon Pass we were all rewarded with a wonderful view of Marie Lakes before heading Northwest for our peak. The climb of Hooper went well up to the summit block. There Larry roped up and then climbed around the North side of the summit block and up the east rock which after a step across put him on the true summit of Hooper. From there Larry was able to belay the rest of the group , including his assistant leader — who HATES step across moves! As a side note for participants, remember to practice your bowline on a coil before this type of trip. It will save time and avoid knot checks. We all summitted by about 10:30AM and after identifying peaks in the distance and generally enjoying the view we headed back to camp.
Just above Seldon Pass again we stopped for lunch.. .and the tenor of the trip changed. It was over lunch I looked at Larry’s watch and realized we’d been enjoying the Sierra too long! We were then at least 12 miles from the Florence lake and the last boat ride was at 5PM. Lunch became a hurried affair and we all put our legs into full gear. The group hurried down to camp, packed up and then set a fast pace on down the trail. We made the ridge over Florence lake just before 6:30 PM, (1 hours after the last boat!) However not giving up we gave Steve negotiating rights and he scurried down to the phone by the lake (and to pick-up gear he’d left there on Saturday). Steve’s negotiating skills were excellent. For $50.00 one-half an hour later we were speeding across the lake at 49 miles per hour (vs. about 2.5 mph hiking the 4 extra miles around the lake) with grins on our faces and high-fives to each other for a great trip in the Sierra.
Thanks to Virgil Popescu, Ed Morente and Steve Curry for joining Larry and me on a fun and challenging weekend trip especially the victory boat ride.
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