Started at 5:48am, summit at 11:50am, back down at 3:30pm. For the entire stretch to the summit that is unique to this trailhead (90% of it), I did not see a single person. At the summit, I met a few people who had come via Vivian Creek. One of them had recently completed the PCT!
I stayed in Angelus Oaks Sun and Mon night (plus an ascent to 7500′ on Monday) to acclimatize and I assume this helped as I had no issues with the altitude. My legs and back, however, had issues with the 20.4 mile roundtrip. By the end, my right knee was aching, my quads were burning, and my lower back would seize up if I took a false step.
The total distance from this trailhead is longer than Vivian Creek, but the ascent is less. The trail is fine, a bit rocky in the middle stretch (making the descent slower than expected), but well defined in most places. For those who are sensitive to sketchy spots (i.e. if I slip here, I will die), there were none on this route.
Thanks Jeff – Looking forward to 2019!