Situated in the Cottonwood Lakes Basin, this striking crag is a 'fly's cast' away from the Cottonwood Lakes Trail and just two hours from the trailhead. In fact, its so close to the trail that it should be rightly called 'Barracuda Buttress'! Although this crag is hardly the sought out objective compared to monster crags of the region, the likes of Mt. Whitney or Mt Langley, it still begs the attention of climbers who desire a backcountry adventure.....without dragging a cabin load of goods to pull it off. Just grab the climbing rack and "go fishin'"!!
Early morning sunlight drapes Golden Trout Crag
Casting Off And Getting There
From the town of Lone Pine, take the Whitney Portal Rd to Horseshoe Meadow Rd. Take a left on Horseshoe Meadow Rd, passing the Alabama Hills and winding up switchbacks to roads end at the Cottonwood Lakes TH parking area. The Cottonwood Lakes campground has several bearboxes near the trailhead, if the need to stash excess gear or food is warranted. Hike the Cottonwood Lakes Trail, just short of 3 miles, to a meadowed area while making two creek crossings along the way. The crag will come into view on the western side of the trail as one approaches the first creek crossing.
Off to climb Golden Trout Crag
The meadow, just 1/4 mile south of the Golden Trout Pack Camp, is the best location for establishing a base camp or a turn off point to approaching the base of the crag. Additionally, the Cottonwood Creek flows right through the middle of the meadow and is a great place to top off the water bottles or soak the tired dogs while gazing upon the tasty granite flanks of Golden Trout Crag. For those considering climbing the crag, there are currently to established routes: 'Fishstick Buttress' (5.8R), FA D. Castro & D. Daly (9/2010), and 'Fish Fry' (5.8), FA Pat and Lori Brennan (9/2006). See the R.J. Secor 'High Sierra': Peaks, Passes and Trails guidebook for the later route in the Cottonwood Lakes Basin section.
The Golden Rules
Be aware that this area is above 9000 ft and is situated within a watershed area. Fires are prohibited and bear canisters are mandatory. Wilderness permits are issued at the Lone Pine Ranger Station , at the southern outskirt of the town along Hwy 395. Be sure to check the trailhead quota and availability (LP Ranger Station phone #: 760) 876-6200) since this trailhead is the "secondary" choice to reaching Mt Whitney. This is also a very active bear area, so be sure to clean out your car of EVERYTHING, cover up anything that resembles an ice chest, and use the bearboxes provided at the trailhead. And lastly, "pack in....pack out".
""It's easy to grin......when your ship comes in. And you've got the stock market beat. But the man worthwhile, Is the man who can smile, when his shorts aren't too tight in the seat.""
--Judge Smails (Ted Knight)