Kearsarge Peak ~ Sierra Nevada (April 1990)

Up until 2008, our adventures were retained only as memories and on Kodachromes. While our memories may have faded (just a bit), the Kodachromes haven’t – and we have a lot of them. So we’re digitizing a select few to bring some of our past adventures into the 21st Century. This is one of those.


We’d gotten engaged, met the parents, and were getting married in May (yes, so old school…). This left some time for a late Spring road trip to Death Valley and the Eastern Sierra. It had been an unusually low snow year in the Sierras so, on a whim, we decided to drive up to Onion Valley so The LovedOne could get a close-up look at the Sierras.  Once there, the whim continued with: Let’s hike up and see Golden Trout Lake. This was easily accomplished as the trail to the meadow near the lake was clear of snow. Once there, we doubled down on the whim with: Let’s summit Kearsarge Peak, it’s only Class 2. At this time, The LovedOne had some experience hiking but none mountaineering (even Class 2) and none at altitude. Still, displaying true grit, she said “Sure” and off we went. Kearsarge Peak (12598 ft / 3840 m) is located in California’s Sierra Nevada just above the Onion Valley Trailhead, which is out of Independence on Highway 395. It’s not considered a hard climb, being basically a long Class 2 scree slog via Lilley Pass (named after Barbara Lilley, a legendary mountaineer). But despite the dramatic views up and down the Owens Valley from its summit, that point is still 3,400 feet above the trailhead. Long story short, there was a lot of scree, some easy Spring snow, and a seemingly endless walk across boulders, but we made it to the summit (and back to the trailhead, always an important aspect of any climb). Of course, we got lucky with the weather and the snow (or lack thereof). We also got lucky with marriage too (but that’s a story that’s still being written…). 😀 ❤

Kearsarge Peak Onion Valley Sierra Nevada California
Sure
Kearsarge Peak Onion Valley Sierra Nevada California
First sighting of the brave hiker smile and signature headgear
Kearsarge Peak Onion Valley Sierra Nevada California
A little snow
Kearsarge Peak Onion Valley Sierra Nevada California
Some scree
Kearsarge Peak Onion Valley Sierra Nevada California
More scree
Kearsarge Peak Onion Valley Sierra Nevada California
Yet more scree
Kearsarge Peak Onion Valley Sierra Nevada California
Topping out on Lilley Pass

Kearsarge Peak Onion Valley Sierra Nevada California
A change in headgear
Kearsarge Peak Onion Valley Sierra Nevada California
The summit is up there?!?!

Kearsarge Peak Onion Valley Sierra Nevada California
Snacks on the summit
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