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Trip Advice: Big Pine to Taboose via the Cirque Crest

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Trip Advice: Big Pine to Taboose via the Cirque Crest

Postby bigpiney » Tue Jul 08, 2014 1:49 pm

I am looking for a little advice on an upcoming trip that I have planned.

Background - I would say that we are level 4 backpacking experience, having done many trips in the past. (An example:Split Mtn from the east down over cirque pass and up Mt sill. Went up Cartridge Creek over Cartridge pass and down the South fork of the Kings(Muro Blanco) about 10 or so years ago. Mt Williamson and then cross country to Lake Tulainyo and over the Russel- Carillon Col)

We are very comfortable with class 2 and have done some easy class 3 as explained.

So this is the plan for our trip:

Day 1: up to Lake Elinor in Big Pine Canyon
Day 2: Over Scimitar Pass, down Glacier Creek and up to Amphitheater Lake
Day 3: Up Cataract Creek Pass, up Observation Peak, over to Marion Lake via Dumbbell Pass
Day 4: up Marion Peak and then down to the south fork of the Kings
Day 5: out over Taboose Pass

We can go into day 6, which we may need to do the more I look at our ambitious itererary.

So I really have 3 questions or problems that need clarification.

1. On Day 2, do we go down Glacier creek or up Cirque pass and down the trail to get to Deer Meadow? I am not sure what the descent of Glacier Creek is like or if it is doable.
2. Our route up Dumbbell - around the west side of lake 11108 and up the chute, around the east side and up the chute, or up the slabs?
3. Marion peak - can we get up the ridge from the lake? and then if we do get up, which is the best way to get down to the South Fork of the Kings. Secor mentions transerving the ridge all the way to Cartridge Pass, but that sounds like a long haul. Any thoughts, or has anyone here done that?

Any help is greatly appreciated



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Re: Trip Advice: Big Pine to Taboose via the Cirque Crest

Postby maverick » Tue Jul 08, 2014 4:18 pm

Hi Bigpiney,

Welcome to HST!

1. On Day 2, do we go down Glacier creek or up Cirque pass and down the trail to
get to Deer Meadow? I am not sure what the descent of Glacier Creek is like or
if it is doable.


Descend the southern side of Glacier Creek, why add another class 3 pass to your
already ambitious route. Scimitar Pass is 13,400+, make sure your group can
handle the elevation, that may be to much elevation on the second day for some
folks, especially without much acclimation.



2. Our route up Dumbbell - around the west side of lake 11108 and up the chute, around
the east side and up the chute, or up the slabs?


Instead of going into any detail read this: viewtopic.php?f=31&t=8065



3. Marion peak - can we get up the ridge from the lake? and then if we do get
up, which is the best way to get down to the South Fork of the Kings. Secor
mentions transerving the ridge all the way to Cartridge Pass, but that sounds
like a long haul. Any thoughts, or has anyone here done that?


Yes, you can ascend up to the northwest ridge by going around Marion Lake
and heading up to the smaller lake south of it and then climb up to the ridge
leading to the Marion Peak (class 2).

You can descend the southern side of the peak down to the small pond and continue
down towards the lake (Class 2), follow the outlet stream (if any) down into the
Muro Blanco.

You mentioned going over Cartridge Pass and then down into the head of the
Muro Blanco, did you go all the way to Paradise Valley?

The section that your descending from (Marion Peak) is some of the nastiest bush
sections of the Muro Blanco, so unless this trip is planned for Sept when the water
levels are low and would allow you to rock hop avoiding some the bush, you should
not expect to get anywhere fast through this section.

Taboose Pass is a long hike from the Muro Blanco, and the descent is even longer,
much better to do it as early in the day as possible to avoid the desert heat.

Would recommend to add 2 days, especially for the middle section of you trip, not
only because of the terrain involved, but also to have the time to soak up some
of the prettiest sections of the Sierra.

You may also consider forgetting the Muro Blanco section and go thru beautiful
Lakes Basin and then go down Cartridge Pass, stay at Bench Lake, and then go out
Taboose the next day with a very early start.
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: Trip Advice: Big Pine to Taboose via the Cirque Crest

Postby Ska-T » Tue Jul 08, 2014 10:15 pm

maverick wrote:You may also consider forgetting the Muro Blanco section and go thru beautiful
Lakes Basin and then go down Cartridge Pass, stay at Bench Lake, and then go out
Taboose

I agree. If you want to bag Marion Peak, do it as a day hike from Lakes Basin. Then backpack out via Cartridge and Taboose passes. If you want something new, since you did Cartridge in the past, then try Vennacher Col.
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Re: Trip Advice: Big Pine to Taboose via the Cirque Crest

Postby bigpiney » Thu Jul 10, 2014 8:51 am

Thank you both, I will look into those and see what my partner says. Very much appreciated.
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Re: Trip Advice: Big Pine to Taboose via the Cirque Crest

Postby bigpiney » Thu Jul 10, 2014 9:02 am

maverick wrote:Hi Bigpiney,

You mentioned going over Cartridge Pass and then down into the head of the
Muro Blanco, did you go all the way to Paradise Valley?


We did. This was over 15 years ago while doing the JMT and we wanted a detour. We went up Cartridge creek and stayed 2 nights in Lake Basin, then went over Cartridge pass and headed down the Muro Blanco all the way to Paradise Valley. It was a rough, rough day, especially with big ol heavy packs, but it was fun. We eventually headed up woods creek and rejoined the JMT.
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Re: Trip Advice: Big Pine to Taboose via the Cirque Crest

Postby maverick » Thu Jul 10, 2014 11:42 am

Since you have already spent time in Lakes Basin you may consider Pete's
Col (class 3) from Marion Lake to the lakes south of Cartridge Pass as an
alternate route to going thru Lakes Basin. HST Map
http://www.flickr.com/photos/roguephoto ... otostream/

PS Might be a good idea to have you physician friend along. :)
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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