Backdropping Round Top Lake: The Sisters

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The Sisters, west of Round Top Peak between The Sisters
The Sisters
Fractured cliffs and talus slopes of The Sisters
with Round Top Peak in the background
between The Sisters
Interesting layer formation between the
steep, eroding peaks of The Sisters
The Sisters

The Sisters are standing in the Mokelumne Wilderness. They backdrop Round Top Lake, a cirque lake west of Round Top Peak in California's Sierra Nevada. A four-lake-trip from the Carson Pass Information Center via Frog Lake, Winnemucca Lake and Round Top Lake to Fourth of July Lake leads hikers and backpackers around Round Top mountain and the adjacent Sisters—varying the magnificient view of The Sisters with changing location and day light along this section of the Tahoe to Yosemite Trail (TYT). Also spectacular are the vistas you will get when hiking the almost level trail skirting the western flanks of The Sisters: Caples Lake, Black Butte, Thimble Peak, Melissa Coray Peak and other Sierran landmarks.

My favorite views of The Sisters are those from between the standings of gnarled whitebark pines on the north side of Round Top Lake. Depending on day time and season, the contrast between the dark rocks and the white snow fields can be striking.

The path that starts at the eastern tip of Round Top Lake—next to the lake's inlet—follows a creek uphill to the saddle between Round Top and The Sisters. Arturo and Peter have climbed from this saddle to the top of The Sisters (which one?). They wrote that “this is not a trivial climb as it requires some route finding and the rock is very loose.” They show a picture with them sitting on top of The Sisters with Round Top Peak in the background.

The geologic map of the Carson Pass-Kirkwood Valley, published in an article by Busby, DeOreo, Skilling, Gans and Hagan (Figure 2 in GSA Bulletin paper) identifies the Round Top/The Sisters complex as basaltic andesite intrusion, formed (13.4 ± 1.5) millions of years ago.