Sunday, July 2, 2017

Empire Mountain (11,550')

I hate long weekends in the summer. So these "holiday" weekends, when people flock to the mountains with their kids, and giant groups of people are somewhat annoying to me. 
 The crowds, the traffic, *sigh*.
I really wanted to avoid the big popular spots, the Eastern Sierra, Yosemite etc.

I am spoiled, since I have no regular work schedule in the summer months, I can pretty much make any weekend a long weekend if I want. So Teresa and I decided to make it a "regular" weekend, and do a long weekend next weekend, when everyone else is back to their normal schedule. 

On Saturday we went climbing out a Chilkoot lake. It was hot, and really not the best spot to bring the dog. The climbing was ok, but my motivation was low, so we really didn't get in very many routes. I'll have to go back sometime when its not so hot out.

Teresa and Penny examine Chilkoot Lake
Teresa works out the tricky start to a 5.10b at the Half-day dome. 
On Sunday, I headed back out to Mineral king to hike up an easy peak in the region. I decided on Empire Mountain, I wanted something pretty easy that would just take a few hours, and it fit the bill.

Route up Empire Mt. 
It was an enjoyable, easy peak. I hiked up to Timber gap from the Sawtooth trailhead, then traversed onto typical class 2 Sierra talus, gaining the northwest (NW) ridge. The ridge was quite nice, a little bot of scrambling. Eventualy found the summit, and enjoyed the views of Mineral King, Sawtooth Peak and Farewell gap. Very relaxing, I had the peak to myself,  and signed the summit register.

Hiking up towards Timber Gap

A snowy Farewell Gap
Sawtooth peak and Monarch Lakes
Summit register
I descended down the West face. I boot skied down snow slopes, and found the remains of Empire mine. There was a cool cave sink hole cave near the entrance to the mine. 

Bottom of the West face

I was back the car by 1pm, and a long drive home in the heat. Great little mountain.

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