The Sisters - West-East Traverse from Woods Lake

Published by 360 Pro , 27 August 2019, 23h03.

Region: World » United States » California
Date of the hike:23 August 2019
Hiking grading: T4 - High-level Alpine hike
Climbing grading: I (UIAA Grading System)
Geo-Tags: USA   US-CA   Mokelumne Wilderness 
Height gain: 650 m 2132 ft.
Height loss: 650 m 2132 ft.
Access to start point:Woods Lake Parking and Trailhead, 1.8 miles east of Caples Lake on Highway 88 turn onto the access road. Day use parking fee 5$

I have climbed "The Sisters" (P. 10153 and 10045) west of Round Top twice already but only from the Saddle west of Round Top. If in the area or looking at a topo map, one can clearly see that the ridge is not only two, but depending on how you count, made up of 4-5 Sisters from the saddle west of Round Top all the way to the northwest end of Round Top Lake. The idea today was to start at Woods Lake, walk up to Round Top Lake and make a West-East Traverse and climb all highpoints on that ridge. Judging from pictures of the ridge and the map, I expected some scrambling but nothing too serious, something the dog should be able to accomplish as well.

I start the hike at the trailhead near Woods Lake and walk along the path to the Lost Cabin Mine and further almost to Round Top Lake. At around 9100 ft I leave the trail and cross the little stream there and head to the ridge northwest of Round Top Lake. The frontal view of the ridge (here North) looks harder than it is. I find lots and lots of loose rock, scree and tallus. The climb along this ridge is steep, but nut very difficult (T3+, class II). I try to avoid the rather annoying, loose stuff on the ridge itself but can't completely avoid it. The first highpoint offers a nice view in particular down to the lakes, which is actually true for the whole ridge.

The next slightly higher point in the ridge follows shortly afterwards and following the ridge line is somewhat exposed but not difficult. Afterwards I bypass the interesting looking towers on the south side and get to the hardest part of the traverse. Climbing the "twin sister" of the east peak. I try the direct approach along the ridge first and it would probably be feasible for me, but not for the dog, so I give it another try slightly south and then back to the highpoint. At one point I had to lift the dog up on a ledge but other than that he scrambled very well. The difficulty here is probably a T4+/I, easy class III (probably T5/II, class III for the direct line).

The gap between this highpoint and the West Sister (P. 10045) is rather deep and requires a few easy scrambling moves, best slightly south of the ridge. Once on top of the West Sister I take a short break and then walk over to the East sister and down to a nice meadow with amazing flora north of the East Peak and take a long lunch break. From there I then walk down to Winnemucca Lake and then follow the trail back to the Woods Lake Trail Head.

Hike partners: 360

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