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For years, I was always curious what the names of the jagged peaks south of the Carson Valley were. Earlier this year, I finally got on Google Earth and answered my question. Raymond Peak is one of these mountains. The next question was, “Could I climb it?”. I don’t have any skills with ropes, and I don’t like exposures either. Further investigation revealed that the route to the top of the mountain was hikeable, so I put it on my bucket list of things to do before the end of the year.
At 10,014 feet elevation, Raymond Peak is the 3rd highest peak in the Mokelumne Wilderness, an area which straddles the Pacific Crest between SR4 (Ebbetts Pass) and SR88 (Carson Pass). The 105,165 acre Wilderness includes portions of the Toiyabe, Stanislaus, and El Dorado National Forests, and lies in the mid-Sierra region between Lake Tahoe to the north and the High Sierra to the south. The peak lies just east of the Sierra Crest, about six miles north of Ebbetts Pass. The Whitney Survey named the peak in 1865 for Rossiter W. Raymond, a US mineral examiner and commissioner of mining statistics in the Treasury Department.
On August 18th, three friends and I planned to climb the peak. The forecast was for thundershowers later in the day, but it was already pretty dark and cloudy at 7:00 AM when we left Carson City. As we drove through the Carson Valley, Raymond Peak was blurred in gray storm clouds off in the distance. We nervously joked that we sure picked a great day to do this.
On August 10th, we set out for a backpacking trip to Green Lake in the Hoover Wilderness. We had car camped at Green Creek years ago, but had never made it further up the canyon into the wilderness. Green Creek and the lower canyon are beautiful, so we were eager to see how it was even higher up.
After a scenic drive from Carson City, we stopped at the Bridgeport Ranger Station at the south end of town to get our permits. The Green Lake area has a daily quota, so I wasn’t totally sure we’d be issued permits. Thankfully, the ranger said he had just a few left. He said you can typically get walk in permits if you get there early enough on any given day with exception of big camping holidays like Labor Day. It’s also worth noting that the ranger station had a great collection of topo maps available for purchase. This is good to know if you weren’t able to find a good map locally before heading out.
Just south of Bridgeport is the turnoff to Green Creek, a dirt road that heads off to the south from highway 395, and then climbs into the canyon along Green Creek to the southeast. The road is signed and well graded, but washboarded pretty much the whole way. Right before the campground at the end of the road is the Trailhead Parking Lot. Here you’ll find an informational kiosk, bathroom, water, and a dumpster. We got nearly the last spot in the parking area.
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