Ascent of Pyramid Peak on 2006-09-24

Climber: Dennis Poulin

Date:Sunday, September 24, 2006
Ascent Type:Successful Summit Attained
Peak:Pyramid Peak
    Elevation:9983 ft / 3042 m

Ascent Trip Report

I got another opportunity to go hiking this month, so on Saturday, September 23, 2006 I headed south to tackle some California P2k Prominence Peaks. My real goal was Pyramid Peak in the Desolation Wilderness. From the SP Trip and Route Descriptions it sounded like a great hike.

On the drive south from Medford, Oregon I took a couple of side trips. One was to Bald Eagle between Quincy and Oroville, and the other to Babbitt Peak southeast of Susanville. Bald Eagle was a drive up that required 4WD and a couple of hours. Babbitt Peak was anther drive up to a manned lookout. After Babbitt, I made my way around Lake Tahoe and over to the Lyons Creek Trailhead for Pyramid Peak.

I arrived at the trailhead about 9:30PM and it was well past dark. I car camped here for the night. Early the next morning I got my stuff ready and headed up the trail. It was a little cool and I started out wearing gloves and my jacket. The jacket came off in about ½ hour, but the gloves stayed on all the way to the summit.

The Lyons Creek Trail is easy to follow and I made good progress straight up the valley. In only 1 ¾ hours I had covered the 4.5 miles to Sylvia Lake and found several campers there were just starting to eat breakfast. Everyone was real sociable and even offered me breakfast. I declined but asked if they knew the route up to Pyramid Peak. One gentleman said he saw a faint trail on the far side of the lake heading up the talus. This agreed with my Route Descriptions so I headed around the lake and found the faint trail.

The trail didn’t go far before it disappeared in the talus. No problem, I could see a way up hopping on boulders and quickly made my way upwards. Towards the top of the talus the climbers trail became obvious again and this led me up to the notch. The sun was shining brightly up here and there was a gentle breeze. Great climbing weather.

My Route Description said to just follow the west ridge to the summit, so that is what I did. The footing was good and progress was easy. I stayed near the crest of the west ridge because the footing was best here and the views were good to the north. About 400 ft below the summit, the trail disappeared into a big talus/boulder field that continued all the way to the summit. This was just more rock hopping and I was soon at the summit.

There were 2 other climbers on the summit when I arrived. They had come up from Strawberry. I took lots of pictures and ate a snack before heading back down. On the way back off this rock pile at the summit I met 3 other climbers who also came up from Strawberry. Two women in this group were moving quickly over the boulders and reminded me of marmots the way they were grabbing on to all the rocks and kind of moving over and through the boulders. They looked like they belonged here.

The hike out was uneventful. I arrived back at my car about 7.5 hours after I left. At least an hour of that time was used in socializing with the campers and other hikers on the trail. I changed clothes and headed back to Oregon with my eye on a couple more easy prominence peaks to tag on the way home.
Summary Total Data
    Elevation Gain:3300 ft / 1006 m
    Elevation Loss:3300 ft / 1006 m
    Distance:12.7 mi / 20.4 km
    Route Conditions:
Maintained Trail, Unmaintained Trail, Open Country, Scramble
Ascent Statistics
    Elevation Gain:3300 ft / 1006 m
    Distance:6.4 mi / 10.2 km
    Route:Lyons Creek Trail
    Trailhead:6683 ft / 2036 m
Descent Statistics
    Elevation Loss:3300 ft / 1006 m
    Distance:6.4 mi / 10.2 km
    Trailhead:6683 ft / 2036 m

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