Didn't have anyone to go with me on this hike, so I went alone to Lone Peak. (It's probably not a good hike to do by yourself.) This was also during the hottest time of the year, so I left the trail-head (not the house, mind you!) at 5 AM. It was worth it too. I did all my ascending in the cool hours of the day, the first few by head-lamp in the dark. I didn't really expect to summit that day. It was more of a recon mission so that the next time I came, I would know better what to expect. It was surprising, then, to have summitted, and exciting! I believe I owe some of the success to being physically and mentally prepared.
As far as mentality goes, I knew by experience that if I paid attention to land marks, I had a better chance of finding my way back to the trail. You see, the Cherry Canyon trail will take you all the way to a cabin, but from there, you must make your own trail up through some drainages until you find the cirque. On the way back, I started to go down the wrong drainage. Fortunately, I seemed to realize that a course correction was in order, and after doing so, made it back to the cabin.
Upon reaching a point where I could see the cirque for the first time, my legs were very tired, and it looked like I had to lose some elevation before going to the summit. I honestly had thoughts of turning back at this point, but the summit looked so close that I decided to go for it. Fortunately, I had enough in me, not just to summit, but to get back down to my car after doing so.
Reaching the summit by the North shoulder of the mountain, I'm sure, is much easier than by the South shoulder. I've not done the latter, but it's clearly easier than the former just by looking at it. There's a bit of 3rd/4th-class climbing ("scrambling" doesn't seem an appropriate word here like it would for Salk Lake Twin Peaks) along the summit ridge, and there are a few exposed places where the consequences of a fall would be bad, but I really didn't find it too bad at all. I tucked my pant legs into my socks to make sure I didn't trip on them while saddling over, climbing up, and climbing down steep, rocky sections.
And then I finally reached the last leg of the journey!--Getting onto the summit block. In my opinion, this is the only dicey part of the whole hike. You can't screw it up. It's hundreds of feet to the bottom of the cirque in 3 of 4 different directions, but the block is big enough that if you stand in the middle of it, you don't feel too exposed to the height. Getting off the summit block was a bit nerve racking too. Anyhow, after taking a picture of the summit marker, and a few views from the tippy-top, I ran off the summit block, counted my lucky stars, and then began the ridge descent. I topped out at about 10:15 AM, I believe.
Near the end of the hike I was very glad that I had rationed my water the whole way up. Interestingly, I drank well over half of it, if not three quarters or more of it, on the last 2 hours of the hike. This was when it was starting to get dangerously hot. And I do mean dangerously! There are a few times on other hikes when I almost didn't make it back to my care due to an onset of some form of heat exhaustion combined with having no calories to burn. But not on this occation. I had brought a rediculous amount of water (which turned out to be extremely reasonable, if not minimal for this hike), and I actually brought food on the hike too. (I'm notorious for being idiotic about bringing proper provisions on hikes in the form of water and food, because, although sometimes unwise, I've gotten away with it so many times before.)
Round-trip, the hike took me 10 and a half hours. And it was brutal! But so worth it! There was an amazing variety of fouliage and flowers to see. I remember a corridor of Juniper trees that left the trail littered with little fuzzies. There was a deep, dark ever-green forest with very old, and very large trees, and occational granit walls mixed in between, and small streems running through it. There was a strange section of wavey, flowy granite. And of course, there were the majestic cirque towers that by themselves would have made the entire trip worth it! So much to see from top to bottom, I cannot emphasize enough how worth-it it is to do this hike.