Featured photo for Peak 10824-Highland Peak, CA

Peak 10824-Highland Peak, CA

Adam Paul and I did an 11-mile hike on the Noble Peak Trail near Markleeville, California. The trip took us past Noble Lake to the summits of Peak 10824 and Highland Peak. It turned out to be a bit of an adventure, losing the trail several times and encountering false summits and steep, scree-filled terrain that sometimes required some Class 3 bouldering and downclimbing. For all this we were rewarded with splendid views and a fantastic leg workout.

As Adam recapitulated afterwards,

Unfortunately, we lost the trail pretty quickly and had to travel cross-country along Noble Creek. Normally I wouldn’t have minded too much, but the majority of this hike was going to be off-trail, and I wanted to enjoy what trail we could! We found the trail again, only to lose it almost immediately – argh! Fortunately, since I’d hiked here once before, I knew the general direction we wanted to go. We did wind up going up a fairly steep ridge, and arrived above our first destination, Noble Lake. We had to hike down a little bit to a lakelet above Noble Lake to filter some water, as this would be our last opportunity for 7+ miles of steep crosscountry trekking.

Our off-trail excursion actually saved us some mileage (with a price to pay in steepness), and we quickly headed up to the saddle between peaks 10824 and 9741. I remembered having a tough time getting up Highland’s false summit, Peak 10824 in July, and was dreading slogging up its scree-lined slopes again. The scree was not too bad, only slightly irritating, but the steepness really, really slowed us down. An hour, and not even a mile after we left the saddle, we summited Peak 10824 and were treated to most excellent views of Highland and Silver peaks. If we hadn’t known that 10824 was a false summit, we would have been really, really sad, as Highland is still a good (and steep) ways away!

Here are some photos. Also read the rest of Adam’s full report chronicling the journey.

Photos not created by Felix Wong may be subject to copyright.
7:41 a.m.: We arrive at the trailhead off of Highway 4/Ebbett's Pass to begin our 11-mile hike, with a tornado-shaped cloud and several planes in the sky.
7:45 a.m.: Felix Wong all set to go.
Photo: Adam Paul
8:40 a.m.: "Where did the trail go?"  Following Adam towards the peaks for many miles off-trail.
9:52 a.m.: Some of the scenery as we crested some hills over to Noble Lake.
10:14 a.m.: A pond in front of Noble Lake, where we filtered some water that cows, unfortunately, were drinking from.
11:09 a.m.: Adam consulting the map before we would make a .9-mile, 1-hour push up Peak 10824.
11:10 a.m.: A false summit to Peak 10824, with an abundance of scree.  If it looks steep, it's because... it is!
12:40 p.m.: The view of Highland Peak, from the top of Peak 10824.
12:49 p.m.: Adam enjoying the views to the east (including Sonora and Stanislaus Peaks) on top of Peak 10824.
~2:00 p.m.: Felix Wong signing the summit register on Highland Peak.  We were the first people to sign the summit register in a whole month!
Photo: Adam Paul
3:12 p.m.: After Highland Peak, we had to do some Class 3 downclimbing to the saddle between Highland and Silver Peaks.
3:30 p.m.: Silver Peak (North and South), which we did not have time to bag.
4:20 p.m.: One of the more level, but very scrubby, parts of our descents.  That's Adam coming down in the distance.
4:26 p.m.: Getting closer and closer to the forest down below.  However, the slopes we went down would soon get much steeper and looser, and we'd find ourselves often slip
~4:40 p.m.: See what I mean by "steeper and looser!" Felix Wong doing some Class 3 downclimbing... terrain is getting pretty ridiculous.
Photo: Adam Paul
5:16 p.m.: "Halleyujah!  The trail!"  After being off-trail almost all day, we managed to find and actually stay on the trail for the last 2 miles!
6:15 p.m.: Just a couple of minutes from the car: Adam by the numerous warning signs posted at the trailhead of the Noble Canyon Trail.  What a day. [See Adam's pics, which actually has some shots of me!]