Photos from around Dunderberg Peak, Hoover Wilderness, CA

Morgan Brown

Glacier NP
New Mexico
New Zealand
Sequoia/Kings Canyon
Bloody Canyon
Cathedral Lakes
Cathedral Range
Clouds Rest
Mount Conness
Mount Dana
Dunderberg Peak
Glen Aulin
Hetch Hetchy
Koip Peak
Mono Pass
North Dome
Peak 11500'
Ragged Peak
Mount Ritter
Sentinel Dome
Smith Peak
Stanton Peak
Mount Starr King
Tresidder Peak
Yos. Valley
Vogelsang Peak
Yos. Falls
Yosemite Falls 2
Virgin Islands
Kim & Morgan
Mom & Dad

Books that Morgan

The High Sierra: Peaks, Passes, and Trails

By R.J. Secor. The High Sierra hiking/climbing guidebook. Amazingly exhaustive. An indispensible trip planning aid.

50 Classic Backcountry Ski and Snowboard Summits in California: Mount Shasta to Mount Whitney

By Paul Richins Jr.. Decent info, lots of good skiing ideas. Approaches/descents often imprecise--bring a map!

On August 17, 2003, Kim and I climbed Dunderberg Peak, a prominent 12,374-foot mound of talus in the Hoover Wilderness near Bridgeport, CA. There is no peak in the Sierra Nevada to the north higher than Dunderberg, so the peak affords unobstructed views in almost every direction. Decent road access and long, unimpeded slopes make Dunderberg a favorite spring ski destination.

We ascended the Southwest Ridge route, which climbs 2800 feet from the Virginia Lakes parking area in about 1.5 horizontal miles. While the rocks on the route are very loose in places, consistent class 3 scrambling over fairly solid rocks awaits climbers who stick to the spine of the ridge.

We pulled into the parking area late on the night of the 16th and simply slept a few yards from the truck in a flat field of sagebrush. Mars and the moon put on a lovely evening show, as did the alpenglow from the cirque between Black Mountain and "South Peak", which was in turn beautifully reflected by the largest of the Virginia Lakes.

After the climb, we had lunch in Lee Vining, and ambitious plans to climb Mount Dana later that day were replaced by a refreshing swim in Tenaya Lake. Soon, we were back on the road for another 5 hours of rush hour vacation driving. Oh well, the reality of living in the Bay Area...

Kim had some interesting thoughts about the hike that I reproduce below... It was a tough hike even though it was pretty short. I was so sick of slogging through the uneven and sliding rocks, I thought the peak was named "Dunderhead" after all the Dunderheads who thought it would be a good idea to try to get to the top. But actually it is called DunderBERG peak. The view at the top was definitely worth it. It is the highest peak in the range so we could see a big picture view of the mountain range. It was fun to be able to point out the other peaks we had climbed and areas we had visited.

While we were there we saw two enormous brown birds. Definitely raptors of some sort (thanks to mom for that terminology), and doing some web research, we've pretty much decided that they were Golden Eagles. They were very big and moved fast, diving and doing acrobatics. We had binoculars so could see them up close but they moved very fast so it was difficult to track them.

The hike down the peak was terrible. We didn't go back down the same way we had come up, and it wasn't just an easy scree ski. I felt unsure of my footing. Every time I put my foot down, I asked myself "What is the probability that this rock will move, and if it does move, what's the likely outcome--a bit a small slide, or an avalanche? I'm also pretty out of shape for the higher altitude exertion so I think that effect my psyche quite a bit. At one point I was down-climbing a slightly tricky rock section, I had a hallucination that Morgan was standing there saying, "You can do it." It was very encouraging.

When we got to the bottom, it was beautiful again. The lakes there are very blue and there weren't any noisome mosquitoes. We soaked our legs in the water then headed out.

Click on small images to start "slide show"
dp01-kim-black-mountain.jpg (174 KB)

Kim catching a few Z's before ...
dp02-virginia-lakes-moon-pano.jpg (88 KB)

Black Mountain (summit hidden)...
dp02a-virginia-lakes-pano.jpg (186 KB)

The alpenglow on Black Mountai...
dp03-dunderberg-peak.jpg (177 KB)

Dunderberg Peak looks pretty u...
dp04-kim-start.jpg (237 KB)

Kim starting up the lower slop...
dp04a-diorite-spire-pano.jpg (481 KB)

View to the west from about a ...
dp05-kim-summit-ridge.jpg (200 KB)

Kim climbing the final stretch...
dp06-kim-morgan-summit.jpg (164 KB)

Self-portrait on the summit of...
dp06a-mono-pano.jpg (367 KB)

Annotated panoramic image to t...
dp06b-north-pano.jpg (457 KB)

Panoramic view from southwest ...
dp06c-dunderberg-peak-pano.jpg (793 KB)

360 ° panoramic view from ...
dp07-morgan-summit.jpg (181 KB)

Morgan on Dunderberg Peak's su...
dp08-kim-summit.jpg (153 KB)

Kim on Dunderberg Peak's summi...
dp09-conness-zoom.jpg (191 KB)

Zoom on the ever-present Mount...
dp10-virginia-zoom.jpg (195 KB)

Zoom on Virginia Peak from the...
dp11-dana-zoom.jpg (198 KB)

Zoom on Mount Dana from summit...
dp12-northwest.jpg (220 KB)

View to the west, into Hoover ...
dp13-black-mountain.jpg (234 KB)

View from base of our descent ...
dp14-descent-zoom.jpg (285 KB)

Our descent route down Dunderb...
dp15-kim-bottom.jpg (154 KB)

Kim at the bottom, tired after...

© 2006 , Stanford Exploration Project
Department of Geophysics
Stanford University

Modified: 05/07/06, 19:23:32 PDT , by morgan
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