Ascents of Mount Bago (East Slope, class 2) and Dragon Peak (South Ridge, class 3), September 25-26, 2019.


September 25, 2019. I left my campsite at the Onion Valley campground at 6:37 and made quick progress up the trail, reaching Kearsarge Pass at 8:34. It was a perfect day – clear blue skies and ideal temps. I proceeded down the path that stays high above Bullfrog Lake and reached the junction with the JMT at 9:37. I proceeded up the slope on the right side of the Eastern bowl, to the ridge connecting the peak's two summits, and was on the summit of Mount Bago at 11:17. The views were outstanding in all directions – with an especially fine view straight down the Kings Canyon, and toward Charlotte Dome. I had lunch on the summit and departed at 12:02. I took a more direct line down the East slope of Mount Bago, toward the small tarn at its base, and then aimed directly toward the southeastern end of Charlotte Lake. I was back at the trail junction at 13:04 and at Kearsarge Pass at 14:24. While on a quick break there, I chatted with a nice southbound PCT hiker who had just resupplied in Bishop (it was a fairly busy day on the trail for a weekday – I met about 15 people between Onion Valley and Charlotte Lake). I was back at my campsite at 16:15, had dinner at the Mount Whitney Café in Lone Pine and went to bed early. (A 9:38 hour day, 19 miles, 5,400 ft of elevation gain).

September 26, 2019. I woke up at 6:15, packed up camp, had breakfast and left the trailhead at 7:15. It took me almost two hours of hiking up the steep unmaintained trail to Lake 11,400, at the base of the Eastern side of Dragon Peak. From there I ascended a tedious talus bowl toward the Sierra Crest and the South Ridge of the peak. At the top of the bowl, one encounters some steep cliffs, but a narrow chute to the right leads to the crest. The only difficulty up the chute is an awkward 3rd class chockstone. From there it is a short hop to the Sierra crest and magnificent views West toward Mount Rixford, Mount Gardiner, Mount Cotter, and Mount Clarence King. A nice traverse up the South Ridge of Dragon Peak then led me to a false summit and finally the dramatic summit pinnacle. From its West side, I climbed some steep but nicely featured class 3 rock to the famed foot traverse leading to the summit. This is exposed but easy and I was on the summit at 10:58. I took in the outstanding views down the Rae Lakes drainage, signed the summit register (dedicating this outstanding climb to my mother), and left the summit after a half hour. The descent was uneventful, and I reached Lake 11,276 at 12:46. There I took a nice lunch break on an island in the middle of the lake (connected to the shore by a narrow strip of rock). Thick clouds were starting to gather overhead. I continued down the trail and reached my car at 14:28. I was back home in LA at 18:00. (A 7:13 hour day, 8.5 miles, 3,800 feet of elevation gain).


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