NITE CAP PEAK – 10,000 ft / 3,700 ft gain / 12 mile round trip / 4.5 hours
Today I decided to go out and blast up to Nite Cap Peak from The Kennedy Meadow pack station. Today was to test gear and body. Specifically I want to see how the knee’s and ankles hold up in sporty conditions. Today was a blue bird day with temps around 75 and no wind on the summit. I dropped of Luke at school and headed up to Kennedy Meadows. On the drive up CA Hwy 108 (Sonora Pass) I saw at least 5 talus blocks resting between the shoulder and the road. Springs blasting the road from granite overhangs.. The snow line is deep once you pass the Eagle Meadow (6,000 ft) turn off. I arrived at Kennedy Meadows and got my GOD (Get Out of Dodge) bag together and headed on to the trail. As you enter the Kennedy Meadow (proper) the Kennedy Peak (11,000 ft) towers over the meadow like a Sierra Sentinel.
The beginning of the hike has you walking the length of the Kennedy Meadows until you gain the middle fork of the Stanislaus River. Cross 2 bridges and gain the Upper Summit and Kennedy creek confluences. I crossed over to the Kennedy Creek bridge and snapped a couple of pics.
I headed up the Kennedy Lake trail till I hit the Nite Cap Peak and started the slog up the mountain. Loose rock, high stepping through deep chaparral, and the time honored “snowshoes on, snowshoes off”. Just your typical day of suffering in the Sierra.. LOL. As I peaked over the last false summit I could see the objective for today.
I could now see how much ground I had to cover and it was time to put on the snow shoes one more final time.
Now its about 12 o’clock and the sun has really softened up the snow. Every step is deep and heavy. Sierra cement has taken hold of this approach. The other issue is the intense sun getting mirrored off the snow surface. Its like staring at a mirror with a heating lamp on full! I climbed a little higher and decided to have a bite to eat. Now I thought I packed a bag of trail mix but instead I found one of my favorites deep in my GOD bag.
I continued to climb higher and higher till I reached the final approach. This section got real steep and had avalanche written all over it.
More pictures from the summit…
Click on to expand.