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From Canyon Creek Lakes

From Canyon Creek Lakes

From Canyon Creek Lakes

Page Type: Route

Location: California, United States, North America

Lat/Lon: 40.99270°N / 123.0484°W

Object Title: From Canyon Creek Lakes

Route Type: Scrambling

Season: Summer, Fall

Time Required: Most of a day

Rock Difficulty: Class 3

Route Quality: 
 - 3 Votes


Page By: Matthew Holliman

Created/Edited: Dec 15, 2005 / Feb 21, 2006

Object ID: 167958

Hits: 4637 

Page Score: 73.06%  - 3 Votes 

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Follow the Canyon Creek trail for approximately seven miles to Lower Canyon Creek Lake, and hike around the west shore of the lake to a large log crossing at the lake's inlet. Cross to the east side of the stream, and hike up easy cross-country terrain to Upper Canyon Creek Lake. (The north/west side of Upper Canyon Creek Lake has cliffs that don't appear to be easily bypassed, and crossing to the east side at the outlet would require a ford. It is best to cross down by the lower lake).

Continue around the east side of Upper Canyon Creek Lake (a little third class if taken fairly directly, class 2 is probably possible higher up) to a meadow, and follow the drainage upstream. The route-finding is surprisingly intricate here to avoid the worst of the brush and some small cliffs, but several variations are possible. The most obvious is to follow alongside the stream past a small swimming hole, before scrambling up a headwall (class 2+) to the north past a large waterfall. An easier option, but with trickier route-finding, is to follow a use trail that ascends the benches to the north and east of the stream. This isn't trivial to find, but basically ascends from the lower right end of the benches to the upper left end next to the aforementioned waterfall, via a series of ledges, ramps, and short brushy gullies.

Once past the large waterfall, the route-finding becomes much easier. Continue upstream, past some large meadows and beautiful wildflowers, following a faint use trail to the east of the stream. This eventually crosses over to the west side where the drainage momentarily turns east (due west of Wedding Cake). Continue up over talus to the cirque formed by Wedding Cake, Thompson Peak, and Caesar Peak.

From here, head west up slabs and snow to a talus chute (seasonal stream possibly present), which leads up to the Wedding Cake-Thompson Peak saddle. (Although route-finding is trivial here, take a moment or two to take note of the route for the descent; there are some cliffs east of Wedding Cake that aren't easily visible from above). From the saddle, follow the ridge south to a steep buttress that leads directly up to the summit area.

Route Description

At the base of the buttress, traverse around the west side of the summit to the first obvious weakness in the cliffs, a class 3 gully. Head up the gully to the north end of the summit area, and scramble up over boulders to the high point.

As with the approach, it is best to take note of where you pop out in the summit area. It is surprisingly easy to get off route and onto class 4 terrain on the descent.

Essential Gear

Ice axe and crampons may be needed in early through mid season.


Wedding Cake from the summit...Heading down the talus chute...Rob scrambling up the west...Use trail through the benches...