July 26, 2020
11.5 miles, +2,900’
It was midsummer and Shannon and I had no plans and a free weekend. So after a bit of planning, we set off early Saturday across Sonora Pass, headed for the Hoover Wilderness. I was vaguely intent on climbing Dunderberg Peak. But on the way, the altitude and some motion sickness got the better of us, and then Jolly Kone beckoned louder than a mid-afternoon summit, so we settled for an easy stroll around the Virginia Lakes area before searching for a campsite.
Our campsite search sent us most of the way back up Sonora Pass before finding a quiet spot along 108 for the night. I was somewhat more committed to climbing at least one peak this weekend, so we decided we’d head out for Leavitt Peak the next morning.
Leavitt Peak lies on the Sierra Crest just south of Sonora Pass on the border between the Emigrant and Hoover wildernesses. At 11,574’ it’s the highest peak in the former, but eclipsed by Matterhorn Peak and some other subsidiary peaks in Hoover’s Sawtooth Range. The Pacific Crest Trail nears the Sierra Crest less than half a mile from the summit, suggesting an easy climb, which is indeed the case. The hike from Sonora Pass is about 11 miles along the PCT and then a fairly well traveled use trail. If you can get your car up to Leavitt Lake (we couldn’t -- or more accurately weren’t brave enough to try), you can save about 5 miles.
We headed off the next morning at 10AM from Sonora Pass.
Sonora Peak (right) and Stanislaus Peak (left) north of Sonora Pass.
First views of Leavitt Peak from about 10,800’.
The view of Latopie Lake and Koenig and Leavitt Lakes below, with Tower Peak in the background.
You can even see Mount Lyell and Mount Ritter beyond.
Just above Latopie Lake, a use trail heads off towards the summit. It ascends the small ridge that runs directly east from the summit. We followed this fairly well-traveled trail up to the summit.
The view south from the summit. Kennedy Lake is visible below, as is Lost Lake in the saddle above.
To the southwest we could see the northern reaches of the High Sierra, including Tower Peak, and Banner, Ritter, and Lyell.
There’s no summit register on top of this peak, so we just sat and had a snack for a bit before heading down.
One more view to the south on our way down. Some clouds had started to move in by this time which made for some nice light.
Views of Leavitt Peak from the trail along the crest near the wilderness boundary.
A thunderstorm had formed a little bit to our southwest and there were a couple of cloud-to-cloud lightning strikes, but nothing that came over us.
Clouds over Leavitt Peak.
We walked back to the car, passing a few groups on our way, and then made the long drive back home uneventfully.