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Easiest cross country passes in the high sierras?

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Re: Easiest cross country passes in the high sierras?

Postby Mike M. » Thu Feb 20, 2014 4:40 pm

Ditto Cartridge. From the north that is...the south would be one nasty slug up hill...

I wouldn't call Cartridge Pass easy from the north side. From the base of the pass, at the upper end of Lake Basin, it's not bad and remnants of the old JMT remain. BUT -- and this is a big but -- you have to get there first, which involves a gnarly bushwhack up Cartridge Creek from the Middle Fork of the King's River or a combination of two or more challenging cross country passes that plop you down in Lake Basin.

Mike



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Re: Easiest cross country passes in the high sierras?

Postby Wandering Daisy » Thu Feb 20, 2014 5:57 pm

I did Cartridge Pass late last summer. The north side has been significantly damaged by storm water. When I went up it about 5 years ago I actually could follow switchbacks - now it is a steep miserable washed out gully. There also has been some damage to the trail on the south side - but not as much. It is a shame that this trial is not maintained. It is only a matter of time and it will be lost to us. It probably got damaged in that same storm that wiped out Shepherd Pass.
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Re: Easiest cross country passes in the high sierras?

Postby Wandering Daisy » Thu Feb 20, 2014 6:05 pm

If knees are the issue (I have bad knees) then many "hard" passes become "easier" if you just slow down and rest a lot. It may take me 2 hours to get down a pass that is half an hour for everyone else, but when I am down, I still have my knees. Helps also to have a light pack. I am careful what I plan on doing when I start a 12-day trip with a fully loaded pack. I leave the hard stuff for the end of the trip. I have no trouble going up - it is down that is the issue. Plan your trip to do the harder part of a pass as the uphill portion. I also like passes that have camping along the way because I never know when my knees will just scream "Stop".

For knees, steep continuous scree is really hard. I would rather do a more technical pass that involves exposed rock ledges.
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Re: Easiest cross country passes in the high sierras?

Postby ndwoods » Thu Feb 20, 2014 11:06 pm

Yes, "don't be a smart ass pass" is in Yosemite...:)
Bummer about Cartridge's damage...and oh yea...you gotta get thru Red, White and Grey passes to get there...LOL!
Speaking of Shepherd...anyone actually been up that this summer after the damage? I want to go over it in Aug 14....
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Re: Easiest cross country passes in the high sierras?

Postby KathyW » Fri Feb 21, 2014 9:47 am

For me, there are no easy passes. Some are less difficult than others, but they are all difficult - especially when hauling a heavy pack.
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Re: Easiest cross country passes in the high sierras?

Postby John Dittli » Sat Feb 22, 2014 7:56 am

ndwoods wrote:Yes, "don't be a smart ass pass" is in Yosemite...:)
Bummer about Cartridge's damage...and oh yea...you gotta get thru Red, White and Grey passes to get there...LOL!
Speaking of Shepherd...anyone actually been up that this summer after the damage? I want to go over it in Aug 14....


we were up there. Somewhere on here is a video I posted of it. Impressive washout but easily passed on foot.
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Re: Easiest cross country passes in the high sierras?

Postby ndwoods » Tue Feb 25, 2014 9:02 pm

John I didn't find the video...while looking I did find your skating vid which I had to watch again...WOW. Used to ice skate ponds in Montana when I lived there as a kid...but nothing as spectacular as you did. And once again I was struck by the beauty of your photos...I think my fav...altho that's a relative term since you have so many greats...are the mono basin wildflower shots!
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Re: Easiest cross country passes in the high sierras?

Postby ndwoods » Tue Feb 25, 2014 9:14 pm

Never mind, found the Shepherd Pass video...thanks! It is awesome, but doable...:)
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Re: Easiest cross country passes in the high sierras?

Postby acvdmlac » Wed Apr 22, 2015 8:57 pm

Knapsack Pass and Carol a.k.a. Puppet Pass are both easy on both sides if you know the route. The route is extensively documented for both passes in this forum. Knapsack has a clear use trail on the south side. South side of Puppet is easier than many trails.

Royce Pass is also easy with an unmistakable route. The south side is such a short descent, it hardly qualifies as a pass!

Virginia Pass is shown as a trail on the old USGS topo maps but is not maintained and not shown on Harrison. Non-technical Class 1. A scenic notch worth the hike.

All are very scenic, great slog-to-stoke ratio.

Italy has an abandoned trail that deteriorates towards the top into easy class 1 benches. But it's rather a slog and the view from the top is nothing special. However, the long approach up Granite Park is some of the loveliest hiking anywhere.

North Glacier is not technical but the giant talus on the east side isn't worth the views at the top.
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Re: Easiest cross country passes in the high sierras?

Postby sekihiker » Mon May 04, 2015 6:10 pm

I would rate all of the passes I rated as "2" at this link http://sierrahiker.home.comcast.net/~si ... Passes.htm
as easy.
Last edited by sekihiker on Tue May 05, 2015 8:53 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Easiest cross country passes in the high sierras?

Postby Sierra_Summits » Mon May 04, 2015 8:13 pm

Thanks sekihiker and others! i appreciate your insight! i looked at your website and man you have done a whole bunch of awesome stuff into the sierra.
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Re: Easiest cross country passes in the high sierras?

Postby ExploreABitMore » Mon May 04, 2015 8:58 pm

sekihiker wrote:I would rate all of the passes I rated as "2" at this link http://sierrahiker.home.comcast.net/~si ... Passes.htm
are easy.


Cool site sekihiker, enjoyed looking through some of your trip reports. You've visited a lot of beautiful, remote areas!
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