On Sunday, 15th June the three of us, Scott Kreider, Tim Fischer and I, Arun Mahajan, took a walk up Leavitt Peak (11569 ft) in Northern Yosemite. This is a note on our route and the conditions.
We stayed Saturday night at Chipmunk Flat, a small campground a couple of miles west of the Sonora Pass on Rt 108. This is a no service campground, sort of like the Sonora Pass equivalent of camp-9.
We started hiking on the PCT going south from the Pass. Snow began right away and we hiked up a couple of bowls heading right of the first prominent peaklet. We got on to trail again and could see the rounded hump of Leavitt due south. The PCT was vaguely discernible in the snow. As we rounded a couple of bends, the views opened to the east and we saw a rather nice looking peak with a steep cliff which we thought was Leavitt instead of the rounded peak we had seen earlier. We continued on the PCT and left it to go right towards a notch on the east side of the rocky ridge of this newly visible peak. From the notch one gets the first views towards the south. On the north, Sonora Peak and Stanislaus Peak could be spotted. After going accross the notch, we traversed back (i.e west) for a while, and now we were behind this peak and now it was obvious from the topos that this peak wasnt Leavitt. There is still a lot of snow here and the small lakes south of the peak that are on the topo are almost fully covered by snow. We traversed upto the mildly steep ridge of Leavitt and by staying on the talus on this ridge, we were very soon on the broad summit area at about noon, having started at 8.30 am at the pass. It was alternately cold and windy and warm and we could see the clouds building up in the north, so we headed out quickly stopping for lunch at the notch and then as we headed down we got some rain and some hail and it got cold and cloudy. A few more miles of hiking and some glissades later we were back to the cars at 3.30.
We had left our snowshoes in the car. We had carried crampons but never used them. The axe was good to have for security on the traverses and during some plunge stepping and also during the glissades. The peaks in the Sonora Pass region are very scenic this time of the year with snow at the higher elevations contrasting with the lush green of the meadows on the lower slopes.
Thanks are due to Bob Suzuki for suggesting this route.
We drove out in heavy rain, but as we approached the town of Sonora, it was back to the hot sweltering central valley weather.