Camp: In the valley below Twin Peaks. Humboldt Toiyabe National Forest.
The Peaks some wonderful metamorphic rock awaits on both Twin Peaks and Virginia Peak.
Abstract: June 23, 24th 2007
Day 1: Green Creek TH to Virginia Pass,5.8 miles, 2500 feet to Virginia Pass (10480), then long, gentle traverse 1.25 miles to Camp at 10,490. Climb Twin Peaks from Camp; 1.25 miles, 1800 feet.
Day 2: Camp to Virginia Peak 1.15 miles, 1500 feet. Hike out to Trailhead.
Day 1: June 23, 2007: Our climbers drove up the night before, had a great dinner at the Bridgeport Inn, and camped at the Green Creek campground. The turnoff from HWY 395 south of Bridgeport is obvious. We picked up our permit from the night drop box at the Bridgeport Ranger Station. The Green Creek campground had plentiful sites, and was close to the trailhead. The trailhead is obvious and well marked. We rose at 5:30 am and were on the trail by 6:30 AM. There is a good trail to Green Creek, and a poorly marked trail to the desired Virginia Pass. The first sign indicates Green Lake to the left, and East Lake to the right. This sign is incorrect. Actually, Green Lake is to the right, and East Lake is to the left. It's true that the 1st turn will take you by Green Lake, but wait until the second left turn off the main trail; it leads down to the north side of Green Lake. This trail runs around the north side of the lake and will lead to Virginia Pass. Once you leave the lake, stay to the north side of the stream that feeds the lake. On the way to Virginia Pass, at the west side of Green Lake, you'll find old mining equipment and a tumbled-down log cabin. At any rate, we arrived at Virginia Pass (10, 480) at 10 AM, and then headed for the upper reaches of the valley below Twin Peaks. Finding a pure gravel campsite that was dry proved to be difficult, and we ditched our packs in a non-optimum spot and started the climb up Twin Peaks. This is the Return Creek Valley.
The summit of Twin Peaks isn't visible from the valley floor, but the namesake of the mountain is. There are twin metavolcanic and metasedimentary rock peaks visible, and the summit is quite a bit behind them. A traverse is possible between Virginia and Twin Peaks, but we didn't have time to do both peaks in one day as we hiked in that morning. To climb Twin Peaks, head just to the east of the obvious Twin Peaks cliffs up a CL2 sand slope, which yields to a glacial moraine-talus slope after about 800 feet. The route is CL2, and you will be in the shadow of the cliffs that make up the buttresses of the Twin Peaks. We turned west just below a snow slope and gained the ridge plateau leading to the actual summit. The true summit of Twin Peaks is about 4 bumps over from when you gain the ridge plateau. We summated at 3:00 PM and were back in camp by 6:30. We decided to move our camp to a sheltered, gravel spot about 100 feet above the lake. The lake is below the cliffs of the namesake Twin Peaks, and is at 10,425 elevation. There is a nearby stream and the GPS Coordinates of the campsite are listed at the end of the report.
Day 2: June 24th, 2007 Climbing Virginia Peak. We left camp at 6:00 AM, and went up the streambed defect just above camp. Our camp was just above the lake at EL 10,395 and the gully is on the SE side of the namesake Twin Peaks. The streambed starts off with some talus and there was enough snow, at low angle, to climb easily as well. After about 500 feet, we took a southwest heading across the numerous granite benches. These benches form an extensive ledge system which will lead easily to the low point in the saddle along the ridge between Virginia and Twin Peaks. The CL3 route between the two is quite visible here and it looks straightforward; although we didn't take it. Virginia Peak is quite imposing on the way over to it. However, once the saddle is gained, the peak can be easily climbed on its northwest ridge and it's CL2 to the top with a few CL3 spots near the summit. You can easily avoid the CL3 if you stay closer to the ridge. We summitted at 9AM, spent a leisure half hour on the summit enjoying the views of Matterhorn & Whorl, and headed back to camp. The summit has a living room sized flat spot and room for plenty of happy climbers. On the hike out, we saw a coyote and several deer, which didn't pay any attention to us that's a good indicator that this is a seldom visited area. After an uneventful hike out, we hit the road and were home in the Bay Area quite early.
Camp GPS Coordinates:
TOPO! GPS Data Format UTM NAD83 ElevFeet Local-Time VTCAMP,11S,293980,4216341,10396,06/23/2007,21:08:39,
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