|Page Type:||Trip Report|
|Lat/Lon:||37.02030°N / 118.42165°W|
|Date Climbed/Hiked:||Jul 27, 2016|
Well the plan was to snag our first California 14er, Split Mtn. by the Red Lake Approach. After doing much research online, including many different ideas on how to get to the trail head, I bought a USPS map of the area. However, this map turned out to be enormous (24 by 40 in.); somehow they messed up my order. After our team (numbering 6) all met together in So Cal, we packed up our gear and food.
Waking up at 4 a.m., we drove up to Lone Pine and grabbed our permits from the Eastern Sierra Inter-agency Visitor Center, seeing the crowd awaiting the doors to open at 8 a.m., presumably to get Whitney permits. After this, we drove up to Big Pine, and after getting gas (right at the intersection of 395 and Glacier Lodge Rd.), we headed up towards the Sierras.
Note: Glacier Lodge Rd. is also called Crocker Rd., which can be really confusing. Also, the sign is hard to see if you are driving fast through Big Pine (which you shouldn't anyways).
After driving up Glacier Lodge Rd. for a while, we took a hard left onto McMurray Meadows Rd., which was also a bit hard to find (we went past it and had to backtrack to find it). Almost directly when you get onto McMurray, you have to yank a quick left which counter-intuitively leads you away from the Sierras. It soon turns again to the West, and the road widens into a long, flat, straight, and relatively smooth dirt road. After about 20 minutes of this scenic and fun road, you need to turn a drastic right, which then faces straight to the West. There is a gate here, but it has no lock and doesn't say anything about private property. We soon discovered why the gate was there as 3 large cows walked across the road. Don't drive too fast or that could be bad. You will see the cutoff to Birch Lake TH on the right, but don't take it. The road takes a left, and you travel along it due South for about 5ish minutes. This is where the fun begins, the road begins to slowly turn to the East and lose (frustrating) elevation you just gained. The road here gets tricky with a lot of bumps and uneasy terrain. I was fine in my 1999 Honda CRV. Just watch out for big rocks. Follow this until you hit a farmers fence, where you take a hard right. You drive parallel to the fence for about 10 minutes, until you come across the last fork you have to deal with. Take a right, and then you just head up East towards the obvious canyon out of which a stream flows (seen by the green brush following the course of the stream).
I printed out this map by Piero Scaruffi: http://www.scaruffi.com/monument/hikes13/map003.jpg which ended up giving pretty good directions.