Ascent of Olancha Peak (West Slope, class 2), with Jerry Nickelsburg, November 2, 2016.


November 1, 2016. We left the trailhead at Sage Flat (elevation 5,790 ft) at 9:44, after breakfast at the Ranch House Café in Olancha. Hiking at a leisurely pace we reached Olancha Pass at 13:30, and set up camp at 10,000 feet near the Pacific Crest Trail at 16:00. Finding water was an issue and I hiked about half a mile from camp to find a trickle of water in a stream bed. The evening was cold and strong winds picked up overnight (a 6:16 hour day with 4,200 ft of elevation gain and 8 miles of hiking).

November 2, 2016. We got up at 6:15 and left camp at 6:57 under strong winds and cold temps. It did not help that the West slope of Olancha was entirely in the shade for most of the morning. We reached the base of the West slope at 7:40 and left the PCT aiming in a straight line to the summit over steep but easy terrain (mostly class 1, some class 2 at the very end). It helped that we could see the summit antenna (apparently an NPS radio repeater antenna) for much of the climb, so we knew where to aim. I reached the summit at 8:58, Jerry a few minutes later. After taking summit photos we sought out a wind-sheltered spot below the summit and had a nice lunch. We started the descent back to camp around 9:40 and were back at the tent at 11:37. By then the wind had died down and it was pleasant in the sun. After coffee we packed up everything and started on our way back to the trailhead. We were back at the cars at 15:58, Jerry heading for LA while I drove North to Mammoth Lakes (a 9:01 hour day with 2,200 ft of elevation gain and 13 miles of hiking).


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