Kuna Peak

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View west from near Panum Crater
Dawn Panorama

September 12, 2004

Planning and Description

I've wanted to summit Kuna Peak for a while. It is a bit challenging, given the long approach and excessive elevation gain, but certainly doable. Since we had two vehicles, we were able to do a wishbone route, starting at the Parker Pass Trailhead on the Tioga Road, and exiting via Bloody Canyon. This is actually not easier, given the steep and rough downhill in Bloody Canyon and the 500' climb out of Walker Lake to the trailhead.

Hike Description

Heading out, I followed the Parker Pass Trail to the Parker Creek Basin, where Boon decided to spend some time, given that he wasn't acclimated for the climb up to Koip Pass and the peaks beyond. I continued on to Koip Pass, somewhat unnerved by the wind blasting down canyon (some of the switchbacks come uncomfortably close to the drop off). From Koip Pass, it is a straight cross-country climb to the top of Koip Peak (12962'), down to the saddle where the remains of a crashed B24 are strewn, and up to the nearly knife edged summit of Kuna Peak.

It was fairly pleasant there, although the roar of the wind was oppressive...in fact, I tossed a chip of stone over the edge and it was blown back over the edge! I found the supposedly obscure summit register in the obvious projecting rocks. On the way back, I contoured below the summit of Koip Peak (north side), and along a ledge above the trail across the Parker Creek basin. At Mono Pass, I followed the line of the pass, and visited the old buildings there.

Down Bloody Canyon. So named, I am sure, not for the color of the rocks (red), but by an Englishman forced to go up or down it. It is an unpleasant trail, with an uneven grade, randomly poor tread and wandering layout. The views of the canyon walls are spectacularly colored. I'd probably hate the trail less if I had been fresher, but I don't think I would have liked it. The crowning blow is saved for the end. You descend to the bucolic shores of Walker Lake, then, thanks to the LA Dept of Power and Water, you have to climb 500 steep, dusty and hot feet to the trailhead on the lip of the moraine, since there is a locked gate on the road to the LA DPW resort at the outlet! Argh!

Retreating to the clement shores of Mono Lake once again was most welcome.

Summary and Technical Details

About 22 miles, with 5200' of ascent, over 7:45. Bunnyhike rating:126

Weather and Conditions

Clear, cool and very windy at elevation, hot lower.


Trip Icon

More dawn panorama formats:

Panum panorama 640x90, 800x113, 1995x281, 3990x562

Panum panorama 640x144, 800x180, 1995x448, 3990x896

Panum panorama 640x204, 800x255, 1995x635, 3990x1270


Map of hike location and route detail maps, route in blue and red

Map with route
Detailed Map (135K)

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Kuna Peak / Robert Parks / rparks@lvhot.org / revised July '05