Dunderberg Peak
June 13, 2021
3.8 miles, +2,700’
After a fun backpacking trip with friends over this mid-June weekend, I had the following Monday off work. So after joining everyone for lunch at Jolly Kone in Bridgeport, I headed back to the Virginia Creek trailhead, set up camp at the Trumbull Lakes Campground, and headed out to climb Dunderberg Peak.
Dunderberg Peak is a 12,374’ SPS-listed peak in the Hoover Wilderness. Lying a bit east of the crest, its red double-summit is visible from the town of Bridgeport. The peak is most often climbed from one of three routes: the southeast ridge which rises directly from the Virginia Lakes Trailhead, the west slope/ridge from Moat Lake, or the northeast slope from the four wheel drive road off Dunderberg Meadow Road passing the unnamed lake just shy of 10,400. The first two routes are listed as class 2 in Secor, the latter is class 1. I figured I would take the most direct route, the southeast slope from the trailhead. So, after claiming my campsite I headed off on foot for the trailhead.
Once I reached the trailhead, I turned north and headed through some sagebrush and a mix of other vegetation for the prominent southeast ridge. The climbing was easy until about 10,800’ where a series of gendarmes blocked the ridge for 600’. I alternated passing these on the right and left side, finding the right generally preferable though more difficult, certainly exceeding the advertised class 2 in many places. It’s possible there was an easier way farther off the ridge, but the rock was loose enough that it seemed preferable to stick to the trickier climbing on better rock close to the ridge.
View of the Virginia Creek drainage from midway up the ridge.
At one point, I re-gained the ridge after climbing around some trickiness, looked over and saw a Sierra Nevada Bighorn Sheep. She was chewing on something and didn’t notice me for a minute, but then fled down the slope after a minute or so.
Lower down, the sheep reappeared with two lambs. They posed on the next ridge over for another minute or so before disappearing around the corner and out of sight.
After this brief excitement, I made my way over easier terrain to the summit, across a small plateau, and up onto the higher west summit of Dunderberg Peak. The summit was a short ridgeline with a register that I stopped to look at and sign at the northernmost point.
View of the Green Creek drainage from the summit of Dunderberg Peak.
Looking south along the summit “ridge.”
Another couple of views south. Mount Lyell is visible with the Lyell Glacier.
A couple more shots up the Virginia Creek drainage.
The first bit of the descent went quickly, but the middle tricky bits were even more tedious than on the way up, with a couple hundred feet of careful downclimbing. Despite being careful, I still slipped and fell a couple of times and cut my hand on the sharp rocks.
Eventually I reached the trail again, here’s the view looking up the Southeast Ridge. It was just a few minutes to walk back to camp where I cooked dinner and settled in for the night.