English Mountain

3 Sep 2006 - by George Sinclair

Among the big mountains in the Sierra north of Lake Tahoe English Mountain is one of the more remote and difficult peaks to get to. The mountain can not be seen from any major highways, and it is not easy to identify from other high peaks in the region. With just a vague idea of what the mountain was like, and knowing that access was difficult, English Mountain did not rank as a high priority climb. However, I knew that someday I would go there, and finally that day came over the Labor Day weekend.

After studying some maps I determined that the best way to get to the mountain was from the Lake Bowman road (Forest Service Rd. 18) off of Hwy 20 near Emigrant Gap. This road starts out ok, but after about 6-miles the pavement ends and eventually you find yourself driving on a very rough dirt road. Although many types of vehicles do succeed in negotiating this road, I would certainly advise against taking any low-clearance, soft suspension autos down this road! When you eventually near the Lake Bowman dam the road becomes very rocky. Once you climb above the dam and reach the lake you will see a sign warning the road is not maintained beyond this point. Not to worry, the worst of it is over. Continue on around the lake to the vicinity of the Jackson Creek Campground and park near the intersection with the Faucherie Lake Rd. This is about 17 miles from Hwy 20. There is a cabin nearby, and room to turn around here. By getting your vehicle to this point you have completed the crux of the climb.

From here it is an easy 2-hour hike to the top. Hike up the dirt road towards Jackson Meadows (Forest Service Rd. 843) for a little over 1-mile from the Faucherie Lake junction. Leave the Jackson Meadows road on an old logging road that heads south. Don't be confused by some of the other old logging roads here that haven't been used in years. Look for a road that has seen recent use and is not overgrown. Follow this logging road as it climbs up to near the ridge just north of the summit rocks. Stay below the ridge and work your way around the rocks on the west side of the ridge towards a saddle just north of the actual summit. Be careful not to head up to the ridge too soon as the summit is a fair distance to the south. From the saddle continue up the ridge to the summit.

Arun Mahajan adds:

A few years ago, Scott and I did this peak and we used, if I remember right, the information in Pete Yamagata's excellent book on the Tahoe peaks. My notes from that time are: "89 north to Henness Pass Rd past Jackson R (dam) then by dirt road past junction for Bowman Lake (took left fork) towards Catfish Lake, continued down past creek and parked on left."

We took Bowman Rd on the way out. It is certainly rugged and my Subaru did the job admirably although I would advice caution and recommend that if you do not have a high clearance vehicle, not to do this! It was borderline for the Subaru. The hike itself was quite short.

Steve Eckert adds:

Thanks! I always wondered what it would have been like in summer. In winter it took us almost 3 days to get it done: http://www.climber.org/TripReports/1998/325.html


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