So you have a hankering for obscure peaks stuck out in the middle of nowhere? Electra Peak may be just what you're looking for.
Located a mile and a half south of Rodgers Peak
, straddling the boundary of Yosemite National Park and the Ansel Adams Wilderness, Electra Peak is a remote and rarely visited peak that overlooks some of the most scenic and lightly traveled areas in the Sierra. The peak is technically easy, no more than class 2 from most directions, but for the modest effort required to climb it you're rewarded with spectacular views: an unusual perspective of Banner
to the east, the Maclure
complex to the north, and the Lyell Fork Merced River drainage to the west.
The peak's southeast slopes consist of gentle talus, and are class 1-2. The north ridge is class 2, as are the west slopes. The northeast side
is class 2 or 3, depending on the route chosen.
Electra Peak is most commonly approached from the east, out of Silver Lake, Agnew Meadows, or Devil's Postpile. The peak can also be reached from the south, out of the Clover Meadow area in the Sierra National Forest, or from the west, via a very long hike through Yosemite. (Driving directions
for all of these trailheads are found on climber.org
). Given the peak's remote location, a number of variations on the approach are possible. An excellent resource for planning a visit to Electra Peak is the Forest Service's map, A Guide to the Ansel Adams Wilderness
, which covers all approaches. An overview of the more common options is presented here.
North Glacier Pass
This easy class 2 pass offers access to Twin Island Lakes from the east, and from there, the peak's southeast slopes. To reach the pass, first hike to spectacular Thousand Island Lake. This can be reached out of Silver Lake via the Rush Creek and Clark Lakes trails, or out of Agnew Meadows via either the River Trail or the High Trail. Any of these options boasts postcard scenery. From Thousand Island Lake, hike southwest up to the Banner-Davis saddle, and descend the north side of the stream draining Lake Catherine to the valley of the North Fork San Joaquin. (Both sides of the pass are most easily passed by keeping more to the east, where the talus is smaller and a use trail has formed in places. Below Lake Catherine, some fairly substantial deviations from the stream are required to keep the descent class 2; consult Steve Roper's Sierra High Route
for a detailed description.)
If approaching Electra Peak via this pass, climb Mt. Davis
via its SE Slopes/Ridge, and descend a chute on the west side of Mt. Davis to Lake 3119. Electra Peak's NE side is easily reached from here.
This pass (Pass 3500+, class 2, 0.5mi SW of the Davis Lakes) offers the most direct access to the peak's northeast side. From Silver Lake, follow the scenic Rush Creek trail up to the intersection with the Pacific Crest Trail (PCT). From the trail junction, head cross-country southwest alongside the creek draining Rodgers Lakes, and from the lakes continue up the drainage to the pass. Descend the southwest side of the pass via a steep, loose talus chute on the left (southeast) side. Variation:
An alternative to Clinch Pass is provided by Pass 3540+, the next pass to the north. This is class 2-3, but avoids some of the tedious talus found on Clinch Pass. Either pass leads to the valley floor, from where it is an easy hike south to Lake 3060+, due east of the peak.
North Fork San Joaquin River
A trail leads along the North Fork of the San Joaquin River to the vicinity of Twin Island Lakes, from where the peak's southeast slopes are easily reached. The trail can be reached out of Indian Meadow to the south, or out of Devil's Postpile via Cargyle Meadow to the east.
If camping, all the usual Yosemite/Ansel Adams wilderness red tape applies: permits, bear cannisters, etc. Contact the Info National Forest
if approaching the peak via the Ansel Adams Wilderness, or Yosemite National Park
for approaches from the west.
Day hikers are free to roam as they wish, unencumbered by such bureaucracy.
When To Climb
Due to the long approach required from any direction, Electra is most easily climbed during the summer/fall months once the snow's melted, typically June through October.
Backcountry camping options are found around Twin Island Lakes, as well as the grassy terrain in the valley around Lake 3119. Outside the wilderness, assuming you're approaching the peak from the east, the June Lake loop features a bewildering array of pay campgrounds. Alternatively, a good rogue camping option is provided by the Fern Lake trailhead, which is wooded and nicely secluded from the highway.
Mountain ConditionsInyo National Forest conditions
The NWS Forecast
tends to be the most reliable source of weather information for the area.
"The name appears on the Mount Lyell atlas sheet, published in 1901, and was perhaps given because the anticlerical drama Electra
, by the Spanish author Benito Periz Galdos, attracted worldwide attention in the same year."
- Erwin Gudde, California Place Names