Split Mountain, CA

Pics by Harlan W.S.
Sept 17, 2006

The elevation listed in the current PID (HR2616) is 14064' (older maps give 14058').

See the summitpost article for more information. Hiking Las Vegas has a more detailed description of the route (we used those instructions for the drive in).

The drive in is "interesting". I took my 03 Subaru Outback, and bounced lots of rocks off the skid plates. I wouldn't do that drive in that car again.

The hike up to Red Lake starts fairly low (6600'), and the trail is sunny (hot most of summer), dusty, and very confusing in places. Disoriented hikers have made spur paths to nowhere; sometimes the spurious paths are cairned and more obvious than the "main" trail. If your path suddenly fades or becomes very brushy, retrace your steps to the last place you saw the trail for sure, and look harder. In "the jungle", cut (sawn or clipped) limbs are the best indication of the true path.

I've heard this described as an "easy" climb. Don't kid yourself; while mostly class 2, there is an abundance of loose rock, a net elevation gain of 7500', and lots of gratuitous up-and-down on the Red Lake trail.


GPS trace on 100k map.


Starting up the Red Lake trail. Split is visible on the right in far distance.


View back E, as Joel escapes the jungle.





View E to Little Red Lake (our camp area) just after sunrise, about 7AM the next day. Paul, Nick, Sergio and Joel started off a little earlier. Bruce and I lollygagged.


East face of Split, viewed across Red Lake. The lighter rocks are typical igneous Sierra granitoids; the darker rocks are altered sedimentary roof pendants.


View back SE across Red Lake. The day started off very hazy, with dust or smoke filling the Owens Valley (distance).





L to R: Joel, Paul and Nick on snow; Sergio on rocks (white shirt). The pink cast to the snow is caused by the algae Chamydomonas.


Near the ridge, Bruce and I went high to avoid launching loose talus on our comrades.


Paul pops over the E lip of the gully. Mt. Tinemaha in back.





View E to Red Lake from top of a couloir, perhaps at 13500'


From Summit, view N to Palisades.


View S to rugged south summit.





Self-portrait, standard pose.


Pano west, with Paul and Bruce on top. I wanted to get a group shot, but people kept leaving to get out of the wind.


View E down the couloir that "splits" the mountain. Red Lake peeks around the corner.





While I pose for a self-portarit, the USGS once again adjusts the geoid, throwing me off balance.








Rock glacier to NE.


Later that day, the long, dry pack out. A red volcanic cone is to E.