Mount Stanford (North)
By: Patty Kline
The 7 of us met at 9:00 am at the Davis Lake trailhead at 9,860'. It can be a little confusing to get to this trail head if one looks casually at maps. Here are the directions from R.J. Secor's, The High Sierra. Peaks. Passes. and Trails. "Rock Creek Road leaves Highway 395 at Tom's Place. It goes south, past Tom's Place, and climbs up the canyon of Rock Creek approximately 9 miles to Rock Creek Lake. The Davis Lake Trailhead, the northern terminus of the Hilton Creek Trail, is 0.6 mile further up Rock Creek Road." This is confusing because the Hilton Lakes roadhead, where we will be starting, is also called the Davis Lake Trailhead.
Mt. Stanford is on the Mt. Abbot 7.5 minute USGS Quadrangle Map. The Mt. Morgan 7.5 minute quad was used on the hike in.
We were very careful to leave no food or scented items in the cars at this roadhead. There was broken glass in the parking area from the week before. This being a leisure trip, we started at 9:20 am for our 4.8 mile hike to Hilton Lake #3 at 10,300' with a total gain of 1,310' counting the ups and downs in the trail. The weather was perfect without wind and no clouds. There was a trail junction at 4.1 miles at 9920'. We took the left branch. The right branch went to Davis Lake. After a snack along the way we got to Hilton lake #3 at 1:20 pm. Happy hour started early for Rick Jali and me, but by 4:00 pm everyone had joined us. Food and drink were set up on a natural granite table perfect for the occasion. Annemarie Mikolaitis won a pink scarf as first prize for her homemade pasta salad. The second prize (sunglasses holder) went to Parvis Esna for his tequila shooters with lime and Persian dessert.
The next day we left for Stanford and 8:00 am. Beyond Hilton Lake #4 about 1 mile away, the trail turns into a use trail. Stay right of the inlet. The inlet is easy to loose. This takes you to a series of grass filed hanging valleys with the inlet stream running through. Some of the hanging valleys have lakes.
Above the highest hanging valley the navigation gets more complex. From here you can see the saddle south of Stanford Lake. Walk toward the saddle. To the right is a second class route to the top with a lot of sand at the bottom. At the top is a snow melt pond that drains into Stanford Lake. Walk along the rock dam on the NE of this pond to the end. Now traverse up the steep second class slope up to Mt. Stanford. There is easier going to the north. This summit is very deceptive because peak 12,931 to the north is more visible, and is 100 higher than Mt. Stanford. Don't go too far north. Stanford at 12,838' is not visible until you are almost there. Don't let the false summit to the SE lure you either. There are a few class three moves a the top. but they are very easily done without a rope.
There was not much room on top, only 2 or 3 people could fit. The view of Pioneer Basin Red and White Mtn. and Red Slate were impressive. Th group left the peak at 4:00 pm.
We got back to camp at 7:30 pm, ready to party. The happy hour food contest was won by Gary Schenk for his three times melted dark Ghiradelli chocolate and second prize was won again by Parvis Esna for his Tequila shooters. Gary scored post cards of SPS peaks and Parvis a water bottle.
Monday morning we left at 8:45 am, returning to the cars about 11:30. Everyone was pleased that the parking lot had been bear attack free for the last 3 days. We then made the drive to Bishop where we had lunch at Whiskey Creek. I highly recommend this restaurant. The moment came for saying goodbye with hopes of climbing again together The participants were Parvis Esna, Annemarie Mikolaitis, Ron Echelmann and Gary Schenk. The scenery was exquisite.
I want to thank everyone for joining Joe Wankurn and me for this great trip. Also many thanks to Joe who was my wonderful assistant leader.
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