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Lost Cannon Peak
Mountain/Rock

Lost Cannon Peak

 
Lost Cannon Peak

Page Type: Mountain/Rock

Location: California, United States, North America

Lat/Lon: 38.40590°N / 119.54876°W

Object Title: Lost Cannon Peak

GPX File: Download GPX » View Route on Map

County: Mono

Activities: Scrambling

Season: Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter

Elevation: 11099 ft / 3383 m

 

Page By: hightinerary

Created/Edited: Aug 29, 2011 / Dec 14, 2013

Object ID: 741863

Hits: 5374 

Page Score: 76.65%  - 7 Votes 

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Overview

Summitpost has six different pages for mountains with "cannon" in their names, but Lost Cannon Peak is the highest of them all.  (See Jesus Malverde's historical reference below on how the peak acquired its name.)

Lost Cannon Peak is east of the main crest of the northern Sierra Nevada, between Sonora Pass and Bridgeport, California.  The mountain lies within the Toiyabe National Forest, inside the grounds of the Marine Corps Mountain Warfare Training Center (MCMWTC).  Per an agreement with the U.S. Forest Service, the MCMWTC occupies and is permitted to conduct training on 46,000 acres of the Toiyabe National Forest.  The land remains under Forest Service management, but the Marines may use the area to train for mountain and cold weather operations.  The main installation at Pickel (not "Pickle") Meadow stands at 6,762 feet.  This region is generally rugged, but the local peaks are not especially high; the tallest among them are barely over 11,000 feet.   

Following a short Class 2 hike up through sand and scrub, Lost Cannon Peak ultimately offers a fun Class 3 summit block. The prolific mountaineer Bob Burd has called it "the best scramble in the area."  The peak can easily be climbed in a fraction of a day, so one has ample time to explore different climbing routes to the top of the block, once one has arrived at the sandy summit plateau. One can also combine it with other nearby peaks, such as Wells Peak (as I have done), Fish Valley Peak (as Bob Burd and Jesus Malverde have done), etc.

Lost Cannon Peak from the SE

Getting There

The area in question is on the U.S. Geological Survey's Lost Cannon Peak Quadrangle.

DRIVING DIRECTIONS:

From Sonora Pass, take Highway 108 east about ten miles. Turn left (north) into the MCMWTC and ask for directions to the area known as "Woody." (Basically, find a dirt road that heads north from the lower part of the base.) Park at "Woody," which is at 9,280 feet.  You should have no trouble finding a place to park off the road here, unless the Marines happen to be using this particular area.

If coming from Bridgeport, take Highway 395 north, then Highway 108 west.  The MCMWTC is about 21 miles from Bridgeport, on the north side of 108.

Pete Yamagata's driving directions and route information are provided below as an external link. Jesus Malverde has kindly provided updated detailed driving directions and other helpful information below in the Additions & Corrections section.

THE ROUTE: 

This page describes the shortest approach to the peak. 

There is no trail to Lost Cannon Peak, but you should be able to see its rocky summit to the northwest from where you are parked (if you follow the directions given above).  Simply hike more or less west and up through sand and scrub to gain the ridge, then scramble more or less north to find the Class 3 summit block.  You will probably want to circle around and approach the summit block from the west.  A metal rod marks the highest of the rocky towers that crown the sandy summit plateau. This route is about 1.5 miles one-way and involves about 1,900 feet of elevation gain. The summit block itself is about 75 feet high and is somewhat challenging.  Bob Burd has said of Lost Cannon Peak's summit block, "This little gem was the best Class 3 summit I've seen in the Sierra between Sonora Pass and Donner Pass."

West Face of Summit Block


Red Tape

No permit is required to climb Lost Cannon Peak.  Be advised, however, that the mountain lies within the training grounds of the MCMWTC.  Do not be surprised to encounter Marines engaged in exercises, often very realistic combat scenarios involving actors playing enemy combatants.  PLEASE DON'T FEED THE SOLDIERS.

CAMPING, LODGING, DINING, etc.

The Sonora Bridge Campground is just east of the MCMWTC on the south side of Highway 108, two miles west of the junction with Highway 395.  Developed Forest Service campgrounds farther west on 108 in this vicinity include Deadman, Upper/Lower Baker, and Leavitt Meadow.

The nearest town to the MCMWTC is Bridgeport, about 25 miles away.  (From the MCMWTC, take Highway 108 east and then Highway 395 south.)  Although very small, the town has numerous lodging and dining options.

External Links

Information on how the peak got its name

Bridgeport Weather

Marine Corps Mountain Warfare Training Center

More information about the Marine Corps Mountain Warfare Training Center

Climber.org Driving Directions for the Sonora Pass Area

Pete Yamagata's driving directions and route information for Lost Cannon Peak

Additions and Corrections

[ Post an Addition or Correction ]
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Jesus Malverdeadditional notes

Jesus Malverde

Hasn't voted

Here is interesting information on John C. Fremont's Lost Cannon from which Lost Cannon Peak is named:

http://www.longcamp.com/how.html



Pete Yamagata's driving directions are still accurate for the most part.

Here's some updated info that includes new sign changes:

Drive through the Marine Corps Mountain Warfare Training Center (MCMWTC) continuing straight on the dirt road.

At mile 1.6 take a left (this road is signed 32059)

At mile 3.0 take a right (a sign says "One Way" with arrow pointing to left - you go RIGHT continuing on road 32059)

at mile 3.7 take a right (do not take the signed road 32059A)

at mile 5.1 take a left

at mile 5.2 you have reached the sign board/flat area/ aka "Woody" GPS: N 38.39591 W 119.5371



Also, if you are considering a link up with Fish Valley Peak (10,571') to the north here are some approximate times going at a moderate pace for a snow-free, mid-July hike.

Starting point is "Woody"

From Woody to Lost Cannon Peak both summits climbed: 2 hrs

Lost Cannon Peak to Fish Valley Peak: 2 hrs

Fish Valley Peak back to Woody: 2.5 hrs

Also, there was no running water/snow pack on this route mid-July 2012. With hot temps I drank almost 4 liters on this hike. Plan accordingly.

Fish Valley Peak sees very few ascents apparently. There were only roughly 28 entries in the summit register that went back to 1994.

The cell phone reception around the MCMWTC seems to be very good. A cell phone that had the MTV of cell providers (Virgin Wireless) got almost full bars near the MCMWTC.

Final note, if you find any old, abandoned live ammunition lying around on the upper elevations of this hike (read: rifle/machine gun ammo), my recommendation is to either leave it where you found it or pack it out and dispose of it yourself. Turning it in to the MCMWTC can be a hassle.

Posted Jul 15, 2012 8:07 pm

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