HST Good Loops for Backpacking Mid March? | High Sierra Topix  

HST Good Loops for Backpacking Mid March?

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

HST Good Loops for Backpacking Mid March?

Postby Jes » Sat Feb 22, 2014 4:57 pm

Hey beginning backpacker with a great fitness level looking for a good loop in or around the HST during my spring break mid march. Also looking for details since I will be doing it solo and need to park my car and or hitch a ride to destination. Although I am a beginner, I am an avid hiker even at attitudes. Have been backpacking in so-cal area doing 2-3 day hikes about 8-15 mile days as practice w/40 pound pack. So I would like a challenge and not just an easy going trail. Adventures are the hardships of the journey for me. Having about a week and a half off for spring break I would love for the journey to extend into a 5-7 day adventure. I have been told it can be a complicated time to go due to the unpredictable weather conditions that can occur so I would plan to check in with weather conditions before going ahead with the plan. Will have snow shoes, 20+ sleeping bag, and will be using a compass/map and trails but to be safe will be taking a gps and solar charger incase emergency for electronics. Supply and food should be all set including clothing. Any advice on trail options would be much appreciated, I know march isn't ideal for the trail, but as I said it's my spring break and only get away until summer, in which I plan to the the full HST 7-8 day :) hopefully. Thank you!!
-Jes



User avatar
Jes
Topix Novice
 
Posts: 12
Joined: Fri Feb 21, 2014 5:04 pm
Experience: N/A

User avatar

HST Good Loops for Backpacking Mid March?

Postby AlmostThere » Sat Feb 22, 2014 5:11 pm

here we go again.... beginners with 20 degree bags should stick to summer. for the sake of 100s of SAR volunteers do not risk your life or theirs. go somewhere on the coast.
User avatar
AlmostThere
Topix Fanatic
 
Posts: 1758
Joined: Wed Jun 24, 2009 4:38 pm
Experience: N/A

User avatar

Re: HST Good Loops for Backpacking Mid March?

Postby Jes » Sat Feb 22, 2014 5:23 pm

@ AlmostThere, Thank you since I am a beginning hiker where would you suggest?? Even in the coast. I mean I don't mind I would just love to start gaining more experience than what I have towards harsher conditions rather than easy breezy. The HST probably sounds naive to do, but any suggestions anywhere would help. I mean I will do the HST in the summer so I would consider any other place just as well for mid March.
User avatar
Jes
Topix Novice
 
Posts: 12
Joined: Fri Feb 21, 2014 5:04 pm
Experience: N/A

User avatar

Re: HST Good Loops for Backpacking Mid March?

Postby rlown » Sat Feb 22, 2014 5:32 pm

check out the lost coast TR's like viewtopic.php?f=8&t=6419

do a search on lost coast in the search box upper right. You could also consider some desert destinations as March is probably ok for those areas.
User avatar
rlown
Topix Junkie
 
Posts: 5325
Joined: Thu Oct 25, 2007 5:00 pm
Location: Petaluma and Wilton, CA
Experience: Level 4 Explorer

User avatar

Re: HST Good Loops for Backpacking Mid March?

Postby sparky » Sat Feb 22, 2014 5:43 pm

Spring is the time for yosemite valley, hikes in the foothills, the eastside, the CA deserts, grand canyon, southern utah, moab ect ect. There is an endless amount of top notch choices that dont involve winter at elevation. There are some really amazing areas that dont get much attention around lake havisu az and kingman az, lake meade area ect.

If you want multiday backpacking loop hikes you will be limited to the desert. The desert is a spectacular place, especially solo. Death Valley, southern Utah or Grand Canyon are the most scenic.

The only thing close to the HST is the middle fork kaweah or the south fork kaweah low elevation foothill hikes. Those are not loops, but loops are way overrated in my opinion. And multidays will involve lots of lounging....not that there is anything wrong with that. There are many sequoia groves that are great if you dont mind difficult bushwacking
There is a million ways to be human, all are worthwhile.

True happiness is the absence of striving for happiness.
-Chuang Tzu.
User avatar
sparky
Topix Expert
 
Posts: 880
Joined: Tue Jul 20, 2010 10:01 am
Experience: N/A

User avatar

Re: HST Good Loops for Backpacking Mid March?

Postby The hermit » Sat Feb 22, 2014 7:35 pm

Check out ventana wilderness. Some amazing elevation gains even though you are near the ocean. The peaks are 5000 ft. or so.
User avatar
The hermit
Topix Regular
 
Posts: 183
Joined: Mon Jul 02, 2012 9:25 am
Experience: N/A

User avatar

Re: HST Good Loops for Backpacking Mid March?

Postby Tom_H » Sat Feb 22, 2014 7:45 pm

I am simply beside myself. Are you just trying to stir people up? Did you read the threads I listed before? I find myself not quite able to be polite. Maybe it has something to do with the fact that I have the flu and several degrees of fever at the moment and my toleration for foolishness isn't very high right now.

It doesn't matter that you are athletic. You still do not have experience. I am almost 60, but ya know what, I was young and strong once too. I played high school football and ran track. That still doesn't prepare you for a load on your hips if you've never done it before. The first time I took a really heavy pack, I wound up with total black and blue bruises over a square foot in area on both hips. By the age of 23 I was a professional guide. At 26 I carried as much as 120 pounds (I weighed 142). I trained in the off season by climbing stadium stairs with a pack of 100 lb. of rocks for 2.5 hours on Tue. & Thur. while running 8 mi. on M-W-F. Even as a professional, I still got frostbite in the nerves of both feet doing winter backpacking on Roan Mountain NC around New Years 1978; the temp. on top of the peak hit -40 and we were camped just below the summit. On one June afternoon in 1981, after leading a technical climb of a 14er in CO, coming back down and sending participants back to base camp, I had to climb halfway back up the peak to retrieve all the ice axes. I broke out into a huge sweat. My glucose and hydration levels were low. I scrambled back down the mtn. with the ice axes to the place I had left one trainee. About 2 min. later the weather changed drastically. It began snowing out of an almost clear sky and the temperature plummeted to 20. Having had hypothermia before, I recognized the signs early enough. I told the trainee that my core temp. was dropping (even as I layered up). I knew I would become lethargic, then want to lay down and sleep. I told him he would have to force me to continue the 3 miles back to base camp. This was in June in a place with little snow on the ground. You are talking about similar altitude in a place where there IS snow on the ground and still winter. Even if there wasn't snow, it still could drop six feet on you at any time. Do you know how to nordic ski through backcountry terrain in numerous conditions, and with a heavy pack? (It ain't easy.) Do you have experience snowshoeing with a pack? Do you know how to use crampons and ice cleats? Do you have experience postholing? Rocks and brush under the snow create soft spot cavities below the surface. At any moment you could crash through all the way to the hard ground and seriously damage an ankle, knee, or hip. I have plunged 8 feet with an 80 lb. pack before and it really jars your world. Climbing out in cold wet snow can suck a thousand calories out of you. Do you understand the thermodynamic properties of all the various fabrics from which garments are made, including the way good fibers wick while poor ones provide a constant moisture gradient that rapidly removes heat? Did you know that if you have on a wet cotton shirt and the wind is blowing at 20 mph., your body loses heat 580 times as fast as it would were the shirt not wet or the wind not blowing? Conduction, convection, and evaporation multiply each other on a logarithmic scale. Do you know what a Quinzee Hut is and how to build one? Can you tell me how a Quinzee Hut differs from an igloo or a snow cave? Do you know how to build all three? Do you know how to recognize and avoid avalanche hazard? Do you know how to self arrest with an ice axe if you careen into a couloir? Since it could both rain and snow, making a god awful freezing concrete mess, do you have a winter tent, a -40 synthetic bag, an alpinists snow shovel, a GPS, SPOT, and satellite phone? Do you know how to write a formal trip plan that calculates miles, mile equivalencies for elevation gain, and which delineates a primary and secondary evacuation route for every single point along your intended journey? Can you read topographic maps well enough that the contour lines take on a 3-D image in your mind's eye? Do you have all the other gear I mentioned above? Do you know that we discussed the deaths of 8 different people on this board within the last 18 months? And that all of them were out in the summer, not the winter, the SUMMER. And every one of them went SOLO. Even if you went with other people in the winter, all of you still need specialized training in how to deal with hypothermia and frostbite if it happens to other people. A person going solo with this training can easily die. Someone going solo with no training just doesn't have much chance. It is a death wish.

Look kid, this is like someone who's never even seen a car saying he's going to get in one and drive it from San Diego, through LA to SF. Your uninformed overconfidence is going to get you killed. Do I sound wound up? I am. I usually hold my tongue better than this, but this flu any your misinformed thinking combined are unsettling. You may be a swell person, but your mistaken self-assurance is going to get you killed. As someone who used to take novices out and train them how to stay alive in these conditions, I feel a burden to do whatever it takes to keep you alive. I'm tired of reading about people who died because they didn't know what they were doing or threw caution to the wind. Larry Conn had many friends on this board and he was an experienced backpacker. He went out solo in the autumn with no snow, got caught in a snow storm and died. Do a search, read the threads, experience the angst all his friends here went through.

Do yourself a favor my young friend. First, get over the teenage attitude that you know everything on earth. You don't. Secondly, channel your enthusiasm. You want to learn how to do this stuff? Take courses from NOLS and find the discipline to learn how to do it safely. Serious summer backpacking is far more demanding than just being a good athlete. Even for summer, there is a lot to know. Winter backcountry travel is a hundred times more dangerous and complex. It is truly fun, however, and the physical demands of it, the sheer difficulty of it will make you see life and what is important with a clarity that few can imagine. You need specialized training to do winter packing. NOLS is the place to learn these skills. Anyone who tells you that you don't need specialized training for winter packing simply does not know what he is talking about. Finally, go enjoy backpacking that is safe. As a beginner, you really do need to go with other people. The Lost Coast and Point Reyes are great places for the time of year re. which you inquire.

Look, I know I sound riled up. I just don't want you to die. And if you attempt what you ask about, you almost surely will die. Please don't do this. I have nothing against you personally, but you are like a little boy in a fireworks sales shack who found some matches and is excitedly wanting to experience up close what he saw at Disneyland. The situation you are considering is just as precarious as that of the little boy. I would be glad to offer you positive advice if you can get past this determination to do the High Sierra in the wrong season. If you have questions, feel free to PM me and I promise I will gently answer any questions you might have.
Last edited by Tom_H on Sat Feb 22, 2014 9:46 pm, edited 5 times in total.
User avatar
Tom_H
Topix Expert
 
Posts: 455
Joined: Tue Jul 10, 2012 1:11 pm
Location: Wilton, CA
Experience: N/A

User avatar

Re: HST Good Loops for Backpacking Mid March?

Postby Jes » Sat Feb 22, 2014 8:00 pm

Thank you @sparky, the hermit, and Tom_H, and rlown, I am diverting from the HST and am now looking to do the Lost Coast or Grand Canyon. I will be taking the NLOS for future preparation asap. This is what I came to seek for, the great wisdom and experience you all have acquired, in which I lack. I would love to go with groups, but I do not have any friends who backpack, any meet ups or other posts you come across, I would love it if you could pm about them as I am very enthusiastic about backpacking more and more in time. Any advice for LC or GC hikes would be appreciated gear wise, shuttles, etc.. I am researching both of them as I type.
User avatar
Jes
Topix Novice
 
Posts: 12
Joined: Fri Feb 21, 2014 5:04 pm
Experience: N/A

User avatar

Re: HST Good Loops for Backpacking Mid March?

Postby DavePloessel » Sun Feb 23, 2014 10:46 am

Hi Jes. You may have written this and I missed it, but where do you live? If its close enough for you to drive to I would strongly suggest you look into the san Rafael wilderness in los padres national forest. It is absolutely gorgeous and now is the time of year to go. It's simply too hot during the summer. Try manzana schoolhouse or manzana narrows... you could even venture as far as the south fork cabin. If you can find a more experienced hiker to go with you who has route finding experience, you could do the entire sisquoc loop. That is one of the most beautiful and isolated areas in California.. id be suprised if it sees 50 people a year. Temps this time of year are 50-70 during the day and mid 30s at night.... so just about perfect

Another good socal winter option for a beginner backpacker is sespe and willett hot springs. Google the sisqouc loop and the hot springs and check them out.
Last edited by DavePloessel on Sun Feb 23, 2014 12:32 pm, edited 1 time in total.
User avatar
DavePloessel
Topix Acquainted
 
Posts: 81
Joined: Tue Sep 04, 2012 9:53 am
Location: sandy eggo
Experience: N/A

User avatar

Re: HST Good Loops for Backpacking Mid March?

Postby maverick » Sun Feb 23, 2014 11:12 am

Where do you live Jes? If in California there are numerous places to do, though
not high Sierra, but where one can do multi-day backpacking trips to gain
experience. Sparky is right on with DV, GC, and numerous parks in Utah, but
heading out there with no expereince, and solo, may not be a great idea either.
Join a local hiking club or go with friend until you get some experience and a
feel for backpacking, especially solo backpacking.
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: 8028
Joined: Thu Apr 06, 2006 5:54 pm
Experience: Level 4 Explorer

User avatar

HST Good Loops for Backpacking Mid March?

Postby AlmostThere » Sun Feb 23, 2014 12:02 pm

i know you have not bothered to look for meetups. there are thousands of hiking meetups. hundreds in california, including mine.


here is my advice. When you join a meetup group. go on day hikes and talk to people about backpacking. go on overnight trips. when you develop relationships with experienced winter backpackers, you go overnight with them and look at their gear, start to accumulate your own.

do not lie to meetup organizers to go on challenging trips. in my groups that will mean not getting to go backpacking with us again. social groups are not classes or guided trips. i have a low tolerance for people who risk group safety by going beyond your limits and slowing the group down - and don't try the trick of pushing it and expecting them to go on without you. safety starts before you go - understanding your limits and respecting them is key.

you should not go solo in winter AT ALL until you no longer resort to needing to ask strangers for advice.

winter IS NEvER the time to push your luck. it is when you NEED the wisdom imparted by experience. classes help but are not all you need.
User avatar
AlmostThere
Topix Fanatic
 
Posts: 1758
Joined: Wed Jun 24, 2009 4:38 pm
Experience: N/A

User avatar

Re: HST Good Loops for Backpacking Mid March?

Postby rlown » Sun Feb 23, 2014 12:31 pm

AlmostThere wrote:i know you have not bothered to look for meetups. there are thousands of hiking meetups. hundreds in california, including mine.


here is my advice. When you join a meetup group. go on day hikes and talk to people about backpacking. go on overnight trips. when you develop relationships with experienced winter backpackers, you go overnight with them and look at their gear, start to accumulate your own.


It might be helpful at this point in the discussion to tell everyone how/where to look for meetups? I admit i don't know, but i was backpacking before the internet, even in Winter. My boy scout troop leader tried to kill us all one year doing that. Now there's a learning experience.
User avatar
rlown
Topix Junkie
 
Posts: 5325
Joined: Thu Oct 25, 2007 5:00 pm
Location: Petaluma and Wilton, CA
Experience: Level 4 Explorer

Next

Return to Backpacking / Hiking / Camping



Who is online

Users browsing this forum: Yahoo [Bot] and 10 guests

cron