Dan (NA6MG) and I wanted to climb this mountain as part of our trip to Kennedy Meadows. We would hike north on the Pacific Crest Trail about 3 or 4 miles to a saddle, then climb the ridge going up south. The topo map and aerial view showed a very steep razor-back summit ridge at the top, with rugged crags.
Heading up the PCT in the morning. Crags visible through the trees.
Came to the bridge across the South Fork of the Kern River after an hour
Peak 7420 up there
We reached the pass at 6800 feet, went up a little, and I decided to stop since I was feeling very fatigued from our climbs the day before. The crag at the top looked awesome 600 feet (190m) above us.
Dan continued up and we maintained commo with our HTs. After just over half an hour he called to say his GPS read 7250 feet, and after another half hour he called from the summit! The last part of the climb was “very dangerous” and he said he would come back a different way!
On the summit
Looking towards Kennedy Meadows
He set up his radio, called CQ for awhile, the RBN did not spot him on the SOTA page, and was finally picked up by W9MRH who put a spot out for him
Date:03/Oct/2019 Summit:W6/SS-365 (7420) Call Used:NA6MG Points: 6 Bonus: 0
After this, Dan called me and said he would come down a different way, straight down the western slope back to the PCT. He suggested I move back down to the bridge since he would not be returning to the north saddle. So I started down myself.
Dan was somewhere up there on his way down
When I was almost back to the bridge, Dan called and said he was at the edge of the meadow not far from the PCT. The first part of the descent had “not been without peril”! Turns out he had tried to go down one chute from the summit crag, it had turned sheer, so he climbed back up and found another chute that he climbed down to somewhat easier ground.
Dan’s GPS tracks
There was no register at the top. When we got back we found that an ascent had been registered on Peakbagger.com. They had found a Class 2 way to the top, Dan had gone up a more difficult Class 3 route. They have informally named this mountain Saddlehorn Peak. http://www.firstchurchofthemasochist.com/2019/05/seven-days-in-southern-sierra-out-of.html
I rested at the bridge until Dan called me when he arrived at the PCT, then I continued down and we met up at Kennedy Meadows where our cars were parked. I was walking very slowly, my feet were sore. We drove to Grumpy Bear’s for beer and chili burgers, Dan recounted his climb to me. I was glad I had not tried it, and I was glad that he had and succeeded.
Then drove back to LA, chatting now and then on 2 meters and meeting up at Mill Creek Summit for a break. I stopped at Switzer’s picnic area on the Angeles Crest Highway and brewed some tea and had some coffee cake, then continued the drive home listening to the baseball game; LA Dodgers playing the Washington Nationals.