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JMT Side Trip Ideas Requested

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JMT Side Trip Ideas Requested

Postby JWreno » Mon Feb 24, 2014 10:08 am

Spent 35 minutes at the fax machine on Friday, got my notification from yosemiteconservancy.org on Sunday. Got my 3rd choice but we now have a reservation for 22 days between Happy Isles and Whitney Portal.

I have done the JMT in 2008 and 2011. Both times I started at Horseshoe Meadows and really started the JMT on the 3rd day of the hike at the top of Whitney. We did it that way out of convenience on getting permits. We decided this year to go the traditional Yosemite Valley to Whitney Portal direction. We also decided to take more time to allow for more goofing off. I am bringing my Canon 6D and the 17-40 and 24-70 zoom lenses. I did a test 4 day hike with the camera on a shoulder strap clip last year in Emigrant Wilderness. Having the full frame DSLR was a blast but it was during the nasty fire so I didn't get as many photos as I wanted. We haven't carried a stove or cooked since about 2005 so I plan on picking some campsites for the vistas at sunset or sunrise instead of staying lower to be near water.

The plan is to resupply at Red's Meadows and Muir Trail Ranch. We will mail 2 buckets for the 3 of us and plan for one goof off day eating a bit of variety food that will fill up the buckets beyond what we plan to take on the trail. We spent an expensive but enjoyable overnight at MTR in 2011 on my son's 29th birthday. I figure we have about 6 full or 12 half days when we will be goofing off instead of hiking the main JMT. We will use some of this goof off time to do bear can laundry while swimming and relaxing while the stuff dries. We are quite civilized and do a clothing wash about every 4 days. It's mostly just running shorts, thin synthetic t-shirts and socks for the wash. We keep the warmer gear cleaner by doing a bear can wipe bath to get rid of the stinky sweat before changing into warm stuff for the evening. 3 people can get pretty clean with 900 cubic inches of water, dip cup and handy wipes.

One of my thoughts is to do a couple of 1 or 2 day side trips away from the main trail. I have always been interested in seeing a bit of Ionian Basin. It looks like it would be easily accessible from the saddle south of Wanda Lake. We have carried 12 days of food in the 3 Bearakade Expedition cans without any problem so I don't think a couple of side days would be too hard to deal with after Muir Trail Ranch. We also would be at our fittest by then so extra miles and elevations wouldn't hurt either. I have done most Yosemite so I don't plan on side trips while in the park. Any other good ideas 1 to 2 day side trips between Donahue Pass and Muir Trial Ranch?
Last edited by JWreno on Sat Mar 01, 2014 12:52 pm, edited 2 times in total.



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Re: I Got a Golden Ticket

Postby JWreno » Mon Feb 24, 2014 11:31 am

In 2008 things were dry, creeks were easy to cross and bugs were hardly around. However we had a pattern of afternoon Thunderstorms from Tindel Creek to Evolution Lake. This forced us to do all the high passes in the morning before the lightning hit.

Almost every pass in 2011 was a snowy slog often leaving the buried trail near the top of the passes. I think it only rained once. My pictures of crossing Evolution Creek show quite a difference in the depth of the water next to the boulders at the crossing.

My main wish is for a forest fire free hike this year so I can take a lot of great pictures with my DSLR. I have about 40 17x25 inch pictures that I printed and framed up around the house from previous trips using an old 8 MP Canon point and shoot. It was one of the last models with an optical finder. I find using an LCD for framing shots a PITA when under full Sierra sunshine.

Going south to north you seldom run into a JMT hiker more than once since 90% plus go southbound. When I did Yosemite to North Lake, I saw a bunch of hikers multiple times as we leap frogged each other. As a Whitney day hiker from camp at Crabtree Meadows on 3 previous trips starting at Horseshoe Meadows, we never picked up the WAG bags. This time we will pick them up on the way out towards Whitney Portal. We are thinking about camping at the top of Whitney for final sunrise pictures.
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Re: I Got a Golden Ticket

Postby JWreno » Mon Feb 24, 2014 11:39 am

I forgot to put our experience in for side trip ideas.

Level 4 experience: We have done parts of the Sierra High Route, Lamark Col, Nothing requiring a safety rope.

Terrain: Class 3 terrain/pass/x-country, don't want to cross a river requiring swimming while floating a pack.

Main Interest: Big Mountain scenery, Photography
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Re: I Got a Golden Ticket (JMT Side Trip Ideas Requested)

Postby maverick » Mon Feb 24, 2014 2:20 pm

JWreno wrote:
Any other good ideas 1 to 2 day side trips between Donahue Pass and Muir Trial Ranch?


Peter Pande Lake area, Apollo-Orchid Lake, Vee Lake-Bear Lakes area, Turret Lakes
area, Ediza to Minaret Lake (Iceberg, Cecile), Ram-Franklin Lakes area to name a few
beautiful places that will keep you busy.

Put Ladder Lake in Kings Canyon on your list too.
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Re: I Got a Golden Ticket (JMT Side Trip Ideas Requested)

Postby JWreno » Mon Feb 24, 2014 3:05 pm

Thanks Maverick.

Peter Panda Lake area looks like it has a trail from Lake of the Lone Indian. Apollo Lake doesn't appear to have a trail according to the topo map I am looking at but it looks like a modest 800 foot slope from up from the JMT, with possible use of following creek for route. Following East fork of upper Bear creek towards Seven Gables-Vee lake looks like very interesting higher country. Trail on the topo map seems to follow east fork upper Bear creek. That could be an good 3 day side trip

Purple Lake to Ram Lake to Franklin Lake to Virginia Lake looks like a very doable diversion especially if I don't care about staying true to the entire JMT.

What do you think about Rainbow Falls to Iva Bell hot springs to Purple lake as an alternative route. Are the hot springs nicer than those south of the river near MTR?
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Re: I Got a Golden Ticket (JMT Side Trip Ideas Requested)

Postby maverick » Mon Feb 24, 2014 3:36 pm

JWreno wrote:
Are the hot springs nicer than those south of the river near MTR?


Sorry, have only gone by them, not a hot springs enthusiast, on the other hand
if you enjoy hot springs, than from Iva Bell you can continue on to the Silver
Divide (Peter Panda lake area) which would be my choice over the Ram-Franklin area.
Since you indicated that you are comfortable with crosscountry, after visiting the Vee
Lake area, you can continue on to Seven Gables Lakes and then use Seven Gables Pass
to visit the lakes west of Seven Gables (Three Island, Sandpiper, and Lou Beverly).
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Re: I Got a Golden Ticket (JMT Side Trip Ideas Requested)

Postby vhsvhs » Mon Feb 24, 2014 4:37 pm

@ JWreno - I think a visit to Iva Bell Hot Springs is worthwhile, at least once in your life. Iva Bell is hotter and less muddy than the springs across the river from MTR (I believe it's named Blaney Hot Springs). Also, there are multiple pools at Iva Bell, so it tends to accommodate groups better.

My other suggestion is an alternate to Bear Ridge/Bear Creek. Instead, follow the trail east up Mono Creek, go cross-country up the Second Recess, over Gabbott Pass (easy class 2), and then descend past Lake Italy to return to the JMT on Bear Creek. This route would add 1-2 extra days, but you would get to see a beautiful part of the Sierra crest that most JMT/PCT hikers totally miss.

Whatever you decide, I'm sure it will be grand. Cheers.
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Re: I Got a Golden Ticket (JMT Side Trip Ideas Requested)

Postby paul » Mon Feb 24, 2014 4:38 pm

Iva Bell is okay as hot springs go, had a very muddy bottom when i was there, but doing Fish Creek to get there instead of going to Duck. Purple and Virgina lakes is not worth it IMHO. Unless you're more into hot springs than views.
Anything up around the Silver divide is very nice to explore.
How do you feel about alternate routes? You can walk the Mammoth Crest to Duck Lake; Mav's idea on Seven Gables lakes and pass is a good one; further south, Going up the Dusy Branch, over Knapsack Pass, Potluck Pass, and over to Palisade Lakes is a nice option going through Sixty Lakes basin instead of (or along with) Rae Lakes might be nice.
Day side trips would be big fun, some of them really just a couple hours. If you've done Lamarck Col then you've seen at least some of Darwin Bench, but working your way further west along the Glacier divide looks real nice. A stroll up to Woods Lake and Sawmill Pass looks like fun. Jeez, where wouldn't be good? Almost any spot you happen to be on the JMt you can find a great side trip of some length.
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Re: I Got a Golden Ticket (JMT Side Trip Ideas Requested)

Postby maverick » Mon Feb 24, 2014 5:06 pm

Are you looking for side trips in SEKI too, thought you were asking for trips between
Donahue Pass and Muir Trial Ranch?
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Re: I Got a Golden Ticket (JMT Side Trip Ideas Requested)

Postby JWreno » Mon Feb 24, 2014 5:26 pm

vhsvhs wrote:@ JWreno - My other suggestion is an alternate to Bear Ridge/Bear Creek. Instead, follow the trail east up Mono Creek, go cross-country up the Second Recess, over Gabbott Pass (easy class 2), and then descend past Lake Italy to return to the JMT on Bear Creek. This route would add 1-2 extra days, but you would get to see a beautiful part of the Sierra crest that most JMT/PCT hikers totally miss.

Whatever you decide, I'm sure it will be grand. Cheers.


I think the Mono Creek, Second Recess, Gabbot Pass, Lake Italy idea looks great. I have been on Bear Ridge 3 times and it is not the most exciting part of the JMT. You gain a lot of elevation out of Mono creek without much viewing reward and just give much of it back up going down to Bear Creek. Doing another 12000+ pass with a lot of vistas sounds like a good adventure. I will look for more references in this area for route planning. It looks like Second Recess to Lower and Upper Mills Creek Lakes and then to Gabbot Pass. Do you recommend returning the the trail that starts on the south shoreline of Lake Italy and travels west down the Hilgard Branch?

This section is a good time to extend the trip. It is an easy resupply from Red's to MTR so adding a few days extra in this area makes sense. The views just west of the crest in the Gabbot Pass area should be great. It also should be a lower foot traffic change of pace compared to the JMT.

Going off route also means slowing down since you have to spend more time confirming your alternative route. I will bring my GPS for this area and also the Ionian basin area. I just leave it off for the days on the main trail. I will sketch in a route on my topo software and print out the detailed map with the desired route. I like to have paper to give me the bigger picture when looking at a track on the GPS.

Has anyone ever published a complete field verified GPS track of Steve Roper's Sierra High Route? It would really reduce the challenge of the trip. We took two days to go from Thousand Isle Lake to over Blue Lake pass because of the route finding difficulty based on his written description of landmarks. I don't know if my wife would go with me but I would like to do the whole SHR in one trip with my adult son before I am too old. It may have to wait until I retire though. My wife could be the friendly food resupply helper. Sat phones should be more practical in another 10 years.
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Re: I Got a Golden Ticket (JMT Side Trip Ideas Requested)

Postby oldranger » Mon Feb 24, 2014 6:19 pm

GPS?

Geeze the tough parts are all pretty dramatic and above tree line and pretty easy to figure out the right route. That is not to say it is easy travel but following somebody else's gps tracks just means you will make the same mistakes. Your reading of the terrain is the critical part of off trail travel and being willing to make constant adjustments as you actually cover the ground. By the way 7 Gables pass scared the bejesus out of me last summer as markskor and I negotiated the cornice going from s to n. I was convinced that my good friend maverick was intent on getting me killed when he said it was doable for even a couple of old farts.:angry:

Mike
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Re: I Got a Golden Ticket (JMT Side Trip Ideas Requested)

Postby maverick » Mon Feb 24, 2014 6:24 pm

Oldranger wrote:
I was convinced that my good friend maverick was intent on getting me killed when
he said it was doable for even a couple of old farts.


You all made it did you not, as I knew you would. You underestimate you abilities
OR, you are still capable of doing such passes, now whether you want to, or not, is
a different question. :D
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
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