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Forester Pass vs HST

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Forester Pass vs HST

Postby coneill » Wed Feb 26, 2014 10:24 am

My family is planning to complete a thru-hike of the JMT this year. We've hiked every stretch except Kearsarge Lakes to Whitney. My question is this: What is the exposure like on that stretch of trail? Specifically, how does it compare to stretches of the HST, like Hamilton Lakes to Bearpaw (lower route)? My family did not like the cliff-like edges on the trail, sometimes with 100's of feet of exposure, for multiple miles.

Any info would help. Thanks!
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Re: Forester Pass vs HST

Postby maverick » Wed Feb 26, 2014 10:54 am

Yes, both Forester and Whitney could be a problem, here are a few pictures of the
area, but you can find many more on the web. Hiked with friends who was also
freaked about that section on the HST, and they really did not like Forester.
Forester: http://www.catchafallingstar.com/jmt/foresterpass6.jpg
Whitney Crest trail: http://www.catchafallingstar.com/jmt/trailcrest5.jpg
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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Re: Forester Pass vs HST

Postby Rockyroad » Wed Feb 26, 2014 11:22 am

I hiked from Kearsarge to Whitney last year but I haven't done Hamilton Lake to Bearpaw so can't compare. However, in my opinion, the Forester photos make the trail look more ominous than they really were. I was also apprehensive of this section but found the trail to be solid, at least 4 feet wide, and you get to the bottom fairly quickly. The trail to Whitney, however, had some narrow sections with loose rocks that I could see being a problem to some. Good luck on your trip!
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Re: Forester Pass vs HST

Postby Mike M. » Wed Feb 26, 2014 2:08 pm

In my opinion, the Forester Pass trail is exceptionally well designed and maintained, with no real exposure unless you stray from the trail. Class 1 all the way, for sure. That is not to minimize the psychological fear some might have -- the idea of possible exposure if for some reason you left the trail and lost your footing.

The same is true of the trial up to Trail Crest and then to the summit of Whitney. If you were comfortable with Glen Pass, you should have no problem with either of the above trail sections.

On the other hand, the trail down from Trail Crest, going east to Whitney Portal, can be scary for some. Cable handrails have been installed in some sections to help. With so little snow this year, even these sections should be fine.

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Re: Forester Pass vs HST

Postby coneill » Wed Feb 26, 2014 2:34 pm

We have done Glenn Pass several times with the kids, even when the snow field was still in place, and though it was not fun for the entire family, it was no problem.

What we, and my wife in particular, did not like about coming down from Kaweah Gap, through Hamilton, then on to Bearpaw, was the constant dropoff, in some case for 1+ miles, on one side of the trail, even when the trail was quite narrow.

I really appreciate what everyone is sharing!
"You have the ability to move mountains. You can bend rivers. But when I get home, the only thing I have power over, is the garbage." - Bob Ross

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Re: Forester Pass vs HST

Postby DoyleWDonehoo » Wed Feb 26, 2014 6:39 pm

Of all the passes and trails mentioned, only Glenn Pass at first seems a bit crazy, and even then is not all that. Forrester was over and done quickly for me, and no big deal. The High Sierra Trail has its moments but perfectly save for a sober person. A genuinely phobic person (acrophobia) would have problems, and I saw one phobic guy freaking out on the trail between Sonora Pass and Kennedy Canyon. But every heavily maintained trail I have ever been on was perfectly safe if you don't do something patently stupid.
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Re: Forester Pass vs HST

Postby Rockyroad » Wed Feb 26, 2014 8:22 pm

I'd agree that Forester Pass is tamer than Glen Pass, but I didn't think Glen Pass was a big deal either. Perhaps I was distracted by the magnificent views!

There are just a few sections towards the Whitney summit where I think hikers need to be especially alert. But you have the advantage of not carrying your backpacks here so should have better balance and confidence.

Image
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