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Itinerary for ten day High Sierra Trail--thoughts?

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Itinerary for ten day High Sierra Trail--thoughts?

Postby MountainMinstrel » Tue Apr 07, 2015 1:42 pm

Myself and two others are doing the HST in early September. We are solid level three hikers between 59 and 63 years of age. We are doing it in 10 days because that is about all the food we can carry and we want to stay out for as long as possible as we do not know how many more trips we will have together. Here's what I have for a proposed Itinerary leaving from Crescent meadows.

Day 1 Nine Mile Creek. 8.8 miles
Day 2 Hamilton Lake 7.8 miles
Day 3 Nine Lake basin, lake 10725 4 miles with plenty of time to explore the area
Day 4 Moraine lake 12.9 miles I am a bit concerned about this. If we stay at the first lake in Nine lake it will cut about a mile off of it but that is still a lot of miles. is there any decent camping between Big Arroyo and Moraine?
Day 5 Kern Hot Spring 6.3 miles (though we will probably camp further up the trail)
Day 6 Junction Meadow 7.4 miles
Day 7 Wallace Junction 4.7 miles leaving plenty of time to explore per Maverick's suggestion.
Day 8 Guitar Lake 7.4 miles (actually a little beyond that to the tarn)
Day 9 Outpost camp 12.1 might stay at trail camp ( :puke: ) or might get pulled down to the portal with the lure of burgers and beer.
Day 10 Whiney Portal 3.5 miles

Gives a total of 75.2 miles Plus whatever exploring we do. what do you think?
Just an old musician who loves the Mountains.



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Re: Itinerary for ten day High Sierra Trail--thoughts?

Postby slowhiker » Wed Apr 08, 2015 8:32 am

My wife and I are both in our early 60's (60 and 64 at the time of our hike) and last September we did pretty much the same trip as you have planned except we did it in 7 days. this is the link to our trail report - - viewtopic.php?f=1&t=11751

Just a few of observations/opinions
1. The Hike from Hamilton Lake to Precipice Lake can be really hot if attempted in mid afternoon, so early morning or late afternoon might be a little more comfortable
2. I wish we had added an extra day for Nine Lakes Basin, so I believe you will enjoy that part of your trip
3. From Kaweah Gap to Moraine Lake took us about 7 hours with two breaks of 45 minutes to and hour
4. Trail Camp and Outpost camp offer a lot of people to talk to, so you might meet some great people and hear amazing stories, but in my opinion it is like staying in a crowded outdoor motel

I am certain you and your friends will have a great time by the way we may see or pass you in near Wallace as we will be in that area - - we are doing the Circle of Solitude hike in early September.

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Re: Itinerary for ten day High Sierra Trail--thoughts?

Postby Wandering Daisy » Wed Apr 08, 2015 7:22 pm

No need to go the upper lake in Nine Lakes Basin. The lower lake is actually better located (more central for day-hikes). There is a splotch of green on the map, about a quarter mile east of the lower lake. There are several nice established campsites here among trees and well protected. Good views too.

Although long, it really is an easy hike to Moraine Lake. Getting all the way to Moraine Lake is worth the effort. With the drought, not sure if there is much good water in-between. What time of year are you planning on? If late (Aug-Sept) this may be more of a problem.

I would also avoid the established campsites along the JMT. For example, instead of the Wallace Creek camp, just go up Wallace Creek a short distance. If time, there is a use-trail that goes all the way up to Wallace Lake. I would also take a day-hike at least (if not camp up there) above Guitar Lake to Arctic Lake.
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Re: Itinerary for ten day High Sierra Trail--thoughts?

Postby DavePloessel » Thu Apr 09, 2015 10:05 am

I wasnt a huge fan of moraine lake. Maybe stop somewhere a little short and have some privacy? Last i hiked that area there were a few places with water that fit the bill. Get an EARLY start heading up the hill from junction meadow. That hike was hotter than the one from hamilton when I went.
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Re: Itinerary for ten day High Sierra Trail--thoughts?

Postby Wandering Daisy » Thu Apr 09, 2015 10:31 am

As you can see, we all have different tastes! I was not a big fan of Kern Hot Springs whereas most backpackers like it. Maybe I am a fan of Moraine Lake because instead of stopping there, I continued to Kern Hot Springs and was disappointed! The hot springs were so loaded with people that I could not even get into the springs until next morning. Nobody was at Moraine Lake. Your schedule has enough leeway that I would not worry about planning each night exactly. Last year we left Crescent Meadow at 1:30 PM thinking of camping at Nine Mile, and made it to the campsites short of Buck Creek well before dark. There are many campsites along the trail until you reach Bear Paw. There are a few exposed established campsites above outlet of Precipice Lake. Once I "hit the wall" going up that hill on Wallace Creek and found a nice little campsite down off the trail near the creek.
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Re: Itinerary for ten day High Sierra Trail--thoughts?

Postby MountainMinstrel » Thu Apr 09, 2015 11:43 am

Thanks everyone for the input.
Slowhiker, I had already read your trip report it was helpful in laying out our plans. I have done Whitney twice from the portal and will do all I can to avoid trail camp in the future. Yes, you do get to talk to a lot of people there, but it is just too overrun with people for me.

WD, I was thinking the same thing about that first lake in Nine lake. However, my map (Harrison Mt. Whitney High Country) does not show a green spot east of it. Would that be near or at the point where the two streams come together?

As for the date, yes the first week in September. That is why I asked about the area before Moraine Lake (with this years lack of snow it is unlikely that any of those streams will have water).

As for Wallace Creek I had not planned to actually stay right at the JMT camp. I was looking at the unnamed lake about a half mile east of the junction. and was definitely planning a day-hike up to Wallace lake.

Artic lake looks like a great place to camp, but I'm not sure about adding the extra mile onto summit day. I think I will make that a possible Day-hike also (I am usually the one in this group who gets antsy sitting around camp and goes off to explore).

As always, these plans are not set in stone but only guidelines. There are so many things out there that can alter plans, but lack of any plan can turn a nice leisurely trip into a death march.

Dave, Thanks for the input but I think water will be a huge concern by September and the crowds should be down a bit by then (at least until we hit the JMT).
Just an old musician who loves the Mountains.
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Re: Itinerary for ten day High Sierra Trail--thoughts?

Postby maverick » Thu Apr 09, 2015 12:19 pm

MM wrote:

WD, I was thinking the same thing about that first lake in Nine lake. However, my map (Harrison Mt. Whitney
High Country) does not show a green spot east of it. Would that be near or at the point where the two streams
come together?

Once your at the top of Kaweah Gap you'll see the trees/bush area east of the lake that have several decent places
to camp.



As for the date, yes the first week in September. That is why I asked about the area before Moraine Lake (with
this years lack of snow it is unlikely that any of those streams will have water).

Yes, once you start your ascent from the Big Arroyo towards Moraine Lake, your chances of finding a
water source especially by September will be zero to none. Get water at the junction before heading up.



As for Wallace Creek I had not planned to actually stay right at the JMT camp. I was looking at the unnamed
lake about a half mile east of the junction. and was definitely planning a day-hike up to Wallace lake.

Though that lake is of a descent size I wonder in this drought year what the water level will be by September.
Staying somewhere along Wallace Creek might be a better alternative for a water source.



Arctic Lake looks like a great place to camp, but I'm not sure about adding the extra mile onto summit day.
I think I will make that a possible Day-hike also (I am usually the one in this group who gets antsy sitting
around camp and goes off to explore).

Arctic Lake is a good place to camp for solitude when Guitar is jam packed, but you can make that call
when you get there, by the time of your trip numbers will have dwindle down substantially.


I too am not a fan of Moraine Lake, but in this drought year and in September, you really do not have
much of a choice, unless Chagoopa Creek is miraculously flowing still in September.
You may enjoy Kern Hot Springs, many do, but I am not one of them.
The section in the Kern going up towards Junction Meadow is dry, hot, and dusty, but at least you have
the river, time your ascent up to Wallace Creek form the Kern early morning to avoid the heat.
Don't forget to write up a TR after completing this trip please. :)
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: Itinerary for ten day High Sierra Trail--thoughts?

Postby Sierra Miguel » Sat Apr 11, 2015 11:25 pm

MountainMinstrel wrote:Day 9 Outpost camp 12.1


I haven't tried Lone Pine Lake, but you might find it nicer.
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Re: Itinerary for ten day High Sierra Trail--thoughts?

Postby Wandering Daisy » Sun Apr 12, 2015 9:18 pm

I have camped on the north side of Lone Pine Lake. Better view on the north side. There was someone already set up on the south side. Not outstanding, but adequate and just a bit more scenic than the Outpost. It did not look like a lot of people camped there. I recall a fair view but cannot see all of Whitney - just a bit of the top. There were what looked like rises on the water so I think there may be fish (but could also be bugs).

Other than a ton of people, I think the hike down to the Portal is really scenic. Take time to stop and look behind you!
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Re: Itinerary for ten day High Sierra Trail--thoughts?

Postby Wandering Daisy » Sun Apr 12, 2015 9:28 pm

Here is a photo of Lone Pine Lake

Image
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Re: Itinerary for ten day High Sierra Trail--thoughts?

Postby MountainMinstrel » Mon Apr 13, 2015 9:55 am

I have been to Whitney twice before staying at trail camp before and after summiting. For some reason I thought that camping was not allowed at Lone Pine Lake. that will be another option. On the other hand it can be interesting watching the parade coming down the switchbacks from trail camp. I think I'll leave that up to my cohorts. Thanks everybody :thumbsup:
Just an old musician who loves the Mountains.
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Re: Itinerary for ten day High Sierra Trail--thoughts?

Postby Wandering Daisy » Mon Apr 13, 2015 6:59 pm

You should check to see if camping is allowed at Lone Pine Lake. I just ended up there because it was getting dark. I was not thinking if it was legal or not. And that was several years ago.
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