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Trip Advice: Basins Divide Loop - Thoughts?

Postby joshuacourter » Thu Apr 09, 2015 8:48 am

Hello All,

I am planning a trip that begins and ends at Road's End in Kings Canyon National Park. I was not able to find an official name for this trip I am undertaking (i.e. Rae Lakes Loop) so I am calling it Basins Divide Loop. Here is my itinerary.

Day - Start and End - Distance (approx. miles)
1 - Road’s End to Junction Meadow - 9.10
2 - Junction Meadow to Unnamed Lake - 8.00
3 - Unnamed Lake to Lake 10,660 - 8.50
4 - Rest and Relax at Lake 10,660 - 0.00
5 - Lake 10,660 to Gallats Lake - 9.60
6 - Gallats Lake to Colby Lake - 4.50
7 - Colby Lake to Roaring River - 8.60
8 - Roaring River to Road’s End - 13.80

Further info on itinerary
1) The second day at Junction Meadow, near Bubb's Creek, my trek will ascend up to Forester Pass. There is a small lake unnamed lake north of the pass. This is the camp site for day 2 called "unnamed lake".
2) I am trying to remain within 1,000 feet of previous nights elevation. This cannot be done in all cases, but I had read this can help minimize high altitude sickness.
3) I will be taking other experienced backpackers with me.

My questions are do you have any advice or experience on these trails? Do you foresee any challenges I should be aware of? Are there better campsites I should consider?

Thanks in advance for taking the time to read/review this. If you are wanting to see the KML file to overlay in Google Earth, PM me and I can send you a link.



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Re: Trip Advice: Basins Divide Loop - Thoughts?

Postby DavePloessel » Thu Apr 09, 2015 9:31 am

Gallats lake is pretty but were it me, i would try and push past it to colby from lake 10660 and give yourself an extra day at colby/ between colby and roaring river. Colby and cloud canyon are special places.
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Re: Trip Advice: Basins Divide Loop - Thoughts?

Postby maverick » Thu Apr 09, 2015 12:43 pm

Before offering any suggestions, when are you doing this trip Joshua?
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Re: Trip Advice: Basins Divide Loop - Thoughts?

Postby joshuacourter » Thu Apr 09, 2015 3:39 pm

DavePloessel wrote:Gallats lake is pretty but were it me, i would try and push past it to colby from lake 10660 and give yourself an extra day at colby/ between colby and roaring river. Colby and cloud canyon are special places.


I will look into that. Thanks Dave!

maverick wrote:Before offering any suggestions, when are you doing this trip Joshua?


Hi Maverick. The trip is scheduled for end of june.
Last edited by joshuacourter on Fri Apr 10, 2015 9:24 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Trip Advice: Basins Divide Loop - Thoughts?

Postby maverick » Thu Apr 09, 2015 4:48 pm

Why the layover at Lake 10,660?

What about staying at Junction Meadow and then doing a day hike up to East Lake at 9445 ft
(4.6 miles round trip) or Lake Reflection at 10005 ft (8.5 miles round trip), both are beautiful
lakes and this will also help with you acclimation before doing Forester Pass.

Get an early start on your first day since the Bubb's Creek section can be dry, dusty, and hot.

The meadow at Gallets is outstanding, and if you have the time on the way up to Colby
Pass check out Milestone Bowl.

Views of the Whaleback from Big Wet Meadow are surreal, but be prepared for
mosquito city too.

RR to RE is more like 16 miles, a 2500 ft climb, a steep brutal descent down the staircase,
and then add in the descent to RE will have your knees screaming if you did that in a day.
Would recommend a layover at Sphinx Creek campsite or at the Bubb's/Avalanche Pass
Trail junction campsite.
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Re: Trip Advice: Basins Divide Loop - Thoughts?

Postby joshuacourter » Fri Apr 10, 2015 8:00 am

maverick wrote:Why the layover at Lake 10,660?


Wanted to explore the headwaters of the Kern River. However, with some of the suggestions/ideas you have given, especially the last day on my itinerary being about 16 miles, I may not have a "lay over day" at all.

maverick wrote:What about staying at Junction Meadow and then doing a day hike up to East Lake at 9445 ft
(4.6 miles round trip) or Lake Reflection at 10005 ft (8.5 miles round trip), both are beautiful
lakes and this will also help with you acclimation before doing Forester Pass.


Hmm, I have wanted to see both of those lakes for other trips. I will have to look at my time line and see if that can be possible without adding to many miles on a particular day. It will also depend on who commits to going with me :). I can handle longer days of hiking but for others it won't work. Will look into it.

maverick wrote:Get an early start on your first day since the Bubb's Creek section can be dry, dusty, and hot.


Thanks. I will do that. I plan on being on the road at 6 AM to start my trip. Should be at RE by 8 to 830.

maverick wrote:The meadow at Gallets is outstanding, and if you have the time on the way up to Colby
Pass check out Milestone Bowl.

Views of the Whaleback from Big Wet Meadow are surreal, but be prepared for
mosquito city too.


Will check out Milestone Bowl and be ready for mosquito city :eek:

maverick wrote:RR to RE is more like 16 miles, a 2500 ft climb, a steep brutal descent down the staircase,
and then add in the descent to RE will have your knees screaming if you did that in a day.
Would recommend a layover at Sphinx Creek campsite or at the Bubb's/Avalanche Pass
Trail junction campsite.


Woah! Glad to know it is more like 16. Will have to break that day up for sure. Thanks!
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Re: Trip Advice: Basins Divide Loop - Thoughts?

Postby Wandering Daisy » Fri Apr 10, 2015 12:25 pm

The lake at 10660 is not much of a lake. The lake 0.9 miles north (called Casper Lake on Google Earth) is much superior (good fishing too) and a better location to day-hike from. Previously, I have cut over to Lake South America from the JMT, off-trail traversed to the large lake south of Mt Genevia and then south to Casper Lake. You can also stay on the trail and head south from Lake South America, and then cut over 3/4 mile due west to Casper Lake. Although a bit longer, this loop lets you see the upper Kern while on the way to Casper Lake (rather than day-hike the upper Kern- less total miles). I think the most scenic day-hike is up the valley west of Casper Lake. The off trail travel is quite easy. I have also take the cross-trail from the JMT to the Kern and it is nice but not outstanding. Since you have scheduled two days, why not take the longer scenic route?

I have walked out from Roaring River via Avalanche Pass in one day. At the end of a trip, with light packs, it really is not too bad. I have also walked in to Roaring River from Roads End in one day, with a full pack of 12 days food, and THAT was a death march!

As for the unnamed lakes north of Forester Pass, the two small lakes at 11260 are nice and even have a few trees (this would be my preference). Just before you get to these lakes there are several bivy sites along the trail. In fact there are many established bivy campsites along the trail lower down too. The next small lake up, at 11740 is a bit off the trail, very exposed, but does have flat campsites. The small lake at 12000 is harder to get to. The large lake at 12260 is surrounded by talus. I could not see much in the way of campsites, without a bit of work to get farther along the northeast shore. On my last trip over Forester Pass, I had planned on camping at one of these lakes on the north side, but the weather was good and it was early enough in the day that I continued and camped at the south end of the very large lake at 12260 on Tyndal Creek. If you drop just a bit down the outlet you can get out of the wind. I had started the day at Vidette Lakes- dropping back to the JMT took a bit of time but once on the well maintained JMT I made good time.
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Re: Trip Advice: Basins Divide Loop - Thoughts?

Postby maverick » Fri Apr 10, 2015 6:25 pm

Please write up a TR after doing this trip Joshua. :)
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Re: Trip Advice: Basins Divide Loop - Thoughts?

Postby freestone » Fri Apr 10, 2015 8:43 pm

cut over to Lake South America from the JMT, off-trail traversed to the large lake south of Mt Genevia


WD, good advise. Not a stroll in the park because of the remoteness and altitude, but close to it.
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Re: Trip Advice: Basins Divide Loop - Thoughts?

Postby joshuacourter » Sat Apr 11, 2015 7:44 am

Wandering Daisy - Thanks for the tips. I think I will be adjusting my location just north of Forester Pass and adjust my final destination when I get to Lake 10,660 to Casper Lake. Casper Lake looks like a great "base" area to explore from should we decided to hold over there as plan for a day. Great information and I need to do some mileage recalculations.

Maverick - You bet :). I will get a story of the trip done for my blog then copy it over onto HST.

Freestone - I take it that is Lake South America, correct? Looks peaceful.

Thanks for all this advice from everyone. I really appreciate it. Still working out how to squeeze in East Lake. I have plenty of time to figure it out though. I may just have to come back, darn ;). Any more advice, please feel free to share. I do appreciate it and it helps me think/plan for a fun and successful trip.
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Re: Trip Advice: Basins Divide Loop - Thoughts?

Postby tim » Sat Apr 11, 2015 8:37 am

If you don't get too high up the north side of Forester then we found a great campsite below the trail about 20 mins above the Center Basin junction (roughly 10600ft) - see viewtopic.php?f=1&t=8265. If you go higher then the lake directly below the pass is very rocky, much better to camp at the small lakelet where the trail turns back south (about 11500ft), though I would be somewhat concerned about it being dry this year.
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Re: Trip Advice: Basins Divide Loop - Thoughts?

Postby tomba » Sat Apr 11, 2015 9:32 am

joshuacourter wrote:Freestone - I take it that is Lake South America, correct? Looks peaceful.


No, this is the long lake south of Mt. Genevra, looking west.
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