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ADVICE: 1st Sierras Trip! North/South Lake Loop + Fishing

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Re: ADVICE: 1st Sierras Trip! Seeking epic 7 day trip in Sept.

Postby seanr » Fri Aug 29, 2014 12:40 pm

I don't have any of the Harrison maps yet, but hear good things about them. I do have the almost indestructible NatGeo maps. The #809 Mammoth Lakes Mono Divide is in my lap for a trip this weekend as I type. It is slightly more detailed at 1 inch = 1 mile than the #205 SEKI map (1 inch = 1.3 miles). Lamarck Col use trail is drawn on the former, but not the latter, but the route is not hard to follow and even has a sign to point you the right way at the key junction between upper and lower Lamarck Lakes. The Col itself is labeled on both maps. If you were doing more x-country travel (or want escape routes to be easier to study), you might appreciate maps with even more detailed scale. You can print some for free from various sources. On the south end of your trip, Mammoth-Mono map has an annoying regulations text box covering Dusy Basin east of Ladder Lake, but it is hard to get lost there and Bishop Pass is labeled. On the north end of your trip, the SEKI map does not cover the entire Piute canyon beyond southern Humphreys Basin if you choose that route all the way to the JMT instead of Lamarck Col, but the lakes abutting the north side of Glacier Divide are included and very scenic. It would be hard to get lost given what is included on the map (the JMT junction is labeled/visible).

Both routes are very scenic. Piute is a much less strenuous and less rugged start than Lamarck-Darwin, but much more likely to feel crowded. North Lake to Piute Pass sometimes has great wildflowers that are likely dried up by now. There are passes you can use to see great parts of both areas that may be more difficult than you want to take on (The Keyhole or Alpine Col.). It is all very scenic, but others know more as I only got around to visiting the backcountry from North Lake for the first time this July.

Edit for additional info.:

On either end of your trip, I have seen recent trip reports and threads including information on fishing in Dusy Basin as well as Humphreys Basin. The latter you might not visit, but fishing sounded good there. You may want to spend more time farther from the trailhead than doddling in Humphreys, but it is a scenic area.

Keep an eye on what this guy says about weather: http://mammothweather.com/howards-forecast/



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Re: ADVICE: 1st Sierras Trip! Seeking epic 7 day trip in Sept.

Postby amarajune » Sat Aug 30, 2014 5:29 pm

Great! Got my map today. Thanks for the help. Will check some threads and see if I can find more about the fishing. I have a brand new 6 piece that needs broken in!
And thanks for the great link for the weather!

Also got new bear spray as mine was expired. :) Any word on bear activity in this area in mid-Sept?

Anyone else? Great lakes to fish, (or not fish?) along the North Lake/South Lake route?

Thanks! Getting so excited for our first tromp in the Sierras!! Permit secured. :D
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Re: ADVICE: 1st Sierras Trip! North/South Lake Loop + Fishing

Postby rlown » Sat Aug 30, 2014 5:35 pm

You don't really need the bear spray as long as you keep a clean camp and use a bear can.
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Re: ADVICE: 1st Sierras Trip! North/South Lake Loop + Fishing

Postby Herm » Sat Aug 30, 2014 10:17 pm

I second what rlown says
rlown wrote:You don't really need the bear spray as long as you keep a clean camp and use a bear can.


Don't be afraid of the wildlife, be aware of it.

And finally, if you use the search function, there is a wealth of information to be found in many threads.

Enjoy your time if you visit Humphreys Basin - it is a magical place.

Herm
I am not in a hurry, so don't be hasty.
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Re: ADVICE: 1st Sierras Trip! North/South Lake Loop + Fishing

Postby amarajune » Sat Aug 30, 2014 11:01 pm

Thanks all! I'll do some searching on the lakes along the hike and see what I can learn about the fishing!

Not at all afraid of wildlife, done LOTS of traveling in bear country, (AK, MT, WY) but I do think it's wise to be prepared to best ward off any unpleasant encounters should they occur, for the best outcome for all involved. We also have a canister and will be keeping a clean camp. Just wanted to know if they're curious of bothersome or if they're even active in that area as I've never been there. :)

Thanks again to everyone who helped give some direction on our trip. T minus 7 days til' we hit the trailhead! :D
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Re: ADVICE: 1st Sierras Trip! North/South Lake Loop + Fishing

Postby cloudlesssky » Sun Aug 31, 2014 9:02 am

We did the classic N-S Lake Loop in July 2013. Definitely an awesome hike that covers many Sierra highlights.

viewtopic.php?f=1&t=9703

We stuck to the trail for the entire route. I didn't find the number of hikers we encountered too bothersome, but that's a personal thing. The trail intersections and pass summits generally had a few people lingering, but no camping near people or difficulty finding camping spots.

I didn't bring a pole, but my brother pulled out fish just about everywhere he dropped a line along the trail. Nothing remarkable though.

Water shouldn't be an issue if you stick to the trail. It follows good flows the entire route.

As for bears, I agree with other comments. Just keep the campsite clean and cannister located at night so they can play with it if they want to (ie away from camp). I put reflective tape on mine so I can find it when they're done having fun.
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Re: ADVICE: 1st Sierras Trip! North/South Lake Loop + Fishing

Postby rlown » Sun Aug 31, 2014 9:23 am

amarajune wrote:Not at all afraid of wildlife, done LOTS of traveling in bear country, (AK, MT, WY) but I do think it's wise to be prepared to best ward off any unpleasant encounters should they occur, for the best outcome for all involved. We also have a canister and will be keeping a clean camp. Just wanted to know if they're curious of bothersome or if they're even active in that area as I've never been there. :)


These are black bears here so its a bit different than a brown bear or a Griz. The bears up there aren't bothersome.

I hope you have a can of Marmot spray, because they'll give you more problems than the bears will. :) ;)

If you camp near their "rock", they will check out your gear and gnaw on anything salty, like shoelaces, trekking pole handles, etc...
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Re: ADVICE: 1st Sierras Trip! North/South Lake Loop + Fishing

Postby Jimr » Sun Aug 31, 2014 6:27 pm

The black bears in the states you mentioned are much more aggressive than those you find in the Sierra. As of a couple of weeks ago, they were quite active in the North lake, South lake area and I could see why. Once we hit 10k, the wild currants were fully ripe and plentiful. Below 10k, they were spent with dried berries all over the trail.
What?!
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Re: ADVICE: 1st Sierras Trip! North/South Lake Loop + Fishing

Postby Wandering Daisy » Mon Sep 01, 2014 8:38 am

The North Lake -South Lake loop is popular and likely to still have quite a few other people once you get to the trail. The Lemark Col version is is also a popular route for climbers. So do not expect solitude on the trail. You can camp half mile or so off the trail and get away from others when camping. As a side trip, day-hike, from Dusy Basin to Barrett Lakes via Knapsack Col - it is well worth it. Great views of the Palisades.

I read your post as meaning you have done class 3 off-trail in other places than the Sierra but this is your first backpack in the Sierra. Be cautious of class 2-3 particularly as stated in Secor's guide. It is my experience that the Sierra ratings are stiffer than other places. A Sierra class 2 pass can be more like a class 3 pass in other ranges. Remember that the ratings are based on climbing with a day pack, not hauling a backpack. That said, Lamark is pretty easy as long as you stay on the correct route.
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