Something that never ceases to amaze me is how empty the ranges of the Eastern Sierra Nevada Mountains continue to be. Don’t get me wrong, that’s not a complaint. I love being able to find solitude in the wilderness. But while the known parks like Yosemite are bursting at the seams, with traffic jams and tourists, and peaks like Mt Whitney are so popular that they require intricate lottery system for permits, the surrounding areas which are stunning in their own right are essentially ignored.
Dragon Peak, in the Golden Trout Wilderness gave us just that experience. At 12,995 ft and with a class 3 ridge line to follow to the summit this is a good route for the “some-what experienced” climber. While the climbing itself is not particularly hard or technical, it does involve some critical route-finding moments, a LOT of dangerous exposure, and some really rotten, chossy rock at the top, which does not leave you feeling super confident. This climb is not for the faint of heart.
After reaching what the Map implied was the summit, we realized that there was still one point a little higher, just north of us. It seems that we had reached the South summit, not the true summit. We took our time, and investigated the approach to the true summit, but this is where that “dad risk calculus” came into my mind. We had reached 12,942, but while the remainder of the climb didn’t look overly difficult, the rock itself felt very rotten. My confidence in it dropped, and we decided to choose safety over valor.
- Written by Benny Haddad