Muir Lake & Cirque Peak

September 25-27, 2010
Greg, Nick, Albert and I went on an awesome 3-day weekend trip up to Muir Lake near the Cottonwood Lakes in the southeastern Sierra.  We camped at the lake two nights and on our "layover day" we climbed up Old Army Pass then contoured over to Cirque Peak then came back down New Army Pass.  Cirque Peak has absolutely fantastic views of Mt. Whitney, Mt. Langley, Olancha Peak, the Great Western Divide, Siberian Outpost, Boreal Plateau, Kern Plateau, Miter Basin, and the Cottonwood Lakes Basin.  I never thought I'd hike over Old Army and down New Army again, much less in a day.  But I really, really enjoyed the views from up there, especially of Mt. Whitney rising straight above Sky Blue Lake in Miter Basin. 

We had absolutely fantastic weather - very warm and pleasant for September!  Saw a lot of wildlife - deer, marmots, squirrels and chipmunks galore, hawks, a huge owl flew through camp on the first night, and we heard coyotes on the second.  Wonderful stars and an almost full moon at night.  Except for feeling very worn out after our hike up to Cirque, I couldn't have asked for a better trip.
Link to more of this trip's photos on Flickr
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Mt. Langley rising above Muir Lake
Click on this panorama to see it larger
The guys at Cottonwood Lake #4 with Old Army Pass behind
Hiking up Old Army Pass (trail is very rocky and steep and is not maintained - also there is a rock slide there that wasn't there in 2005)
The guys near the top of Old Army Pass
Greg, me, and Albert
Sky Blue Lake with Mt. Whitney above
Greg on top of Cirque Peak, he and Albert made it to the top, I stopped just shy of it (I was feeling the altitude!)
Greg with Cirque Peak behind
There's Muir Lake far below us
Raven flying between Cirque and Olancha Peak
That's the Needles far in the distant south
My feet and Mt. Whitney
Albert heading down New Army Pass
Yellow-bellied Marmot near High Lake