English Mountain, Granite Chief, Leavitt Peak, Mount Lola, Round Top, Sierra Buttes, Tinker Knob
By: Patty Kline
On Friday July 15, 1994 Bob Michael, Steve Nardi and I departed for the Tahoe area to knock off some Northern Sierra peaks. We were gone 5 days and had a great time. All 3 of us crammed into my 2 wheel drive Pathfinder along with camping and cooking gear and enough compact discs to play on my player to break up the monotony of the long miles ahead of us. Steve and I had zero peaks in area 23 and 24 and Bob only had 2. We did the peaks to make the most of our time, yet not to be under any death march type pressure. After all, this was a vacation.
Saturday morning found us at Lake Tahoe. After somewhat of a late start, we decided to drive over to Squaw Valley to get Granite Chief (9006'- class 1) and Tinker Knob (8949'-class 1). Granite Chief is a piece of cake. We paid the $12.00 and took the ski lift up. It is still a couple miles to the top of Granite Chief. Near the top of this mountain I saw Sid "San Jac" Davis, who is a long time SPS member and E leader, coming down with his grandson. From Granite Chief it was an easy $ mile hike over to Tinker Knob. We bypassed the ski lift on the way down, reaching my Pathfinder in the Squaw Valley parking lot about 8:30 pm.
Sunday we did Sierra Buttes (8591'-class 1) and English Mtn. (8373'-class 2.) We drove north to Truckee. Then we proceeded north on Hwy 89 to Hwy 49. We went left or west on Hwy 49 to Sardine Lakes Rd. Hwy 93 and Packer Lake Road off of Hwy 49 will take you about 10 miles back into the Sierra Buttes roadhead where there is a locked gate. From here a fire road goes almost all the way to the peak. At the end there are some nice flights of stairs to take you up the large summit block and to the lookout tower on top. The lookout was open to guests. This peak has a granite mass that is very impressive from the main highway. Next was English in a maze of logging roads. We drove back to the east on Hwy 49 past Sierraville and went south on Hwy 89 to the Jackson Meadows Reservoir turnoff.
After doing English we relaxed in the afternoon sun before driving over to the roadhead for Mt. Lola (9148'-class 1), which we did the next morning on Monday. The logging roads became more and more complex. When it became totally dark around 9:00 pm, we gave up and camped under some huge pine trees. A nice pasta dinner was cooked before going to bed. The next morning we found we were practically at the roadhead for Lola near a nice lake. We drove the Pathfinder a couple more miles before the road became very 4x4. We only had to walk an extra mile where the road basically ended.
The idea was to now get my 2 peaks in area 23 since we had collected 5 in area 24. I "needed" 2 in area 23 for my upcoming Senior Emblem, which I got on August 3 on Table Mtn. a little over 2 weeks later. Well, we didn't get down to Carson Pass on Hwy 88 in area 23 until 2:30 pm. Just below Carson Pass is a nice campground which is very near Round Top (10,381-class 3) There were a lot of empty spots, probably because it was a Monday. By the time we got a spot and had some lunch it was too late to do Round Top. There were a lot of thunder clouds and the peak was in a white out.
Tuesday we went for Round Top at 6:00 am. It had an easy class 3 summit block. Then we drove over to Sonora Pass to get Leavitt Peak (11,569'- class 1). I have never seen so many wildflowers. They grow bigger up north because of the longer sunlight hours. They were everywhere around Round Top too. I found out that many people time trips here just to see the fantastic wildflower display in mid July. Leavitt Peak is right off of the Pacific Crest Trail and is 10 miles round trip. It is a spectacular landscape of volcanic bareness, lakes, ridges and snow. It was my favorite of the 7 we did. The 3 of us left Sonora Pass around 8:30 pm to return in LA at 3:00 am the next morning, in typical SPS fashion. Steve, Bob and I had a great 5 days.
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