Before the town of Olancha, turn west off Hwy 395 onto a signed dirt road labeled "Walker Creek Road" (0.0 mi). Go through a narrow bridge that spans the aqueduct. Continue along the dirt road ignoring the forks until you hit the powerlines (1.7 mi). From here, continue along the road heading northwest following the powerlines for 3.7 miles. Park at the point where the lines and the road sharply turn northeast in unison (total 5.4 mi).
From the trailhead, aim for the second ridge south of Cartago Creek. Head straight up the steep slopes. Higher on the ridge, the first milestone is a hill, point 7540’, which is a steep set of pinnacles that bars further progress on the ridgecrest. Scramble directly on the crest to a point where it becomes impossible to maintain 3rd class climbing.
At this point traverse on the south side through a narrow opening between some shrub along a ledge system that bypasses the first outcropping. This gives access to a small gully, the higher flanks of which looks to be more difficult rock. Descend about 60 feet south down the gully and climb a steep but easy class 3 crack that leads to another ledge.
This brings you to a notch directly below the high point of the hill. Cross over to the north side of the notch, where more class 3 scrambling bypasses the hill. Very careful routefinding is required through this whole rock maze.
The ridge from this point gets rougher and extends further as an army of pinnacles. Leave the ridge on the south side contouring across the slope on a SE draw to join the canyon below.
The canyon walls eventually come together and form an east facing slope, at the top of which a gentler grade leads further southwest. After exiting the canyon, it is important to carefully look back and study the route as finding this point on the descent is tricky. On the way down, be sure not to descend into the canyon between point 7212’ and 7540’ because it is tempting to do so and may potentially spell an unpleasant experience.
From here, the terrain eases. Continue up the ridge and pass point 10,010' on the north (right). Gain the crest again. Before the final slope up to the summit plateau, you can traverse north to hit a creek if a water refill is needed.
Follow the steep ridgecrest between the East Face of Olancha and the southernmost cirque in the Sierra on the North. Then continue along the gentle summit plateau to the top.
A pair of sturdy boots, or whatever you are comfortable in for extended cross-country travel and class 3 scrambling.
During the winter, snowshoes, ice ax, and crampons may be needed as necessary.
Map and compass are essential for navigating. A GPS would help.
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