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Adventures With Rogue Photonic 2014 July 8-August 12

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Re: Adventures With Rogue Photonic 2014 July 8-August 12

Postby texan » Sat Sep 27, 2014 8:31 am

ThesE Trail Reports are excellent. I like the pic of Sandpiper Lake. Thanks for sharing.

Texan



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Re: Adventures With Rogue Photonic 2014 July 8-August 12

Postby SSSdave » Sat Sep 27, 2014 8:34 am

Thanks Mike for taking the time to create your interesting report.

AM >>>"The prospect of climbing up Merriam and then down and then having to climb up to LaSalle col did not sound fun so I skipped out on Merriam. I got back to my pack in short order and looked up to see my beast. LaSalle Col. Very little is known about it and so I ventured as a true explorer. It was the most obvious and best route to Vee Lake so mileage wise I had little to cover. I made my way higher and higher going through mostly Class 2 terrain. But, as the day got later the clouds built stronger and stronger. The sky was downright ominous as I approached the pass...and sure enough it drizzled literally the moment I made the top! I quickly realized that I had just come up the easy side of the pass and I was staring straight down a bunch of cliffs! Wow... I was not expecting this at all and with impending weather my nerves were on edge. I quickly located some ledges to get down and started following them and hoping no dead ends presented themselves. Sure enough though.. one did and I was faced with a decision... Attempt to backtrack or downclimb a 30-40 foot cliff face. I picked the downclimb which was not the best of ideas as I actually lost the foot hold and slid down the entire face and thankfully landed directly on my feet... Eventually I made my way to the massive boulder field at the bottom which took an enormous amount of time to get through. Finally I was tramping through fairly level terrain to Vee Lake. The terrain was beautiful, but I was tired. I looked back at LaSalle col and definitely said I would never want to do it again. It wasn't technically challenging just very long and steep... I remember one of the first things I said to them was that Secor must be out of his mind to think LaSalle Col was only Class 2!"

Mike, from your description, you obviously went over this saddle on link below (cross hairs)and not La Salle Col which is due north of the "L" in La Salle Lake. As you can see the north side of the saddle south of Gruff Lake is indeed steep like you described. The north side of the saddle south of Den Lake aka La Salle is easy. We've been up on the side of that peak in order to watch last light on the big pinnacles of Feather Peak.

http://mapper.acme.com/?ll=37.31001,-118.79448&z=15&t=T

AM >>>"Soon we got to the end of the supposed Class 2 ridge to the summit. As usual we were cursing at Secor for an incomplete route description. We soon found ourselves on very annoying Class 3 into Class 4 rock. It wasn't long until we were in another stupid chute. I was about 40 foot below Rogue and off to the side. He climbed up on a rock and declared "this is one of those moments when you have to trust the rock and it is either going to hold or kill you". And sure enough just as he stepped off it the boulder came crashing down the chute! It took both his camera and water bottle with it. Fortunately both survived. The camera was a bit dented still completely functional. As we climbed higher the rock kept getting harder and harder. We found ourselves at a position where the moves went from Class 4 to Class 5. Rogue did a friction move that was easily in the 5.5 range and I said no way to that. I looked for a different route only to find I had one other option which was to say not much better. It was another friction type climb with decent exposure. I climbed up it and got to the top. My adrenaline was pumping harder than ever. That was by far the sketchiest climbing I had ever done at that point. "

Secor "Northeast Ridge:Class 3. Keep to the southern side of this ridge while climbing it from Gabbot Pass" So is not class 2.

An experienced person that bothers to look at the topo map for a class 2 route would not choose to climb Mt. Gabb via the NE ridge from Gabbot Pass. Map shows the crux below the ridge as very steep.

http://mapper.acme.com/?ll=37.37664,-118.80203&z=15&t=T

The very obvious easy route to climb Gabb is to traverse southwest about one mile from Gabbot Pass then climb up the southwest face directly below the "M" in Mono Divide. Very much class 2. And from Lake Italy the usual route does not go out of the way to the pass but rather uses the obvious ramp that diagonals up to the northeast from the "y" in Italy. My suspicion is the class 3 route on the northeast erete Secor describes is via the "t" in Mt. Gabb and then continue a traverse southwest via the "M" till gaining the top due south of the summit. Only a topo savvy climber would be able to readily figure that out. But you are not the first to take that route as this top climber did the same too.

http://www.snwburd.com/bob/trip_reports/gabb_1.html

Bob Burd >>>"From the creek we headed up left of Gabbot Pass heading for the class 3 NE Ridge. While Secor says to stay on the south side of the ridge as one heads to the summit, we concluded he probably never climbed it from that ridge. It all went well until about 200 feet below the summit, and then everything seemed to go class 4-5. We climbed up, we climbed down, we traversed west into several other chutes before we managed to find a way and pull ourselves onto the summit. If it was class 3 it was the hardest class 3 I'd seen yet!"
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Re: Adventures With Rogue Photonic 2014 July 8-August 12

Postby alpinemike » Sat Sep 27, 2014 6:36 pm

Hi Dave.

I am may be mistaken but according to both Secor and this map I do believe I took what is considered LaSalle Col. Secor states it as being .4 SW of LaSalle Lake. And I checked the topo it is around .4 miles from there.

http://sierrabackpacker.com/SevenGables.htm

Regardless of what that pass is I'll probably never do it again. It wasn't fun and even if I did find a good route down I still would not enjoy the long boulder field at the bottom. The pass you mention as LaSalle does look considerably easier on the topo. I had no knowledge of it though and thus decided against trying it when I was there.

You are right about the route on Gabb as it is listed as Class 3. But it most certainly was not Class 3 in any manner. We definitely were not looking for the best route when we were climbing it.. we just followed Secor's very incomplete description. There are definitely ways to summit it that are easier even from Gabbot pass, but they do involve a good deal of traversing or at least that's what we could tell when we climbed it.
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Re: Adventures With Rogue Photonic 2014 July 8-August 12

Postby SSSdave » Sat Sep 27, 2014 11:11 pm

Hi Mike,

Looks like you've unfortunately stumbled on a mistake. My 1992 Secor "THS" doesn't show La Salle Pass or reference it so you may have another version?

http://sierrabackpacker.com/sierrapasses-new.htm

In that area the above link does have Feather Pass (2), La Salle Col (2), Merriam Pass (3), Ruskie Pass (2), and Seven Gables Pass (2). I'm guessing the link has incorrect information as the pass I noted is obviously class 2 and near La Salle Lake and the one on the map you were led to certainly is not. Looking at the topo are very close together lines of the north side you were not too happy to see.

Information on that site is of course provided by hikers and climbers and if the information is wrong it is likely to stay that way until someone visits and finds otherwise. Especially a rarely used saddle like that. Since you've been unfortunately misled there, you might send an email to that site to correct it. They'll probably have a good laugh as it is obviously wrong. Of the passes above either Feather or Ruskie would be my choice just looking at the topo. Even though the saddle between La Salle and Den is 160 feet lower than Feather, I'd take that more used route because it has an easy gradient and is more used.
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Re: Adventures With Rogue Photonic 2014 July 8-August 12

Postby Wandering Daisy » Sun Sep 28, 2014 6:06 pm

I did LaSalle Col in 2010 and descended to Bear Basin on the far left side of the col. The first 50 feet was a snowfield, not hard, easy to kick steps. I suspect that when there is snow, it is class 2; when no snow, class 3. This year is unusually and probably historically low snow - many permanent snowfields are gone for the first time. So I would not say the rating is wrong - but conditions have dramatically changed.
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Re: Adventures With Rogue Photonic 2014 July 8-August 12

Postby Wandering Daisy » Sun Sep 28, 2014 6:11 pm

The "LeSalle Col" I am referring to drops to Bearpaw/Ursa Lake, not V-Lake. From the description of the boulder field below, I assume this is the pass used. I too got really stuck in that awful boulder field. It was tedious but still class 2.
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Re: Adventures With Rogue Photonic 2014 July 8-August 12

Postby Wandering Daisy » Sun Sep 28, 2014 6:17 pm

Image
This Pass
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Re: Adventures With Rogue Photonic 2014 July 8-August 12

Postby alpinemike » Sun Sep 28, 2014 6:55 pm

This is actually quite funny.. Both of the passes including Dave's and Wandering Daisy's are considered LaSalle Col but according to the maps I've found LaSalle Col is the pass I crossed. I'm definitely not saying it's the best option but I've crossed it now and posted a pass report on this forum so it's well documented.

Daisy: The pass I took is this one http://sierrabackpacker.com/SevenGables.htm

Dave: I have the updated version of Secor's book from the 2000's. The pass I went through actually could be Class 2 if you are well accustomed to navigating terrain and looking for a Class 2 route. I just didn't bother backtracking or looking for a better route since I was confident enough on the Class 3. Although I'd still list it as Class 2/3 for those that are not apt in finding the best route down it.
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Re: Adventures With Rogue Photonic 2014 July 8-August 12

Postby maverick » Sun Sep 28, 2014 7:37 pm

The route shown on WD's map is using Feather Pass not Lasalle Col, it is further south: http://www.highsierratopix.com/high-sie ... m=15&cat=2
Lasalle Pass on the other hand drops down to Vee Lake.
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Re: Adventures With Rogue Photonic 2014 July 8-August 12

Postby Wandering Daisy » Sun Sep 28, 2014 7:50 pm

Looks like the pass I did is Feather Pass. Sure would be easier if all those passes were on a map, not on a list. I remember doing Ruskie Pass - we started the same and got to the tarn below your LeSalle Col - then kept traversing to Ruskie Pass and dropped into Seven Gables Lakes. At the time we actually thought we were going over Stough Pass! Only later did I realize it was Ruskie Pass.
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Re: Adventures With Rogue Photonic 2014 July 8-August 12

Postby alpinemike » Sun Sep 28, 2014 8:40 pm

Thank you for clearing that up Maverick. Fortunately a map does exist for us... The HST map has all of them listed with the exception of the pass/saddle that Dave referred to. La Salle is definitely an option to those that want a quick way to Vee Lake from the Merriam Lake Basin area. Although as I advised in my write-up of the pass it involves looking for the best route and probably backtracking when one gets cliffed out. That said the boulder field at the bottom is unavoidable and tedious.
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Re: Adventures With Rogue Photonic 2014 July 8-August 12

Postby maverick » Mon Sep 29, 2014 7:30 am

Agree Mike, Lesalle does take a little route finding, and the boulder field may be
tedious for most folks, especially with a heavy pack.
It should be rated a class 3 pass for backpackers, which the new HST rating system
that we will have up soon will allow backpackers to fine tune the ratings on passes
such as this one, and many others in the Sierra.
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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