Cirque Peak Panorama

I wanted an easy peak, but easy in the right way—and hard in the right way, too. In that regard, Cirque Peak, in the John Muir Wilderness just south of Mount Langely and New Army Pass, worked out to be just about perfect. Cirque was easy in the sense there was no dangerous climbing, and no routefinding worries, either.

I went up Cirque's north-northeast rib, which probably doesn't quite qualify as a real route. But it was fun class 2 with great views all the way up, and the summit view of Langley/Whitney is just outstanding. Descent via New Army Pass proved to be slow and circuitous, but I say always loop when you can, and damn the consequences.

Cirque may have been mellow, but it involved a hefty total mileage at relatively high altitude, giving me a good workout and a good sense of where I am right now, mentally and physically. Yes, I got lost on the way back, which is a good indication of how distracted I am right now, but my body held together, which is promising for bigger aspirations to come...

— June 16, 2014

Andy Lewicky is the author and creator of SierraDescents

Joseph June 18, 2014 at 5:24 pm

Haha! Sounds like a good day.

I agree. The areas just north of HSM are confusing, broad, flat, and forested. I've gotten mixed up there a few times myself.

brad brown June 19, 2014 at 9:51 pm

I'm jealous. I saw that sucker while we were up there last summer and had read up on it in the hopes we would have enough energy after Langley. Wrong on both counts due to weather and an AMS whoop ass. Beautiful panorama. Funny but sound failed on the first smart (?) phone viewing but I was jumping up and down watching the silent film...:"Oh, there's the broad ramp up to Langley", "Holy crap, look at Whitney", "Old Army Pass", "Olancha Peak should be coming into view...hell yeah there it is" "Owens lake down there I'm thinking". All was confirmed once I was able to see the "talkie" version. Breath taking views, incredible recon point for the southern peaks. Low tide too, just about no snow and it's mid June, yikes. Considering that late March/early April dump + later snow. My daughter's river company on the Kings (KRE) is already shut down-usually runs into July. We were running 10 times this volume in 2011 above Pine Flat. Anyways thanks for the views, the inspiration, and congrats on handling a tough day successfully after a low BC mileage winter. Stats?: mileage (16?), time, weather, start time etc. Forwarded this to my son, he so wants to go but being a dad interrupts...I remember those days (4 kids, son has a twin..the river girl). Time to hook up with a club I think for a more regular fix.

Andy June 19, 2014 at 10:27 pm

TOPO! says 16 miles rt. so it's at least that plus the little switchbacks. I drove up same day so got a late start: 10:10 a.m. Weather cold but otherwise perfect. :)

Andy June 19, 2014 at 10:28 pm

I was tempted to drag some skis up there thinking there had to be a snowpatch somewhere...

Dan Conger June 22, 2014 at 3:31 am

Dad and I are considering a weekend backpacking trip into Cottonwood Lakes this summer. Beautiful area ...

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