Just a Narrow Bridge
(The Peaks of Taboose Pass)

6-13 Aug 2011 - by Aaron Schuman

August 2011 was a scalding summer month, so we crawled thirstily up the parched trail to Taboose Pass on the eastern edge of Kings Canyon National Park. Our party consisted of Sonja Dieterich, Larry Jang, Chris Prendergast, Frank Martin, Carol Petrelli, and myself.

With packs containing an entire week's worth of food, we began on the morning of the 13th at the desert trailhead (5400), and rested that night just below the Pacific Crest (11400).

On the 14th, we climbed Striped Mountain (13120). There we delighted in the nievas penitentes. Carol wasn't satisfied with our pace on the hike to the pass, and on the peak climb, she tore ahead. We never saw her again, but we're convinced she survived, because we found a note from her days later in the Mt Prater summit register.


We settled in that night to camp at Lake Marjorie, and we stayed for a while. Sonja set a personal record for altitude swimming there, at 11400 feet.

From Lake Marjorie, Chris, Frank and I made day hikes of Mt Wynne (13179) and Mt Pinchot (13495). We didn't like the look of the traverse between the two peaks, so we did them separately. Larry and Sonja climbed Mt Crater, because it looked cool, and they didn't know of anybody who had been there before. The five of us went together over Pinchot Pass (12500), down a thousand, up to Mt Perkins (12591), then back.

We backpacked north to Upper Basin and camped by a pretty unnamed lake (11599). The five of us hiked up to Mt Prater (13329). This peak is known for an exposed class one summit. The description seemed contradictory. Class one peaks are big broad hands-in-the-pockets rounded humps. How could a class one peak expose a climber to a long fall? But the description is accurate. There is a sidewalk of the sort that anybody would stroll, but it has a cliff on either side. Sonja, who can climb just about anything when top-roped in a gym, crept gingerly to the summit area. But with encouragement and a brave heart, she made her return from the summit standing tall. Chris provided the photographic evidence.


The whole wide world is just a narrow bridge. But above all, is not to fear at all.

Sonja, Chris and Frank made a side trip from Mt Prater up to Split Mtn (14005), the trip high point.

Our trip plan had us crossing Mather Pass and climbing more peaks. But time got the best of us, and we were done, except for the hike down Taboose Pass and the drive home.

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