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TR: Shoulder Season in Ionian Basin ~ October 2013

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TR: Shoulder Season in Ionian Basin ~ October 2013

Postby Bluewater » Thu Jul 03, 2014 12:13 am

I apologize for my super late response, I had forgotten about this trip report until now!

Thanks Rochchucker! That was a Solomid, just barely big enough for me and gear but I love that shelter.

Rogue I agree about the view from the outlet of Lake Confusion. It's a pano looking both directions of Goddard Cyn. I've got more photos to add from the rest of this trip.

Tseaney that cross country route was fun. I just wish I had taken the high 'road' along the east ridge from the start:)


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Re: TR: Shoulder Season in Ionian Basin ~ October 2013

Postby Wandering Daisy » Thu Jul 03, 2014 7:07 pm

You left us hanging! Do we get to hear the rest of the story?
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TR: Shoulder Season in Ionian Basin ~ October 2013

Postby Bluewater » Thu Jul 03, 2014 7:46 pm

Thanks for the encouragement! Much of this trip was inspired by one of your trip reports WD, so it's the least I can do to give back:)


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Re: TR: Shoulder Season in Ionian Basin ~ October 2013

Postby balance » Thu Jul 03, 2014 11:05 pm

Hmmm. Did you thank your gaurdian angel? O:)

I've tried glissading on snow. Probably won't try it on granite, all things considered.

BTW Bluewater, thanks for the info on the other post about tarps. So is that your Solomid in the rock field at Lake 12,280? That's a good example of a tarp functioning above treeline. It looks like you used rocks for tie downs. Couldn't get stakes in that ground, could you?
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TR: Shoulder Season in Ionian Basin ~ October 2013

Postby Bluewater » Fri Jul 04, 2014 3:47 pm

Day 3 Continued:

Lake Confusion:

26.jpg
Lake Confusion


Martha Lake and Mt. Goddard from Lake Confusion Pass:

27-1.JPG
Martha and Goddard


Goddard Canyon from Lake Confusion Pass:

28.jpg
Goddard Cyn Pano


Lake Confusion Pass is described as Class II by Secor and according to his directions the route follows a very steep granite wall. I read about a alternate route on a TR from Wandering Daisy that follows a bench on the ridge then leads to an easy use trail and switchbacks to the Goddard Canyon below.

Steep wall down to Goddard Canyon via Secor's Lake Confusion Pass. . . ouch:

29-1.JPG
What?


. . . or the alternative, a meadow along the ridge:

30-1.JPG
Nice Ledge


By the time I reached the entry to Ionian Basin via Goddard Pass the storm clouds were gathering across the canyon. It was getting colder in the high elevation and the waterfalls were mostly frozen along the way. I was taking note of all the possible places to make camp in case I needed to hunker down along the way. By the time I reached Ionian Basin I could see the storm clouds starting to drop snow right behind me. Soon the snow and high winds arrived. I backtracked through the blowing snow to a small level spot just below a ledge on the shore of lake 12,280 at the base of Mt. Goddard. This lake was completely bound by boulders except for one small level spot which was just large enough for my shelter.

After getting settled in I tried to go outside to make dinner but the wind created a chill that was freezing my fingers. I only brought glove liners and a pair of Zpacks waterproof/breathable cuben rain mitts. I was wishing I had brought some down mitts.

I ended up waiting out the storm for 16 hours in my MLD cuben Solomid. I was concerned about being able to get around in the snow the next day but fortunately most of the snow had melted by the afternoon.

Looking back at the storm clouds gathering above Martha Lake:

31-1.JPG
Storm Approaching


Frozen waterfalls, now that's cold:

32-1.JPG
Frozen Waterfall


Scrambling over Goddard Pass:

33-1.JPG
Goddard Pass


Lake 11,951, Charybdis and Scylla in the background:

34-1.JPG
Ionian Basin


After the snowstorm at 12,280 feet:

35-1.JPG
After the Storm


to be continued.
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TR: Shoulder Season in Ionian Basin ~ October 2013

Postby Bluewater » Fri Jul 04, 2014 3:54 pm

Day 4:

The next morning, camping below Mt. Goddard:

36-1.JPG
Camp below Goddard


A rare flat camp site:

37-1.JPG
Campsite


By morning the skies were clear and the sun had transformed the area. The rest of the trip was warm and beautiful. I spent a few hours wandering through the Ionian Basin, sometimes following faint use trails and even a few cairns. I had planned on camping below Scylla the night before but the long storm meant I had to cut things short and keep moving. I passed lake 11,951, Lake 11,818 and the famous pink and purple rocks on the way to Lake 10,232 in Goddard Canyon.

Lake 11,951:

38-1.JPG
11,951


Lake 11,818, Scylla in the backgound:

39-1.JPG
Ionian Basin


Land bridge over Lake 11,818:

40.jpg
Lake Pano


Finger Peak from Lake 11,818:

41-1.JPG
Finger Peak


Alpine reflection:

42-1.JPG
Ionian Basin


43-1.JPG
Pink Rock


Waves of rock:

44-1.JPG
Waves


1,600 foot drop off to Goddard Canyon just beyond waves of rock

45-1.JPG
Finger Peak from Pink Rock


To be continued.
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TR: Shoulder Season in Ionian Basin ~ October 2013

Postby Bluewater » Fri Jul 04, 2014 4:00 pm

Day 4 Continued.

I followed the various benches and granite slabs down from the outlet of Lake 11,818 toward Goddard Canyon and Lake 10,232 below. There were a few good areas large enough for several people to easily camp.

46-1.JPG
waterfall


One of the many benches on the way to Lake 10,232:

47.JPG
bench


Lake 10,232, the headwaters of Goddard Creek:

48-1.JPG
goddard headwaters


The headwaters of Goddard Creek:

49.jpg
headwaters pano


Lake 10,232:

50-1.JPG
alpine


Ancient:

51-1.JPG
tree


Dinner at sunset on Lake 10,232:

52-1.JPG
reflection


Day 5:

The next morning I woke to a beautiful view of the sunrise on Finger Peak. My first goal of the day was to cross Finger Col. The cross country travel in the basin was straightforward and before long I was at the base of Finger Col. . . or at least what I hoped was Finger Col.

Early morning on Finger Peak:

53-1.JPG
finger basin camp


Finger Peak basin, Blue Canyon Peak:

54.JPG
finger basin pano


Finger Peak basin:

55.JPG
finger basin pano 2


to be continued.
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TR: Shoulder Season in Ionian Basin ~ October 2013

Postby Bluewater » Fri Jul 04, 2014 4:07 pm

Day 5 Continued:

Blue Canyon Peak and Finger Peak:

56.JPG
Finger Pano


The route up to Finger Col:

57-1.JPG
Finger Col route


This was my first time over Finger Col so I wasn't exactly sure where it was. The actual 'finger' is on the other side so without a clear landmark I just aimed for what seemed to be the best spot.

I realized that if I couldn't find the way over I would have to backtrack two days and over two more passes to get back. It felt strange to be in such a remote area and completely reliant on information available in guide books and online at highsierratopix.com. I am always grateful for the people who generously share their experience in the High Sierra. Maybe this will help someone else considering the route.

Finger Col from the east:

58-1.JPG
tarn


Finger Peak:

59-1.JPG
finger peak


60-1.JPG
finger peak 2


Headwall on route to Finger Col:

61-1.JPG
finger peak 3


As I got closer to the mostly vertical wall I started to see a few cairns leading the way to the col. There was a steep drop-off along a very narrow cliff band but the route was Class II the whole way. The views from the top were amazing.

Class II route to Finger Col?:

62-1.JPG
finger route


A small cairn leading the way to Finger Col:

63-1.JPG
class II?


View east from Finger Col, all the way to the Palisades:

64-1.JPG
view


View west from Finger Col, Cathedral Lake and the rest of Blackcap Basin:

65-1.JPG
view


to be continued.
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TR: Shoulder Season in Ionian Basin ~ October 2013

Postby Bluewater » Fri Jul 04, 2014 4:28 pm

Day 5 Continued:

The Finger:

66-5-1.JPG
the finger


Vertical wall on the west side of Finger Col:

66-6-1.JPG
vertical


View west from Finger Col (click for full size). Cathedral Lake and Midway Lake are below:

66-7-1.JPG
strange pano


The route down the west side of Finger Col started with a steep and loose scree field that soon leveled out slightly to a long boulder field and eventually to Cathedral Lake.

66-1.JPG
finger col


West side approach to Finger Col:

67-1.JPG
finger col from west


68-1.JPG
finger col from west 2


Route down the west side of Finger Col:

69-1.JPG
finger col from west 3


Cathedral Lake:

70-1.JPG
lake


71-1.JPG
lake w/ granite


Secor recommends following the south side of the creek from Midway Lake to Portal Lake. After scrambling most of the way down I found that the south side ended at the top of a cliff. I found three places where I might have been able to make it down but after my accident a few days earlier I wasn't going to take any chances. I ended up traversing the entire boulder field, crawling between the boulders and frozen waterfalls in the creek. After an hour I finally found a large cairn along a well used route on the NORTH side. For anybody heading this way take the route on the north side of the creek!

On the way down to Portal Lake:

72-1.JPG
more granite


to be continued.
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TR: Shoulder Season in Ionian Basin ~ October 2013

Postby Bluewater » Fri Jul 04, 2014 4:37 pm

Day 5 Continued.

Secor's route cliffs out on the right/south side. I took the well worn route on the left/north side:

73-5-1.JPG
midway to portal route


Meadow below Portal Lake:

73-1.JPG
b/w


I descended into the trees along the Blackcap Basin Trail. As the sun set in the forest I made it to a large opening where the shallow waterfalls washed along granite slabs and into emerald pools. For my last night I cowboy camped at the edge of the forest overlooking the North Fork Kings River. . .

. . . and woke to clear skies and crystal clear pools in the morning. Morning on the North Fork Kings River:

74-4-1.JPG
pools


Big Maxson Meadow:

74-5-1.JPG
meadow


Original cabin in Big Maxson Meadow:

75-5-1.JPG
cabin


75-5-2.JPG
cabin 2


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old party


Cable bridge:

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bridge


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weather station


The trail follows the North Fork Kings River for about eight miles before it ascends toward Post Corral Meadows. The next ten miles meander through mostly mundane densely forested areas with a few beautiful meadows. On the way to Post Corral Meadows:

79-1.JPG
meadow


To be continued.
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TR: Shoulder Season in Ionian Basin ~ October 2013

Postby Bluewater » Fri Jul 04, 2014 4:47 pm

A rickety wood boardwalk led the way through the last forested section to the trailhead. After hiking along a winding dirt road for another mile I finally made it to the car just before the sun set behind the trees. The finish of another adventure. Boardwalk over Maxson Meadows:

80-1.JPG
walkway


Overview map:

shoulder season in ionian basin overview map.JPG
map


Some thoughts about gear used on the trip:

Before leaving on this trip I was continually checking the national weather service (noaa.gov) for the latest forecast. After checking with the local ranger it was clear that a snow storm would be hitting the area right in the middle the trip. Although I was focused on traveling light and fast I was sure to bring all of the gear necessary to stay warm, dry and safe.

The Mountain Laurel Designs cuben Solomid performed well during the 16 hours I had to hunker down during the storm. The only drawback was that snow blew in through the vent at the top. This was only because I had removed the velcro that is supposed to seal the vent to save weight. That was definitely a case of what Andrew Skurka would call Stupid Light. Other than that it was great. The small footprint made it possible to setup in a very small space, which was critical because there was only one small place to setup during the storm.

I have started using the Zpacks waterproof/breathable rain mitts. They kept my hands dry and provided more warmth than I expected. The only other insulation I brought was a pair of lightweight glove liners and together they were enough, except the one night during the snow storm when some down mitts would have been nice.

The only jacket I brought this time was a Dri Ducks rain jacket and left the Patagonia Houdini windshirt at home. At 5 ozs for size large this is my favorite lightweight waterproof/breathable jacket. Unlike my North Face Triumph Anorak it actually breathes well and is reasonably priced at $20 for the jacket and pants.

For cooking I brought the Evernew 400 ml cup and Sidewinder Ti-Tri with a BGET (Brian Green Esbit Tray) stove. The whole setup weighs 2.5 ozs which includes the Evernew 400ml titanium mug/cook pot, Trail Designs Sidewinder titanium windscreen/pot holder, a Ruta Locura carbon fiber lid, BGET esbit stove, a mini Bic lighter and homemade cuben fiber stuff sack. This is the lightest, most packable (smallest), easy to use and convenient setup I have found. It is especially good for someone who just wants to boil a few cups of water each day. It also uses the lightest fuel available. I only use about 7 grams (1/4 oz) of fuel per day, which is nice!

I was using a new internal frame backpack that I designed for this trip. It was made for carrying heavy loads through cross country terrain:

pack.JPG
heavyweight lightweight backpack


For more about the pack:

http://seatosummitultralight.blogspot.c ... kpack.html.

I brought an updated homemade quilt that I made specifically for the colder Shoulder Season temperatures. For more:

http://seatosummitultralight.blogspot.c ... oidal.html

A gear list:

http://seatosummitultralight.blogspot.c ... -2013.html

Thanks for reading.
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Re: TR: Shoulder Season in Ionian Basin ~ October 2013

Postby austex » Fri Jul 04, 2014 4:56 pm

I LIKE it! Thanks for sharing; awesome and inspiring. Great pix too!
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