Ascent of Mount Johnson on 2019-10-13

Climber: Rafee Memon

Other People:Solo Ascent
Only Party on Mountain
Date:Sunday, October 13, 2019
Ascent Type:Successful Summit Attained
Peak:Mount Johnson
    Elevation:12871 ft / 3923 m

Ascent Trip Report

I took a well-deserved rest day after a twenty-hour outing to hike Mount Goddard deep in Kings Canyon, and I was itching to get back in the peakbagging saddle while I was still in Bishop. I had been eyeing Mount Johnson as a warmup peak all season, but now it fit the bill perfectly as a moderate half-day climb that would be easy on my legs and allow me to sleep in.

I spent the morning at Looney Bean in Bishop editing my photos from Mount Goddard and ran into Daria, who planned to go to one of the lakes to take in the fall colors. I briefly tried to convince her to climb Johnson with me, but related to the feeling of not wanting to reclimb a peak. I started getting my things together around 11:30am and made the drive to South Lake. The fall colors were outstanding the whole way to the end of the road after the turnoff from Route 168. The highlight was a waterfall in the cliffs surrounded by bright yellows on the east side of the road, and many cars were pulled over to take photos. I stopped a couple more times on my way to the trailhead before starting up the Bishop Pass trail at 12:44pm.

I reached the first of the Treasure Lakes after an hour, and then started up a use trail to the valley below Mount Johnson. I decided against the Treasure Col route, which has better climbing but would have necessitated crampons and an axe, and instead aimed for the purportedly sloggy southeast face. I worked my way up the valley and through a particularly tedious moraine of gigantic boulders. Eventually I arrived at a tarn where the climb of the peak would begin. The route I knew wrapped around to the left side of the peak and up easy sand slopes, but looking up, the east face looked like it would be much more interesting. I decided to take my chances and head directly up the face.

The climbing was interesting and thankfully never exceeded class three -- a good reward after my slog through the boulder field. At the top of the face, I tried to stick to the top of the ridge as closely as I could the rest of the way to the top. Near the summit, I could see a gap that I wasn't sure I would be able to directly downclimb to, so I defensively downclimbed early. Reaching the gap, it looked like it would've remained third class. I reached the summit a few minutes later, arriving at 3:38pm. Despite not being one of the tallest peaks in the area, the summit views were impressive: the North Palisade group over Mount Goode, the Black Divide, and Mount Goddard all looming very large.

I signed the register and started back down the sandy southeast slope, which was a joy to descend (probably not so much to ascend). I got back to the trailhead at 6:25pm, a little bit after the sun dipped behind the crest.
Summary Total Data
    Total Elevation Gain:3455 ft / 1052 m
    Total Elevation Loss:3455 ft / 1052 m
    Round-Trip Distance:10 mi / 16.1 km
    Grade/Class:Class 3
    Route Conditions:
Maintained Trail, Unmaintained Trail, Open Country, Scramble, Exposed Scramble
    Weather:Cold, Breezy, Clear
Ascent Statistics
    Gain on way in:3248 ft / 989 m
        Gain Breakdown:Net: 3041 ft / 927 m; Extra: 207 ft / 63m
    Loss on way in:207 ft / 63 m
    Distance:5.2 mi / 8.4 km
    Route:East slope/ridge
    Start Trailhead:Bishop Pass TH  9830 ft / 2996 m
    Time:2 Hours 54 Minutes
Descent Statistics
    Loss on way out:3248 ft / 989 m
        Loss Breakdown:Net: 3041 ft / 927 m; Extra: 207 ft / 63m
    Gain on way out:207 ft / 63 m
    Distance:4.8 mi / 7.7 km
    Route:Southeast slope
    End Trailhead:Bishop Pass TH  9830 ft / 2996 m
    Time:2 Hours 22 Minutes
GPS Data for Ascent/Trip

 GPS Waypoints - Hover or click to see name and lat/long
Peaks:  climbed and  unclimbed by Rafee Memon
Click Here for a Full Screen Map
Note: GPS Tracks may not be accurate, and may not show the best route. Do not follow this route blindly. Conditions change frequently. Use of a GPS unit in the outdoors, even with a pre-loaded track, is no substitute for experience and good judgment. accepts NO responsibility or liability from use of this data.

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