Pettit Peak, Volunteer Peak, West Peak
By: Campy Camphausen
These northern Yosemite peaks were needed by Jim Murphy if he wanted to celebrate his scheduled September list-finisher We drove over Toga Pass to the White Wolf High Sierra camp. The trail to Fate Valley begins on a section of the original dirt Tioga road built for Model T's. The trail turns east along the Grand Canyon of the Tuolumne and descends the cliffs to the river. From an overlook we viewed the eastern end of the Hetch Hetchy reservoir and a boat appeared which was carrying hikers to the river trail. Our Fate Valley camp was at low elevation and had large trees. The Tuolumne River runs clear and deep through here.
A food-hanging cable suggested that we could expect a bear. Yosemite is bear country. I had along a pair of locking aluminum bear and snafflehound proof food boxes containing a six-day food supply. This cache Is not to be hung from a tree for a bear to see but is left on the ground to be tripped over even. Too big for bear jaws and too strong to crunch and with a thick rubber seal to keep food aromas inside. Hopefully a bear would merely identify these as being Container, Illumination, Mark 13 Mod O Day-Night (Navy/CG), provisioned with a coiled cable to secure them to a tree or a boulder. The containers evidently work as bears used to follow me into camp but now I see none at all.
The trail continues farther up the canyon and switch backs over brushy and fire-burned slopes to the Rodgers Canyon fork. We reached camp at the upper end of the meadow south of Neal Lake. The next morning we circled around Rodgers Lake and climbed to the saddle between Pettit and Regulation Peaks and climbed Pettit (10,788'). Then we took the ridge north to Volunteer (10,473'), staying mainly on granite slabs except for boulders and scree coming down the west side of an intermediate peak. The area is illustrated on three 15' topos: Hetch Hetchy Reservoir, Tuolumne Meadows, and Matterhorn Peak. I returned the next day to climb West Peak (10,320+') via a steep chute above Neal Lake denoted by a large upper chockstone. This chockstone was surmounted by climbing through a narrow passage beneath.
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