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Barrett Ck and Waterfall Gorge TR 7/13-7/18

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Barrett Ck and Waterfall Gorge TR 7/13-7/18

Postby hurricaniac » Sat Aug 30, 2014 3:43 pm

Thought I'd contribute a report of a route that I have wondered about, but not hiked until this summer.

We came in over Bishop Pass, then XC thru Dusy Basin and Knapsack Pass to Barrett Lakes. From there, we descended Barrett Ck. easily to the 10,000' level, zigzagging across the creek to avoid the ledges and small cliffs. At the 9500' level, we stayed to the N. of the creek and encountered the usual thick buckthorn and brush all the way down to Palisade Ck and the JMT. Not fun thrashing thru that stuff; the fire that had been thru there yrs before probably had made it worse.

After camping at the confluence of Palisade Ck. and MF Kings, we took a day hike down Waterfall Gorge on the MF Kings to see the canyon. This is what all the world-class kayakers now rave about on their multi-day expedition down thru Tehipite. It's a very worthwhile side trip if you like spectacular canyon scenery, beautiful cascades, emerald pools and hydrology. The NPS trail crew was doing extensive blasting and reworking of the trail thru some large rockslide areas, but other than a couple of bad sections, the trail is in good shape.

We saw no bears, snakes or large mammals in the gorge, but there is very good fishing for 7-8" goldens in the river. A dry fly fisherman would kill to hit some of those pools.

We exited via JMT/Bishop Pass and DID see several bears foraging in LeConte on our way out.

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Barret Lakes campsite and No. Palisade

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Looking SW. down Barrett Ck., Monarch Divide in distance

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Barrett Ck. at the 10.5k' level

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Looking SW from 10k' level of Barrett Ck to Cataract Ck and Amphitheatre Lk.

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Looking S. from Barrett Ck toward Golden Staircase on JMT

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Looking back up Barrett Ck.

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Looking N., Devils Crags and Brush City

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Devil's Washbowl - the classic 20 footer on the MF Kings

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Happy hiker in the Gorge
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Upstream of the Devils Washbowl



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Re: Barrett Ck and Waterfall Gorge TR 7/13-7/18

Postby giantbrookie » Mon Sep 01, 2014 7:59 pm

Neat report. It's been a long time since I read about someone trying the Barrett Creek descent. The last time it was Mokelumne Kid and according to legend they were cursing my name for recommending the route. When you say "north" side of the creek, do you mean east? This is the side that MK and his wife went down and encountered heinous brush. Whereas I went before the fire (1993 was when I did it with my wife both on descent and ascent), my route was 100 percent west of the creek below about 10500', sticking very close to the creek until a small westerly detour at the lowest waterfall. On the other hand, your photos seem to suggest that you indeed went down the western, rather than the eastern side of the creek. If the western side is pretty thick brush now, then it would seem there is no way down to beat the brush anymore.
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: Barrett Ck and Waterfall Gorge TR 7/13-7/18

Postby hurricaniac » Tue Sep 02, 2014 4:59 pm

giantbrookie wrote:When you say "north" side of the creek, do you mean east? This is the side that MK and his wife went down and encountered heinous brush.


No, I stand corrected: it was the West side of the creek. The brush to the east was almost overhead.

I wouldn't have guessed the fire was way back in 1993. Thanks for your recounting!
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Re: Barrett Ck and Waterfall Gorge TR 7/13-7/18

Postby maverick » Tue Sep 02, 2014 5:12 pm

Very cool report and pictures, the last time I did Barrett Creek, in 2007, it was
an ascent, which was quite fun.
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