LeConte Divide is a series of peaks located in the John Muir Wilderness. This portion of the Sierra Nevada does not get as much attention as some other more popular areas which makes it ideal back-country to get away from the general backpacking scene and into real quality wilderness. The trip we took started out of Courtright Reservoir where we worked out way through the John Muir Wilderness, summiting the divide at Hell For Sure Pass. We originally slated this trip for 6 days, but due to extremely smoky conditions from a fire south-west of us, we hiked out on the 4th day.
Trailhead at Courtright Reservoir
Getting to the trail head at Courtright Reservoir was a little adventure in itself. At one point you have to cross the dam where it drops to a single lane and there is no easy way to see oncoming traffic. You just kind of have to go for it and hope nobody comes across at the same time you do.
We made Hobler Lake our first stop. It’s about a mile off the main trail but a good spot to setup camp on the first night. At this location, campfires are allowed and there is plenty of water. Unfortunately due to the smoke at a fire south-west of our location, the Sierras in the background don’t show up in the picture. From here we headed towards Fleming lake through Post Corral Meadow. Along the trail there were fields of gooseberries that while they looked delicious, they also looked like a pain in the ass to gather.
Above Fleming Lake
Fleming lake is a very shallow lake not really worth writing about. There was no legal place to camp there, so we went about 1/2 mile above it where we could have a campfire.
There was nothing disappointing about Disappointment Lake, it was awesome. As we hiked out of Fleming Lake, we broke through the trees and into the Red Mountain Basin and the view of LeConte Divide was amazing.
It’s a short climb from Fleming Lake, through the basin into Disappointment Lake, from here we dropped our gear and day hiked Hell For Sure pass. We didn’t plan on descending to the other side, so no point in taking extra gear. The trail was broken and headed up a small spring that was very green and some pretty bright red flowers. Towards the top it got pretty breezy as most passes tend to be. The view on the backside towards the east showed the sheer ruggedness and expansiveness of the Sierra Nevada.
From this point, we stayed the night at Disappointment lake, and headed out the next day. The smoke blew in so bad that night that our eyes and throats burned. The ash was so bad that our flashlights looked like light sabers. Despite the smoke, the weather was fantastic and the mosquitoes were minimal.