Bag Crag / With Smith

12-13 May 2001 - by Aaron Schuman

Saturday, May 12, we headed out to Bag Crag. Dee Booth was our leader. Wayne Martin, Sue Gygax, Arun Mahajan, Scott Kreider, Chris Franchuk, Rod McCalley, David Harris, and Dave McCracken made up the party. I was co-leader and trip historian. Our trailhead was the PCT in the Kennedy Meadows campground (the southern Kennedy, near Nine Mile Canyon, not the other Kennedy). We headed north on the trail to a point a mile beyond the peak in order to avoid the dense brush in the more direct path. Thick clouds dripped on us as we hiked. We left the trail and turned west, cross country, and climbed the ridge. As we turned south to follow the ridge to the summit, the sky opened up. There was no tree cover on the rocky ridge top, and the rain soaked us. The final fifty feet or so of Crag Peak are rather cliffy, and the rain slick made them extra challenging. A short cat walk could probably be done upright if it were dry, but in the rain we choose to scoot across it. Eight of the ten of us reached the summit, but nobody stopped to linger. There wasn't any view in that weather, and we sure didn't feel like studying the old register entries. We returned to Kennedy after the rain stopped, and tried to dry out by a campfire.

Sunday, after David H, Arun and Scott split to celebrate Mothers Day, each in their own way, we drove five miles west to the Fish Creek campground overflow area. Autumn climbers can start much closer to Smith Mtn than we did, but in the spring, road closures force the hiker to make a full day trip out of it. We headed five miles up the trail to the saddle, then made a side jaunt, just 400 feet and 1/10 mile, up Jackass Peak, though truth be told, we climbed the lower of the two towers. Clouds were building again, and rather than spend the time fixing our mistake on Jackass, we wanted to reach Smith before the storm broke. We succeeded in getting to the easy summit of Smith while the sky was still clear enough that we could see Mt Langley. On our way down, however, we were pelted with hailstones the size of pencil erasers but not nearly as soft. In all, it was a scenic and adventurous trip, with great company, but rotten weather.

Steve Eckert adds:

And there I was basking in the Baja sun, wishing it were cooler...

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