Tunemah Peak from Blue Canyon?

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fogey

 
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Tunemah Peak from Blue Canyon?

by fogey » Sat Jun 20, 2015 5:36 pm

Is it possible? Has anyone done it? What's it like? Planning a trip to the head of Blue Canyon and pretty sure I'll never get there again--which probably makes it the closest I'll ever be to Tunemah.

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Bob Burd
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Re: Tunemah Peak from Blue Canyon?

by Bob Burd » Sun Jun 21, 2015 1:42 am

Standard route seems to be over Dykeman Pass, judging from the TRs on climber.org. I found it pretty straightforward, class 2.
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Re: Tunemah Peak from Blue Canyon?

by fogey » Sun Jun 21, 2015 8:23 pm

That hits the spot, especially the map. Gracias.

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Re: Tunemah Peak from Blue Canyon?

by LincolnB » Sat Jul 04, 2015 9:17 pm

Fogey, any news on trail conditions to Tunemah? I'm thinking of trying it later this summer - thanks.

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Re: Tunemah Peak from Blue Canyon?

by sierraman » Mon Jul 06, 2015 1:22 am

The NPS did quite a bit of work on the Blue Canyon Trail a few years back, to the point where I was able to ride a horse to Big Meadow in 2010. From Big Meadow there is a decent path further up canyon, but I wouldn't call it a trail. There is no trail or path from Big Meadow up to Grouse Meadow and then down to Alpine Creek, even though this is supposedly the route of the mythical Tunemah Trail. I've been through there 4 times in the past 5 years and have never saw any remnant of a former trail, although I've seen it marked on old maps.

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Re: Tunemah Peak from Blue Canyon?

by fogey » Thu Jul 09, 2015 5:24 am

LincolnB wrote:Fogey, any news on trail conditions to Tunemah? I'm thinking of trying it later this summer - thanks.


No news . . . yet. We have a permit for a trip starting 7/17; I'll try to post after.

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Re: Tunemah Peak from Blue Canyon?

by LincolnB » Wed Jul 15, 2015 5:29 am

I climbed Tunemah along with Finger peak last weekend, starting from a shortcut near Rancheria Trailhead: http://www.summitpost.org/rancheria-trailhead-shortcut/946200. The first few miles are well-maintained, up to the private in-holding at Crown Valley. However the 1.5 miles from Cow Valley to Crown Valley is heavily trafficked by cattle, who have left behind trampled earth, fresh dung and biting flies.

After Crown Valley there has been no recent maintenance and the trail is completely overgrown in some spots. A couple of times I lost track of it and was left to navigate on my own for a while. However it's in good condition mostly, and makes for a delightful long forest hike through big pines. Crown River, where Secor once almost drowned, could be easily waded now -- but a log jam at the crossing means you don't even have to remove your boots.

The trail peters out after Big Meadow, from where you have your choice of two cross-country routes as shown in Burd's map above. I hiked to the top of Blue Canyon and found it to be mostly open country with easy traveling. From Finger Peak I traversed to Tunemah using the pass north-east of Dykeman, also a good route.

From Tunemah I returned via Burnt Mtn pass, which is a shorter route to Tunemah compared to Dykeman pass, but had some annoying patches of cross-country -- loose talus, brush and soggy meadows -- so I don't know that it would be any faster than Dykeman. Taking a wrong turn down Rattlesnake Creek didn't help; I lost a few hundred feet of elevation before catching the mistake.

If you're hoping for company, there's a lot of fresh bear poop around Big Meadow. Otherwise you're pretty much on your own -- I saw only one other hiker during the long weekend.

Tunemah from the pass north-east of Dykeman Pass:
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Tunamah from near Burnt Mtn pass:
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Re: Tunemah Peak from Blue Canyon?

by fogey » Sun Jul 26, 2015 7:02 am

After Crown Valley there has been no recent maintenance and the trail is completely overgrown in some spots. A couple of times I lost track of it and was left to navigate on my own for a while. However it's in good condition mostly, and makes for a delightful long forest hike through big pines.


Our first day out, less than a week after LIncolnB passed through, we found a Forest Service trail crew on its third day working on the trail to Blue Canyon. They were just east of Crown Creek, and when we came down the creek five days later the trail was in good shape all the way back to the car (which we had parked at the end of the road suggested by LIncolnB, saving at least a mile of hiking and 300 feet of elevation gain). The FS crew chief didn't know how long ago the last crew had been through, but was sure it was before the fire that swept through 7 years ago.

On the park side it was a different story, in particular climbing up to the high point of the trail before the drop into Blue Canyon, where the trail disappeared into loose dirt and brush several times for significant stretches.

In six days, the only people we ran into besides the FS crew were two climbers on the summit of Finger Peak, who had come up from Portal Lake on the Blackcap Basin side, and three members of the extended family which owns the inholding in Crown Valley (which it turns out has been in the family for four generations and is no longer used for grazing or other commercial use).

The hike over Dykeman Pass, across Alpine Creek (a beautiful valley in its own right) and up Tunemah required almost no class 2 travel (by the easiest route, which was not necessarily the shortest). Summiting Tunemah about noon, we had almost an hour-and-a-half of watching spectacular mixed clouds and patches of blue sky and surveying the the peaks from Goddard to the Palisades (visible in their full glory from Agassiz to Middle Pal), plus the less familiar (to me) but also spectacular world of the Middle Fork of the Kings. Tunemah does feel a little like the edge of the world, but it was neither harsh nor dreary and my only regret of the trip was leaving the camera behind on the day we climbed it.

The path up Blue Canyon does continue beyond Big Meadow, east of and above the creek, and, if you are lucky enough to stay with it for a few hundred overgrown yards coming up from Big Meadow, provides an efficient way across intervening rock and talus before returning to the edge of the creek at about 9200-9300 feet.

Looking for something new on the way back, we crossed Coyote Pass, starting upward probably farther north than ideal and finding the hardest travel of the trip. There was no sign at all of any former trail between Big Meadow and the creek below Mountain Meadow. Before we got within sight of Crown Creek the trail (which we'd eventually found) disappeared for good amid the post-fire detritus, leaving us to travel south staying west of the creek until we hit the main trail--which was not generally troublesome.

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Re: Tunemah Peak from Blue Canyon?

by LincolnB » Thu Jul 30, 2015 5:21 am

fogey wrote:Our first day out, less than a week after LIncolnB passed through, we found a Forest Service trail crew on its third day working on the trail to Blue Canyon.

Shoot, I should have waited a few weeks.

Does anyone know if the forest service publishes a schedule for the trails they're planning to work? Or the ones that have been recently maintained? That could be useful when planning a trip.

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Re: Tunemah Peak from Blue Canyon?

by sierraman » Thu Jul 30, 2015 11:53 pm

fogey wrote:
Tunemah does feel like the edge of the world

I believe Tunemah Peak has the distinction of being further from a road (as the crow flies) than any other named summit in California


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