By: Greg Gerlach
I drove up to Bishop Friday afternoon and spent the night at the Big Tree Campground located along Bishop Creek.
The next morning I motored up Buttermilk Road about 6.7 miles to the Horton Creek Trailhead. I stayed on the main road, turned right at the sign and parked just before the locked gate. The last mile or so along the road requires a high clearance vehicle to navigate up through the deep ruts and rocks.
I left the car and started hiking at 7:15 a.m. The first 4 miles of the trail are along an old mining road, and the 2,000’ of elevation gain to Horton Lake took me about 2 hours. Once at the lake I made my way through the forest and across the outlet stream. From the stream I continued around the south side of the lake across a boulder field, then followed the main inlet stream southward up the valley to the second of two small lakes. From the upper lake I headed east and a little south up towards the northeast ridge of Basin. I made a right turn just below the ridge, staying about 50-100’ below the ridge all the way to the summit. I arrived on top at 12:45 p.m., and the climbing was class 1 cross-country except for a class 2 area between the two small lakes and the summit area.
The summit had good views of Mount Humphreys towards the south and Mount Tom towards the north, and the weather was around 65 degrees with no wind.
From the summit, I followed my ascent route back to Horton Lake. Since I did not care for the boulder field on the way up, I headed around the western side of Horton Lake to the trail. As it turned out this was a poor decision because of the dense vegetation. Nonetheless, I made good time on the hike out, arriving back at my car at 3:30 p.m.
Trip statistics: 12 miles and about 5,400 feet of elevation gain.
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