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Backpacker Magazine – August 2009

Where Solitude Rules - Lonely Summits

You won't find bottlenecks on these untrammeled peaks.

by: Dougald MacDonald

Mt. Barnard (Tom Till)
Mt. Barnard (Tom Till)
Island Lake, Gannett Peak (Paul Allegretti)
Island Lake, Gannett Peak (Paul Allegretti)

Guide's Secret Acadia
"I often recommend that folks explore the west side of Mt. Desert Island in Acadia, also known as the 'quiet side,'" says Jeff Butterfield, of Maine's Atlantic Climbing School. "Western Mountain (1,071 feet) is less traveled than the mountains on the east side of the island." Plan a 4.9-mile loop starting at the south end of Long Pond. nps.gov/acad


SOLITUDE RULES
Find more crowd-free hikes.

Lonely Summits
Mt. Barnard, California
Here's alpine proof that biggest isn't always best.

This southern Sierra peak was initially designated an official Fourteener, but the USGS later downgraded it to 13,990. That, plus a long-haul approach, pushed it way off the radar screen of most climbers. Start at the Shepherd Pass trailhead and hike 11 miles to the pass.

Descend to the west and follow the John Muir Trail south for 4.7 miles, then hike cross-country along the north side of Wallace Creek for four miles to a campsite near Wallace Lake–24 miles from the car. From here, it's an easy half-day hike up scree slopes on the southwest ridge to Barnard, a peak so isolated that, until recently, you could sign a summit register that contained signatures from Norman Clyde and other 1930s Sierra Clubbers (it has since disappeared).

Days 4-5
Maps USGS topos Mt. Williamson, Mt. Whitney, Mt. Brewer, and Mt. Kaweah
Permits Required (free)
Info fs.fed.us/r5/inyo


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READERS COMMENTS

Star Star Star Star Star
Kevin N
May 31, 2013

My best friend Dave and I summited Barnard as part of a JMT through hike in the summer of 1975, we were the only ones on the mountain at that time. I thought it was more fun than Whitney where we had to put up with other noisy obnoxious climbers. It wasn't a particularly difficult climb, but the solitude was fantastic. If anyone finds that register, you will find my our names right next to each other.

Star Star Star Star Star
AZ Hiker
May 30, 2013

Never lose your way or succumb to exposure just because you want to avoid the crowds on a glorious trail to a lonely summit! Know how to find your way by reading "Felix the Sugar Glider Be Safe Hike Smart" (Amazon). Learn how to orient yourself using a compass, a compass and a map, a map and no compass, no compass and no map. A compass doesn't need satellites or batteries and works in all types of weather but you need to know how to use it and this book makes learning how to use a compass easy. Look for it on Amazon, "Felix the Sugar Glider Be Safe Hike Smart." The ability to know your way and know where you are is something we all need in any survival situation not just while hiking. Learn how to stay found by using a compass and paying attention to your surroundings. Learn what to pack for a day-hike, what to do if you get lost, how to get rescued, and survival packing (for the car and for the trail) just incase you end up unexpectedly spending the night outdoors.

Star Star Star Star Star
Anonymous
May 30, 2013

We (a bunch of SoCal climbers) think Barnard needs to be re-classified back yo a 14er. Fairly accurate GPS readings show it as 14,007. A new survey should be done...

There are also many, much faster ways in to Barnard.

Star Star Star Star Star
Anonymous
May 30, 2013

We (a bunch of SoCal climbers) think Barnard needs to be re-classified back yo a 14er. Fairly accurate GPS readings show it as 14,007. A new survey should be done...

There are also many, much faster ways in to Barnard.

Mike
Feb 03, 2011

Yep, that's Fremont. Got snowed out of there in September a couple of years ago but got some nice pics.

Joe
Feb 03, 2011

I agree with Andy that is Fremont Peak not Gannett
I climbed them both years back

Andy
Jan 19, 2010

The second picture is of Island Lake but that is Fremont Peak in the background with Jackson Peak to the right, Gannett is several miles north over Bonney Pass.

Anonymous
Jan 19, 2010

Jeff
Aug 24, 2009

In August of 2004, our group from Omaha made the climb to the top of Gannett Peak, coming in from Elkhart Park. Best to plan your climb during a full moon for the extra bit of light as you want an early morning start when the snow is hard. To better acclimatize, we overnighted half way to Titcom Basin and then over Bonnie Pass. Great Trip!

Dave
Aug 23, 2009

We drove across the Henrys about 5 or 6 years ago. We saw only one couple leaving a camp ground and a hunter on an ATV scouting for the next season. It was very low usage. And we did see the buffalo herd. Wish we had had more than 1 day to spend there. Would not do with out 4WD and decent ground clearance.

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