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Ascent of Reynolds Peak on 2012-09-02

Climber: Daryn Dodge

Date:Sunday, September 2, 2012
Ascent Type:Successful Summit Attained
Peak:Reynolds Peak
    Location:USA-California
    Elevation:9680 ft / 2950 m

Ascent Trip Report

Used a copy of Pete Yamagata's out-of-print Northern Sierra Guidebook to climb this peak. The route worked pretty well...at least on the way back. After climbing Silver and Highland peaks, a had enough time in the afternoon to also climb Reynolds peak. I drove west from Ebbetts Pass on Hwy 4 to "The Elbow" shown on my topo map. Just west of Elbow Creek on Hwy 4 is a dirt road turnoff that leads north a few hundred feet to a camp area where I parked.

A use trail continues on the west side of Elbow Creek from the camp area for about one-third of a mile and ends at a 20-foot class 3 waterfall pitch on Elbow Creek. I climbed the pitch and continued up the rocky streambed. Even though the creek was barely running, the mud and bouldery nature of the streambed made the going pretty tedious. I tried occasional side-hilling above the streambed but the slopes were rather steep and brushy. About a mile north from the car the terrain flattened out enough to make travel easier.

I left the main Elbow Creek drainage and made a more direct line towards the peak which was finally coming into view. I kept the main Elbow creek drainage off to my left and continued up just north of what looked like the high point (i.e., Reynolds Peak) of the Elbow Creek watershed. The final 30 or 40 feet to the summit from the peaks' north side is airy class 3, but the rocks and knobs on this volcanic point were fairly solid.

On the return I stayed higher above the streambed on the west side of the creek when I got within a mile of the car. This was much easier travel for awhile, as the terrain high up was more flat. Eventually the terrain became steeper and brushier and I decided to descend the roughly 150 feet down into Elbow Creek. Turns out I hit it just right, descending into the creekbed just after the 20-foot waterfall pitch and easily followed the use trail back to the car. Took about 3 hrs, 15 min round trip, with 1800 feet of gain and 4.5 miles round trip.
Summary Total Data
    Elevation Gain:1780 ft / 543 m
    Distance:4.6 mi / 7.4 km
    Route:Elbow Creek
    Trailhead:The Elbow  7900 ft / 2407 m
    Grade/Class:Class 3
    Quality:4 (on a subjective 1-10 scale)
    Route Conditions:
Unmaintained Trail, Open Country, Bushwhack, Stream Ford, Scramble, Exposed Scramble
Ascent Statistics
    Time Up:1 Hours 35 Minutes



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