Mosquito and Ansel Lakes
July 31-August 2, 1999
|Making our way up the saddle
northeast of Hengst Peak
This trip was a backpacking seminar called Pathfinding that was put on by the Sequoia
Natural History Association. It was probably one of the most invaluable learning
experiences of my life; our leader Lee taught us about using a 7.5 minute topo and compass,
and also about route finding in the Sierra Nevada both below and above treeline.
We then made our way southeast towards Ansel Lake. We ate lunch at an unnamed lake on
the way and then had a challenging afternoon traversing large boulder fields west of Ansel.
But it was worth the challenge! Ansel is a perfect jewel of a lake located in a polished white
granite glacial bowl.
On day three we made our way up the rocky ridge north of Ansel. At the top we had a
fantastic view of White Chief Canyon and the Great Western Divide beyond. We then began
to look for a route down off the ridge. We had to somehow get off a huge rock ledge.
Andrew, the youngest of us in the group, found a way down but he had to basically hang off
the rocks with his fingertips. He dropped his pack off below then came back up. The other
two women in the group gave him their packs so he could carry them down. I then watched
them make their way down off the ledge. I was pretty sure I could do it so I started down
slowly and surely. I ended up being the only woman who carried her own pack off that ledge!
Once we got down off that ledge the going was still steep but it was easier. We ate lunch
down at the mouth of a marble cave in White Chief Canyon. If you ever hike to White Chief
be sure to leave yourself plenty of time to explore the caves!
Then we were once again back on a trail and it was all downhill back to Mineral Kingâ€¦
In the morning we crossed the even more challenging divide between Mosquito and the
saddle northeast of Hengst Peak. I started to get an upset stomach so I rested while the
rest of my party climbed Hengst Peak. Then we went along the edge to look down upon
|Moon rising over
Hengst Peak at sunset
The trip started off on the Tar Gap Trail which leaves from Cold Spring Campground in
Mineral King. At Mineral Creek we started going cross-country and followed the creek up to
Mineral Lakes. We ate lunch at the uppermost lake and then began the challenging climb over
the ridge to Mosquito Lakes. At this point we basically were bouldering up the very steep
slopes and footing was quite trickyâ€¦ When we finally reached the uppermost Mosquito
Lake we were exhausted. Some of us swam in the ice cold lake and then we ate dinner and
watched the moon rise over Hengst Peak.
White Chief Canyon
|Making our way from Mineral to Mosquito Lakes
Lake and Hengst Peak
Making our way into White Chief Canyon