Didn't start early enough from Horseshoe and was blasted by wind as soon as I left the protection of New Army Pass. Couldn't even hold a camera straight... decided to cut my losses after half an hour of trudging along the ridge. Outstanding clear views from my go-around spot, though. Still worth it, but after summitting Peak 12417 I doubt I'll make another try for Cirque.
I walked up Cottonwood Pass from Horseshoe Meadows and over the ridge to 12417 on 10/28/17. The hike from carpark to the pass didn't seem that arduous (and I'm not exactly Superman), but I concede that there were more switchbacks than I anticipated... frustratingly so!
Views from 12417 to Chicken Spring and the Southern Sierra were outstanding. Outcrops near the pass were better for the Great Western Divide and Kaweahs. I wish I'd taken the direct ridge route instead of trying for a shallower incline further west, but the mistake did lead to my first SN Bighorn sighting!
From the PCT aimed for the saddle east of Cirque peak, it takes you to a real nice overlook of Cirque Lake. From there headed towards a noticeable rock formation on the ridge then to the peak. Met a nice ranger at the top who took a pic of us!
Climbed this with Ambret and another friend, who somehow managed to start up toward the wrong peak before righting himself after some worried calls on our walkie-talkies (to avoid this mistake, stay fairly close to the east rim as you head toward the summit). Once you attain New Army Pass, the slope to Cirque rises gently across a strange landscape of large, flat boulders riddled with perfectly round holes or pocked with tiny, flat-topped formations that resemble miniature mesas. The views from the summit are magnificent, extending all the way to Horseshoe Meadows and the southernmost reaches of the Sierra Nevada.
HIked Cirque Peak via New Army Pass from our campsite at Long Lake, day after summiting Mt Langley. Nice hike to cap two weeks in the Sierra.
Not bagging this peak two years ago when I hiked Langley bugged me. For that day I planned Mount Tyndall but a lot of reasoning made me push Tyndall for next year. Therefore I wanted instead a peak easy on my knees, with a long distance to travel, that could fill the whole day. Cirque Peak fit the bill. I was planning to go up New Army Pass and down Old Army Pass. I also knew of another loop, up NAP and down to Chicken Spring Lake where I'd take the PCT to Cottonwood Pass and than down to Horseshoe Meadow parking lot. I chose this loop since, besides the excitement of seeing a new route and bagging Cirque, I'd also bagge Peaks 12524 (which has a class 4, 15 ft high climb to make the summit), 12417 (which is really just a walk over keeping the elevatin from 12525), and 12336 (a class 2 easy bolder hopping hike to the summit, also nicknamed the Trail Master). This loop also turned out to be 3 miles shorter than my initial New Army - Old Army combination. However, the Cottonwood Pass seems like an arduous hike going up. I didn't like it going down and I don't even want to know how it is the other way around. The whole deal was 17.75 miles and lasted 8 hours and 35 minutes.
My first Sierra peak, a nice day in the mountains with grandpa.
South East approach leaving Horseshoe meadows at 9:30AM and making summit at 1:15PM. Came up the mountain on the ridge in between Chicken springs and Cirque Lake. Beautiful views all around.
Second visit to this awesome peak. First visit was from Cirque Lake, from which the scramble is a bit closer to 3rd class here and there, but on the finest, most consistent talus I've see in the Sierras. This time, started at Checkin Spring Lake and its just a hike really until the last bit. Not as elegant or scenic, but so much easier! Trail to Checkin reminded me of hikes out of Idyllwild. Will happily do this one again and again.
Mike, Brooke and I went to the top of this mountain via Cottonwood Lakes. We were telling the stories of our lives while going up and down so I don't remember too much of that hike except for the sunshine and snow. There was still snow left on the top of the mountain. Beautiful view of the Sierras from the summit!
Easy sidetrip last day of a backpacking trip to the Rock Creek area. Summited with Shannon Pallone and Wes Tanner. Spooked some bighorn sheep on the way back to the pass.
I felt like cruising on a nice trail vs the cross country planned for the day, so I changed plans and hiked cirque from the PCT.
Up via Cottonwood lakes and back via the old South Fork Trail.
I had long started at this peak while at the Cottonwood Lakes and just had to climb it. Took my buddy from San Diego up with me. We both had a good time, but I got to saw my first case of altitude sickness. My poor buddy was ill all the way back to the valley.
Started from Horseshoe Meadows trailhead by moonlight, booked it up New Army Pass and picked my way over to the summit before the weather rolled in...good thing I brought my poncho for those last few, rain-drenched miles!
Spent the night at Big Whitney Meadow after doing a long loop during a three day trip to Muah, Cartago, Kern Peak, and Cirque. Got some unexpected snow overnight which melted off by about noon. Easy trek up to Siberian Pass (except for losing the faint trail several times) and then down via Cottonwood Pass.
Did the Cirque Peak Traverse and added Peak 11,620' from Cottonwood Pass.
via new army pass
Fun. Mild dayhike from horseshoe. Bagged trailmaster prior to.
I started off with a small group from Horseshoe Meadows and hiked up to Mount Langley. On the way back, I broke off at Old Army Pass and headed up to Cirque. The route out there is straight forward, but very rocky. Upon reaching the summit I saw that the registers went back to 1989, but were in poor shape, so I didn't spend time reading them, not wanting them to fall apart. I dropped down off the east face and encountered plenty of steep, loose, avalanche prone scree, and fortunately, plenty of class 3 rock to hang onto while working my way down about 1200' to the moraine below. Once past the moraine, the going was easy. Beautiful meadows, streams, and ancient trees. I followed the South Fork of Cottonwood Creek and eventually ended up on the main trail out of Horseshoe Meadows, about a mile from the parking lot. The distance came out about the same as an out and back to Langley, but with an additional gain of over another 1000'.