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Throw me for a loop.

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Throw me for a loop.

Postby Badman » Wed Apr 23, 2014 6:43 pm

I am a new user of this form, but a long time Sierra visitor. I am hoping to get some ideas for a 4 to 5 day, preferably, loop trip in the southern Sierra at the end of June. We(my adult daughter and I) have lots of experience(technical climbers and mountaineers as well as section hikers) and pretty much anything short of roped climbing is open for us, but I would prefer good trails and long-ish(15-20pd) miles to talus. I realize this year is very dry and would expect lots high trails to be open early. We would also like to avoid long sections of steep snow, but I can't imagine that will be a problem, except in isolated spots. What I am not too sure about is how grim the skeeters will be. We really don't like clouds of the little buzzers.
Thinking.. Cloud Canyon? The Kaweah's? I have not gotten to explore much west of the crest. A little in Mineral King and some of the Domes scattered about.

Suggestions?

Thank you in advance.



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Re: Throw me for a loop.

Postby maverick » Thu Apr 24, 2014 3:18 pm

Hi Badman,

Welcome to HST! So what your asking for is a 80-100 mile loop, from the western side,
and all trail? I know you mentioned no cross-country, but it would make things a little
simpler logistically, unless the two of you really do not mind going 15-20 mile days, each
and every day. June will be the high season for mosquitoes, check our yearly reports for
that same time period from last year: viewtopic.php?f=34&t=9131 Clouds Canyon (Big Wet Meadow can be especially bad).
Here are some loops for example:

Lodgepole-Roaring River-Clouds Canyon>Colby Pass>Kern Canyon>Big Arroyo>Kaweah
Gap>Bearpaw Meadow>Panther Gap>Lodgepole which is almost 100 miles (~98 miles),
you would have to do 20 miles per day.

Roads End>Avalanche Pass>Clouds Canyon>Colby Pass>Upper Kern>Forester Pass>Vidette
Meadow>Bubbs Creek>Roads End is 84 miles, which puts you at almost 17 miles per day.

Roads End>Paradise Valley>Woods Creek>Pinchot Pass>Upper Basin>Mather Pass>Palisades
Lakes>Devils Washbowl>Simpson Meadow>Granite Pass>Upper Tent Meadow>Roads End
at about 73 miles, but this involves two major passes, and a very big climb from Simpson
Meadow.

Having to do all trail makes you loop around prime sections and also adds on a lot of
travel mileage. There are shorter loops: like the Mineral King big loop (~47 miles) which
includes 9 Lakes Basin and Redwood Meadow Grove, or the Rae Lakes Loop at about
42 miles, but great areas like 60 Lakes Basin and Gardiner Basin could be included.
You could add on another give or take 24 miles by adding one of these variations with
cross-country: Forester Pass>Upper Kern>Harrison Pass>Lake Reflection>East Lake, and
use Bubbs Creek to head out or from Lake Reflection go Longley Pass>Sphinx Lakes>
Avalanche Pass>Bubbs Creek>Roads End. The higher altitude sections and northern
facing section you may still have snow, but as you mention you have experience, and
will have to make a decision from TR's and info gathered from other sources on how
much you want to take on.
Check the PCTA hiker logs to get some insight on the conditions along the PCT/JMT, and
also check any new/old TR's here, and other sites, for info related to the areas you may
decide on.
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: Throw me for a loop.

Postby Badman » Thu Apr 24, 2014 6:52 pm

Thank you for the great reply. We are not opposed to off trail travel and do not mind 15 mile days at all. Just wanted to let responders know we are pretty skilled and looking for area's with less skeeters. My daughter and I did the JMT five years ago and my wife and I will be doing a section of the pct north in August through the Sierra. I have never been into the Kaweah's or south of there. Do you think Mineral King to the Kaweah area would be enjoyable? Or would we feel like human pin cushions in the meadows then post hole to our knees over the passes? My last experience in the SEKI area in late June was climbing the Oblisk in 1979 or Charlotte Dome in Early July 1980 and I don't remember the mosquito level.
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Re: Throw me for a loop.

Postby maverick » Thu Apr 24, 2014 7:18 pm

Badman wrote:
Do you think Mineral King to the Kaweah area would be enjoyable? Or would we feel
like human pin cushions in the meadows then post hole to our knees over the passes?


Yes, it would be a wonderful trip. Mosquito density changes from year to year, and
varies from area to area too, except for places like Big Wet Meadow, so it is hard to predict.
This might give you some new ideas on how to deal with them blood suckers: viewtopic.php?f=15&t=7828&hilit=mosquito
The snow conditions should not be bad, timing your passes with snow so it not to hard,
nor to soft, makes for an ideal situation. We have some TR's to the area which you
can find using the search feature at the top of the page.
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: Throw me for a loop.

Postby Saltydog » Fri Apr 25, 2014 8:03 am

Badman: Here's a loop that exactly fits your description and one I am looking at. A variation on the High Sierra Trail. HST as far as Junction Meadow, then turn west toward Colby pass. Leave the trail at Gallat Lake and return over Pants Pass to Nine Lakes Basin to Kaweah Gap.

For a little more remote country, I am also looking at HST to Lone Pine Creek, then north over Elizabeth, Down Deadman Canyon, then south up Cloud and and over Colby, back down to the Kern-Kaweah headwaters, then west over Pants Pass as above.

Or a variation upPicket gurad rather than Pants: http://www.markscheeff.com/etc/travels/ ... king_2005/

Not sure of the mileage yet, but at 20+ miles per day, you I think you could skip Pants Pass, and do the whole loop: go to Junction Meadow off of Colby, and take the HST all the way back. I don't think its recommended in the other direction due to the difficult of the southern ascent of Colby, but its doable in that direction, too, and you would hit the more remote section later in the trip.
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