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tion of Chief Forester Henry S. Graves. There were also similar demands from individuals. Mr. Graves fully realized the need of this construction, and, although the funds at his disposal for such work are very limited, he made a special allotment of $1200, to which the Board of Supervisors of Fresno County added $400. With the money thus made available, a trail crew, under Supervisor M. A. Benedict, of the Sierra National Forest, repaired the existing trail on the north side of the river from Tehipite Valley to the ford, constructed an entirely new trail from the ford to Simpson Meadows, and at the latter point constructed a substantial suspension bridge across the Middle Fork of Kings River. The ford, which was formerly the only means of crossing the river, and which was at certain seasons dangerous, is now eliminated. The new location, entirely on the north side of the river, also avoids some rough trail across the mouths of several creeks which enter from the south wall of the cañon. This piece of trail work is certainly a welcome addition to the system of trails which is now being rapidly constructed to make the wonderful scenery of the basins of the Middle Fork of Kings River and of the South Fork of San Joaquin River accessible.


October 4, 1916.
District Forester:

Dear Sir: Referring to your letter of August 12 and Mr. Huber's letter of August II:

We looked over the prospective route from Bearpaw Meadow to Moraine Lake and found that this is a practicable route, except that the trail will have to swing onto the divide south of Deer Creek, then follow up Bear Creek. Following is Ranger Redstone's report on the piece from Bearpaw Meadow to the head of Big Arroyo:

I found that the route down Deer Creek is impractical, owing to the precipitous drop of the narrow rocky creek bed. However. I found a very good route a few miles south of Deer Creek over the ridge between Deer Creek and North Fork or Bear Creek. This route would start at Bear Creek, cross the main Kaweah River, and ascend on a fifteen-per-cent grade around the ridge and up Bear Creek, crossing the divide near the head of Deer Creek and connecting with the trail up the Big Arroyo in the Nine Lakes basin. The country is exceedingly rough and a good trail will be costly. Two-thirds of the trail over the lower end will be fairly easy construction, composed of earth, heavily brush-covered, and of loose rock. The upper third will be very expensive, as it runs into heavy blasting and wall-building, especially near the crossing of the divide.

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From the head of the Big Arroyo to Moraine Lake it is a fairly simple proposition, entailing no heavy construction, except about one and onehalf miles in getting from the Arroyo to the plateau. The appended sheet shows the estimated cost of the project. Very truly yours,


Forest Supervisor


Two miles earth trail, covered with heavy brush and

loose rock, some wall building and blasting, at $60
per mile ....

. $120.00 Four miles earth trail, covered with brush and loose rock, at $40 per mile...

160.00 Three miles rock work, walling up, blasting, at $200 per mile ...

600.00 One mile heavy blasting and rock walls at $500..... 500.00

Total cost for the ten miles..



LENGTH, ELEVEN MILES Five and one-half miles clearing loose rock and some grading, at $40......

. $220.00 One and one-half miles, in slide-rock on grade, at $180. 270.00 Four miles, clearing loose rock and marking, at $30... 120.00




CLIMBING MOUNT CLARK FROM MERCED LAKE Of all the splendid mountain peaks in the upper regions of Yosemite National Park, none can surpass Mount Clark in beauty of form. From whatever point it may be seen it is always the most striking feature of the landscape. From Glacier Point it looks like an isolated section of some huge palisade; from the Merced Lake trail it is seen as a thin sharp peak rising from slender buttresses; while from the Vogelsang Pass trail it appears as a fine pyramid. In any one of its many aspects it is an inspiring sight to the mountaineer.

Yet, notwithstanding its attractiveness and its nearness to Yosemite Valley, Mount Clark has not been ascended as often as one would suppose. The first ascent is a matter of classic record. Those who are familiar with Clarence King's Mountaineering in the Sierra Nevada will remember the thrilling account of the final leap that brought him and his companion, Gardner, within reach of the summit. Like many a pioneer effort, this first attempt was a much more perilous adventure than subsequent ascents have proved. In 1866 the region around Mount Clark, or The Obelisk, as it was then usually called, was comparatively unknown, and King and Gardner had little opportunity to make careful plans for their route. The south side of the mountain was the most accessible, and from that direction animals could be brought to within a few miles of the base. They undoubtedly made a bad choice of routes for the final part of their ascent, as subsequent climbers have not encountered the extreme difficulties reported by King. Although most of the ascents have been made from the south side, a few climbers have reached the summit from the north. With the opening up of the Merced Lake region through the improvement of trails and the establishment of a public camp, the route from this side should become more popular. The climb can be made in a few hours from Merced Lake, and, if the way be carefully chosen, it can be made without danger or difficulty.

On the morning of July 4, 1916, I set out from the camp that had just been opened by the Desmond Park Service Company at Merced Lake, and crossing the river picked my way along the ledges of the opposite cliff. In a few minutes I could look down upon the sparkling waters of Merced Lake. After a climb of about a thousand feet I entered the forested tableland that flanks Mount Clark on the north. I had no intention of climbing the mountain that day, but only to reconnoiter and plan a route for some later day. Before me now lay the choice of following the basin toward the main snow-field or of mounting the ridge to the west. I chose the latter, and in a little while was on the summit of the ridge. The panorama was splendid; westward lay Yosemite Valley, reposing in the midst of the dark-forested upland; to the north and east the bright snow-fields of the upper Merced expanded to the Sierra crest; southward the ridge ran up to a sharp rocky point toward the main summit. Making my way along the ridge, I reached the rocky point in the course of an hour and looked down on the other side upon a snowy cirque that cut deep into the side of the mountain. Beyond the cirque towered the peak. It was a splendid sight; well worth a day's journey in itself.

The peak seemed very near, and I began to wonder if it were not possible to actually make the ascent this very day. The more I thought of it the more enthusiastic I became, and I looked eagerly for the most promising route. It seemed to be an easy matter to reach the main snow-field by descending a little way to the ridge which lay between it and the deep cirque. The snow-field must be crossed and the rocks beyond attained at as high a point as possible. There would remain some two or three hundred feet of rock-climbing. If the snow was not too steep and the rock-climbing too dangerous, the goal could be attained.

In a few minutes I was on the snow and found it softer and more deeply pitted than I had expected. While this made walking difficult it


also made it safe, and I was able to mount almost to the very head of the field before being forced to the rocks. I had chosen to cross the snow-field to the southeasterly side, intending to make the final climb along the left-hand sky-line. On reaching the rocks, however, this route looked very difficult for a man alone, so I began to prospect for a safer way. I had fully made up my mind to turn back if absolute safety was not assured. After a little investigation I found that there were several fairly wide ledges running at a slight angle across the face of the tower. I followed these along to the right, mounting occasionally from one to another until I was well around toward the westerly side of the peak. Mindful of King's adventure, I half expected to encounter some impossible stretch or to find myself in some cul-de-sac and perhaps be denied the summit when within a few feet of it. I knew that I was getting very near the top, but could not tell as yet just where it was. There might be a split summit, and I might be on the wrong side of the split. I wedged myself in between two large rocks and crawled up a little higher. Then I looked up, and there, only ten feet away, stood the cairn of rocks that marked the summit. In another moment I was on top.

The isolated position of Mount Clark gives it a commanding range over the whole Merced basin. Its precipitous sides make the glimpses of snow-fields, lakes, and forests far below most impressive. Yosemite Valley, lying deep in shadow, has an air of mystery, enhanced by the gleam of silver where the waters of Yosemite Creek pour silently into the dark chasm.

For an hour I enjoyed the superb prospect and then reluctantly prepared to descend. I returned by the same route as far as the snowfield, and then, abandoning my morning footsteps, followed the watercourses from the melting snow until I came to the timber-lands. Here I came upon the vestiges of a trail that appears on the maps as the Mount Clark Trail. I found it badly out of repair and almost obliterated in some places. It is very steep, and in its present condition not at all suited to animals. It reaches the river halfway between Lake Washburn and Merced Lake. From that point on it is plain walking into camp. I reached camp at five o'clock, having been gone about eight hours. The trip could be made very easily in less time by one familiar with the way.

Before leaving Merced Lake I climbed another mountain that should enjoy greater popularity. Mount Florence (12,507 feet) commands in some ways a finer view than Mount Clark. It is close to such spectacular peaks as Lyell, McClure, Rodgers, Electra, and Foerster, while just beyond are Banner, Ritter, and The Minarets. The view is similar to that from Lyell, though much more comprehensive, and the ascent is comparatively easy. The trip can be made in about ten hours from Merced Lake. The most direct route is to follow the McClure Fork trail up from the Merced until the Isberg Pass trail branches off. The Isberg Pass trail leads across a broad plateau that lies between Mount Florence and Lake Washburn. By this route the way is made easy for a considerable distance toward the mountain. Probably the best place to leave the trail is when it crosses a small stream that flows into Lake Washburn from the northeast. This stream comes from the snow-fields of Mount Florence and may be followed to its sources. From the snowfields the way can hardly be mistaken. It is just a question of scrambling up over shale and great rough weather-beaten rocks. There is a false summit a few hundred feet from the real summit, but the traverse between them is easy. The north side of the mountain is a tremendous precipice, dropping to a vast snowy amphitheater that stretches toward the base of McClure.


FIRST ASCENT OF SOUTH GUARD (12,964 FEET) On July 26, 1916, after leaving in camp at East Lake those of our fellow-knapsackers who were less strenuously inclined, or who were more ardent fishermen, Miss Florence Burrell, Miss Inezetta Holt, Mr. James Rennie, and the writer made the ascent of South Guard by following Ousel Creek to the unbroken snow-field of its upper basin, where, after finding the snow too solidly frozen to afford secure footing on the steep slopes (we had no ice-ax), we chose the rocky knife-edge extending to the summit from the northeast. This necessitated a long and arduous climb. The knife-edge is very thin, and is composed, for the most part, of very loose rock. Added to the interest of the climb was the uncertainty of whether this route would lead to the summit or whether a precipice would bar all further progress, an uncertainty which was not removed until the summit was actually reached about 12:30 P. M.

We found no evidence of any previous ascent of the peak. After building a small cairn of rocks on the larger block which constitutes the summit, we placed a record in a sardine-can, ate that part of our lunches which was left after the many stops on the long ascent, took a few moments with binoculars to watch a Sierra Club party which by now was descending Mount Brewer, and then began the descent.

As our party had planned to move camp from East Lake to Vidette Meadows, an additional eight-mile walk must be added to the return. To descend by the same knife-edge which we had utilized in the ascent would necessitate several hours of very careful and slow climbing. Surely this plan would permit darkness to overtake us long before reaching camp at Vidette Meadows. After a brief conference with Mr. Rennie, it was decided to try to find a place where we could cross the north face of the rocky knife-edge and descend to the snow, which we hoped would be softer by this time than we had found it in the early morning, and would afford a route for descending more rapidly. While the rest were crossing the first ledges of the north face more slowly, Mr. Rennie went ahead scouting and soon located a possible route. In following we crossed several narrow ledges and started some miniature avalanches in


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