Ascent of Owens Peak on 2018-12-19
|Other People:||Solo Ascent|
Only Party on Mountain
|Date:||Wednesday, December 19, 2018|
|Ascent Type:||Successful Summit Attained|
| Elevation:||8453 ft / 2576 m|
Ascent Trip ReportI got a leisurely start from my hotel in Bakersfield, getting an omelette before starting the enjoyable drive up to Walker Pass. I arrived at the pass around 9am, finding one other car parked in the dirt near the trailhead. I packed up my pack and started up the PCT on the north side of the road towards Owens Peak around 9:15am.
Early on, I passed another hiker, who was presumably the owner of the other car at the trailhead. The trail became intermittently snow covered as I wrapped into the shade on the north side of the hills. I became a little concerned as I didn't bring any snow gear, but since the ridge on the peak was entirely south facing, I didn't worry too much. Slightly surprisingly, I passed another hiker heading in the direction of the trailhead, but he would be the last person I would see all day. I considered climbing Morris Peak and Mount Jenkins on the return; I quickly ruled out Morris as the efficient route was covered in snow, and I would climb Jenkins if time permitted.
I trudged though many powdery snow drifts on my way to the saddle below Owens, which I reached around noon -- a little slower than I had hoped for. I had a snack before starting up the ridge to the peak. The use trail was ducked to oblivion, and I had little trouble following the intended route. Before reaching a mini-saddle near the summit, I went directly up the ridge instead of under, which provided me with a bit of third-class excitement. I briefly reached the trail for the "main" route before finally reaching the summit around 1:40pm. From there, it was clear that winter had arrived in the Sierra: to the north, the Kaweahs, Whitney, Langley, and Olancha were beautifully blanketed in a layer of snow.
I didn't stay at the summit for long as it was now certain that I would be hiking a portion of the return in the dark. I took many photos of the rich sunset colors over the Domelands to the west. I didn't need my headlamp as the nearly-full moon lit my way after the sun was gone. I returned to the deserted trailhead around 5:30pm. Overall, I think I only lost about a half an hour due to the snow. I packed up and continued to my next hotel in Riverside, where I would take a rest day before hiking the "Three Saints" of Southern California. On the drive, my upper back became extremely sore; I guess my body was already out of hiking shape after nearly a month off!
|Summary Total Data|
| Total Elevation Gain:||4296 ft / 1308 m|
| Total Elevation Loss:||4296 ft / 1308 m|
| Round-Trip Distance:||19.5 mi / 31.4 km|
| Grade/Class:||Class 2+|
| Route Conditions:||Maintained Trail, Unmaintained Trail, Bushwhack, Snow on Ground, Scramble|
| Weather:||Pleasant, Calm, Partly Cloudy|
| Gain on way in:||3772 ft / 1149 m|
| Gain Breakdown:||Net: 3248 ft / 990 m; Extra: 524 ft / 159m|
| Loss on way in:||524 ft / 159 m|
| Distance:||9.8 mi / 15.8 km|
| Route:||SW Ridge|
| Start Trailhead:||Walker Pass PCT TH 5205 ft / 1586 m|
| Time:||4 Hours 25 Minutes|
| Loss on way out:||3772 ft / 1149 m|
| Loss Breakdown:||Net: 3248 ft / 990 m; Extra: 524 ft / 159m|
| Gain on way out:||524 ft / 159 m|
| Distance:||9.7 mi / 15.6 km|
| Route:||SW Ridge|
| End Trailhead:||Walker Pass PCT TH 5205 ft / 1586 m|
| Time:||3 Hours 40 Minutes|
|GPS Data for Ascent/Trip|
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Peaks: climbed and unclimbed by Rafee Memon
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