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Loon - and Pleasant Lake(s) - a plan is a plan is a plan

Published by 360 Pro , 13 November 2018, 18h17.

Region: World » United States » California
Date of the hike: 9 November 2018
Hiking grading: T3 - Difficult Mountain hike
Geo-Tags: USA   US-CA 
Height gain: 500 m 1640 ft.
Height loss: 500 m 1640 ft.
Access to start point:Loon Lake, via Ice House Road from Highway 50 or via Main/Wentworth Springs Rd from Georgetown

The previous week my wife and I spent some time at Loon Lake, a wonderful place in the boonies on the north side of the lake. I did a little stroll then and saw a peak at the east end of the lake which looked interesting and decided to try to climb it during this weeks outing. After looking at a map at home, I found out that this peak didn't have a name, not even a benchmark on the map. However, I decided to visit it anyway, since I expected the view over Loon Lake to be pretty nice and together with a close-by named peak: Sleepy Otto Peak it should be a pleasant tour.

Since I couldn't find any useful descriptions in the www about these two peaks or how to best get to the top of them, I decided to study the satellite images for the two peaks in order to avoid some of the bushwacking which was to be expected for the two peaks (probably all peaks in this area). With a detailed map where I would most likely find the least bushy accesses to these peaks, I felt I was well prepared to conquer these 2 remote peaks which probably haven't gotten many visitors from human beings.

The drive to Loon Lake is amazing, no matter how you get there, there is at least 30 miles of "nothing but forest" to drive through. I park the car at the boat launch on the south side of the lake. The campground there is closed and signs indicate that it will be for 3 years! I walk along the well maintained path along the south shore of the lake to the east end. The closer I get to my goals, the more I realize that my detailed maps are not actually helpful to avoid the bushes, because in my "diligent preparation" when looking at satellite imagery, I neglected to also include contour lines... The conclusion would have been: the steeper the terrain, the less bushes. And it looks like I perfectly planned the routes which were almost vertical for my planned attempts! So much for good and intelligent planing...

Well, of course I didn't give up without trying anyway. However, I wanted to try Sleepy Otto Peak first, at least I knew 2 other bipeds have been up there (see here, without details but one remark: "Bushwhack, Scramble"). I approach the base of the peak via the trail towards Buck Island Lake and try to get to the highpoint from south. The bushwack up to about 6900 ft is actually not too bad and I find places where I can mostly avoid it. However, from there it is clear that for last approximately 100 yards to the top I can't avoid the dreaded bushes any more. Oh well, I say to myself, I'll just wack through it and swallow the bitter pill. So I start fighting uphill through the bushes but don't really get anywhere and hate it a lot. My dog hates it even more, so much that he simply refuses to go any further... I take this as the sign to also turn around, even though I probably would have somehow made it to the top via this route.

Instead I walk down to the Pleasant Lake Campground and go down to the shore, take a long break and decide to not even try my other goal for the day, since that bushwhacking looks even worse. My glorious next plan now is to slowly walk along the shore back to where I started. This goes well up to the Buck-Loon Tunnel where the shore is almost vertical and I can't really get any further without swimming. Instead I "enjoy" some bushwacking again, which my dog refuses to go through again and since I don't feel like carrying him, I have to find another way back to the trail. Once I get there I stay on it, no more experiments, I had enough bushwacking for the day.

  • Satellite images help to see where the bushes are, but one also needs to consider the steepness of the terrain, in order to find out if a possible bush free route is actually feasible
  • I plan to come back to conquer some of the peaks in this area, but when there is lots of snow on the ground which hopefully completely cover the dreaded bushes

Hike partners: 360

Click to draw, click on the last point to end drawing


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Comments (2)

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rojosuiza says:
Sent 7 December 2018, 09h16
Gute Planung ist alles... führt immer zum Ziel!

Je von der Grünerle gehört?

360 Pro says: RE:
Sent 7 December 2018, 18h08
Oh ja! Die vermiss ich hier definitiv nicht, die Legföhren aber ein ganz klein wenig schon :-)

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