Trip Advice: Upper Kern Basin From Forester Pass | High Sierra Topix  

Trip Advice: Upper Kern Basin From Forester Pass

If you've been searching for the best source of information and stimulating discussion related to Spring/Summer/Fall backpacking, hiking and camping in the Sierra Nevada...look no further!
User avatar

Trip Advice: Upper Kern Basin From Forester Pass

Postby alpinemike » Thu Nov 21, 2013 11:38 pm

My friend and I are planning on finish a long awaited through hike of the John Muir Trail. We attempted it 2 years ago but due to some shoe (blister issues) we were forced to only complete the Northern Half. This year we plan on doing the whole thing and since I've gotten into Mountaineering I'd love to climb some peaks in the Upper Kern Basin. I was wondering if anyone has traveled from just south of Forester Pass on the JMT and traversed cross country West towards as saddle around 13,200FT just north of Caltech Peak. Dropping down the saddle on the West side puts you into the Northern reaches of the basin a little North of Lake South America. To approach this you would leave the JMT around 12,500 and traverse almost directly West. The topo map does not seem impossible but I was hoping if someone has done that route or may have an idea of what it entails. I am experienced with Class 3 travel and even some Class 4 terrain with a pack. My friend also started rock climbing this year so as long as we don't encounter any vertical cliffs we should be fine with our packs.

Would appreciate any advice, suggestions, and info on this route or possibly a similar way to get into Upper Kern Basin from the South Side of Forester pass. I know the trail exists several miles further south at the cutoff but I'm hoping I can bypass that and cut the miles down a bit.

Thank you for any support!
Never put off a backpacking trip for tomorrow, if you can do it today...
Alpine Mike-

http://mikhailkorotkinphotography.com/



User avatar
alpinemike
Topix Regular
 
Posts: 207
Joined: Thu Oct 13, 2011 12:00 pm
Location: South Lake Tahoe, CA
Experience: Level 4 Explorer

User avatar

Re: Trip Advice: Upper Kern Basin From Forester Pass

Postby afahrland » Fri Nov 22, 2013 3:58 pm

I haven't been there personally but here is a photo of the west side of the pass from Mt. Ericsson:

Image

Looks like a cliff to me. I'd recommend detouring around the south ridge of Caltech Peak.
User avatar
afahrland
Topix Acquainted
 
Posts: 25
Joined: Fri Feb 11, 2011 2:08 pm
Experience: N/A

User avatar

Re: Trip Advice: Upper Kern Basin From Forester Pass

Postby maverick » Fri Nov 22, 2013 5:26 pm

Hi Mike,

From looking at the map, Google Earth, and from what I remember from
passing through that area several years ago, that ridge, especially on the
western side is steep/cliff.
Dug around online and found this view from the west by Bob Burd which
looks like the same photo afahrland posted above confirming its steepness:
http://www.snwburd.com/bob/trip_photos/ ... 708_w.html
HST= Wilderness Adventurer who knows no bounds, except for their own imagination.

Have a safer backcountry experience by using the HST ReConn Form 2.0, named after Larry Conn, a HST member: http://reconn.org
User avatar
maverick
Forums Moderator
Forums Moderator
 
Posts: 8034
Joined: Thu Apr 06, 2006 5:54 pm
Experience: Level 4 Explorer

User avatar

Re: Trip Advice: Upper Kern Basin From Forester Pass

Postby alpinemike » Fri Nov 22, 2013 8:09 pm

Thank you for the excellent information. I was a bit concerned about the route especially on the West side and this photo proves my concern for cliffs. It looks though that on the extreme Left Section of the Saddle (which would be Northwest) there appears to be a scree chute that is most likely passable if one could navigate gently around a few cliffs. I'll have to scope it out when I'm there in the summer to see for sure.

Thank you again!
Never put off a backpacking trip for tomorrow, if you can do it today...
Alpine Mike-

http://mikhailkorotkinphotography.com/
User avatar
alpinemike
Topix Regular
 
Posts: 207
Joined: Thu Oct 13, 2011 12:00 pm
Location: South Lake Tahoe, CA
Experience: Level 4 Explorer

User avatar

Re: Trip Advice: Upper Kern Basin From Forester Pass

Postby maverick » Sat Nov 23, 2013 6:57 pm

Mike,

Why not just climb Caltech via the northeastern ridge (class 2/3)
http://www.climber.org/TripReports/2008/1646.html and descend
the western slope route (class 2/3 chute) to the small lakes north
of SA Lake?
HST= Wilderness Adventurer who knows no bounds, except for their own imagination.

Have a safer backcountry experience by using the HST ReConn Form 2.0, named after Larry Conn, a HST member: http://reconn.org
User avatar
maverick
Forums Moderator
Forums Moderator
 
Posts: 8034
Joined: Thu Apr 06, 2006 5:54 pm
Experience: Level 4 Explorer

User avatar

Re: Trip Advice: Upper Kern Basin From Forester Pass

Postby Wandering Daisy » Sat Nov 23, 2013 7:47 pm

Unless you have specifically done those routes, I would hesitate to recommend climbing routes as a "pass" with a full pack. Secor's "class 2-3" can mean anything from do-able to impossible with a pack. I have been on plenty of "class3" routes that I backed off of because I did not have a rope. Having done neither of these routes, I can not add information. Remember that the folks on climber.org and others who post climb reports, are all very experienced mountaineers and most likely did the route with a small day pack.
User avatar
Wandering Daisy
Topix Junkie
 
Posts: 2607
Joined: Sun Jan 24, 2010 8:19 pm
Location: Fair Oaks CA (Sacramento area)
Experience: N/A

User avatar

Re: Trip Advice: Upper Kern Basin From Forester Pass

Postby alpinemike » Sun Nov 24, 2013 12:36 pm

Thanks for the idea Maverick. I'm certainly weary of attempting a summit with a full pack on the same day as heading up Forester Pass. I suppose I'll never know for sure what it looks like until I see it and make the call right then and there.

WanderingDaisy I definitely agree with your point. I certainly don't want to end up in a situation where class 3 is impossible and then have to backtrack especially with a full pack. I'll probably have to go around Caltech Peak and enter LSA from the south. I'm just happy I won't have to be doing all of this cross country with a pack that contains about 15 days worth of food along with several pounds of camera gear and mountaineering rope. That's our initial weight out of Muir Trail Ranch. We're planning on spending 3 nights each in both 60 Lakes Basin and LSA to climb the peaks. This is all enroute to whitney.
Never put off a backpacking trip for tomorrow, if you can do it today...
Alpine Mike-

http://mikhailkorotkinphotography.com/
User avatar
alpinemike
Topix Regular
 
Posts: 207
Joined: Thu Oct 13, 2011 12:00 pm
Location: South Lake Tahoe, CA
Experience: Level 4 Explorer


Return to Backpacking / Hiking / Camping



Who is online

Users browsing this forum: Bing [Bot], overheadx2, Yahoo [Bot] and 12 guests