Fairly easygoing Bishop-area Sierra peaks with extremely sick fall colours (~early October) at the start. 20 minutes of walking on a big old pipe–what more could you ask for?
- Trailhead: South Lake
- Route: Green Lake to Vagabond, then up the north slope of Cloudripper (class 2). Some exposed summit moves (class 3). 12.5mi, 4500ft vert (2500ft of which is easy cross-country, bits of scrambling)
- (4hr 10m to summit) + (4hr 30m down) = 8hr 40m total. (We booked it on the way up, and were knee-limited on the way down)
- PIPE HIKE
- Vagabond: aim for the notch (look behind you and identify the notch for the way back, it’s less obvious from the other side)
- Cloudripper: stay on the right side of slope
My first hike with Nicole! Excited to be a part of her knee surgery recovery journey.
Right off the bat there’s a huge show of fall colours painting the aspens. Staying on the pipe is a fun challenge, although as a dog it’s quite easy for me.
After the pipe, there’s switchbacks to an open meadow!
Soon we arrive at Green Lake, contour around the lake a bit, then climb up the scooped valley slope on nice trail to an open table.
After walking across the relatively flat table, it’s time to leave the comforts of the trail and go south cross-country. We contoured the left side of the bowl (in which a huge juicy rabbit was sighted diving into the talus). Upon gaining the lip of the bowl, a peak comes into view. That’s not Cloudripper, it’s Vagabond Peak.
Routefinding in this terrain was surprisingly pleasant! Basically you can see where you want to go, and when you get there, it’s easy-going. It’s mostly sand with easy talus. If you’re a clever human you can avoid 4-points-on scrambling for the most part (I always walk with all 4 legs though, because I’m a dog).
We’re super lucky that it’s unseasonably cold today with chilly wind blasts, because otherwise this landscape is extremely exposed with little water, and I imagine you’d get hot pretty quickly. Nicole experiments with monching salt tablets and feels great. Intriguing!
After passing through the notch, Cloudripper comes into view!
It’s wise to turn around and look back as you’re crossing the notch, because it doesn’t look as distinct from the other side. Going down Vagabond and then up the slopes of Cloudripper is easy for dogs! Humans may have to butt-scootch on occasion. Try staying on the right side of the slope, the talus gets big on the left.
A couple of exposed moves (I got my dog butt pushed; power spot) to the summit and we did it!
After a rest and some snacks, it’s time to head down. We gotta go back up Vagabond:
We’re feeling great at the Vagabond notch, so we take a couple minutes to tag the summit.
Heading down from Vagabond, the knees are starting to rattle. It’s a relief to be back on trail.
The aspens on the final stretch of pipe hike are glowing!