I started from the South Lake trailhead, using the old water pipe to cut over to the Green Lake trail in order to avoid the extra 600 ft of climbing.
The old pipe works as a perfectly graded trail before it meets the established trail a few switchbacks below Bluff Lake
After catching the main trail, I turn towards Brown Lake
Looking back towards Basin and Mt Tom
Brown Lake is...brown
I then climb towards Green Lake, a much prettier one than Brown Lake. On the other side, I can see the trail climbing to the plateau above.
I can also see Vagabond, the point on the left side of the ridge behind me.
AS I start to climb the ridge on the far side of the lake I get a nice view of where I have just come from.
This section is annoyingly steep.
I climb higher and look down on green Lake and up to vagabond.
Once I hit the plateau I get a view of the Hunchback ahead. This was my consolation peak when I got blown off of Cloudripper a couple of years ago.
The trail across the plateau.
Ahead, I'll turn right and follow this ridge to the summit of Vagabond, then down the other side to the base of Cloudripper (out of view right now).
Looking back, I can see Mt Humphreys now.
Climbing the plateau, debating when to turn off the trail and gain the ridge.
I follow the trail to the high point of the plateau and then set off up the gentle ridge. It's sandy and pretty easy going for now. Vagabond peeks out ahead.
Looking back on the plateau that I just came up. Hunchback and trail I ascended out of view to the left. Coyote Flat and White Mountains ahead.
As I climb I get my first view of the Palisades and Mt Sill
And my first view of Cloudripper. Vagabond is pointy peak in middle. I must go over it to get to cloudripper, the slightly darker peak behind and to Vagabond's left.
Although it looks like you would go over the broad low saddle, that will wall you out. You must go nearly to the summit of vagabond to get over in the easiest way. It's a steep walk up sandy and bouldery terrain from here.
From here I can look back on Green Lake and the trail I took up to the plateau. Hunchback is the ridge/point rising from the plateau.
Getting closer to Vagabond. The easiest point to cross over the peak is at the notch just right of the summit.
At the notch! Here is the easiest point to cross over to the other side.
At the notch, make a note of this big boulder. It's a good visual queue on the return hike. I can now see Cloudripper. Yay!
I descend the far side of Vagabond (harder than the other side) and get to the base of Cloudripper. It doesn't look nearly as steep from here. I start up the sandy slope.
Looking back on Vagabond. As tempted as you might be on the return to head to the low points again, don't. You'll get walled out. The notch isn't as visible from this side, but remember the big boulder I said to remember?
That's what it looks like from the slopes of Cloudripper. It's a bit more of scramble on this side of Vagabond, so it helps to make a lot of mental notes on the way.