June 30, 2020
21.6 miles, +6,700’
For day three of my “week of peaks” I was set on getting to the summit of Bloody Mountain. Knowing that I couldn’t drive all the way up the Laurel Lakes road, I planned an alternate route from Convict Lake that headed up past Lake Dorothy and Lake Genevieve to the saddle between Bloody Mountain and Laurel Mountain, then climbed Bloody Mountain via the class 2 northeast ridge. It would be a big day, 18-ish miles with many thousands of feet of climbing, so I started a bit earlier, hitting the trail around 7.
Sunrise on the impressive north face of Mount Morrison.
The hike up Convict Creek was no trouble, a little bit cold. The bridge across is still out, but the crossing was quite easy, I managed to keep my shoes on and feet dry.
Red Slate Mountain from Mildred Lake. I tried to follow the trail around the south side of the lake, as indicated on the USGS map, but it disappeared in the marsh, leaving me stomping through the wet grass. I gave up on trying to keep my feet dry after a little bit and headed straight across.
I also had a little trouble finding where the trail climbed from Mildred Lake, though I eventually found an eroding path up the slope. Before long I was walking past the impressively large Lake Dorothy, up again to Lake Genevieve, and thrashing through willows at the creek crossing at the lake’s outlet.
Mount Baldwin through the trees.
Lake Genevieve and the high peaks around it as I started the wraparound climb to the saddle between Bloody Mountain and Laurel Mountain.
The climb up the northeast ridge follows a well-worn use trail.
Lake Genevieve and Edith Lake from the northeast ridge of Bloody Mountain.
Red Slate Mountain and its impressive North Couloir.
More views from the summit. I could see the Ritter and Clark Ranges to the north, and Donohue Pass and Mount Lyell.
My GPS indicated I had already over 12 miles by the time I reached the summit. I wasn’t too keen to follow the circuitous route back down the ridge and around to Lake Genevieve, plus I had a good view of the south slope on my way up, so I decided to try and descend that way directly to Cloverleaf Lake. I figured if it went it would save me an hour or so on the way back.
The view of the Northeast Ridge, and Laurel Mountain behind, from the summit.
Views on the way down Bloody Mountain.
The descent was actually quite easy. The rock was small and loose, making for easy plunge stepping. About two-thirds of the way down I had to cross a band of white rock that was more solid. This actually made it more difficult because the loose rock settled on the more solid white rock, so I had to carefully downclimb through a slot with loose marbles on top of all of the solid rock.
The view back up the South Slope that I descended. I came through the narrow gully in the white rock rather than following the red rocks to climbers right because I thought it’d be better to downclimb semi-solid rock than try to walk across loose rock on top of a cliff. I wouldn’t recommend this as an ascent route for this peak.
Bloody Mountain above Lake Genevieve. I stopped for a snack and to soak my feet in the lake. It was quite a beautiful spot with no people, no bugs, warm sunshine, and cool alpine lake water.
Bloody Mountain high above. The route I came down is at far left, where the white rocks are.
As I descended, some small clouds came in and made some nice light conditions. Here’s Mount Baldwin, Red Slate Peak, and the valley through which Convict Creek runs from above.
Mount Baldwin again.
A beautiful view of the crest from the enormous Dorothy Lake.
Red Slate Peak again.
On my way down, I found the new route around Mildred Lake. It follows the trail as marked down the slope to the southwest of the lake, and then cuts hard north around the north side of the lake. There’s a bridge over the lake outlet. This is all visible on Google Maps satellite view, so if you do a bit of research you’ll find it. Or you can try to follow the mapped trail and stomp around in the marsh for a while.
Final views of Red Slate before disappearing into the canyon.
Convict Creek flowing down towards the popular lake below.
Mount Morrison through some junipers.
The afternoon light was better for photos in the canyon.
Mount Morrison, high above Convict Lake.
When I got back to the condo in the evening, I mapped my hike again and realized that it would have been much easier to just walk up the Laurel Lakes Road from the difficult spot to the pass than to follow the route I took (4.8 miles / +3,000’ vs 9.4 miles / +4,300’ one way). That would have saved me several hours of this hike, but I wouldn’t have gotten to enjoy the lovely lakes in the basin above. Oh well!