Clouds Rest and Echo Peaks

8-9 Sep 2001 - by Ric Rattray

Steve Eckert, Bob Suzuki, and I left Friday night, Sept 7, from the Livermore Airport at 7:30 PM. We arrived and camped at Porcupine Flat on the way to Toulumne a bit after 11:00 PM. Saturday morning we arrived at the trailhead to Clouds Rest and rendevoused with many people from the LA area to celebrate Erik Siering's completion of The List. The hike to Clouds Rest was leasurely and took till a bit after 5PM to complete. There was champagne at the top and many snacks to keep us there for a while. The view from there is spectacular, however is was slightly smoky this day due to a controlled burn. After completion of the hike 35-40 people converged on the desert south of Mono Lake for a potluck and party.

Sunday started at a leisurely pace with us hitting the trailhead for Echo Peaks around 9:00 AM. We started up the Cathedral Lakes trailhead and took the first unmarked trail to the left leading to the Budd Creek drainage. We hiked up the trail past Budd Lake and into the notch just east of Peak 1. We climbed Peak 1 from this side and then traversed across Peaks 2&3 to Peak 4. Descending Peak 3 was a bit hary (see picture below). Climbing Peak 4 was relatively easy if you took the correct line which we did after looking at an airy move to the left of the route we ended up taking. Descending was another matter as we prefered not to leave gear behind and primarily downclimbed. Steve and I rappeled from the top for the first pitch, Steve also rappeled a second pitch, Bob downclimbed. We all downclimbed the rest of the route with extreme caution as it was challenging. Peak 4 took us more time than we had anticipated primarily because of the downclimb. We had plans to summit Tressider that now began to look sketchy for a Sunday afternoon. We ended up skipping Tressider and arriving at the car a bit after 6PM.

Although one of the guidebooks suggests this as the way to do the traverse, we all were wondering if it would have been easier to do in reverse, thereby minimizing most of the downclimbing challenges.

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