Adams Peak, Mount Elwell, Freel Peak, Sierra Buttes
By: Don Slager
We received a call from Jon Fredland, a long time Sierra Club member who has moved to Idaho, suggesting that we meet and climb a few Northern California peaks. Jon arrived in Reno the evening before, and used the time to climb Mt. Rose by moon light in Preference to the attractions(?) of Reno.
Saturday we went to Frenchman Lake north of Chilcoot and found the start of the dirt road marked for Mt. Adams as well as a second sign at a later intersection. At further intersections we took the most used road that headed upwards and eventually parked in a meadow and climbed to the ridge a few bumps north of Adams. Both summits were climbed, and the register (a good one) was on the north summit. The summits are quite brushy, but Jon was rewarded by finding a perfect 3 inch arrow head on the way down. The descent went very quickly by using a logging road directly to the car.
We camped at the Yuba Pass C.G. and started early the next morning for Sierra Buttes to allow for possible navigation errors on the many dirt and 4 WD roads shown on the 1981 7-1/2 minute topo. However, just after turning into the Sardine lakes access road there is a new, paved road which goes past Packer Lake and intersects the PCT north of Sierra Buttes. Alternately, one can continue South and take a very rough 4 WD road to a parking area 1/4 mile from the fire lookout on S.B. The lookout has interesting information signs, including a paean to clear-cutting. We then repeated a hike to Elwell, which starts in the Lake Basin Camp Ground and which we consider one of the nicer short hikes in the Northern Sierras.
Jon then headed for Idaho, and we stayed another night to do Freel the next day on the way home. The trailhead near Fountain Place is higher than the High Meadow one and offers a trail to Freel which goes directly to the peak. This trail is north of the Armstrong Pass trail and is much shorter, although it is rather steep and sandy in places. From the saddle, where it meets the new Tahoe Rim trail, Freel is easily recognized by the microwave structures on its summit.
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