May 17-18, 2014
Striped and Goodale are two peaks a short distance south of Taboose Pass. Striped Mountain is a 13er on the Sierra Crest, and Goodale Mountain is a 12er located 1.1 miles NNW of Striped. Both peaks are easy in terms of technical difficulty, making them excellent for an early season snow climb.
|Peak||Elevation||Topographic Prominence||Summit Coordinates (lat/lon)|
|Striped Mountain||13,179 ft||548 ft||36.965519, -118.403949|
|Goodale Mountain||12,790 ft||666 ft||36.971985, -118.386292|
Getting to the trailhead (2WD accessible)
Trailhead coordinates (lat/lon): 37.009580, -118.327371
A large group of us started hiking from Taboose Pass Trailhead (5,430 ft) at 7:40 am, trudging up the sandy Taboose Pass Trail with overnight packs. Due to the longer time some of us had spent packing our gear and food earlier that morning, we had started over an hour later than we would've liked. The Owens Valley heat was starting to catch up to us, encouraging us upwards. After we passed the first river crossing and grove of trees at 8,000 ft, the temperature began cooling down to comfortable levels.
Taboose Pass Trailhead
Birch Mountain seen from the start of the trail
We decided to set up camp in a small flat area (10,420 ft) next to a small tarn below a large rock formation known as the Orange Ogre, about 6 miles from the trailhead. The area was small and cramped, and it was a challenge fitting five tents into it, but in the end we managed.
By 2pm, most of us had on our light daypacks and were making our way up towards Taboose Pass. It was getting warm, and the snow was melting furiously. The runoff ran along the trail, so at times it felt like we were walking up a creek.
heading up towards Taboose Pass
first view of Goodale Mountain, seen from just below the pass
As the terrain began flattening out about 0.3 miles before Taboose Pass, we left the trail and headed southeast up a gradual snowy slope and into a basin bordered by Striped Mountain to the west and Goodale to the east. This basin contained a number of small tarns, giving us plenty of opportunities to recharge our water bottles. The most recognizable body of water was the largest lake (which I will refer to as "Lake 11470 ft"), located 0.9 miles NNW of Striped Mountain.
views from the basin
Lake 11,470 ft mostly frozen over
To the southeast of Lake 11,470 ft was the toe of a ridge which branched out from a small bump north of Striped Mountain labeled as "Point 3933" on the topo map. Craig, Sung, and I headed up this ridge, which contained mostly class 1 terrain. By 5pm, not wanting to descend to camp in the dark, they turned around at ~12,300 ft along with the rest of the group. Earlier, I had mentioned the existence of a shortcut straight down to camp which involved descending a broad class 2 gully just north of Lake 11,470 ft. This shortcut would save an hour of time (compared to descending via Taboose Pass) and had been recommended to me by two others who had made previous descents, but no one else in the group seemed to trust the information. They headed back towards Taboose Pass.
Considering my options, I decided that my descent route back to camp would be via the shortcut, which meant that I would have an extra hour of light. Because of this, I continued upwards towards Striped Mountain, contouring around the southeast side of Point 3933 and finally up a broad plateau to the summit. As I crested the summit ridge and peered over to the west, I was surprised to see what appeared to be a large amount of lingering snow despite the previous dry winter.
route up Striped Mountain
following some old footprints on the contour around Point 3933
Sierra Wave clouds forming
The summit of Striped was the highpoint of a blocky ridge. It contained enough room for a large group. I remained there for about 15 minutes enjoying the views and looking through the register. Strong gusts of wind were blowing in from the south, creating spectacular Sierra Wave (a type of lenticular cloud) overhead.
views from Striped Mountain summit
view northeast towards Goodale
Since there was still about two hours of light remaining, I decided to head for Goodale Mountain which did not look too far away. I headed down Striped Mountain's class 2 northeast ridge to the lowpoint between the two peaks, then scrambled up Goodale's class 2 southwest ridge, staying just below the ridge itself. Strong gusts of wind came screaming in from the south, and every now and then I had to pause briefly to let it pass. The ascent was relatively short, and pretty soon the summit block was in view. The small and slightly exposed summit block contained a few easy class 3 moves.
view from Striped Mountain's northeast ridge
my ascent route (right) and descent (left) from Goodale
Sierra Wave building up
Goodale's southwest ridge
more Sierra Wave
looking south from a spot just below the summit
summit block in view
views from Goodale's summit
To get down from Goodale, I descended one of several rotten class 2 scree gullies on Goodale's west face, then headed north to the north side of Lake 11,470 ft, where the shortcut gully dropped down northeast towards camp. The descent down this gully was fairly easy, involving broad low-angle snow slopes and short talus slopes.
Lake 11,470 ft in fading light
looking northeast down the shortcut gully
Orange Ogre and a whole lot of Sierra Wave
Back at camp, everyone was already in their tents (minus a few who were outside finishing up dinner). The wind was sustained at ~35mph and it wasn't fun to remain outside. The wind remained constant all night long, seeming to strengthen as morning approached. The next day, we broke camp early and headed back down into warmer weather.
descending the Taboose Pass Trail
8,780 ft gain/loss
8,200 ft on Taboose Pass Trail
Stripped and Goodale
High Sierra Topix message board
John Muir Wilderness