Southern Sierra: Sherman Peak (9909 ft) and Cannell Peak (9470 ft), 23 September 2016

I had been wanting to hike some peaks in the Southern Sierra for a while, Dan NA6MG and I planned a camping trip to do this. Dan had noted that Saturday 24 September was the start of deer hunting season, so we expected to see many hunters.

For the first climb, he had planned to reach the trail head for Pk 9980 (W6 SS-255) at day break and alerted for 0800 local time Friday. Peak 9980 is the high point at the north end of the ridge that includes Sirretta Peak (9977 ft) to the south. I was unsure what peak to start with and decided to play it by ear, alerting for 1100 local time. We would then meet up at Horse Meadow camp ground near Big Meadow, and do some peaks together like Cannell Peak (W6 SN-037), Taylor Dome (W6 SS-305), Pk 8443 (W6 SS-616), Pk 8108 (W6 SS-336) over the weekend.

Thursday evening, for my son’s birthday, he, my wife and I went to the Medieval Times tournament show in Buena Park. Returning home, I got some sleep and then headed out at 0345. An easy drive on the 405, 14 and 395 stopping at the Pearsonville Shell station for fuel and bought two blueberry muffins. A couple of miles later turned west towards Kennedy Meadows and a nice drive up into the mountains. Up there at 6000 feet or so the temperature was below freezing, but clear with no wind. At the Kennedy Meadows general store I took the right fork in the road, I stopped shortly feeling that was wrong and checked the GPS, sure enough I returned and took the left fork (signed for Black Rock) and after a mile saw a sign for Sherman Pass so I was on the correct road. The road is also called 22S05 and Sherman Pass Road. At Sherman Pass (9100 feet) I had had enough of driving so I decided to hike Sherman Peak W6 SS-258. It had taken me four and a half hours to get there, arriving at 0815.

Parked at the view point. There are vault toilets here (they were clean thank goodness!) but no trash bins. I noticed there was no trash collection anywhere during the trip here in the Sequoia National Forest…pack it in pack it out.

I think the mountain left of center is Pk 9060 (W6 SS-298)


Called Dan on 2m but nothing heard. After coffee and a muffin crossed the road and took the sign posted trail north towards Sherman Peak.

Most of the trail is pretty gentle like this, rolling up with some downs. Very pleasant


Came to an area of Buckthorn, that had once burned. View south west towards Kern River


And the summit comes into clear view


Five or ten minutes after this, Dan called me from his summit. He had just got there, I said I would be at the top in 10 or 15 minutes, so the timing looked like it would be working out. It actually took me maybe 20 minutes or longer up some steep switchbacks, then meeting up with a four wheel drive road near the top.

There is a comm site at the top. I found I had to turn on the attenuator in the HT to get rid of some VHF RFI. The hike is something like 2.5 miles with 1000 feet of gain, took just under an hour and a half.


Set up the gear and worked Dan on 20m CW, then switched to 40m CW. RBN spotting picked me up because chasers appeared quickly


40m CW: N6PKT N9KW


30m CW: W7RV NS7P N7CW

2m FM: NA6MG

Thank you chasers for making my first Sierra activation successful!

On 2m Dan and I agreed to meet at Horse Meadow then try another peak

A nice hike down, taking less than an hour. Then a drive down the winding road from Sherman pass, reminded me of driving in Switzerland to and from the Col du Lein. After dropping 3000 feet in elevation reached the road to Big Meadow.

Met up with Dan at Horse Meadow where he was setting up camp. We decided to try for Cannell Peak, on the map a 4WD jeep road is marked (24S38) that takes you to a saddle then 500 feet of hiking to the top. The “normal” way is to hike cross country from a saddle (35.859 -118.3449) on the main 22S12 road up 1000 feet, but we thought we would try the 4WD road, starting at 35.8411. -118.3419.

Here is what Cannell Peak looks like, photo taken next day on our Taylor Dome hike


Well, we found the jeep road and it looked good, but after just less than half a mile….

Two downed trees blocked the way! So the USFS doesn’t bother to maintain this one!


So we shouldered our gear and headed up. Anyway, up for a little ways, then gentle down for a half mile then up again. Except for a couple more downed trees the road was totally good for 4WD! Since there are little trees starting to grow in the road it looks like the USFS is going to let this one disappear.


After just over 2 miles and 600 or 700 feet of gain we reached the saddle at 8900 feet where the “road” ended. We were pretty tired at this point, I think from the combined effects of lack of sleep, long drive, previous hike, altitude, and “old age” (!). So we knew that the final steep 500 feet of bush country through scrub, rocks and forest would be a slog…and it was!

Set up attached to a log. Cannell is forested at the top


Nice to make some QSOs so late in the day, it was about 1630 local time. Thank you!


40m CW: W7RV NQ7R

Packed up and headed down, the steep hill was much easier down than up!

Nice view of Big Meadow. We are camped a few miles beyond the far end and to the left. Siretta Peak that Dan hiked earlier is the high point on the left


Then the jeep road. Unless you love cross country, I think walking the road then the final push is the better way to get to the summit rather than the totally cross country way, but that is just me…

Dan leading us “down” where the road goes up again!


Dan was able to turn the jeep around where there was a little clearing about 20 feet down from the log. Tire tracks showed that others had done this too


Then back to camp for some very welcome hot food after a long day! The orange tent is my old Vango tent made in Scotland, which I think I bought more than 36 years ago!


73! Hal N6JZT


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