From the parking area, follow the dirt road northeasterly along the base
of the mountain. The road will make an abrupt almost 180 degree turn to the left as it begins
climbing the hillside. After switchbacking many times, you'll reach a gate (private property). At this
point, you'll leave the road and head almost straight up the mountain on a trail. There
should be a Forest Service sign here, marking the detour trail, pointing up to the "Lone Peak"
Avoid doing this part of the trail midday. It's the toughest part of the climb. The trail shows no
mercy, with no switchbacks, going directly upslope through loose gravel and oakbrush. You'll
eventually meet up with the road again, having bypassed the private land. Immediately thereafter
you'll reach the wilderness boundary...and interestingly, a noticeable transition -- a beautiful
meadow and stream, as if to herald the beginning of wilderness. The meadow is sometimes called
the "First Hamongog".
In the meadow, the trail veers left into the trees, and climbs steadily for almost a mile to another
meadow, the "Second Hamongog". There is great camping adjacent to this meadow, with shaded, level sites, and water nearby. There is a trail junction in the middle of the meadow -- one trail
goes right towards Lake Hardy (#176), and another, straight ahead to Lone Peak Cirque (#186). If
you're still planning on the summit go straight.
The trail goes more or less straight up again. It's quite steep, but this time it's in more pleasing
terrain with great views of both the valley and surrounding peaks. You'll also likely find water
running alongside the trail, with wildflowers. The higher you go, the more the trail fades; follow the
cairns. NOTE: If you want to go to the Lone Peak Cirque (to rock climb or camp, etc), just keep
following the cairns heading westerly around a ridge.
To keep going directly to the summit, eventually you'll have to leave the trail (cairns) and routefind
to the top of the ridge directly above you. Use your best judgment to find what looks doable and
safe, since the terrain varies from exposed cliffy sections to just plain old steep scrambling. For
the average person, I'd recommend aiming for a lower part of the ridge, to your right. Once on the
ridge, you'll find easier, less-steep walking to the top.
The first highpoint you see from the 2nd Hamongog isn't the summit. It's just the ridgetop, likely
the "west" summit. If you walk to that point, you can see the real summit as well as the sheer
granite face... and the 600 foot drop beneath your feet to the cirque.
You'll also notice that the highest point, the true summit, is the northernmost point, across a short
but exposed and jagged ridge (you wouldn't be the first person to opt not to walk across it). From both summits the
views are spectacular and the near vertical drop to the cirque below is dizzying. A very worthwhile