Day 4: Minaret Lake

Early morning sunlight hits the Minarets.

Riegelhuth Minaret guards Minaret Lake.

A pleasant morning walk around Minaret Lake.

Illegal campsite provides a good photo op.

Early morning trail.

Another view of Riegelhuth Minaret.

Scenic campsite in the saddle north of Minaret Lake.

Post-breakfast conversation on our layover day.

Wildflowers in the Sierras.

More wildflowers.

Day 5: Day hike to Cecile Lake

Another sublime morning scene.

Serenity of a mountain lake at sunrise.

Contemplating the view from our campsite.

We begin a day hike up to Cecile Lake.

We follow the north side of the outlet creek of Cecile Lake.

We stay to the right of the massive area of thick bushes surrounding the creek.

Picturesque moments like this are a frequent part of backpacking in the High Sierra.

We initially follow the Sierra High Route trail towards the infamous "Class 3 Slot".

Mike points out Roper's "Class 3 slot" ("Sierra High Route", by Steve Roper, Second Edition).

Being more the Class 2 types, we look for an alternative route. The two backpackers in the lower right of the photo are on the correct path through the talus.

We stay far to the right on the way up, although on the return trip we find a slightly less steep route through the talus. Both are Class 2.

We reach the top of the slope and work our way towards Cecile Lake.

Breathtaking Cecile Lake, elevation 10,200 feet. The route around the east side of the lake appears to be tedious talus. We give thanks that we did this as a dayhike rather than continuing cross-country to Iceberg and Ediza Lakes.

Back in the valley just north of Minaret Lake, we explore the Sierra High Route approach to Cecile Lake, which involves a brief Class 3 section.

Our guess as to the location of the Class 3 slot. It appears to have about 15 to 20 feet of exposure, enough to make the Class 2 alternative a much better choice for those without mountaineering experience.

Coming back down the Sierra High Route with Clyde Minaret in the background.

Joy in the Minarets.

Back to the small lake by our campsite in time for a peaceful lunch and afternoon swim.

Late afternoon at Minaret Lake.

Dark shadows reach towards our campsite as sunset approaches.

View towards the east across Minaret Lake.

Zoomed-in view of the mountains south of Mammoth Lakes, including Pumice Butte.

Day 6: Sunrise at Minaret Lake

On our last day in the mountains, a pre-dawn climb above our campsite brings spectacular views.

Our campsite is just east of the small lake north of Minaret Lake.

Minaret Lake at sunrise.

Ridgeline to the east.

Just behind our campsite.

Time to get up.

Morning coffee in the Ritter Range of the Sierra Nevada Mountains.

Early light hits the Minarets.

Another postcard view at sunrise.

Fishermen getting an early start as a cloud briefly shades the landscape.

Last look before leaving.

Range of light and shadow.

We pass by Minaret Lake one last time.

Classic view.

More breathtaking scenery.

The end of our six-day trip, a perfect combination of classic High Sierra lakes, adventurous cross-country travel and the exotic scenery of the Minarets.