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Trail or Xcountry Pass

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Trail or Xcountry Pass

Postby tlsharb » Mon Jun 02, 2014 12:27 pm

Greetings, First time poster. A little background: I grew up in the shadow of the Sierra (just outside of Fresno), and spent my teens and twenties backpacking every chance I had. Moved to the Northeast about 30 years ago, and now spend my off days climbing the White Mtns. Last year I made a journey back to California with my brother, son, and son-in-law. We headed into Red Mountain basin for a week of fishing and bagging a couple peaks (Red Mtn and Hutton). Unbelievably beautiful trip. This year I'd like to do it again with an addition-- I really want to climb Goddard. I first saw that mountain when I was 14 standing on the Leconte Divide, and 46 years later I'd still like to get on top of that thing.
So here's the questions;
1. Three of us are planning the trip in mid-August. Two are pretty comfortable with class 2/3 climbing; one maybe not as much. So there are two ways from the basin to Martha Lake-- the trail over Hell-for-Sure, or head up over Hutton Pass (or Lucifer's Saddle) and then over Gunsight Pass and drop down to the lake. I'd rather do the cross country, but worry a little about one of our gang (he's in good shape and steady hiker, just not sure he's done the steep talus thing).
2. Getting back to Courtright from Martha Lake. Same issue-- I'd like to head over Valor and Blackcap Passes, then down to the Kings. Good idea, or not?
I know it is hard to give input when you don't know the players, but give me your best wisdom.
thanks, terry



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Re: Trail or Xcountry Pass

Postby maverick » Mon Jun 02, 2014 12:40 pm

Hi Terry,

Welcome to HST! Please read and give us a little more info about yourself and
your partners: viewtopic.php?f=1&t=4205
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: Trail or Xcountry Pass

Postby tlsharb » Mon Jun 02, 2014 1:04 pm

Ok, here goes:

1. All of us are at least level 3; and two could be pushing 4.
2. Terrain: pretty sure eveyone can handle class 2. Class 3 may be a stretch for one.
3. Main interest: well we all love the big mtn. scenery. two of us love to fish. two of us like bagging peaks. If we make it to Martha Lake my guess would be one of the gang would spend the day fishing, and two of us would head up the mtn.
4. The trip: day one from Courtright to Post Corral Cr.(flying from Boston, won't get to Fresno till 1pm); day two into Blackrock Lk; day three peak bagging and fishing; day four over to Martha Lake; day five climb Goddard; days 6-7 back back to the trailhead.

Hope that covers it.
ts
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Re: Trail or Xcountry Pass

Postby maverick » Mon Jun 02, 2014 3:26 pm

Terry wrote:
Terrain: pretty sure everyone can handle class 2. Class 3 may be a stretch for one.


Your trip is doable within your time frame, and also taking your groups experience
levels into consideration. All of the passes, Hutton, Gunsight, and Valor will include
talus (steep in some cases) and some route finding challenges, but nothing dangerous.
Hutton, and especially Valor, are the only passes of the ones listed that you will really
need to take your time finding the correct route, especially the eastern side of Valor, that
has some exposure which can turn into a class 3 route very quickly.
These TR's, with photo's, will allow you to get a visual of the terrain/passes:
viewtopic.php?f=31&t=10717#p81153
http://sierrahiker.home.comcast.net/~si ... index.html
viewtopic.php?f=1&t=9732&p=72971&hilit=valor+pass#p72971
HST= Wilderness Adventurer who knows no bounds, except for their own imagination.

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Re: Trail or Xcountry Pass

Postby RoguePhotonic » Mon Jun 02, 2014 4:50 pm

Do the cross country for sure. The whole set of lakes leading up to Gunsight Pass stuck out as being extremely beautiful for me. One of the highlights of 4 months in the Sierra.

A couple notes is when you climb up from Crabtree Lake there has to be a better way to go than what I took. I was on the North side of the outlet and I climbed straight up steep granite faces. You could compare it to climbing Half Dome with no cables. Steep enough that I went up it but would never consider going down the same thing.

Also as you close in on Gunsight stay to the left. It's a whole mess of talus leading up to the pass but to the far left you can manage to stay on some smooth channels with some grass ramps that bypass allot of talus hoping.
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Re: Trail or Xcountry Pass

Postby tlsharb » Mon Jun 02, 2014 5:46 pm

Thanks guys. When I was a teen we did a trip from Wishon to Blackcap to Devil's Punchbowl. To be honest I have no idea how the Pearl Lake to the Punchbowl happened.We definitely went over Lucifer's Saddle, but how we entered Bench Valley I just don't. My guess would be we went up to Gunsight and across, but possibly we went over Blackcap.
Ts
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Re: Trail or Xcountry Pass

Postby paul » Mon Jun 02, 2014 9:18 pm

I would take the two Lucifers instead of Hutton if I were headed that way.

I would also, if traveling with a friend whose off-trail experience was limited and whose comfort level might be pushed, have a pre-trip conversation about how it's totally cool to ask for help if it seems too tricky for them. If one of the more experienced folks can double back and take the other guy's pack through the tricky part everyone will have a better time. But if you don't discuss it beforehand and get it out in the open then you run a big risk of having someone pushing themself too hard and not being safe, just because they feel they shouldn't ask for help or they feel they are holding everyone else up. Talk about it beforehand when everyone is relaxed and clear-headed.
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Re: Trail or Xcountry Pass

Postby tlsharb » Tue Jun 03, 2014 8:34 am

Paul, I don't think Lucifer's Saddle would be a stretch for anyone-- heck, I did that thing as a teen with about a big Kelty on my back hauling everything but the kitchen sink (oh, how times have changed). I'm most concerned with the east side of Gunsight and Valor. Just don't really know what to expect up there. Your advice is excellent-- one of the guys is real climbing machine -- might make him carry all three packs :nod:
ts
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Re: Trail or Xcountry Pass

Postby RoguePhotonic » Tue Jun 03, 2014 7:29 pm

Dropping off the East side of Gunsight involves zigzagging down a set of small granite shelves that have a loose mess of small talus scattered around. It's nothing too challenging.
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