Kearsarge to the Westside

For Matt and I’s longest trip of the 2022 Summer, we planned a trip out to the Westside (and back again). Like many other trips we drove up to Onion Valley and started hiking over Kearsarge Pass.

We got a later start, so we did a half day down Bubbs Creek and then up to East Lake.

East Lake

The next day was the summer solstice, so to celebrate we planned a big day, climbing Mt. Brewer and hiking a good part of the way across the range. The climb up to Mt. Brewer went quite quickly. While most of the peak is class II, the last few moves to the summit are class IV. Both Matt and I made it and we celebrated, enjoying the view.

Mt. Brewer and the Great Western Divide were stunningly beautiful. We walked along for a while, marvelling at a new perfectly clear lake every mile or so. The peaks were ragged and rose high above us. This is a very remote and isolated part of the Sierra. I have not spent much time in the Great Western Divide but definitely plan on returning.

Next we descended the Colby Canyon trail for a few miles and then headed up Cloud Canyon. This area features large glacier carved canyons with green meadows. Perhaps since it is further west, the Great Western Divide feels lusher then the rest of the range.

We camped that night in Upper Cloud Canyon, and went to bed under perfectly clear skies. In the middle of the night we were woken up by rain, which is rare in the Sierra during the summer. I sleepily pitched my tarp. By morning we were hearing lightning and it started to snow. It was clear this was not just a quick storm, so we fled to lower ground, leaving the KCHBR behind. Upper Cloud Canyon is deep in the wilderness, so it was an almost thirty mile hike out to a horse camp on the westside. As we got lower and warmed up, we heard the storm rage on above us in the mountains. We were grateful to be in a lower area. The owners of the horse camp let us pitch our tarps there for the night, and we hitched into Lodgepole in the morning. It always feels good walking across the Sierra, connecting two places that are an all day drive in a car on your own feet.

lots of snow where we were camping just a few hours earlier
wet and cold hike out
Drying our things out on the westside, and preparing for next trip

Read Matt’s account of the trip here.