TR: Miter Basin & Mt. Langley ~ 10/25 - 10/26 | High Sierra Topix  

TR: Miter Basin & Mt. Langley ~ 10/25 - 10/26

If you've been searching for the best source of information and stimulating discussion related to Spring/Summer/Fall backpacking, hiking and camping in the Sierra Nevada...look no further!
User avatar

TR: Miter Basin & Mt. Langley ~ 10/25 - 10/26

Postby Bluewater » Tue Oct 28, 2014 10:13 pm

After reading a post last week from franklin411 (viewtopic.php?f=34&t=11898) asking about the windy conditions in the forecast around Cottonwood Lakes I decided to do an overnight trip in the area.

I slept at the trailhead Friday night and got an early start on the Cottonwood Lakes trail Saturday morning. It seemed early but the battery in my watch just stopped working so I was without a watch and altimeter.

Once I reached the lakes the wind really picked up. There were even some white caps on lake #5.

3. cottonwood lake #1.JPG
1


6. waves (25 - 35 mph winds).JPG
2


I like that OAP is at a lower elevation than NAP and the trail was in reasonably good shape.

9. looking back at cottonwood lake #5 from the top of old army pass.jpg
3


I took the cross country route up toward Mt. Langley then down the sand hill to Upper Soldier Lake. The route finding around the base of the Major General was straightfoward but there were no signs of a use trail or cairns along the way. I had read about the tarn at the entry to Miter Basin and could hardly believe my eyes. . .

12. tarn at the entry to miter basin.jpg
4


I slept on a ledge overlooking the basin and used some boulders as a wind shelter. My water bottles were partially frozen in the morning but I stayed warm using a 25 degree quilt & bivy.

14. a cold morning in miter basin.JPG
5


In the morning I had a chance to explore Iridescent Lake before heading back. The morning sun on the east side of The Miter was beautiful although the water didn't have much color, probably due to the wind.

16. side trip to iridescent lake.jpg
10


There wasn't much time to explore. I could wander around this area for a week.

18. frozen creek in miter basin.jpg
6


On the way out I took one final parting shot.

20. use trail in miter basin.JPG
7


On the way back over Old Army Pass I tried to make a quick climb up Mt. Langley. I figured that after two nights at altitude it would be an easy walk-up. The sun was starting to move toward the west but I wasn't sure exactly what time it was.

Two guys were finishing their climb just as I approached the pass and one of them thought it was about 2:00. I unloaded my bear canister and extra water and quickly started up the use trail. By the time I reached about 13,350 feet, at the base of where the class II portion starts up to the final plateau, I could tell it was getting late. If I kept going I would probably be climbing down in the dark so I finished my last Cliff bar and headed home. Those white clown looking gloves are w/b mittens, a must in high winds.

25. 13,350 feet.JPG
11


I don't like to quit half way up a mountain but it turned out to be a good decision (especially considering the accident in the same spot in 2012: viewtopic.php?f=1&t=8055&p=58554&hilit=+langley#p58554). I hiked the last two hours in the dark by headlamp. Langley will still be there next time. I can't imagine trying to make it down OAP in the dark.

I saw the last light on Mt. Langley as I headed down toward the well maintained trail in the forest for the last few miles back to the car.

26. last light on mt langley.JPG
12


I posted a few more photos here:

https://www.flickr.com/photos/109798365 ... 009712482/



User avatar
Bluewater
Topix Expert
 
Posts: 530
Joined: Sun Oct 23, 2011 3:33 pm
Location: Laguna Beach
Experience: Level 4 Explorer

User avatar

Re: TR: Miter Basin & Mt. Langley ~ 10/25 - 10/26

Postby seanr » Wed Oct 29, 2014 8:21 am

I enjoyed the peek into Miter Basin you provided. Your shots confirm for me that next time I hike into Cottonwood Lakes area I need to go check out Miter Basin even if that means time will dictate that I not allow myself to get distracted by Langley again.
User avatar
seanr
Topix Regular
 
Posts: 257
Joined: Thu Feb 06, 2014 9:46 am
Experience: N/A

User avatar

Miter Basin & Mt. Langley

Postby Hobbes » Wed Oct 29, 2014 9:27 am

A couple of years ago, I did a quick hike out of HM up to Langley, spent the night in Miter basin, went over Crabtree pass the next day to Guitar, then exited via Whitney. I didn't have time to really fish the Crabtree lakes, so I think I'll do another quick hit at some point to check them out further.

A really easy-breezy loop is to head out of HM over Cottonwood pass to Crabtree meadow, hike up the watershed to the lakes to fish, go over Crabtree pass to Soldier, then hike out via NAP/OAP or Cottonwood pass.

The two TH parking lots @ HM are maybe 1/4-1/3 mile apart, so it's easy to join the loop. I did an abbreviated version - direct to Miter - of this hike awhile back.
User avatar
Hobbes
Topix Expert
 
Posts: 678
Joined: Wed Apr 27, 2011 8:09 am
Location: The OC
Experience: N/A

User avatar

Re: TR: Miter Basin & Mt. Langley ~ 10/25 - 10/26

Postby Bluewater » Wed Oct 29, 2014 1:33 pm

Thanks seanr. Looking back I wish I had spent more time MB this time and set aside Langley for a separate trip. Next time.

Hobbes your route to Sky Blue Lake via Upper Soldier Lake from the meetup this summer is what got me interested in trying it this time. I like your loop ideas. I wanted to do a loop this time but I only had one night.

I've been hoping to do 3 day weekend loop starting with HM to SBL on day one, Crabtree Pass to lower Crabtree Lake on day 2 then out via the Pct and Cottonwood Pass the last day. If the weather holds there may still be time this year.

Coming from SoCal it's hard to beat the 4 1/2 hour drive to the trailhead.


Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk
User avatar
Bluewater
Topix Expert
 
Posts: 530
Joined: Sun Oct 23, 2011 3:33 pm
Location: Laguna Beach
Experience: Level 4 Explorer

User avatar

Re: TR: Miter Basin & Mt. Langley ~ 10/25 - 10/26

Postby markskor » Wed Oct 29, 2014 3:29 pm

Bluewater wrote:I've been hoping to do 3 day weekend loop starting with HM to SBL on day one, Crabtree Pass to lower Crabtree Lake on day 2 then out via the Pct and Cottonwood Pass the last day.


FYI, Some great fishing along that route...Cottonwoods, Sky Blue, and both Crabtrees...Why rush through it in 3 days? While certainly do-able in 3 long hiking days (way too much hiking if you ask me), you will seriously miss not wetting a line as you pass through several world class fishing venues - sad really to go all that way...
I did HM, fished South Fork Lake (nothing) - Cottonwoods (Barbless hooks only but good size) - Long & High (nada fish) - NAP - Lower Soldier (Has great campsites/ bear boxes too but poor fishing) - SBL (lunker Golds) - Both Crabtrees - (BTW, both hold giant goldens too) - Guitar (little bitty Golds) - Whitney and out the Portal...8 days.
Could have spent longer too.
HYOH
Mountainman who swims with trout
User avatar
markskor
Founding Member & Forums Administrator
Founding Member & Forums Administrator
 
Posts: 2048
Joined: Fri Oct 28, 2005 5:41 pm
Location: Mammoth Lakes
Experience: Level 4 Explorer

User avatar

Re: TR: Miter Basin & Mt. Langley ~ 10/25 - 10/26

Postby texan » Wed Oct 29, 2014 5:45 pm

markskor wrote:
Bluewater wrote:I've been hoping to do 3 day weekend loop starting with HM to SBL on day one, Crabtree Pass to lower Crabtree Lake on day 2 then out via the Pct and Cottonwood Pass the last day.


FYI, Some great fishing along that route...Cottonwoods, Sky Blue, and both Crabtrees...Why rush through it in 3 days? While certainly do-able in 3 long hiking days (too much hiking if you ask me), you will miss seriously wetting a line as you pass through several world class fishing venues - sad really to go all that way...
I did HM, fished South Fork Lake (nothing) - Cottonwoods (Barbless hooks only but good size) - Long (nada fish) - NAP - Lower Soldier (BTW, Has great campsites/ bear boxes too but poor fishing) - SBL (lunker Golds) - Both Crabtrees - (BTW, both hold giant goldens too) - Guitar (little bitty Golds) - Whitney and out the Portal...8 days.
Could have spent longer too.
HYOH


Markskor you are correct that area is full of lunker lakes. I could spend at least a week there trying all of the lakes.

Texan
User avatar
texan
Topix Regular
 
Posts: 229
Joined: Sat Jan 17, 2009 12:47 pm
Experience: N/A

User avatar

Re: TR: Miter Basin & Mt. Langley ~ 10/25 - 10/26

Postby markskor » Wed Oct 29, 2014 8:40 pm

I suppose it all depends on what your trip-plans are...peak-bagging/doing the miles or fishing.
As Texan confirmed, you do pass a few lunker lakes en'route, so for me, choosing fishing was a no brainer.

BTW, Never have gone over/ used Cottonwood Pass (Siberian Pass too I reckon?) to Langley - as from the map, the Cot. Pass trail seems a lot lower but a litle longer and not as scenic - your choice but IMHO, the Cottonwood Lakes and eventually OAP or NAP are the preferred routes and deserve a look...eerie place that Cottonwood Lakes basin.

OAP holds snow late (East facing and in shadows afternoons) - BTW, you can see up this pass from the backside of the Cottonwood Lake #5 and having done both passes, be flexible...make a decision of which pass to take once on the trail. On my last trip through in June, the trail to OAP looked blocked/corniced out from right below, so we chose NAP (south facing), and as it touches both Long and High Lakes (and my plan was to fish as many lakes as possible)...
If both passes are open though, OAP is a tad lower and more dynamic than NAP, but not any easier.

Langley was OK but after OAP?NAP?, the rest of the way to the top was just one long boring scree-slog.

Suggest skipping Langley and going directly to Lower Soldier (camp) and then NW into the Miter Basin, especially if doing it all in only 3 days.
Once in Miter Basin, easy to SBL (FYI, also tried Primrose but saw nothing - mid-day)...some tricky route finding after SBL to Crabtree Pass and that includes a good 1/2 mile of sand/scree at the very top...steep and frustrating...wore me out. Talus and slab aplenty down to the Crabtree Lakes...(remember Capt Tahoe and the 6 hugh Goldens?)...nuff said.

Seems like a lot of tough miles in a mere 3 days. Again, why rush this?
Mountainman who swims with trout
User avatar
markskor
Founding Member & Forums Administrator
Founding Member & Forums Administrator
 
Posts: 2048
Joined: Fri Oct 28, 2005 5:41 pm
Location: Mammoth Lakes
Experience: Level 4 Explorer

User avatar

Re: TR: Miter Basin & Mt. Langley ~ 10/25 - 10/26

Postby Bluewater » Fri Oct 31, 2014 11:27 am

Thanks Markskor for the insider info on good places to go fishing. I can see my focus changing more toward fishing in the future, but for now I enjoy exploring as much as possible with a limited amount of free time.

After backpacking in the same area for almost 20 years with the same group I've been really into solo exploration the last few years (everybody got married and has kids that aren't old enough yet).

I've accessed Miter Basin via Lower Soldier Lake from both Cottonwood and NAP in the past. This was a fun alternative. Each has its own benefits, I think Cottonwood Pass is the easiest of the three.
User avatar
Bluewater
Topix Expert
 
Posts: 530
Joined: Sun Oct 23, 2011 3:33 pm
Location: Laguna Beach
Experience: Level 4 Explorer


Return to Backpacking / Hiking / Camping



Who is online

Users browsing this forum: jorrflv, Yahoo [Bot] and 12 guests