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Long Dayhikes this Mid-July to Mid-August

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Long Dayhikes this Mid-July to Mid-August

Postby seanr » Wed Jul 16, 2014 3:34 pm

Hi all! I'm looking for help narrowing my search for new dayhikes for this summer to research.  My ideal hikes are in the 5-20 mile range with 1,000-6,000 feet of gain and some peakbagging involved, but I am a little crazy ;) and capable of more.  I prefer some challenging class 1- partial class 2 to get away from crowds and don't mind a bit of easy class 3, but am capable of difficult class 3-low 4 in an emergency. It's mostly getting to be the wrong season for it, but I can carry microspikes and have some year round Sierra experience. I do use trekking poles, but no axe nor crampons as of yet.  Loop hikes are only slightly preferred to out and back.  Pick up at a nearby trailhead is possible, but not ideal. I am much more likely to hit the trail early around dawn if dispersed or non-reserved paid truck camping is available at or quickly walkable from the trailhead. Scenic campspots above lower elevation heat, with some partial shade, and with some privacy available are preferred. Lack of paved road-mild 4x4 is OK.  I need my tough/capable trail dogs to be allowed on at least some of the hikes from a road camping area, but I can wear them out enough on the first hike to have them reluctantly skip one/some later.  Some peakbagging, stunning scenery, above the heat, and frequent water sources are preferred.  Wildflowers are a nice bonus.  We can deal with skeeters. Availability of some nearby family hikes (half day or less, 1-6 miles without huge gain) and swimming nearby for young kids is ideal.

  I'm nearing forty and am in great shape.  For several years now, I carry a SPOT and items needed for emergency overnight, but have never put them through emergency use.  I self rescued from a broken ankle near the Incredible Hulk/Maltby/Little Slide Canyon, gaining some experience and additional caution in the process.

I just got back from a long trip to Twin Lakes (Bridgeport), North Lake and South Lake.  I hiked and enjoyed Saddlebag area and Tioga Pass area a lot in recent years.  Agassiz was fun, but Lamarck Col.-Darwin Bench-Lamarck Peak-higher ridge to the north, Piute Pass-Goethe Lake area, Matterhorn Peak, and Kettle Peak via Little Slide Canyon were less crowded and/or slightly more stunning approach hikes.

Eastside, I have visited, but have not experienced hiking from Onion Valley nor Convict Lake area.  I also haven't hiked from Mammoth/June Lake, nor Whitney Portal, but am somewhat wary of the summer crowds and red tape.  I've only hiked Virginia-Green Creek area once, but have been to Lee Vining-Bridgeport area a lot recent years. I haven't done the lower Eastside trailheads, but am skeptical of trying them in summer heat.  I have not hiked HWY 4 area, but am skeptical hikes there would wow me as much as other areas and figure it can wait.  I have dayhiked and/or truck camped most of the rest of the Sierra on both sides driving from Pacheco Pass (HWY 152) or Altamont (I-580), the latter more for fall, winter, and spring trips.  Westside, several times I have hiked Kaiser Pass-Kaiser Wilderness-Florence area, Dinkey Lakes-Courtright area, and Norris TH-Madera Peak area, and Jennie Lakes area, but could push deeper to Mt. Hooper area, hike from Edison, push east from Courtright/Wishon, or dayhike from Isberg TH/Granite Creek area.  Maybe the Westside hikes can wait for long weekends or off peak season rather than when I have 6-10 day summer chunks of time to possibly work with?  Besides backpacking, what might wow me the most, or what hikes come to mind that I am not thinking of?  Thanks, and and I will put up some more pics/reports/tips soon in return.



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Re: Long Dayhikes this Mid-July to Mid-August

Postby giantbrookie » Wed Jul 16, 2014 4:41 pm

You have a lot to choose from. Here is just a sampling (kinda N-S).
1. Highland Peak S of Ebbetts Pass. A lot to like about this hike. This peak is a very prominent landmark.Class 2.
2. Leavitt Peak from Sonora Pass. This is the highest peak in the Sonora Pass area. Class 1.
3. Matterhorn Pk as dayhike from Twin Lakes. This is about 5200' of gain. Class 2 with easiest route. Some crummy treadmill scree on the final slog.
4. Mt Conness from Saddlebag Lake. Class 2 with optimal route finding. The std route is rated class 2 but this is the most exposed "traditional" class 2 climb I know of on the summit knife edge.
6. Mt. Gibbs from Dana Meadow (I'd presume you've already done Dana, and that one wouldn't be a "long" dayhike). Class 1.
7. Mt Morrison or Baldwin from Convict Lake. Class 2, but some route finding skill is necessary. With mistakes this can get into loose metamorphic class 3. Morrison is about 4700' gain from Convict L. and Baldwin is about 5000'.
8. Mt Morgan (the higher one) from Little Lakes Valley. Class 2.
9. Three Sisters from Dinkey Lakes trailhead. Class 1-2.
10. Spanish Mtn. from Crown Valley. Very long distance. Class 1-2.
11. Mt Silliman (class 2) from Lodgepole
12. Alta Peak (class 1) from Wolverton
13. Mt Tom from Horton Creek. This is close to 6k elevation gain. It is listed as class 1-2, however the easiest route finishes with loose, cruddy class 2 scree chutes. Avoiding this can get you into more pleasant or hairy metamorphic class 3, depending on one's taste.
14. Mt Goode from South L. rated class 1 but really class 2 from the Bishop Pass trail. If you've done Agassiz, this is physically easier, of course, because it's lower.
15. Kearsarge Pk from Onion Valley
16. Mt Langley from Horseshoe Mdw (via New Army Pass is best): class 1 but a fairly long hike with >4k elevation gain.
Since my fishing (etc.) website is still down, you can be distracted by geology stuff at: http://www.fresnostate.edu/csm/ees/facu ... ayshi.html
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Re: Long Dayhikes this Mid-July to Mid-August

Postby paul » Wed Jul 16, 2014 4:54 pm

One Idea - Horseshoe Meadows. Shorter from there - Cottonwood lakes/South Fork Lakes. Longer from there - Miter Basin Via Cottowood Pass or New Army Pass (or even Old Army Pass).

Also - Mt Tyndall And/or Williamson Via Shepherd Pass if you really want to grind it out.

From Onion Valley - over Kearsarge to Mt. Bago (above Sharlotte Lake). Looks like easy XC on the map and views ought to be great.

Maybe Mt. Tinemaha via Red Lake Trail.

Bench Lake Via Taboose Pass; and if you want to max it out climb Cardinal Mtn. on the way or go to Pinchot Pass as well.

Whitney - if you can be flexible, wait for a good weather window in October and do it then to skip the big crowds. But only when the forecast is perfect.
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Re: Long Dayhikes this Mid-July to Mid-August

Postby seanr » Wed Jul 16, 2014 6:08 pm

Wow, good and long lists! Thanks! Sorry that in my long post it got somewhat lost that I'm mainly looking for inspiration to drive and arrange nearly a week of fun/outstanding family camping (with a few somewhat uncrowded solo dayhikes for me--some with dogs) all the way down to Onion Valley area, Convict Lake area, or some other new area I haven't already hiked. Horseshoe wouldn't be horrible to return to, but Rock Creek probably is better to return off season or when construction is over. I haven't done Pine Creek either, but seems a bit off of what is my ideal family situation. I can realistically do about 3 long hikes my first trip and 2-5 my second trip depending on how long I actually end up being able to leave home for. I somewhat prefer to change pleasant roadside base camps once at most per trip. Permits, crowds, national parks, required bus shuttles, and reservations will ideally be largely avoided. Westside is closer, but I've been a lot in recent years and will mostly avoid Yosemite and SEKI until my dogs are gone. Due to recent exposure, I'm also mostly trying to avoid anything from Tioga Pass north with the possible exception of HWY 4 if I can be convinced to spend 6 + nights around there. Sierra NF trailheads could work, but I've done many of the short to medium ones with outstanding high peaks and scenery. Edison and east of Courtright, Wishon, and Florence would be new to me. However, I can check those out in September if I go elsewhere in mid-summer.

Still, several good suggestions to look up while short on research time. Thanks again!
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Re: Long Dayhikes this Mid-July to Mid-August

Postby rams » Thu Jul 17, 2014 12:18 am

Some of my favorite views in the Mammoth area (or what I'd consider the Mammoth area) are from Red Slate Mountain, which can be approached from Convict or McGee Canyon. Both areas will have campgrounds nearby and really cool-looking colors/patterns of rocks. They'll both pass by lakes as well. I think Convict is a bit more scenic, but McGee is less of a pain.

My other Mammoth area favorite is Volcanic Ridge. That'll put you with crowds for a bit, but you'll lose them as soon as you leave the trail (at least I did). The view of the Minarets is as in-your-face as it gets. You can make it a loop by using a shuttle between Devil's Postpile and Agnew Meadow. If you want to skip the shuttle and do an out-and-back, just decide if you think Minaret Lake or Lake Ediza looks more scenic and go in that direction.

EDIT TO ADD: If you do Volcanic Ridge, be sure to get in early and stay late to avoid having to ride a bus to your trailhead or pay fees. You'll be close to a national monument but not technically inside of it unless you park at Devil's Postpile to hike to Minaret Lake. Again, though, the crowds disappear the minute you leave the trail.

Family stuff (less than 6 miles in your post) could be found on the Duck Pass trail. Just keep hiking by a string of lakes until you feel like stopping. If you go 5 miles or so, you'll hit a viewpoint of Duck Lake. If you decide you want to continue for some more strenuous peakbagging, Duck Lake Peak will be above and slightly to the left of Duck Lake as you look from Duck Pass. That has awesome views as well. Alternatively, you could do Pika Peak, which is the more prominent peak just above Duck Lake and pretty much straight ahead from Duck Pass.
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Re: Long Dayhikes this Mid-July to Mid-August

Postby seanr » Thu Jul 17, 2014 6:19 pm

Thanks! I'm already on my mid July trip. The thunderstorms have grown more severe and widespread compared to my early July trip. It was convenient to sleep and do a family hike from Saddlebag Lake to start things off, and now the thunderstorms and forecasts dictate going south to around Lone Pine area until Sunday evening or Monday morning. Maybe I can snag a good base camp at the end of the weekend for hikes the last part of the trip in the Mammoth-Convict area early next week. Partly due to weather, I'm probably heading up to Horseshoe right now for one hike....gotta decide still what to try Sat. or Sun. It will be nice to research my August trip more in advance, but just showing up somewhere that sounds like the best idea at the time is fun too.
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Re: Long Dayhikes this Mid-July to Mid-August

Postby endlessbummer » Fri Jul 18, 2014 4:32 pm

seanr is legit

Carne_delMuerto, theGecko and I witnessed him first hand do this day hike:

North Lake
Lamarck Col
Darwin Bench
Hang out and talk with us at Darwin Lakes
Mt Lamarck
North Lake

Day hike! So load him up with something big.

What about Emigrant Wilderness hike from Crabtree out to the granite slabs around Cherry Creek and Big Lake. That is about a 20-30 miler right, over much easier terrain than Darwin Lakes etc. There are really cool cascades around there. We saw a couple bald eagles up there too. Check it out seanr.

Oh by the way, Alpine Col sucks.

The Col itself is OK, but the long talus slog on either side of it is for the birds, especially on Goethe Lakes. Nice views though.
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Re: Long Dayhikes this Mid-July to Mid-August

Postby rlown » Fri Jul 18, 2014 4:39 pm

endlessbummer wrote:Oh by the way, Alpine Col sucks.

The Col itself is OK, but the long talus slog on either side of it is for the birds, especially on Goethe Lakes. Nice views though.


:D

Yeah, on my last trip i looked at that as a way to the "backside" of Goethe. It looked like it sucked from a mile a way.

Nice comment! Welcome to the HST!
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Re: Long Dayhikes this Mid-July to Mid-August

Postby Jimr » Fri Jul 18, 2014 5:05 pm

+++1 on the East side of Goethe lake talus sucks out loud. 3 1/2 hours to get past that lake.
P8180337.JPG
What?!
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Re: Long Dayhikes this Mid-July to Mid-August

Postby seanr » Sat Jul 19, 2014 9:03 am

endlessbummer wrote:seanr is legit

Carne_delMuerto, theGecko and I witnessed him first hand do this day hike:

North Lake
Lamarck Col
Darwin Bench
Hang out and talk with us at Darwin Lakes
Mt Lamarck
North Lake

Day hike! So load him up with something big.

What about Emigrant Wilderness hike from Crabtree out to the granite slabs around Cherry Creek and Big Lake. That is about a 20-30 miler right, over much easier terrain than Darwin Lakes etc. There are really cool cascades around there. We saw a couple bald eagles up there too. Check it out seanr.

Oh by the way, Alpine Col sucks.

The Col itself is OK, but the long talus slog on either side of it is for the birds, especially on Goethe Lakes. Nice views though.


Ha! I tought I saw your buddy, carne, post a mosquito report from your trip. Being that I saw nobody else that entire day, I figured it was one of you. That became a 16 hour hike with lots of taking in views from Darwin Bench, and then tagging about five crags or talus piles on the ridge above Lamarck Peak before pulling out my map and realizing that Lamarck Peak is lower than the ridge high points. I scrambled down Lamarck Peak bypassing the Col on the way back. Yeah, that Alpine Col. probably would have been hellish in the late afternoon if I had gone for it with no research.

Legit...did you hear that a couple weeks before us, a guy did the entire Evolution Traverse via Lamarck Col and Darwin Bench in under 24 hours!?! He almost missed the one day cut by getting lost in the dark going back up to Lamarck Col. Maybe he should have cut up early to do the peak on the way back like me.

Anyway, I do see backpacking in my future and for my family as well, so maybe we ought to keep in touch.
.
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I found a place to basecamp at Onion Valley! I think this area will give me plenty to do for the rest of this trip. I did Langley yesterday after several years away. Could be much worse scenery, but not nearly as scenic as North Lake, Matterhorn, and Saddlebag hikes. Whitney area looked meh as well. The snow is already pretty much gone in these drought conditions.

Anyway, for August and beyond, lower Emigrant would be new to me. HWY 4 would be new and Highland Peak has long been on my radar. Desolation and the areas right on Tahoe have been avoided due to crowds/busy feeling. Like I mentioned, deep Sierra NF east of the reservoirs would be new. Mammoth and Convict area would be new. I''ve been most other Sierra places dayhikeable in the short to medium range, but certainly have not been up every peak or trail or lake in every area.

I pick up good tips from all you backpackers and peakbaggers here from your short to medium trips and good ideas from mountain pages on summitpost.

Mostly I enjoy great views and hikes without lots of boring stretches. I am willing to go long and afar if the scenery is worth it, but shorter stuff is good to. Not everyday can be an all day hike at this stage of my life with family. My wife is hinting she would like to backpack, so that will be coming in the future.

Thanks again! I''ll have time to research more myself for upcoming trips, but any more tips are welcome!
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