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Knapsack Pass

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Knapsack Pass

Postby DaveDill » Sun Jul 16, 2017 12:47 pm

Hi All,

I'm new to this site and it is a wealth of useful information. Thanks to all that posted these detailed descriptions. Hopefully I can contribute in the future. I'm planning to do a trip from Taboose Pass to South Lake and looking to access Palisade Basin/Knapsack Pass from the JMT northbound.

For those that are familiar I'm wondering how much route finding is required when detouring from JMT north of Palisade Lakes to Palisade Basin and whether there is any use trail/cairns marking the route. I'm a level 4 explorer comfortable with class 2 XC routes. Thanks in advance.

Dave Dillemuth



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Re: Knapsack Pass

Postby Mike M. » Sun Jul 16, 2017 10:09 pm

Dave, can you give us a little more information about your intended route from the JMT to Knapsack Pass?

If you leave the JMT from the outlet of Lower Palisade Lake, you would have to cross both Cirque Pass and Potluck Pass to reach Barrett Lakes and the other smaller lakes in Palisade Basin. From here, the most direct route to Bishop Pass is over Thunderbolt Pass, not Knapsack Pass. There are some use trails along the way but most of the route is unmarked and is classic cross country travel above timberline. If you are good at reading a map and experienced with cross country travel, it's a beautiful and enjoyable hike.

Knapsack Pass is not difficult; there are many route options on the east (Barrett Lakes) side of the pass. Getting there from Barrett Lakes is easy class 2 and the hike down to Dusy Basin is easy class 1-2.

If you want to leave the JMT from LeConte Canyon, follow the Bishop Pass trail until you get to the first of the lower lakes in Dusy Basin, then leave the trail and cut out cross country toward Knapsack pass, staying north of the string of lakes in the lower basin. This alternative has you losing lots of altitude as you descend the Golden Staircase down to the King's River and then head upriver to the Dusy Basin junction, so I assume the first option above is what you had in mind.

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Re: Knapsack Pass

Postby DaveDill » Mon Jul 17, 2017 7:32 am

Hi Mike,
Thanks very much for the detailed response. Looking at my topo, I was wondering about a route up from Deer Meadow following the drainage of Barrett Lakes. We would look to overnight in Palisade Basin and then exit via Knapsack to access the Bishop Pass trail.
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Re: Knapsack Pass

Postby cgundersen » Mon Jul 17, 2017 8:00 am

Hi Dave,
I've descended from Barrett Lakes to Deer Meadow and it certainly works, but I'm guessing that it will be appreciably tougher heading up that way. The simple reason is that from above you have a much better perspective of the terrain and it's easier to choose a route that is not clogged with vegetation, nasty scree or big rocks. When ascending, one's visibility is often limited, and it's harder to choose a convenient path. That said, I'd certainly not discourage you from having a go at it; after all, if you're looking for a challenge and a bit of adventure, this will probably be your piece de resistance. And, it'll make Knapsack a stroll in the park......... Cameron
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Re: Knapsack Pass

Postby SSSdave » Mon Jul 17, 2017 8:06 am

Eric set up a sub forum that has info on all these passes and is the first place to look for information. Although some will claim these passes are all easy, such controversial discussions are the same on climber sites where some climbers seem to always tend to describe routes from their own personal higher skilled perspective without much consideration of how others with less skill and confidence might as though doing so may somehow reflect negatively on how confidently they personally feel on a route. Although class 3 exposure is described as one could get seriously hurt, in many situations falls can possibly be fatal by being just a few feet off from the supposed preferred route even in higher class 2. Accordingly it is wise to be skeptical taking advice with a grain of salt.

I put a lot of Google Earth images onto the Cirque Pass page to demonstrate how valuable doing so while correlating them to 7.5m topos can be for evaluating routes. But one needs to do so with a considerable suspicion because of distortions. It is instructive to read how significantly different were opinions that bears on my above comment.

Cirque:

viewtopic.php?f=31&t=13571&p=102963&hilit=potluck#p102963

Poluck:

viewtopic.php?f=31&t=13572

For Knapsack, I've always traversed from the no name lake bench northwest of Columbine that requires moving through more talus with better route finding skills to do so. The standard route up from down in the hole of the lower lake basin is more obvious to the saddle but requires more vertical uphill.

viewtopic.php?f=31&t=7685
Last edited by SSSdave on Mon Jul 17, 2017 8:09 am, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: Knapsack Pass

Postby DaveDill » Mon Jul 17, 2017 8:09 am

Thanks much, Cameron. Will probably give it a go. I'll report back what I find. Thanks, Dave
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Re: Knapsack Pass

Postby maverick » Mon Jul 17, 2017 11:47 am

Hi Dave,

Welcome to HST!

Looking at my topo, I was wondering about a route up from Deer Meadow following the drainage of Barrett Lakes.


Last time ascending that route, was after coming out of Amphitheater Basin, took the southern branch of the creek, leading up directly into Palisades Basin, it is a low class 2 climb, staying away from the creek till about 9400 ft, then moved in closer as I came to the Y, at around 10k crossed over to the northern side and then continued up into the basin. It is the easiest of the 3 routes up, creek up to Lake 11115 being the most involved.
I don't give out specific route information, my belief is that it takes away from the whole adventure spirit of a trip, if you need every inch planned out, you'll have to get that from someone else.

Have a safer backcountry experience by using the HST ReConn Form 2.0, named after Larry Conn, a HST member: http://reconn.org
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Re: Knapsack Pass

Postby cgundersen » Mon Jul 17, 2017 1:16 pm

Hi Dave,
Yep; I'd recalled that Mav had been up that route and figured he'd chime in; he makes it sound like a stroll in the park, and as Dave S indirectly points out, you need to keep that rosy picture in mind as you're cursing each patch of brambles. But, once you reach Barrett Lakes, I think you'll find it to be worthwhile, especially if the Palisades put on an alpenglow-fest. Cameron
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Re: Knapsack Pass

Postby maverick » Mon Jul 17, 2017 1:57 pm

he makes it sound like a stroll in the park, and as Dave S indirectly points out, you need to keep that rosy picture in mind as you're cursing each patch of brambles.


Did not make it sound like anything CG, this route just does not exceed a difficult class 2 route rating, in my book, does it in yours? The person requesting the info, indicates that he has class 4 experience, which means experience with rugged crosscountry travel and good navigational skills, so this route should not present any extraordinary challenge to him. :)
I don't give out specific route information, my belief is that it takes away from the whole adventure spirit of a trip, if you need every inch planned out, you'll have to get that from someone else.

Have a safer backcountry experience by using the HST ReConn Form 2.0, named after Larry Conn, a HST member: http://reconn.org
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Re: Knapsack Pass

Postby cgundersen » Mon Jul 17, 2017 2:35 pm

Hi Mav/Dave,
I was not intending to be argumentative; instead, this was more a reflection of my memories of having spent a fair amount of time getting DOWN that route and thinking to myself, glad I wasn't scrambling UP that hillside. More my point was that I'd started the "stroll in the park" analogy and I'm thinking that once Dave gets up that hillside, Knapsack will seem simple by comparison. For me, Knapsack is a relative snooze, but I'd think twice before descending Deer Creek again. Having gone the Potluck/Cirque route, I'd tend to opt for those hops, rather than dropping low and climbing back up again, but it's mostly personal preference. If you're really keen to do the Golden Staircase, by all means stick with the trail till Deer Meadow. Cameron
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