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TR: Red Mountain Basin and Mt. Hutton

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TR: Red Mountain Basin and Mt. Hutton

Postby CaliCruzer » Sun Sep 22, 2013 3:58 pm

Yo. Trip report for my third Sierra outing of the summer. Our original plan was to head for Onion Valley Trailhead, but with the Rim Fire keeping 120 closed to through traffic, we altered our plans. Did a little research on this site and found some info on the Maxson trailhead. New target acquired. With 6 days to kill getting lost in the woods, we left San Francisco on Monday the 9th. I was bringing my girlfriends on her first Sierra wilderness experience, and I choose the Red Mountain Basin for the relative gentleness of the terrain combined with epic scenery. We were challenged with unsettled wheather the entire trip, which made for some beautiful sunsets.

We arrived at Courtright Reservoir around sunset, and found a nice campsite just up the road from the trailhead parking lot.
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The next morning after a bacon breakfast we hit the trail around 10:00 AM. The trail starts out on the Dusy-Erschim(sp?) route and then cuts off and begins going uphill. There was no water until Post Corral Creek. At about 2:00 PM it began raining with increasing intensity until we were getting pellet sized hail. We made camp at the trail junction for the Red Mountain Basin cut-off and waited out the loudest and most violent lightning I have experienced anywhere. Rolling thunder for more than 2 hours. Watched the bolts crash right over us clear through the rain fly. It cleared just in time for sunset.
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The next day started much the same. Our goal was Devil's Punchbowl. After a quick mile or so uphill we got our first views of the peaks that surround the Red Mountain Basin, including Mt. Hutton which looked threateningly unapproachable this day.

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Rather than hike up on the trail to Fleming Lake and around to Devil's PunchBowl, we cut offtrail and skirt a granite dome, making a bee-line for Jigger Lakes. It began raining which slowed us down because it made the granite a little slippery.

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We made it to Jigger Lakes around 3:00 pm.

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I then convinced Lynnsay to climb the last couple hundred feet to Devil's Punchbowl via a small notch in the ridge. The notch is to the left of the tree-less granite bulge in the center of the shot.

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The climbing was not difficult but at the end we had to crawl underneath a large boulder to get around a sheer granite wall. The packs were too large to fit, so we pulled them up over the cliff after us.

The Notch.
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It was well worth the climb.
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Mt. Hutton, tomarrow's goal.
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Camp Shot.
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The next day we planned to bring our packs up to Big Shot lake and then attempt Mt. Hutton from there. The weather was unsettled as we left camp.

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Little Shot Lake
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Big Shot Lake
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Not much extra water.
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We made it to Big Shot Lake, and went for the Summit.
First major climb.
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Devil's Punchbowl, LIttle and Big Shot Lakes.
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We made it to the unamed lake above Big Shot Lake, but by then dark grey was covering all the blue, and we decided in light of the storm on the first afternoon that it was prudent to stay near camp. I had brought two Disc Golfing drivers and we played the first ever game of Disc Golf at Big Shot Lake a.k.a. Devil's Disc Golf. While I was disappointed we didn't get Mt. Hutton, it was an awesome alternative to the summit. Another beautiful sunset.

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Friday the 13th. It was our lucky day. I woke up early to to a deep blue and cloudless sky. I roused Lynnsay, told her we were leaving in 10 min for the summit. We were on top of Mt. Hutton by 11 AM. It was an easy climb, with only two short Class 1 or 2 stretches. The rest was an easy and enjoyable alpine stroll.

Here is a shot of the second major climb, Lucifer's Saddle. Wasn't that bad.

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The Col.
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Hell For Sure Lake and above, pass.
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Victory!
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Mt. Goddard.
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Goddard Canyon and roarin' through it, the South Fork of the San Joaquin River.
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The Blackcap Basin to the south.
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We also found a small summit register, kindly left by a certain David Gibson only 5 days before. Is he on this site? If he is, THANKS! We were the second and third names in the register, pretty stoked on our timing! After the summit we returned and broke camp, and began on our walk out. We stopped at Disappointment Lake for some water and got some great views of the peak we had been standing on just hours before.
The peak is on the left, apparently lower.
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That afternoon threatened more lightning, but none came. We camped on the ridge just before the drop to Post Corral Creek.
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Views of the Three Sisters and Dogtooth Peak.
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The next day we hiked the rest of the way to the car. On our drive out we got one last look at the peak. (Center)
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Overall it was a great trip, and Lynnsay has been successfully infected with the Sierra bug. She is already asking where we are going next!

Thanks for reading.
Cheers.



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CaliCruzer
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Re: TR: Red Mountain Basin and Mt. Hutton

Postby balzaccom » Sun Sep 22, 2013 6:04 pm

Nice report--and some tasty photos, too!

WE did that trip a few years ago, with a slightly different route, and also had some interesting weather. The Punchbowl is still one of our favorite lakes.

Thanks for posting.
Balzaccom

check out our website: http://www.backpackthesierra.com/
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Re: TR: Red Mountain Basin and Mt. Hutton

Postby giantbrookie » Sun Sep 22, 2013 8:06 pm

Nice report of a good trip and the bottom line is your statement of your girlfriend asking where the two of you will go next--a very successful trip indeed.
Since my fishing (etc.) website is still down, you can be distracted by geology stuff at: http://www.fresnostate.edu/csm/ees/facu ... ayshi.html
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Re: TR: Red Mountain Basin and Mt. Hutton

Postby sekihiker » Mon Sep 23, 2013 6:47 pm

One of my favorite areas. It looks like you enjoy it, too.
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Re: TR: Red Mountain Basin and Mt. Hutton

Postby kpeter » Mon Sep 23, 2013 9:01 pm

I loved your camp shot. That could be in an advertising campaign for your tent!
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Re: TR: Red Mountain Basin and Mt. Hutton

Postby justm » Thu Sep 26, 2013 7:51 pm

Nice pics ! brings back memories of my trip there last year. Thanks for sharing !! :)
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