On Tuesday morning, June 29, I had decided that I would head up to climb Matterhorn Peak. By the afternoon I was feeling a bit melancholy and my wife got home later than I had expected so I decided to eschew the drive to Twin Lakes and head up early on the 30th instead to visit and tag two peaks I had been up 5 years earlier, Sonora and Stanislaus Peaks.
The alarm went off at 4:30 and I was on the road by 5 a.m. The traffic is very light at this time of day. I stopped at the Sonora Mickey Ds for the breakfast of hikers and climbers. :) I arrived at the St. Mary Pass trailhead at 7:30. There was one camper parked across the road. In fact I saw just a couple of other cars from Sonora to the trailhead. I took off at 7:45. The morning was cool and clear and there was evidence of thunder storms the day before. The trip up the trail and to the summit of Sonora peak was uneventful except for the cold wind that was blowing. At the summit I read some of the previous entries and one mentioned that he could see many peaks he had summited before, so I took a gander for peaks I have summited. I was able to make out Boundary Peak, White Mountain, Mount Dana, Mount Conness and Leavitt Peak to the south and southeast. To the North were Stanislaus Peak, Disaster Peak, Round Top, Highland Peak with sub peak 10, 824, Jobs Sister, and Freel Peak.
The wind was cold and I had no gloves so I decided to get moving again. I contemplated taking the ridge route but the clouds were already gathering so I angled cross country to pick up the trail to Stanislaus Peak. There were only a few patches of snow so travel was quick. I arrived at the saddle at the base of the peak to the southeast. I could see some faint climbers trail headed up to the summit. I followed these and only slipped in the sand and scree a few times. The air was very calm as compared to wind on Sonora just 2.5 miles south. I spent about 30 minutes at the summit having a snack, taking in the views and reading the summit entries, including mine from 5 years before. The clouds were gathering thicker and darker and I could see rain to the north so decided to head back to the car.
As I reached the saddle I could hear the ominous rumble of thunder and the clouds to the southwest were getting very dark. I quickened my pace. As I came over a small ridge and could see St. Mary pass I saw several bolts of lightning to the southwest. I took some solace in that the thunder took a few seconds to reach me and was a boom as opposed to the crack of very close lightning. The cloud build up though was heavy and very black and it had me a bit nervous anyway. I arrived back at my car at 2, a little over 6 hours round trip. I put my pack in the car and got in, took a deep breath and closed my eyes for a second and immediately heard the tick, tick , tick of raindrops hitting the car. Wow, what timing. Didn’t see a soul the entire time and the only sound were the trickles of streams, the wind blowing, and the sound of thunder. Despite driving in the rain I was back home in time for dinner. A good refreshing trip.
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