Adventure Daze: Pyramid Peak…AGAIN!

I just couldn’t help it!

So it has been almost a year since my last ascent to the top of Pyramid Peak in Desolation Wilderness. After my ascent yesterday 8/11/18, I have no idea why on earth I listened to that little voice in my head saying “DOOO IIIITTTT!!!!”

Despite it being sort of smokey from all the fires in California this year, it is still a fantastic hike with an even better view!

My body hurts all over, my ego is a little bruised, and I’m mentally defeated. That being said, I CANNOT WAIT for my next hike this upcoming weekend!!!!

Heres an updated recap of what to expect on Pyramid Peak in Desolation Wilderness:

Elevation: 9,984-feet

Elevation Gain: 4,083-feet

Distance: 3.15-miles one way (6.3-miles out and back)


From: Highway 50 between Strawberry and Twin Bridges

Location: Desolation Wilderness

Features: Stream, Trees, Brush, Rocks

Suggested Supplies Aside of Clothing: Water, Food, Trekking Poles, Bear Spray/Bear Bell, Maps, First Aid

Time: 12h 9m (Updated Start to finish)

Google Earth Link.

Google Earth - Pyramid Peak.png

Here are my stats! (A little off because, well, not many places to get reception in Desolation Wilderness.)

My personal accounts of this re-ascent:

After speaking with my friends who accompanied me, we all agree this should be posted as VERY hard for most people. Now, I have to admit, we all are not in the peak of physical health (see what I did there?), but we aren’t slouches either.

We were passed on the trail by a few groups of people who I would determine by sight are in a lot better physical condition than ourselves. We started realizing how hard this hike really is at about 1/2 mile in.

You must always remember what goes up, must come down! This hike is ALLLLLLL uphill. you get lessened grades here and there, but there is nowhere that is ‘flat’. So be wary, that grade you are going up, you must eventually come back down it.

Water, water…nowhere?!

We went off of my previous experience on this hike where there were full rushing streams and cooler temperatures to be had for all (mid-September). It was a TERRIBLE assumption to go off of that previous experience in this situation.

We got to the first initial (what I deem) “Bear Territory” and noticed the water wasn’t quite rushing. This should have been our first clue. We kept on hiking and got quite far past access to stream water when we realized there would be no more stream water to filter for our packs.

Yup, that’s right! We started running on short supply of water real fast as our expectations of being able to refill disappeared. We figured out later that this was due to my not realizing the difference in snowpack the year prior (2016) versus this year’s (2017).


I can honestly say, having enough water will make or break your experience here. Know your limits and know how much you should carry! If you EVER think, “Eh, this should be enough” STOP! Rewind, and re-evaluate your supply! You will be thankful for that extra bottle you decide to take!

You would rather have more water than not on a hot and dry summer hike like this!

Because of our water shortage, we can say this hike kicked our butts! We were downing electrolytes left and right with whatever water we still had, and once we were completely out after climbing down from the summit, we were in bad shape.

Jelly legged and trekking poles in hand, we went as quickly (and safely) as we could down the mountain. We finally got to our water source after about an hour and a half and quickly refreshed. It made all the difference!!

The lack of water had also worsened our Acute Mountain Sickness that each of us had been experiencing. See my blog about the 3 types of Altitude Sickness for more information as these can be life threatening!


We saw SO much wildlife on this trip!!! At least that’s what I’d like to say. Besides the occasional bird, chipmunk, and Marmot, we honestly saw nothing of note.

I’m not saying there aren’t other critters out there in the slightest. Just because we don’t see them, doesn’t mean they aren’t there!

We saw many a sign of bear activity between mile 1 and 2 of this beautiful area. This trail takes you right through “Bear Territory” (pictures below).

The activities we saw were just paw markings/scratches on trees, broken brush etc. Otherwise, I wouldn’t be too worried as long as you stay loud and make sure you don’t surprise them (basic bear principles 101).

In summary:

Despite having run out of our water, being completely sore the next day or 2, and taking 12 hours to complete, I would have to say this is definitely WORTH doing! Just make sure you plan accordingly.

There is something to be said about summiting such a monstrous hike! Such a feeling of accomplishment when you finish!

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