North Peak and Mount Conness

16 Jul 1997 - by Aaron Schuman

In his North Palisade day hike trip report, Jim Curl bewails route-finding through the federal wilderness bureaucracy. To sidestep the inconvenient permit process, he proposes that we climb indoors, leave California, climb stealthily without a permit, climb in winter, day hike, or "quit your job and climb midweek". But it is perfectly feasible to enjoy the solitude of midweek climbing without enduring unemployment. Nowadays many companies encourage their employees to take an occasional day off, and even pay them to do it. Enlightened managers feel this policy actually boosts morale and productivity.

On July 16, Steve Eckert and I made a Wonderful Wednesday outing to North Peak and Mount Conness. We left his home in Belmont at 4:00 am, zipped up to (10087') Saddlebag Lake and began hiking at 9:00. We evaded the mosquitos at Greenstone Lake, rambled up to Conness Lakes, kicked steps up the snowy southeast side of North Peak, reaching the 12242' summit by 2:30 pm. If we knew our limits, we would have headed home then, but like Old Johns, we lighted out for Mount Conness. Steve had never visited Conness, and I was nostalgic to return to the destination of my first Sierra Nevada peak climb (July 1984, and thank you, Bob Gross, for introducing me to the sport!). We crossed the Conness Glacier, gained the plateau, and walked up the summit sidewalk to the 12590' top around 5:30. Secor's guidebook suggests this route presents some challenges, but if there were any obstacles, they must have been buried in snow, because we didn't find them. We descended via lush Green Treble Creek and the Carnegie Institute, completing our loop at 9:00 pm. It was too late for dinner at the Tioga Lodge, but we did run into Wade Larsen there. We took turns driving and sleeping, returning home by 2:00 am.

Photo of North from Conness

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