New Army Pass Loop Hike


In the last week of September 2006, my friend Neil and I left Tucson to spend a week or so exploring northern California and western Nevada. First on the agenda was to do a two-day backpack trip in the eastern Sierras of California south of the small town of Lone Pine. The trip was going to be about 20 miles long and we were going to start hiking at the Cottonwood Lakes Basin Trailhead at 10,000' and cross over the New Army Pass at about 12,340'. Our turn around point was at a scenic spot near Lower Military/Soldier's Lake approximately 10 miles from the trailhead. Our return to the truck was on a second set of trails through a pass called the Cottonwood Pass. This hike was the first we had ever done in which we had to prepare for bear encounters. We each carried bear cylinders for our food and we had to empty the truck of all materials that could be mistaken for food or food containers. While the weather was clear, it was very cool with night time temps down in the 20's. When we complained about the low temps, we were told that we were very fortunate that had happened since the cold snap had knocked down the mosquitos! Apparently they had been a real problem earlier in the season. We met a geologist at Soldier Lake who camped with us and hiked out with us the next day. He was in the mountains as part of a continuing study that he was conducting on the origins of the Sierras. His pack was quite heavy with rock samples and as soon as he returned to the trailhead, he was going to leave the rocks and return the next day for another week of collecting. This was a very scenic hike and quite a climb up to New Army Pass!


Click on photos to enlarge:

Switchbacks to Trailhead

Neil's Gadgets

Ernie and Neil at Trailhead

Great Trail

Crossing Boulder Field

Long Lake

Lunch Break

High Lake and others

New Army Pass on the Skyline

New Army Pass

Rock Creek Trail

Soldier Lake


Campsite Rock Creek

Bill and Neil