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Big Seki Loop query

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Big Seki Loop query

Postby skiker » Wed Apr 08, 2015 2:41 pm

I’m new to HST. What a find. It’s been great to have access to so much experience and backcountry smarts. And now I’ve got a specific question.

We have a reservation for July to do what some folks call the Big Seki Loop (http://tinyurl.com/kmc7w7z). We finished the JMT a couple of years ago and wanted a less-travelled trek in the Sierra. (Yep, we know we'll see lots of folks on the JMT portion of the BSL, although it seems that it may be fewer than last year given the new restrictions in Yosemite.)

Since we're doing the trip clockwise we have some choices after a resupply at Kearsage. We don't plan to head to Roads End along Bubbs Creek unless we have to. But we could do the somewhat shorter route over Colby or follow the route (in the trip report link above) that goes over Elizabeth and Avalanche Passes.

My question for those of you who’ve gone this way, which route would you choose and why? Well, I guess that's actually two questions but I'd appreciate any insight or guidance you can provide.

Thanks.

FWIW, we're both older (65 and 57) experienced backpackers who know our capacities and have at least decent route finding skills. We finished the JMT two years ago and this will be our second extended trip in the Sierra. We’ve also done several other extended trips. I'm comfortable off-trail, my wife not so much.

Rob Brading



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Re: Big Seki Loop query

Postby Wandering Daisy » Wed Apr 08, 2015 7:07 pm

You could also consider a start from Kearsarge and resupply at Roads End. That puts relatively easier JMT miles first, no huge initial elevation gains. There is a store at Cedar Grove (not great but at least an easy hitch from the trailhead) plus a campground right next to the store. You might check if you could mail supplies to the store. I have never been fond of resupply from Onion Meadow. You have to hitch a ride down, and back. But you could stay in a motel.

The reason I prefer counter-clockwise, particularly if starting at Roads End, is that you can first camp at the Bubbs/Sphinx trail junction which is a lot nicer than the lower campsites on Copper Creek trail. I usually drive to Roads End, get a permit, and then hike to the Bubbs/Sphinx junction the first day. That splits the elevation gain for a more reasonable day over Avalanche Pass. Plus you would be going up on the shady side of the mountain. Copper Creek trail can be really hot as it has little cover and gets blasted by early sun. You really do not want to go up Copper Creek trail in the afternoon. I would also rather go up from Simpson Meadow (again on the shady side).

I would plan the trip both ways, in detail. Many times one way simply becomes obvious with better logistics.

Another thought, since the JMT is a large part of the miles, pick the direction on the JMT that is the opposite of what you did before. It is amazing how simply going the other direction makes a route seem almost new!
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Re: Big Seki Loop query

Postby LMBSGV » Wed Apr 08, 2015 9:19 pm

I agree with WD about starting at Kearsarge and resupplying at Cedar Grove. I did a resupply there many years ago. I mailed the package to the Cedar Grove Visitor Center. I wasn't the only person with a package there when I picked mine up. The Visitor Center is also a post office so along with the package, I got a letter from home. The Rangers were really friendly and helpful. I would phone to see if they still do this. You will need to hitch a ride from Road's End to Cedar Grove. At the time, one of the backcountry rangers gave me a nod and a wink warning that hitchhiking is technically illegal there.
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Re: Big Seki Loop query

Postby maverick » Thu Apr 09, 2015 12:55 pm

Hi Rob,


Welcome to HST! Great to have choices. :)
Both have a lot to offer, Gallets Lakes has one of the prettiest meadows, and Colby Lake is a
fantastic swimming lake. Cloud Canyon is beautiful, and the Whaleback is one of the most
unique granite features in the Sierra, and the Big Wet Meadow can be quite pretty, though a mosquito
factor at the wrong time of the year (maybe July).
Chagoopa Plateau is interesting but the fun stuff is off trail, Nine Lakes Basin is very impressive and
Kaweah Gap has outstanding views of the Kaweah Ridge. Precipice Lake is a Sierra gem, and Hamilton
Lakes and Valhalla is very pretty. Views from Elizabeth Pass down Deadman Canyon are outstanding, and
the wildflowers in the upper part of Ranger Meadow can be fabulous if your there at the right time (maybe
July).
The High Sierra Trail section may be very busy, especially around Hamilton Lake and the Kern Hot
Springs section, it could also be quite dry and hot in the section of the Kern.
As you see both have a lot to offer and you will not be disappointed if choosing one over the other, with
that said, my option would be the Colby/Cloud Canyon route.
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: Big Seki Loop query

Postby skiker » Thu Apr 09, 2015 2:59 pm

Thanks for the very helpful responses. I probably should have added that we’ll arrange for the resupply on Kearsage Pass, avoiding the steep descent into Onion Valley as well as the lure of an overnight in Lone Pine. We considered taking the Mt. Williamson Motel folks up on their shuttle offer but decided that we didn’t want to be off trail that long – two days by the time you’re done – and we could spring for a resupply for not a lot more than the motel would have been. No showers, no laundry, though.
:soapbox:

I’ll look at going counter-clockwise. I chose clockwise mostly to avoid running head on into the JMT traffic. Kearsage pretty much splits the trip so that's a wash either way.

I should have also added that we should be reasonably well-acclimatized and fit since we’ll be day hiking and backpacking at altitude for a week before we hit King’s Canyon. As for the tough uphill at the beginning, we both prefer uphill to downhill and would probably just as soon go up it to begin instead of coming down it at the end of a long trip and at the end of what’ll probably be a long day (when we have a penchant for heading for the barn).

Last but not least, we’ve got dietary restrictions and preferences that make resupplying at Cedar Grove impractical and unappetizing.

Thanks again.
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Re: Big Seki Loop query

Postby Cross Country » Thu Apr 09, 2015 4:47 pm

I have hiked up Copper Creek at least 4 times and down it at least 10 times. I had bad feet so hiking up hill was always MUCH better for me. Dispite my severe problem hicking downhill I still recomend hiking down Copper Creek instead of up it.
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Re: Big Seki Loop query

Postby Cross Country » Thu Apr 09, 2015 5:21 pm

This is my favorite part of the Sierra. I would imagine I spent over 300 (maybe 400) days within or very close without this loop. I probably hiked on less than half of the trails on this trip I was usually cross country (my name). I don't know how you couldn't be thrilled by your trip. GOOD CHOICE.
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Re: Big Seki Loop query

Postby maverick » Fri Apr 10, 2015 6:26 pm

Rob, please write up a TR after you complete this trip. :)
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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