Ascents of Smith Mountain (North Slope, class 2) and Crag Peak (West Slope, class 3), May 25-26, 2018.


May 25, 2018. I had to resupply my friend Philippe, who was hiking the PCT and had reached Kennedy Meadows. I took advantage of this quick trip to climb two SPS peaks in the vicinity. I arrived at Kennedy Meadows around 15:30. I met Philippe at the General Store, said hello, and proceeded to the trailhead for Smith Mountain. I started hiking at 16:44 and reached the summit of Smith Mountain at 17:56. On the way I tagged the summit of a fun 3rd class outcropping that I initially mistook for Smith. Smith was uneventful and easy, supposedly the easiest of all the SPS peaks. I hiked back a slightly different way, reaching my car at 18:48. I had beer and burgers with Philippe at the General Store and spent the night at the Kennedy Meadows campground. (A 2:04 hour day).

May 26, 2018. Philippe had errands to run in Kennedy Meadows, so it wasn't until 11:45 that we set out northbound on the PCT, intent on climbing Crag Peak. I underestimated the time it would take to climb this peak. After about 4.5 miles on the PCT, we hiked West across Clover Meadow. The ascent starts in earnest at 7,500 feet, up steep scree and brush covered slopes. The going was tedious until the angle eased out near the summit. A fun third class scramble took us to the top, where an ammo box, chained and bolted to the summit block, contained the summit register. We reached the summit of Crag Peak at 16:23. The views were outstanding to Smith Mountain to the West, the Kaweahs, Whitney Group and Olancha Peak to the North, and the Domeland Wilderness to the South. We spent some time on the summit, then scrambled back down and found a better way to return to the PCT on the descent. This involved hiking diagonally southeast along deer tracks until reaching a low-angle wooded drainage, and then heading due east to the PCT in the southern portion of Clover Meadow. On our way up, we had taken a more direct line to the top, which took forever due to the steepness of the terrain.

We departed the summit at 16:45 and were back at the car at 20:04. I rushed back to LA. (An 8:19 hour day).


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