Cloudripper Loop

John Muir Wilderness, CA


Distance9.5 mi
Elevation gain4,200 ft
Route typeLoop
Duration7 h
CruxClass 3

Peaks bagged

Cloudripper(SPS)13,525 ft / Prom. 845 ft

Vagabond Peak13,374 ft / Prom. 334 ft

SPS — Sierra Peaks Section


Cloudripper is the highest peak of the Inconsolable Range, a subrange of the Palisades stretching 14 miles from the Buttermilks in the north to Mount Agassiz in the south. The standard route is an out-and-back via the northern slopes, climbing up and over the intervening Vagabond Peak. I wanted to make the route into a loop, so I climbed Cloudripper via a class 3 chute on its western face and took the standard route on the return.

Bishop Pass Trail
Heading up Bishop Pass Trail.
Turnoff to Chocolate Lakes.
Cloudripper from trail
First view of Cloudripper's west face.
Uppermost Chocolate Lake.
Starting my ascent up this boulder field on the east bank of the lake.
Nearing the ascent chute.
At the mouth of the chute. Class 2.
Looking back. Chocolate Peak is the colorful peak in the middle. Behind it, Hurd Peak. In the distance, Mount Goode and the various peaks of Evolution Crest.
Class 3 obstacle near the bottom of the chute.
Class 2 most of the way, if sticking to the middle of the chute.
Massive granite walls closing in.
Looking back down the chute.
Chute fork
The chute splits just below 12,800 feet. Stay right of the gendarme visible center-right. This is very important, as every other subsidiary chute will lead to dangerous class 4/5 terrain.
Ahead, a class 3+ obstacle at the opening of the correct subsidiary chute. After this, it's relatively smooth sailing on class 2 terrain.
Closeup of the class 3+ obstacle. I climbed up the left side.
Class 3 slabs just below the ridge.
On top of the ridge, Cloudripper summit just ahead.
View southeast toward Big Pine Lakes.
View south toward Mount Sill and North Palisade.
Another view west.
Cloudripper summit. Looking along the north ridge.
Another view toward Big Pine Lakes and the Palisades Range.
Directly east sits the long ridge of Sky Haven.
Descending the Cloudripper's north ridge. Vagabond Peak comes into view.
At the bottom of the saddle between Cloudripper and Vagabond Peak.
Class 2 on Vagabond Peak's southern slope.
I crossed over to the north side of Vagabond Peak and headed east toward the summit. Still class 2.
View back at Cloudripper.
Vagabond summit. View southwest.
View west. Below is Thunder and Lightning Lake.
View north.
I briefly contemplated hiking to Sky Haven, but it would make for a big outing and I was feeling tired. I always underestimate Sierra-miles.
Descending toward Green Lake.
Looking back up Vagabond Peak's north slope.
Instead of following this gradual slope, I veered left and took a more direct line to Green Lake.
Shortcut to Green Lake.
Looking back up the bouldery slope.
Almost at the bottom.
Looking back at my descent route.
A use-trail cuts through the marsh.
I exited the marsh through a small forested section.
Green Lake.
Following Green Lake Trail. Brown Lake is visible left of center.
Around 10,200 feet, I left Green Lake Trail and followed this pipeline all the way to back to Bishop Pass Trailhead. The views into the valley were beautiful, with aspens trees displaying their peak fall foliage.

Nearby trips

Sky Haven East
Sky Haven East
13.7 mi5,700 ft11 hr