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Mount Senger
Mountain/Rock

Mount Senger

 
Mount Senger

Page Type: Mountain/Rock

Location: California, United States, North America

Lat/Lon: 37.27781°N / 118.85844°W

Object Title: Mount Senger

County: Fresno

Season: Spring, Summer, Fall

Elevation: 12286 ft / 3745 m

 

Page By: mrchad9

Created/Edited: Sep 28, 2011 / Jan 28, 2013

Object ID: 749652

Hits: 2545 

Page Score: 92.04%  - 37 Votes 

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Overview

Mount Senger lies in Sierra National Forest just north of the midpoint of the John Muir Trail and only one mile east of Selden Pass. The most popular attraction in the area is mile long Marie Lake with its many islands, peninsulas, and wide variety of backcountry camping locations. From Marie Lake the flat-topped summit peeks above its north ridge and beacons hikers from the popular trail nearby, though most visitors approach on long day hikes or short overnight trips from nearby Florence Lake or Lake Edison in the western Sierra.

The usual routes to the summit include class 1 and class 2 terrain, and conclude with a fantastic vista north to Seven Gables and the large lakes marking the headwaters of Bear Creek. Mount Senger is one of the many summits on the Sierra Club’s Sierra Peaks Section SPS List, and consequently it is sometimes climbed with nearby Mount Hooper just a short distance away on the west side of Selden Pass.

Enlarge
Mount Senger Summit Vista (click to view labeled peaks)

Getting There

 
Route Map for Mount Hooper and Mount Senger
Route Map
 
Stream above Marie Lake
Stream below Mount Senger

Mount Senger is most easily approached from the west out of Florence Lake, or alternatively via nearby Lake Edison a short distance to the north. Approaches from the east via Piute Pass or Pine Creek Pass are also possible, but add quite a bit of distance and elevation gain. Mount Senger can easily be done as a quick side trip if already hiking the John Muir Trail.

Beginning from the Hooper Creek Diversion Dam is the shortest and most recommended option if you are considering visiting Mount Hooper along with Mount Senger. This is especially true if you have a high clearance vehicle and are familiar with cross country travel. A loop from the dam or Florence Lake can be completed by walking the 2 miles along the Hooper Diversion OHV road at the beginning or end of your journey.

Note that the final 18 miles of the drive to Lake Edison and Florence Lake are on a bumpy, winding (but paved) road that is often only one lane wide as you approach the trailhead. Allow 45-60 minutes for this portion of the drive.

Florence Lake (37.27671° N, 118.97660° W)
From the Central Valley make your way towards Prather and continue east on Highway 168 towards Shaver Lake and then Huntington Lake, following the obvious road signs. At Huntington Lake, turn right onto well designated Kaiser Pass Road and follow it another 17 miles to an intersection where the road splits to Lake Edison. Instead of turning to Lake Edison, continue straight here for another 6 miles to Florence Lake.

Hooper Creek Diversion Dam (37.30573° N, 118.95029° W)
Due to the crossing of the Florence Lake outlet on this route, a high clearance vehicle is recommended for this trailhead, although in fall it may be possible to make it with a low clearance vehicle. A 4x4 is not necessary. The OHV road isn’t very long, and if needed walking the off pavement portion adds only a couple of miles at most. Follow the directions above to Florence Lake, but a quarter mile before reaching the lake turn left at the signed intersection towards Jackass Meadow and the Hooper Diversion OHV Road. In less than a mile the pavement ends as you turn left onto the OHV road. Follow the OHV road as it crosses the outlet of Florence Lake and bear right at an intersection 1.8 miles from the beginning of the OHV road. The road ends at the Hooper Diversion Dam about 2.2 miles from the start.

Lake Edison (37.36735° N, 118.98340° W)
Follow the directions mentioned above from Prather to Florence Lake, turning left at the intersection 17 miles after Huntington Lake towards Lake Edison. Follow the road another 6 miles to Lake Edison. Alternatively, the Bear Creek Diversion Dam trailhead can be used, turn right onto the OHV road 3 miles from the turnoff to Lake Edison and follow it 2 miles to the diversion dam (four wheel drive is necessary).

Approaches

RouteDistanceGainDescription
Florence Lake13.8 miles one-way5800 feet
+800 feet on return
From the Florence Lake Trailhead wrap around the southwest side of Florence Lake and cross its inlet via a footbridge after 3.6 miles. After 8 miles pass the Muir Trail Ranch and soon turn left (north) at a junction towards Selden Pass and eventually onto the John Muir Trail. The trail begins a steep ascent before easing at Sallie Keyes Lakes. From the southern shore of the eastern lake, head directly up the easy class 2 southwest slope to the summit .
Florence Lake Ferry10.1 miles one-way5400 feet
+400 feet on return
If the timing works for your party it is possible to take the ferry across Florence Lake, saving the effort of walking around the southwestern shoreline. The ferry operates several times each day in season (generally early June to late September. For the most current information, check the Florence Lake Ferry Service website. From the east shore of Florence Lake, follow the remaining route description above.
Hooper Creek Diversion Dam6.4 miles one-way6300 feet
+800 feet on return
The statistics here include traveling via Mount Hooper on the approach and bypassing it on the return. This route is by far the quickest and easiest to the summit if you are familiar with cross-country travel, and even if you need to park a low clearance vehicle at the outlet of Florence Lake it adds only 1.9 miles each way and 300 feet gain total to your journey. It also has the bonus of including a visit to nearby Mount Hooper with minimal additional effort. From the diversion dam, head upslope on the right and simply traverse your way towards the outlet of Chamberlain Lake as shown on the route map. Except for a little brush in the beginning the travel is very easy and without bushwhacking. Once at Chamberlain Lake turn towards Mount Hooper to your left. Follow the steep, sandy class 2 slopes to the summit. From the summit walk down the sandy south slope of Mount Hooper, keeping right as needed to avoid cliffs on the southeast ridge (it is possible to cut over this onto the northeast slope as you descend. Follow the route over easy talus and slabs to Selden Pass and climb the class 2 northwest slope of Mount Senger. Note that if bypassing Mount Hooper, you can save 700 feet elevation gain by using breaks in the cliffs southeast of Chamberlain Lake and traversing the south slope of Mount Hooper.
Lake Edison14.4 miles one-way5900 feet
+1100 feet on return
Lake Edison is yet another option to reach Mount Senger. From the southwestern shore of the lake (near the dam) follow the trail up and over Bear Ridge, meeting the John Muir Trail after 5 miles. The John Muir Trail descends through the forest to reach Bear Creek 6.8 miles from the trailhead. Most of the route follows Bear Creek, but note the crossing of the Hilgard Branch (8.7 miles in) and especially Bear Creek (9.9 miles in) can sometimes be challenging during the peak runoff of heavy snow years. After the trail crosses Bear Creek it ascends to Marie Lake. From the southern shore of Marie Lake depart the trail and follow the class 2 northwest slope.

Routes

Southwest Slope – Class 2
This is the easiest route on Mount Senger, though the northwest slope isn’t much more difficult. From the southern shores of Sallie Keyes Lakes just head cross-country over easy terrain up the slope to your east. You can see the summit area during most of the ascent. Walk over the summit plateau to the highpoint on the northern end.
Northwest Slope – Class 2
From either the southern shore of Marie Lake or Selden Pass (depending on your direction of approach) depart the John Muir Trail and head into the gully northwest of Mount Senger. Follow talus and slabs towards the saddle east of Mount Senger, with your exact route being dictated by residual snow conditions. From the saddle (and most of the route) the summit is visible and only a quick walkup remains.
Northeast Ridge – Class 2-3
From the Three Island Lake vicinity first gain the saddle immediately east of Mount Senger at 11,200 feet. The ridge itself has several cliffs and gendarmes, and the easiest path involves dropping a short distance to the small tarn on the southern side. Follow the path of least resistance well to the south side of the ridge. The route leans towards class 2 difficulty as you bear further south, and class 3 as you keep nearer the ridgeline.

Red Tape

 
Marie Lake
Sunset at Marie Lake

Wilderness Permits:
Mount Senger is in the John Muir Wilderness within the Sierra National Forest. No permits are required for day trips but overnight trips require one throughout the year. Quotas are in place year round and are most most conveniently picked up at the High Sierra Visitor Information Station on Kaiser Pass Road (one mile before the split between Lake Edison and Florence Lake, open seasonally) or the High Sierra Ranger District office in Prather. Check the Sierra National Forest website for the most current information.

Food Storage:
No bear canisters are required, but proper food storage is a must.

Campfires:
Fires are prohibited above 10,000 feet.

High Sierra Ranger District Office
29688 Auberry Rd
Prather, CA 93651
(559) 855-5355

Current Conditions

Current NOAA / National Weather Service Forecast

Click for Mono Hot Springs, California Forecast

When to Climb

Highway 168 is not plowed past Huntington Lake in winter, consequently spring through fall are the most realistic times for a visit (a winter approach will add 22 miles to the journey, each way). In early season snow is present at higher elevations, but those familiar with snow conditions should not have any difficulties.

Camping

 
Marie Lake Camp
Camp at Marie Lake with Mount Senger in the Background

Backcountry camping options are fantastic all around Mount Senger. Marie Lake is very scenic and popular, due to its proximity to the well traveled John Muir Trail. Camping locations will not be an issue, and even here seclusion can be found simply by heading over to the east side (opposite the trail) of the mile-long lake. There are literally dozens of other options in the Mount Senger vicinity as well, both well traveled and not.

There are many options for staying in established campgrounds at both Florence Lake and nearby Lake Edison, as well as on the drive in from Kaiser Pass. Most campgrounds are first-come, first-serve, though a few can be reserved. Check the Sierra National Forest website for the most current information.

Dispersed camping is allowed throughout most of Sierra National Forest, and is a good alternative to staying in an established campground.

Etymology

 
Marie Lake and Mount Senger
 

"The mountain was named in 1894 by Theodore S. Solomons for Joachim Henry Senger (1848-1926), one of the four founders of the Sierra Club. (Farquhar: Solomons. The other three were John Muir, Warren Olney, and William D. Armes. See SCB 10, no. 2, Jan. 1917: 135-4.) Born in Prussia, Senger came to California in 1882, and was later professor of German and Greek at the University of California. (Memorial by J. N. LeConte in SCB 12, no. 4, 1927: 428.) Both the mountain and the creek are named on the first Mt. Goddard 30' map, 1912.” – Peter Browning, Place Names of the Sierra Nevada (2004)

Images

Northeastern Panorama from Mount SengerMarie Lake and Mount SengerMarie Lake CampMount Senger from Sandpiper LakeMarie LakeMount Senger Northwest SlopeMount Senger and Sandpiper Lake
Stream above Marie LakeSeven Gables from Mount SengerMount Senger Northeast RidgeMarie Lake BasinHeart Lake from Selden PassRoute Map for Mount Hooper and Mount Senger