Sierra High Route Day 10: Bishop to Elba Lake

Day 10
Total Miles: 12.7
Cumulative Miles: 115.9
Elevation Gain: 3115 ft
Elevation Loss: 1207 ft
Camp: Elba Lake
Map of our Sierra High Route hike Day 10: we hike the Paiute Pass trail for 8.5 miles and then cut cross country over Puppet Pass and down to Lake Elba
Daily Neet Beat
I feel like we are starting a new segment because we went out to Bishop last night which meant hydrated and fresh food and a shower. But no. We went out to Bishop because I had been sick for eight days. But I seemed to recover after pizza, salad and lots of liquid last night.
I keep wondering if I got sick from the shrimp I ate in Lone Pine, CA the night before the hike. I was sick the morning of day two of our hike so I am now thinking it was not from water or personal hygiene on the hike. It was just too quick for incubation. Whatever the cause and reason for recovery, I am happy to be feeling better.
So today we take the Bishop Creek Shuttle from Bishop to the road up to North Lake and the Piute Pass Trailhead. We will hike up the road to the trailhead, up Piute Pass, and then cut cross country through Humphrey’s Basin to Puppet Pass. We are planning four days to our next resupply at Vermillion Valley Ranch.We can get back on schedule by not taking a scamper day at Lake Italy. 
So back up we go to Piute Pass. At least the first eight miles is on a trail. The trails in the Sierras are well maintained. 
Hiking on the Paiute Pass Trail which is well maintained. These granite steps are not uncommon.

At least the main trails, that is. I think about the Colorado Trail which doesn’t have the nice switchbacks and the erosion is more pronounced. We saw the California Conservation Corps on the Bishop Pass Trail.  Maybe that is one of the reasons why the trails are well maintained here.


We missed the peak wildflower season in the Sierras this summer as it happened in early July. There are still a few beautiful paintbrushes to be seen though!

Ray and I cut cross country after eight miles towards Puppet Pass which is the only off-trail Pass we hike today. It is easy cross country hiking. Open and pocketed with many lakes, it is a pleasant stroll to Puppet Pass.

Ray hiking through a field of lupines off trail towards Puppet Pass
Yep, this area has been used for hunting for a long time…
We crest Puppet Pass easily and the storm clouds build. 
Ray and I on Puppet Pass

We haven’t seen that much in the way of storms in the Sierras. Roper in his Sierra High Route book talks about thunderstorms on Puppet Pass. Go figure, that is exactly what we are getting on Puppet Pass.

Looking back up Puppet Pass from the north side

Puppet Pass was an easy stroll from the south side going up but there is a steep talus field on the north side. Luckily it is short and after only a few hundred feet of down climbing through boulders, we are on the flat meadow bench and at Puppet Lake.

Looking down on Elba Lake which will be our home for the evening 

We drop down the ridge to Elba Lake which we call home for the night.

Ray took this excellent photo of sunbeams through the clouds (and a little smoke)

The flashlight of the sun holds a cloud in it’s beam and refuses to let go as it drifts behind a ridge. We let go as we drift into sleep and the power of the quiet night overtakes us.




  1. Pizza: the universal cure. It’s ironic from a health perspective, but now you’ll have to accept that there is merit in that comfort food. lol

  2. Glad you’re feeling better. I guess it was like what happens so often when you car is making a weird noise, and you take it to the shop, and it doesn’t make that noise anymore. Stay well!

Leave a Reply