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University Pass?

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University Pass?

Postby overheadx2 » Mon Mar 30, 2015 12:11 pm

I was just reading the post about Sept. trips and saw a post about University Pass. I am stuck with mostly 4 day trips and thought an easy loop (Robinson Lake - Center Basin - Vidette lakes - Onion Valley) sounded like a great way to do a loop to Vidette Lakes without going over Kearsarge twice. From Robinson Lake to Center Basin isn't to far, bur in searching the forum for University Pass is described from tedious but easy class 2 to very dangerous rock sliding class 2. Is it worth the effort for the loop, or is Kearsarge twice the call.



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Re: University Pass?

Postby seanr » Mon Mar 30, 2015 12:51 pm

As you may guess, I'd do the loop, but beware of knocking rocks onto anyone below you going up the east side of University Pass. Also realize it will be taxing in terms of energy and time if carrying much weight or if not quick to adjust to altitude. The scree climb is pretty sloggy and steep. Those prone to turned ankles or with poor balance probably won't like navigating the boulders on the way to the pass. I'll put up a TR if my photos are easy to display.
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Re: University Pass?

Postby overheadx2 » Mon Mar 30, 2015 2:34 pm

Thanks, I figured a night at Robinson would get me acclimated for the pass. My pack is usually around 28 pounds so it wont be to bad. I have started doing some off trail passes the last few years, and would love to do some slightly more difficult ones this year without being in significant danger. In my search read one report indicating that they felt lucky to get up and down it alive, so I figured I should at least ask around.
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Re: University Pass?

Postby seanr » Mon Mar 30, 2015 3:37 pm

I was looking for the same kind of experiences and found University Pass to fit what I was looking for. I think I knocked down a total of one rock with my foot. I don't recall use of hands ever being absolutely necessary. Getting down to Center Basin can be a quick plunge step descent.
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Re: University Pass?

Postby rcymbala » Sun Jul 12, 2015 6:27 pm

Vidette Lakes? or do you mean Vidette Meadow Meadow? It would be worth it, but not easy to do as a day trip. The hard part, from Robinson Lake to Bubbs Creek, would be over early in the day. However, see my question below regarding the descent from University Pass. Hiking through Kearsarge Pass to Onion Valley could be done at night if you cruise through Vidette and Bullfrog Lake and Kearsarge Lakes up to the Pass around sunset :-)

Although it would mean doing Kearsarge Pass twice, there is a loop through Kearsarge Pinnacles from Kearsarge Lakes to Bubbs Creek. From the lakes, take the "pass" in the middle, the easy looking one just to the right of the very distinctive slot about 8 foot wide and 40 feet tall with perfectly parallel walls. The other side down to Bubbs is really steep but doable. You get a close-up view of that amazing brown in color hanging rock near the top of the Pinnacles (which is visible from the PCT) that looks like an oblong cinnamon roll... NOTE: above lake 3321 ("3321" not "WL 3321" on the Mt. Clarence King Quadrangle) is an even easier looking "pass," the one with trees all the way up from Kearsarge Lakes. It looks pretty easy from the Bubbs Creek side, too.

The easiest day hike going through Kearsarge Pass just ONCE would seem to be the ascent up from Bench Lake to University Shoulder and then down to Center Basin. I haven't done it. Along the PCT/JMT there doesn't seem to be a sign for the side trail into Center Basin. Is the trail maintained to Center Basin and Golden Bear Lake (WL 3405)? From the Shoulder down to the PCT would be a lot of cross-country through trees, rocks and bushes unless one could find that trail.

I have a question. Yesterday I climbed to University Pass from Robinson Lake around 6pm. I saw the chute I was considering and it looked steep with very steep sides. I didn't know if it was a straight shot down or whether I would have to turn around. Then thick clouds filled Center Basin and I couldn't even see down into the chute so I went back to Robinson Lake. Those dark, thick clouds hovered over the crest until night fall. I wonder if Center Basin is socked-in like that most afternoons, if so, descending down to Bubbs Creek before afternoon would be best. How hard is it to go from University Pass straight down into Center Basin? The pass is just to the NW of Center Basin Crags and the 3600 and 3700 meter topo lines (Mt. Williamson Quadrangle) look really wavy directly below the pass. On the other hand, to the NW the lines look much smoother below University Shoulder. Thanks.
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Re: University Pass?

Postby ksenn » Mon Jul 13, 2015 7:34 pm

The south side of Uni pass is a straight shot. Aim for the narrow-ish chute. There's one large boulder in the chute to hop off delicately as it's steep and loose in your landing zone. Besides that it's straight down.


chute.JPG
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Re: University Pass?

Postby rcymbala » Sun Aug 09, 2015 7:27 pm

Thank you, I made it down that narrow-ish chute. There was some plant life (flowers, grasses, lichen...) growing in the chute, and even though I always stepped in the dirt inbetween, the downhill sliding action may have disturbed those plants. Would it be feasible to establish a route to the side of the chute that goes over rock surfaces as much as possible? I would enjoy improving my rock-climbing skills, instead.

ksenn wrote:The south side of Uni pass is a straight shot. Aim for the narrow-ish chute. There's one large boulder in the chute to hop off delicately as it's steep and loose in your landing zone. Besides that it's straight down.
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