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TR: Mount Bago in a day -- Aug. 11, 2017

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TR: Mount Bago in a day -- Aug. 11, 2017

Postby Flamingo » Sat Nov 11, 2017 12:25 am

I climbed Mount Bago from Onion Valley as a long day hike on August 11, 2017. I posted photos below.

The route is 16 miles roundtrip from Onion Valley, with approx. 5,400’ total elevation gain. This was a big day for me---especially since I was coming from sea level. I started hiking at 6:20 am, rested for one hour on the summit, and returned to the trailhead at 5:20 am.

For being a relatively low summit (11,870’), the views from Mount Bago are exceptional. The view towards East Lake and the Kern-Kaweah Divide is especially grand.

After hiking over Kearsarge Pass, I left the established trail above Charlotte Lake, and I followed a route along the northeast ridge to Bago's summit. This route worked for me, but there were a couple sketchy scree slopes to cross in which I launched minor landslides. On my descent, I skipped the ridge traverse and headed directly down the bowl on Bago’s east face. This route also worked, but there is a 200 meter section with slabs hidden under thin scree that feels like a million tiny ball bearings — this section made me feel anxious because every step seemed like an accident ready to happen. If I climb Bago again, I would use the same ascent+descent routes, but I would make these changes: (1) I would follow the ascent route closer to the actual top of the ridge, rather than traversing scree slopes, and (2) I would descend Bago's east face bowl about 200 meters further north in the obvious chute with deeper (and hopefully safer) scree.

Anyway, I was careful to ration my nutrition all day so that I had energy remaining to climb Kearsarge Pass a second time on my return trip. I was surprised to return to Onion Valley with physical energy to spare. It feels great to accomplish a big day and feel strong about it. Most of this trail is in excellent condition, and I enjoyed zoning-out and enjoy the scenery without worrying about every step.

I saw many backpacking parties on the Kearsarge Pass trail, but I saw no one on Mount Bago. The volume of entries in the Bago summit register makes me think this mountain receives far less traffic than you might expect for being so nearby the PCT/JMT. I suppose there are taller peaks nearby that receive more attention. If I were doing the JMT or Rae Lakes Loop again, I would definitely consider adding Mount Bago as a half-day side trip.
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Last edited by Flamingo on Thu Dec 14, 2017 12:14 pm, edited 4 times in total.



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Re: TR: Mount Bago in a day -- Aug. 11, 2017

Postby Flamingo » Sat Nov 11, 2017 12:28 am

More photos...
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Re: TR: Mount Bago in a day -- Aug. 11, 2017

Postby gary c. » Sat Nov 11, 2017 1:23 pm

All great pictures but I absolutely love the pano from the Mount Bago summit.
"On this proud and beautiful mountain we have lived hours of fraternal, warm and exalting nobility. Here for a few days we have ceased to be slaves and have really been men. It is hard to return to servitude."
-- Lionel Terray
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Re: TR: Mount Bago in a day -- Aug. 11, 2017

Postby SNOOOOW » Tue Nov 21, 2017 2:59 pm

Nice photos. I did Bago in Sept and I agree about the views...amazing. Definitely a lack of visitors considering the awesome reward at the top. I started from Kearsarge Lakes tho and your day trip must have been quite a looong day, nice job.
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