Distance: 7.1 miles round trip on trail and cross country
Summit Elevation: 11622'
Elevation Gain: 1775'
Elevation Gain (in Empire State Buildings): 1.44
Round trip time: 3 hours 40 minutes
Recommended water: 84 oz.
Parking/Fees: Free at Horseshoe Meadow
As a warm up for Cloudripper, Dima and I stopped at Lone Pine and drove up to Horseshoe Meadow to climb Trail Peak. We started before the main parking area and followed the trail down into the meadow, heading toward Trail Pass. We skimmed the tree line, lost the trail for a while, and headed up a drainage in the general direction of the pass. Somewhere in the drainage, I dropped my camera leaving a large scratch in the lens. Another one bites the dust, which is why I don't bring expensive cameras on my trips. With the camera out of action, I fell back on my phone and had to rely on it the next day. Soon enough, we crossed the trail again and followed it. As we headed up, a mule train led by two forest rangers met us on the way down. They were friendly enough, but we had no idea what they were doing. We rested briefly at the pass, then followed the trail about another quarter mile before leaving it and heading up the ridge. It was steep but very pleasant going for cross country travel. The ground was covered in places with pine needles and cones, but there was no dense vegetation or obstacles. The steepest section ended at about 11300', then there was a more gradual slope with larger boulders to navigate. In another third of a mile, we reached the summit block, an easy and short class 2 scramble. Our otherwise fine views were diminished by smoke from an active fire burning in the Golden Trout Wilderness. We were still able to make out Cirque Peak and Mt. Langley. There was a benchmark on the summit, but we could not find a register. On the way down, we decided to follow the trail around to the other side of Horseshoe Meadow and back through the main parking area to complete a loop.