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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 tomba » Sat Oct 18, 2014 9:52 pm

Quite interesting trip. I am looking forward to read the rest.
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Re: Adventures With Rogue Photonic 2014 July 8-August 12

Postby SweetSierra » Mon Oct 20, 2014 10:22 am

Thanks for posting another segment! Great photos. Good thing that you were able to catch yourself after slipping. I seem to remember Rogue going down the Enchanted Gorge on another trip. He took a photo of himself standing in the thickets at the bottom, I think. Did he recall that slippery grassy slope that you encountered?

I was on a trip where we went over Black Giant Pass from the JMT and into Ionian. We started at Bishop Pass. I felt that was a pretty easy way to get into the basin. We camped at the first lake past Black Giant Pass. Our second night in the basin was at Chasm Lake, which is still one of the most beautiful lake settings I've seen. A roped climber dropped down to us at the lake. He was on a solo down the gorge and planned to make a loop and go back up Goddard Creek all in one day. We went out over Wanda Pass. It was good to see photos of the top of the pass, which I thought was easy as well, especially the Wanda Lake side.
Last edited by SweetSierra on Tue Oct 21, 2014 10:50 am, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: Adventures With Rogue Photonic 2014 July 8-August 12

Postby RoguePhotonic » Mon Oct 20, 2014 10:27 am

That was when I went down Goddard Creek and it was so miserable at the bottom. This was my first time in the Enchanted Gorge. And last time for that matter.

In general I doubt I will ever go back to that lower section of Goddard Creek. I think I have better sense than to ever attempt Tunemah Pass.
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Re: Adventures With Rogue Photonic 2014 July 8-August 12

Postby Jimr » Mon Oct 20, 2014 12:09 pm

I'm surprised you chose to go there a second time :eek:
I went down Goddard creek in '89. No need to ever go back there again.
Was supposed to go down Enchanted Gorge in '85, but plans changed when one of the group broke their ankle in Ionian Basin. Over the years, I've heard the sames tune, "the only thing Enchanted about that gorge is it's name". It will never see my "to do" list.


I finally got around to viewing the video. The Less Stroud approach, pretty cool (except for the extra mileage setting up and retrieving the camera)!
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Re: Adventures With Rogue Photonic 2014 July 8-August 12

Postby fourputt » Mon Oct 20, 2014 1:13 pm

For the pedantic version of the record, the USGS 7.5-minute “Tunemah Pass” is a mistake, repeated on Tom Harrison’s Kings Canyon High Country. The actual pass is located 200’ below Point 10987’ as it follows the 19th-century sheepherder trail from Bunch Grass [not so] Flat and drops 5K’ down the ridge to where Goddard Creek enters Simpson Mdw at 6K’.

The “faux” pass no doubt leads to some interesting country and has made for a number of adventures since publication of the 7.5 series ... not that the “real” pass and trail is any kind of reasonable alternative for those headed to Simpson Mdw.
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Re: Adventures With Rogue Photonic 2014 July 8-August 12

Postby Cross Country » Tue Oct 21, 2014 9:01 am

I taught school and coached after school sports. I didn´t coach my 2 kids little league teams because other dads did. If they hadn´t I would have. I always said ¨thank god there are dads who do this so I don´t have to¨.

I don´t remember ever writing a trip report because to me it´s tedious like coaching little league. Thank you to those of you who write trip reports.
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Re: Adventures With Rogue Photonic 2014 July 8-August 12

Postby alpinemike » Wed Oct 22, 2014 3:36 pm

The actual pass is located 200’ below Point 10987’


fourputt- If I'm not mistaken this is exactly where the pass is shown to be located on both the Tom Harrison and USGS 7.5 Minute Series Maps. It may be a bit more than 200 ft according to the map I attached. I'm not sure where the pass would be if not there...
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Re: Adventures With Rogue Photonic 2014 July 8-August 12

Postby fourputt » Wed Oct 22, 2014 7:20 pm

Should've said 200' below Pt 10987 to the south.

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Secor, describing the Tunemah Trail, says "Make a steep ascent to the northeast, climbing over Peak 10,987, which is the real Tunemah 'Pass' (Some maps erroneously place the name on a different saddle 0.4 mile northwest of the peak.)"

You can save a little elevation by not going over the very top, but if you've spent so much effort you might as well enjoy the view.

And it's a surreal feeling camping in remotest Kings Canyon at Bunchgrass Flat and being able to see the lights of Hwy 180 at night.
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Re: Adventures With Rogue Photonic 2014 July 8-August 12

Postby alpinemike » Thu Oct 23, 2014 4:59 pm

I guess it's a bit odd to call that crossing a pass, since it feels like you're just going over the ridge of the point itself. Regardless, thanks for the clarification. I doubt highly I will ever be in that area ever again.. The prospect of going around Goddard Creek does not entice me one bit..
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Re: Adventures With Rogue Photonic 2014 July 8-August 12

Postby alpinemike » Sat Oct 25, 2014 11:53 am

Alright fellow readers... Here's Week 4 which continues where we left off immediately after the Enchanted Gorge.

Days 22 & 23 Layover in the Canyon at the Confluence of Goddard & Enchanted Creeks
Since we went down the Enchanted Gorge all in one day we were actually ahead of schedule by a day. So we rested after the utter and total misery of Day 21 in the Gorge. Rogue had planned a layover day in the Gorge itself so we took an extra day of rest just to dry our gear out from the previous days downpour. On Day 22 there was some rain at 4 A.M. which was odd to say the least. It was quite hot and there were plenty of mosquitoes. We practically had a fire all day for drying things out. On Day 23 it was far cooler and it rained during various parts of the day. We also had smoke on both days from some fire but couldn't figure out which direction it came from. The canyon itself is quite picturesque but the prospects of climbing out of it the following day was definitely a damper.

Day 24- Canyon at the Confluence of Goddard & Enchanted Creeks to Lake 10,570 (Below Mt. Woodworth) 3+ Miles
We started the day out no earlier than 9 as we had little more than 3 Miles to go. In an attempt to get away from the awful brush of Goddard Creek we started angling up to 8000 FT on the Northeast side of the canyon. This posed to be a horrendous decision as we had to traverse through a thick oak forest! Yes... Oak at the stupid altitude of around 8000 FT. I could not believe my eyes nor could me feet or body take the pounding of fighting through nearly impenetrable trees! The hill sides were steep and filled with loose rock which only added to the painful climb upwards. We had to lose 150 precious feet just to cross the creek that drained our lakes far above in the drainage. Here we took lunch and prepared for the most grueling climb of our lives. After crossing it was no longer oak to be battled with but willows. Oh.. how I cursed the wretched vegetation! There was nothing one could do but battle and fight their way through it. Not only was the angle impossibly steep but it was very hot.. easily in the 80's with blazing sun. This climbing up the drainage continued for hours on end. It never seemed to end. And of course as we looked across the creek the way was easier with less brush. Unfortunately getting to it meant dropping down and around to cross the creek and fighting through more brush. Eventually we came to the last stretch of brush and what could it be if not the spiky ball brush. I'm not familiar with the scientific name of this plant but the name Rogue and I gave it describes the evil that it gives. The spikes not only hurt but also stung you and stayed latched on until you forcefully took them off. The last misery of the day was a slope of talus so steep one thought he was climbing a vertical wall. It was fortunately fairly stable and we trudged our way up the slope inch by inch. After the entirety of the afternoon was passed we finally reached the bench where our lakes were. We went to the smaller one for it had better camping. The final slope was easily the steepest slope I've ever climbed and Rogue agreed in saying it was the single hardest longest climb he had ever done. It was difficult for me to imagine any worse an experience than the Enchanted Gorge but this came in as a close 2nd. I was physically and mentally exhausted to the point where I collapsed into camp. Somewhere on the order of 3700 FT in just over 1.5 miles is no walk in the park. Thunderheads built all day long but no rain came of it. We enjoyed our dinner amid a gorgeous sunset.

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The beautiful granite walls of the canyon of Goddard Creek

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Looking towards the mountains North of Cedar Grove the Monarch Divide

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Staring down the drainage

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The final head-wall to the lakes. The route we took is to the right.

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The pretty lake we camped by

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A serene landscape


Day 25- Layover
Our plan was to climb Mt. Woodworth but laziness prevailed today. I was still tired from the previous days climb and just wanted the body to rest up. We realized later that we should have climbed Woodworth from that point because it is such a difficult mountain to get to and neither of us wanted to get to this area again. It was a very remote area. The feeling of remoteness was all around. We estimated that very few parties have ever even been in this area for it requires the toil of climbing the drainage that we had climbed out of Goddard Creek. There was not a single sign of an established campsite whatsoever. Lots of clouds built again but no rain. The streak of rain seemed to have ended or so we thought...

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Lake 10,570. It's amazing how this lake looks as though it could be somewhere in the plains with the way the reeds and willows are reflected. It has the open prairie feel
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Re: Adventures With Rogue Photonic 2014 July 8-August 12

Postby alpinemike » Sat Oct 25, 2014 1:16 pm

Day 26- Lake 10,570 To Lake 10,365 (Rambaud Lake)
The day started out pleasant as we started up to Rambaud Pass. The Pass on the west side was an easy talus slope. The top presented a nice view of the Rambaud Lakes and beyond. And to the west was the Monarch Divide and the mountains of the lowlands. We headed up to Wheel Mountain and summited in short order before 11:30. The climb was very nice with good Class 3/4 rock by the summit. The summit view was hazy but provided a great view of the area by the Palisades the Black Divide. We could see our future lake and area of the following week. Wheel Mountain was easily the most remote mountain I've ever climbed and the least visited mountain as well. No more than 3 parties stand atop it on average per year. We got back to the pass and had lunch of which mine consisted of practically crumbs. My lunches were running out along with breakfast. I was nearing the end of my food supply and it was taking it's toll on me. The descent of east side of Rambaud Pass was no doubt a hairy experience. The slope is extremely steep and nearly vertical at the top. It was reminiscent to Rogue of Harrison Pass although the top of Rambaud was loose dirt which was difficult to not slide on. The middle and bottom section is all rock that is loose. Serious caution must be taken on this pass. I of course slipped once but quickly regained my balance. This was the steepest slope I had ever descended. I definitely never would want to do this pass again but since Devils Crags is on the SPS list it looks like I'll be battling my way up it one day... We eventually got the bottom and crossed the giant moraine at the bottom that seemed to drag on for ages. As we approached the first lake it offered no camping so we continued on to the next where we found some patchy areas that would suffice. I was too tired to care about how well the ground would serve. I lost all my energy that day and knew that the next 2 days would really be the ultimate test of my strength and will. I remember the clouds built strongly after descending the pass and even a drop or two fell at the lake. We were greeted by a gorgeous sunset (one of the most astounding displays of color I have ever seen) as we slept once again in a very remote area.

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Towards the top of Rambaud Pass looking West

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Rambaud Lakes from Rambaud Pass

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Near the summit of Wheel Mountain looking into the heart of the Black Divide. I bet the lake towards the right sees very few parties if it's ever even seen one!

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A splendid view of the Palisades along with Palisade Creek

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Devils Crag is the peak to the right of center. In the center in the background one can pick the outline out of Lake 10,565. We would visit this lake in the coming week.

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The steep and loose East side of Rambaud Pass

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Mother Nature's Glory


Day 27- Lake 10,365 to Dusy Branch 7+ Miles
Today would be a day to be remembered. It was around 4 A.M. when mother nature decided us to have it. I first saw some flashes of light and thought it odd only to be followed up by some grumbling and I of course knew exactly what was going on. A bloody thunderstorm at 4 in the morning. I had to crawl out of my tent and grab my backpack and shoes to protect them. Rogue had to actually get out and get his clothes off his clothesline. Oh... if only I knew what we were in for that day. It soon started to rain and rained all through the early morning until we woke up. We had a slight break in the rain just as we packed up so that was fortunate. But soon it was back in our faces again. This time though it was not just a shower but a full fledged storm with wind and all! Oh... how I hated my shoes by now. They were torn and tattered and had holes everywhere and thus within minutes they were wet. And now to quote Rogue as he posted here in his own topic of 2014 Sierra Hike, "We did wheel and went out making major mistakes along the way." Wheel refers to Wheel Mountain which we climbed the prior day. For the major mistakes part.. oh yes this was a real grand finale to an absolutely ridiculous segment as it is. According to route descriptions to avoid the brush of Rambaud Creek one contours along the 10,000 FT level until they reach a chute which is descended to Grouse Meadow in LeConte Canyon. We as luck would have it missed the chute and choose the wrong one to descend. This turned into an utter nightmare. To put it lightly it was mentally torturous to climb down nearly 400 FT only to be stopped by an impassible waterfall and have to turn back and climb all the way back up. We ended up doing technical Class 3/4 terrain under the worst circumstances where everything was wet and horribly loose and slick. The brush was in the most awful places and often times one slid on it just to get down the chute. Just entering the chute was almost impossible.. I ended up going a slightly different way than Rogues b/c I knew if I attempted his way I would surely slip and fall my doom. Only after toiling for hundreds of feet did we get stopped and face the agony of climbing back up. I remember when we reached the edge of the waterfall I didn't even look over the edge to see it.. Rogue said "This is it. We're done." I could not believe the words he said as I knew it only meant more frustration. And to make matters worse.. we could see a trail for the first time in 11 days! It was just a below us laying in all its pristine glory. That chute presented a mental experience almost as bad as the Enchanted Gorge and Rogue and I both mentioned that as we saw the impassable waterfall the thought of crying at our mental frustration was close at hand. At one point my glasses fell off and I was clinging to rocks in the chute and to prevent them from crashing all the way down I pressed my legs together to catch them. I then proceeded to somehow grab them without losing my grip on the rock. It was no doubt a nervy racking situation. We forced our way up and backtracked to find not the chute that is described but instead the broad slope that presented an extremely obvious and easy way down to Grouse Meadow. The rain continued to beat upon us but spirits were higher as we neared the trail. We finally reached the JMT and I knelt down to the ground and I kissed that sacred trail. Never in my life could I have been more happy to see a trail. We traveled 11 days without a trail in undoubtedly some of the hardest, nastiest, and most brutal terrain that can be found in the Sierra. It continued to rain all day and we trudged up the Bishop Pass trail up the Dusy Branch. Every creek was swollen and looked as though it was Spring run-off. The Dusy Branch itself practically needed to be forded! This was August and there was more run-off than in May. It was a sight to be remembered. Dinner was unsatisfying since I had little food left but I made do as I had no other options. We set in for the night and were mighty thankful to be out of the forsaken chute.

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A similar view as the day prior except this time The Palisade and everyone on the JMT up Palisade Creek were having the full force of mother nature's fury!

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I took very few photos in the chute (like 3) because of all the rain and general mood. This one hopefully gives the idea of technical terrain that was encountered.

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Kissing the ground of the JMT!
Last edited by alpinemike on Wed Oct 29, 2014 3:16 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: Adventures With Rogue Photonic 2014 July 8-August 12

Postby alpinemike » Sat Oct 25, 2014 2:37 pm

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The massive storm over the Palisades the day prior


Day 28- Dusy Branch to Parchers Resort- 12+ Miles
Today was the final day of my original itinerary with Rogue but the entirety of this section was brutal, grueling and many times posed far more misery than fun and thus I decided that I wanted to stay out another week with him and visit some gorgeous country around what he called Island Bird Lake. So with that in mind we still had to get out to Parchers at South Lake and resupply. This morning came in just like the previous morning.. Another 4 AM thunderstorm. I was definitely annoyed but could do nothing to prevent the inevitable soaking of my feet for the 2nd day in a row. We hiked in a mist/light rain all the way into Dusy Basin. Everything was in the clouds and fog and one couldn't see the Palisades until late morning when the clouds parted slightly and made for some very epic lighting! There was even some snow on the tops of the peaks. I at this point was surviving off of the only thing I had left (and could stomach) which was cheese powder. It must have been a very comedic sight for any hiker to see me stuffing my face w/ yellow powder! But, at that point why should I care I had been out for over 28 days traversing the majestic mountains. By 1:30 we were at Parchers, which was a very good time and the only thought on my mind was of course food. We had chili with hot dogs and a mountain of cheese along with tortilla chips. Oh how my spirits rose! It was the single greatest thing I had eaten period. The simple pleasures in life are as gratifying as ever and one learns to appreciate even the smallest amount of goodness. Finally I could take my shoes off although I still didn't have any dry shoes to change out into. I had gone 2 days in wet feet and I definitely wanted to get to my car as soon as possible, which was at North Lake. There I had a pair of nice dry shoes... That would have to wait until the next day. For we were not trying to hitch out that day. It rained heavily again off and on and we knew we were in for weather for what seemed like quite a while.

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Beautiful clouds and lighting in Dusy Basin

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The most amazing thing I've ever eaten!


This concludes Week 4.. Just one more week to go!
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