OverviewStanton Peak is a relatively unknown, yet aesthetically pleasing mountain in the remote northeast sector of Yosemite National Park. Though overshadowed in stature and climbing popularity by some of its neighbors (Virginia Peak, Twin Peaks, Whorl Peak, Matterhorn Peak), Stanton Peak boasts great summit views and a sporting class 2 approach over solid granite blocks from three directions.
Stanton Peak lies on a virtual "island" between Virginia and Spiller Canyons, just west of Virginia Pass and the Hoover Wilderness. Geologically, the setting is similar to the Mount Dana/Mono Pass/Parker Pass region to the south -- along the ancient boundary between the intruding granite Sierra Nevada Batholith and the existing sediments, now metamorphosed (metasediments). In fact, Virginia Peak, Stanton's nearest northern neighbor, is vertically bisected by the granite/metasediment boundary. Although the "metaseds" bring a splash of red to the otherwise drab gray granite surroundings, they are generally inferior to granite for climbing: loose and brittle.
Stanton Peak is a straightforward and non-unique class 2 scramble from all points to the north, south, and east. The sheer west face, made U-shaped by the Pleistocene-era glaciers which sculpted Virginia Canyon, likely boasts one or more multi-pitch technical climbs, though yours will likely be the first ascent!
|Driving information from Major Airports|
|City||Distance||Yahoo Driving Directions|
|Fresno||192 miles||FAT to Bridgeport|
|San Francisco||238 miles||SFO to Bridgeport|
|LAX||367 miles||LAX to Bridgeport|
|Reno||118 miles||RNO to Bridgeport|
The easiest access to this region, and the one we used, was the Green Lake trailhead in Hoover Wilderness. To get there, go south from Bridgeport, where you pick up your wilderness permit, about seven miles and turn right onto USFS road 142. The sign, which is small and easy to miss, reads "Green Lakes". Follow the bumpy-but-passable-by-passenger-cars dirt road to the Green Lakes trailhead and campground. Parking seemed adequate given the demand.
Given the extreme remoteness of this region, public transportation options are limited, if nonexistent. YARTS, the Yosemite shuttle bus, runs from Merced, with Greyhound bus service, all the way over the Sierras to the city of Lee Vining. Unfortunately, at this point you are thirty miles--much of it on desolate dirt roads--from the trailhead.
For more information on the approach from Green Lakes Trailhead to the base of Stanton Peak, check out the "approach" section of the South Ridge route.
Red TapeYou must get a wilderness permit from Toiyabe National Forest. Demand for permits is low. We showed up at the USFS office at 8:30 on the day of our hike and had no problem getting a permit. The permit office is located about 2 miles south of Bridgeport on US 395, on the east side of the road. Look for a prominent "wilderness permit" sign.
When To ClimbI imagine that Stanton Peak is quite climbable in the winter, though we climbed in July. In fact, given sufficient snow covering, the granite blocks on Stanton's south, east, and north slopes might be skiiable, and certainly easily ascendable. I don't know for sure, though. A 1500' ski descent from the summit of Stanton to Return Lake could be neat. The slope angle on Stanton's east slope likely tops out around 35 degrees.
The real issue in winter is access. I don't know when Green Lakes Road opens, but you have to imagine that the snow melts a bit earlier on the eastern side of the Sierra. Also, the trailhead is only at 8200', so it might have good accessibility by April or so--well in time for some great corn skiing.
CampingIf you arrive at the Green Lakes campground the night before, there should be spots open. Call (760) 932-7070 for detailed info. In the backcountry, you also need a wilderness permit, as detailed in the "Red tape" section above. We hiked from Green Lakes trailhead to Return Lake, where we camped, via the use trail up Glines Canyon and over Virginia Pass. This journey was somewhere between 8 and 10 miles in length, with 2500'+ of climb, and took us 5.5 hours. Not a trivial day with a full pack, by any means. We climbed Stanton Peak the following morning. One might opt to camp somewhere above Green Lake.
Mountain ConditionsBridgeport district office of Toiyable National Forest, call (760) 932-7070.
- Morgan and Kim's Stanton Peak trip report
- Hoover Wilderness page
Permit, regulation, camping information. need to fix this link
- California Department of Transportation
Main access road to Bridgeport: US highway 395. Trans-sierra roads: California highways 108 and 120.
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