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We're Looking for a Loop!

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We're Looking for a Loop!

Postby maddkeys » Mon Feb 23, 2015 2:56 pm

Hello High Sierra Topix!

Me and some buddies will be heading into the Sierras this July and we are looking for a 5-7 day loop that will show us the high mountain/lake scenery of the Sierras. We'd like to get away from the crowds if possible .

We have visited the Pine Creek area (Honeymoon Lake, Royce Lakes, French Canyon) as well as Thousand Island Lake. A few summers ago we hiked into the remote Tehipite Valley. We are looking for comparable scenery.

We are all quite experienced backpackers. We prefer trails, although some xc would be ok - though we are not technical climbers, and I reckon can handle class 2 at the highest.

Length of Trip: We can take 5-7 nights in the backcountry.

Distance: We are flexible but 5-10 miles a day seems about the right amount, depending on whether or not we ascend a pass.

Many thanks for your suggestions!

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Re: We're Looking for a Loop!

Postby maverick » Mon Feb 23, 2015 4:25 pm

- Minaret Loop out of Mineral King using Franklin Pass in and Black Rock Pass out with a side
trip to Big 5 Lakes is around 43 miles.
- Northern Yosemite Loop via Mule Pass and exiting via Peeler Lake is around 47 miles.
- North Lake>Piute Pass>Muir Pass>Bishop Pass>South Lake 53.8 miles ( two cars or hitchhike)
or shorter Lamarck Col variation.

Use the search feature on top of the page, there is plenty of information on these areas, including
TR's of the Mineral King Loop, North Lake to South Lake Loop, and Northern Yosemite Loop.

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I don't give out specific route information, my belief is that it takes away from the whole adventure spirit of a trip, if you need every inch planned out, you'll have to get that from someone else.

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: We're Looking for a Loop!

Postby lambertiana » Mon Feb 23, 2015 9:51 pm

I like loops out of Mineral King. Two routes that are good for 5-7 nights:

1. Go over Timber Gap, up Cliff Creek and over Black Rock Pass to Little Five Lakes and then Big Five Lakes. From Big Five Lakes go to Lost Canyon. Spend some time wandering up Lost Canyon to the upper section just before the ascent to Columbine Lake (really nice area), then go back down to circle around to Soda Creek. Go up Soda Creek to Little Claire Lake, then to Forester Lake. Go out over Franklin Pass to get back down to Mineral King.

2. Go over Timber Gap as above. When you get to Little Five Lakes, head to Big Arroyo, where you catch the High Sierra Trail and go up on Chagoopa Plateau. Spend a night at Moraine Lake if you can. From Moraine Lake, drop down into the Kern River canyon, go south to Rattlesnake Creek, and head up to Forester Lake. Go to Little Claire Lake, descend Soda Creek, and then go up Lost Canyon. Exit over Sawtooth Pass. I did this trip last year in seven days.

I like to do 8-10 miles per day average, which is similar to your desired pace, and both of those loops are good for about seven or eight days (six or seven nights) total.

Here is a trip report of a similar loop from Mineral King that I did a couple years ago, it involved some off trail but only class 2. This will give you an idea of the scenery to be found in that area.

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Re: We're Looking for a Loop!

Postby JWreno » Tue Feb 24, 2015 10:14 am

I really enjoyed the several day loop out of Twin Lakes. First night was at Peeler Lake, 2nd night near Seavey Pass. We headed south and joined the PCT and spent a few hours at lovely Benson Lake and 3rd night at Smedberg Lake. We went over Benson Pass and left the PCT to head north up Matterhorn canyon. Went over Burro Pass and Mule Pass, near Crown Lake and Robinson lake and rejoined the original trail between Peeler Lake and Barney lake. The crowds were light. We only saw other campers at Smedberg lake. I did this trip in 2004 and we left the car at Twin Lakes resort.
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Re: We're Looking for a Loop!

Postby Mike M. » Tue Feb 24, 2015 11:09 pm

Maddkeys, keep in mind that if you go in early July you'll likely run into lots of mosquitoes, even in this low snow year. Plan for late July if you can.

There are so many loops to choose from! 5 or 6 nights on the trail will rule out many of them unless you're willing to put in ten mile days or more. Get out your maps and identify some areas you haven't seen yet and then see if you can come up with a practical loop. If you've never been in the Goddard area, for instance, you might hike from North Lake, over Lamarck Col, down to Darwin Basin, then join the Muir Trail briefly before cutting over into Ionian Basin via Wanda Pass or Black Giant Pass. You could return to North Lake via Piute Pass, or via Bishop Pass and South Lake (which would require a very short hitch hike back to North Lake). If you are like me and like to stay off the main trails and away from the crowds, your options are seemingly endless -- much more so if you are willing to stray off trail.

Another very pretty loop would be over Bishop Pass from South Lake, down to Dusy Basin, cross country over Knapsack Pass into Palisades Basin, over Potluck and Cirque Passes and down to Palisade Lakes and the JMT, then circle back to Dusy Basin via LeConte Canyon and the Bishop Pass trail. The reverse of this hike would probably be easier. Map skills and patience with cross country travel needed -- Cirque has a reputation for being difficult (it is a route-finding challenge but solid class 2 if you stay on route); Potluck has a steep (but short) face on the south side but there is an easy class 2 ramp that gets you quickly down; if you can't locate the ramp, it's not too hard to scramble down, just takes care and patience.

Looking forward to your trip report!

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