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Great Sierra Loop idea

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Great Sierra Loop idea

Postby edmoll13 » Fri Jan 30, 2015 11:50 am

Hey everyone,

I've been reading through the forum and looking at the resources on this site for some time. I'm creating a Great Sierra Loop (not sure if this is the best name for it), or at least a loop concept close to 530 miles. I thought this would be the best place to share it and get feedback, new ideas, etc.

Ideally this loop will stay non-technical with a significant portion off-trail, but include the best of the best of the Sierra from south of Mount Whitney all the way to Twin Lakes north of Tuolumne Meadows. I've typed up a blog post with more details. It includes a Google Map of the route track.

http://ericshikes.blogspot.com/2015/01/ ... -loop.html.

Thanks for all the great info on this site! Please share any thoughts and suggestions you may have. I'm definitely interested in making this the best route possible.

-Eric
Last edited by edmoll13 on Fri Jan 30, 2015 2:46 pm, edited 1 time in total.



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Re: Great Sierra Loop idea

Postby Wandering Daisy » Fri Jan 30, 2015 1:14 pm

Do not be offended, but have you actually done the route? Everyone has "ideas". I certainly hope you will personally do your proposed loop. Even if you have done parts in the past, doing the whole thing at once will be an entirely different experience. As a guidebook writer, I strongly feel that if you are going to put a route out there on a blog or in a guidebook, you need to actually do it. It is one thing to simply plan routes for yourself because it is fun; it is entirely different when you propose that other people do it. With this comes a lot of responsibility. I plan research etc. every route in my guide, and then go do it. And I am always amazed, even though I REALLY know the area, how many surprises pop up. Same with considering Google Earth a substitute for actually being there. It is a great planning resource, but not the real thing.
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Re: Great Sierra Loop idea

Postby edmoll13 » Fri Jan 30, 2015 2:34 pm

Thank you for the feedback. My intention is certainly not promotion and I seek no financial gain from this route. I was sincerely seeking input from a knowledgeable group prior to attempting such a trek. My blog post is simply a means of organizing my thoughts. If this is not the correct place to post such an inquiry please forgive me and if possible could you direct me to a more appropriate forum?
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Re: Great Sierra Loop idea

Postby edmoll13 » Fri Jan 30, 2015 2:47 pm

The "S" has been removed, my apologies.
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Re: Great Sierra Loop idea

Postby maverick » Fri Jan 30, 2015 3:08 pm

Eric wrote:
If this is not the correct place to post such an inquiry please forgive me and if possible could you direct
me to a more appropriate forum?


Hi Eric,

Welcome to HST! This is the correct place, thanks for including a link to HST in the resources section of your blog.
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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Re: Great Sierra Loop idea

Postby CharlieW » Fri Jan 30, 2015 5:50 pm

A little piece of this loop could be the Big SEKI Loop. I'd like to see something like this in the 200 mile range with a good resupply point half way -- though I'm not sure if such a hike could be devised. I don't see any problem pre-planning such a trip online (it's clear it's in the "idea" stage).
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Re: Great Sierra Loop idea

Postby RoguePhotonic » Fri Jan 30, 2015 7:38 pm

As someone that plans and hikes these sorts of crazy long loops I say it's great you have this coming together. It's hard for me to get into the fine detail on resupply and miles since I don't know how many miles you hike a day on and off trail.

Some suggestions following your route from East and North is I'd suggest taking Dumbbell Lakes Basin and through there. Cartridge Creek is not very scenic and has allot of hardship depending on your skills. It's only major feature that is interesting is Triple Falls. If your going down it you wont find any of the old trail until just before Triple Falls. You will also encounter plenty of nasty brush before this. When you reach the bottom of Triple Falls the walls close in and it's very difficult bush whacking until about 1000 feet above the Middle Fork where if your really sharp you can follow the trail on the East side of the creek all the way down. If you don't you end up in nasty manzanita, oak and rolling granite faces. It took me 8 hours to go from Marion Lake to the Middle Fork. The one up side is hiking the Middle Fork from there up is very cool.

Don't begin climbing Gabbot Pass until you reach Toe Lake.

Drop from Cotton Lake to Izaak Walton Lake, take the West shore and drop down to the trail from there. At one point you will cross to the East side of the creek and stay on it until you reach the trail.

When you leave Mammoth Crest drop down the notch just East of where your line is and angle towards McCloud Lake. Pick up the trail from the lake.

The SHR section from 1000 Island Lake into Yosemite is awesome but do you really just want to hike it twice? I'd do another route. I don't like recommending a route I almost died on but Rodgers Pass would be a scenic option anyway. Just very loose nasty talus and scree.

Northern Yosemite I would consider stopping by Benson Lake. It's not like any other lake you will encounter your whole trip.

If you plan to stay in Yosemite Valley more than one night you will have to sweet talk the rangers at the backpacking camp. I explained how I was doing a layover / resupply on my long hike and they allowed me to stay more than one night.

I don't know your direction but on the upper trail in Southern Yosemite pass through once by Harriet Lake. Take the small saddle on it's SW side that leads to a small unnamed lake. There is an easy hillside to the west of it that leads to the next unnamed lake.

The trail leaving Island Crossing in Fish Creek and heading South you will have to wander through the trees to pick it up but once you find it then it's very easy to follow but you will be pushing your way through thick brush for the first thousand feet. When you reach the small tarn lake at 8200 feet you will start to completely loose the trail. At this point it's a matter of scanning the forest keenly to spot any cut logs or cairns on trees but there is almost no tread at all and there are a ton of downed trees to climb over. You will have very little to no trail until you reach Rainbow Lake.

Take the trail that crosses over the saddle East of Saddle Mountain. You can climb it on your way but do not follow the old trail route you have outlined. Leave Fern Lake and follow the drainage to the highest Saddle Lake and then climb to the saddle on the East side of Saddle Mountain from there. You will find a piece of the trail here but you will find almost no sign of any kind that a trail ever was there until you reach VVR. If you manage to take the right way you will find 2 or 3 old camps but there are no cut logs, cairns or light tread of any kind to follow. The upside is it's easy cross country. I left Big Margaret Lake and reached VVR by about 1PM.

I'm not sure why you have the route dropping down Mono Creek and then hiking up the Bear Creek OHV route to the dam. It's low hot manzanita country. Take Bear Creek cutoff.

Your route through Ionian needs adjusting. Your route up Goddard Creek Pass is incorrect. Drop down to Lake 11,951. You have two options for Lake 11,818. Either take the outlet down from Lake 11,951 and go around the north shore and pass between the small saddle to the small lake you show hiking past or leave lake 11,951 over the hump South of the outlet. The isthmus between the two Western parts of the lake is crossable.

If you are hell bent on doing The Enchanted Gorge I wont try to stop you. I routinely take routes that are horrible because I have the urge to explore and see things regardless. But be warned there is only a couple nice locations in there and the rest is pure hell. Plan for your feet to be wet also. You have to cross the creek with no options for rock hoping about 10-15 times. I gave up and began just hiking across in my boots. You WILL be climbing through stinging nettles that are face high. No way around at all just straight through them.

Cross Chasm Lake on it's East shore. Follow it's drainage into the Gorge. From there good luck. You do have it right for how to drop into Goddard Creek. From Goddard Creek out may god have mercy on your soul. :p

Don't take Goat Crest Saddle when you can loop into the Kid Lakes. It's way more scenic. Leave the upper Granite Lake heading for Glacier Saddle. about half way up hook South towards the small unnamed lake there. Climb the saddle to the south of the small lake and follow the rib sticking out in a SE pattern. I call this one Kid Pass. Class 2. Take Mungoat Pass out.

If you do the Kaweah loop go down Picket Guard Creek to the lake at 10,600.

If you have any other questions I can try to help. I do have some experience out there. :p
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Re: Great Sierra Loop idea

Postby AlmostThere » Fri Jan 30, 2015 8:13 pm

I would throw out the segment at Half Dome - the permitting for Half Dome is nuts, and the crowds in the area are also nuts, as are the bears. All that lovely wilderness and then to get pushed around by tourists on "freeway" trails. I'd stay in the wilderness and resupply perhaps at Tuolumne Meadows on the way by to Benson.
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Re: Great Sierra Loop idea

Postby dougieb » Fri Jan 30, 2015 11:02 pm

Welcome to the forum, I'm new here myself! This looks like it could be an amazing trip IF you survive. :D I can't offer much logistical advice but I will say, I often fall into the trap, as Wandering Daisy suggested, of forgetting the difference between planning in the comfort of your home and trekking on rough terrain for days on end. I don't know your skill level or experience in the Sierra but this route is quite ambitious and might be best to hike in sections and complete over the course of a few years. That's just me though, I'm sure this could be doable for a few people out there.
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Re: Great Sierra Loop idea

Postby RoguePhotonic » Fri Jan 30, 2015 11:28 pm

If you give me some idea on what your day to day plans are it might be easier. If you want to know things about resupply points I can gives you most information there.

Generally you have:

Tuolumne
Yosemite Valley
Resorts at Twin Lakes (these I have never been to)
Reds Meadow / Mammoth
VVR
Muir Trail Ranch
Parchers Resort
Cedar Grove
Lodgepole

South East Sierra is much more difficult to work with. You either hitch into a town, have people bring you a resupply or do an illegal package stash.
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Re: Great Sierra Loop idea

Postby Big Ed » Sat Jan 31, 2015 12:10 pm

Wandering Daisy wrote:Do not be offended, but have you actually done the route? Everyone has "ideas". I certainly hope you will personally do your proposed loop. Even if you have done parts in the past, doing the whole thing at once will be an entirely different experience. As a guidebook writer, I strongly feel that if you are going to put a route out there on a blog or in a guidebook, you need to actually do it. It is one thing to simply plan routes for yourself because it is fun; it is entirely different when you propose that other people do it. With this comes a lot of responsibility. I plan research etc. every route in my guide, and then go do it. And I am always amazed, even though I REALLY know the area, how many surprises pop up. Same with considering Google Earth a substitute for actually being there. It is a great planning resource, but not the real thing.


You're acting like he told other people to go do it, he didn't. At least I didn't take it that way. Looked like he's asking for input so he can go do it.
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Re: Great Sierra Loop idea

Postby edmoll13 » Sat Jan 31, 2015 4:56 pm

RoguePhotonic wrote:Some suggestions following your route from East and North is I'd suggest taking Dumbbell Lakes Basin and through there. Cartridge Creek is not very scenic and has allot of hardship depending on your skills...

...The SHR section from 1000 Island Lake into Yosemite is awesome but do you really just want to hike it twice? I'd do another route. I don't like recommending a route I almost died on but Rodgers Pass would be a scenic option anyway. Just very loose nasty talus and scree.



Thank you so much for the detailed response! I have copied it into a Word document for reference. I was planning to omit Cartridge Creek. Thank you for the suggesting Rodgers Pass. I'll definitely look into it. I was searching for a different route to avoid having to hike the same section twice so this may be a great option...if safe :)

I'll have to take some time to examine all the other info you provided. You certainly know more than I do and I appreciate you taking the time to share. More than 1000 words! Thank you!
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