4 peaks in one day - Desolation Wilderness
(Mt. Price, Mt. Agassiz, 9,686, Pyramid Peak)

5-6 Jul 2009 - by Alex Rosenthal (view roster page)

I started this outing on the 5th of July. I had spent the night at the Lover's Leap campground and woke up early to drive to the ranger station and obtain my wilderness permit. After driving up Wright's Road to the trailhead I finalized my pack organization. I hiked to Smith Lake from the trailhead in a hurry and arrived at about 12:30. After hanging my food (tons of mice and chipmunks around!) I worked my way up to a small notch in the basin wall to the east of the lake. After traversing and climbing out of another small basin Mt. Agassiz came into view. I headed straight for it, completed one 4th class move to get to the top, and looked around. I got my first good view of the entire ridgeline and the other 3 peaks: Pyramid Peak and 9,686 to the East, and Mt. Price to the West.

I continued moving East, descending through brush and Talus until I could traverse the ridgeline. On the South side (the side I was on) the ridge is composed of large , mostly consolidated boulders which made movement relatively slow. I summited 9,686 without any problems and continued on towards Pyramid Peak. At the base of the mountain I had to complete about 20-25 feet of 45th class moves until I could get to the North West face of the mountain, and from there on it was boulder scrambling to the top. I came off the same way I went up, and I would not advise this route to anyone uncomfortable with 4th class scrambling. In fact I do not believe this is a recognized route up the mountain. In any case it was getting late and I backtracked to Mt. Agassiz. From here Mt. Price was an easy scramble to the West, and I summited easily. From there I backtracked more to the notch in the Smith Lake basin and made my way back to camp.

It took me 7 hours to complete the 4 peaks and ridge traverse roundtrip. This outing would have been significantly easier if one was able to approach the day before and get an early start. As it was I was exhausted by the end. I brought with me 2 full liters of water, and it simply was not enough. I would love to lead this again as the views were quite nice and I didn't have as much time to enjoy them as I would have liked. Ultimately this ridge traverse may be easier if one starts from the East and moves West across.

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