San Joaquin Mountain
June 29, 2020
12 miles, +3,500’
This was day two of my “week of peaks” in Mammoth Lakes over the Fourth of July week, 2020. Today’s destination was the relatively easy Bloody Mountain via Laurel Lakes. However, I was shut down by the notoriously difficult Laurel Lakes Road. About a mile and a half up the road I reached a section of very large boulders that I didn’t feel comfortable trying in my car (a Volvo SUV). I could have just parked along the road and walked the rest of the way up (3 miles), but I decided instead to head for another easy SPS peak in the area, San Joaquin Mountain.
After this initial delay, I was at Minaret Vista and off hiking at 11. The easy route to this summit follows a jeep road along the Sierra Crest for a mile or so before the road deteriorates to a trail. The setting on the Sierra Crest directly opposite the Ritter Range is impressive.
The view north from near Deadman Pass.
Mount Ritter and Banner Peak, with some small clouds overhead, from somewhere on the hike up.
The view south from near the summit. The two small peaks in the foreground are Two Teats, beyond that, Mammoth Mountain is visible in front of the Silver Divide and Mono Recesses. Red Slate Peak is visible at left, with the slanting couloir, the snowy peak in the center is Mount Mills (I think), Mount Humphreys is the pointy, darker one to its left, and the two pointy mountains at center-right are Mount Hooper and Mount Senger on both sides of Selden Pass.
The final sand hill to San Joaquin Mountain.
Panorama of the Ritter Range from the summit.
Another shot of Mount Ritter and Banner Peak, with Garnet Lake in the foreground.
Another panorama of the Ritter Range.
Two Teats, again on the way down. I stopped to climb to the “summit” of both. The east one was quite easy, but the west one had a bit of tricky class 3 climbing.
The west “teat” with the Ritter Range behind.
Descending back to Deadman Pass. Note the trail along the crest, this isn’t marked on any maps that I could find, but it’s quite easy to follow.
Continuing back to Minaret Vista.
By the time I got back to Minaret Vista, around four o’clock, the clouds had built into a little afternoon storm. It settled over the Ritter Range, leaving me in occasional sunshine. I didn’t hear any thunder, but it definitely looked like it was at least raining a bit over on the JMT.
All in all, this was a relatively easy peak with fantastic views, a very worthwhile outing if you’re in the Mammoth Lakes area.