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Recommendations for Crossing the Silver Divide Off-Trail

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Recommendations for Crossing the Silver Divide Off-Trail

Postby acvdmlac » Wed Apr 22, 2015 12:58 pm

Greetings, XC afficionados,

I'm curious to hear recommendations for crossing the Silver Divide off-trail. There appear to be quite a few cross-country routes and passes on the Forum map, and I'm looking for the easiest off-trail route. I'm leading a trip in September 2015 that includes a fit newbie and also a senior (but very fit and experienced) back-packer, so I'd like to keep it easy and not too spooky Class 2 for them. Looking at Shout of Relief, Pace, Hopkins, Rohn, and Warrior Ridge, probably crossing north-to-south but possibly the reverse. Any suggestions for the routes with the best stoke-to-slog ratio in this area? I've looked at some individual TRs but would especially love to hear some comparisons from anyone who's done more than 1 of them...Any recommendations much appreciated!



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Re: Recommendations for Crossing the Silver Divide Off-Trail

Postby SweetSierra » Wed Apr 22, 2015 5:01 pm

If you're looking for an easy and not too spooky class 2, I'd say Shout of Relief. I haven't done the other passes. Shout of Relief is part of Roper's Sierra High Route. I've done it twice from different directions. Easy class 2, and the route finding isn't difficult. The connecting pass--Bighorn Pass--leads to a steep descent on a use trail through grass and small stable talus and dirt to a bench where you can descend to Laurel Lake or make a left to beautiful Grinnell Lake.
Last edited by SweetSierra on Wed Apr 22, 2015 11:06 pm, edited 3 times in total.
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Re: Recommendations for Crossing the Silver Divide Off-Trail

Postby Sierra_Summits » Wed Apr 22, 2015 8:39 pm

I would also say that shout of relief pass isn't too bad at all. I've done it from both directions too and also linked it up with Bighorn pass and gotten into laurel creek. The view of Red and White mtn is unreal from the laurel creek area!
"Heaven is here on Earth!"

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Re: Recommendations for Crossing the Silver Divide Off-Trail

Postby RoguePhotonic » Wed Apr 22, 2015 9:19 pm

Hopkins is mostly class 1 on the South side. A use trail drops down most of the North side is only some small talus hoping. Piece of cake really.

Rohn Pass is almost the same. Mostly class 1 up the South side. North side is a bit steeper but not a big drop. There was too much snow on the North side for fine details.

I have yet to write up Hopkins but Rohn is in the cross country section.
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Re: Recommendations for Crossing the Silver Divide Off-Trail

Postby acvdmlac » Fri Apr 24, 2015 1:00 pm

Thanks, y'all! Roper makes it sound like the traverse from Shout-of-Relief to Bighorn Pass involves tricky route-finding, and Secor says there's a tedious amount of talus on the south side of SoR, but indeed as I read the TRs on this forum they don't sound too bad...I'll post TR myself if we end up going as planned.
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Re: Recommendations for Crossing the Silver Divide Off-Trail

Postby SSSdave » Fri Apr 24, 2015 4:22 pm

acvdmlac wrote:Thanks, y'all! Roper makes it sound like the traverse from Shout-of-Relief to Bighorn Pass involves tricky route-finding, and Secor says there's a tedious amount of talus on the south side of SoR, but indeed as I read the TRs on this forum they don't sound too bad...I'll post TR myself if we end up going as planned.


Bighorn to Shout-of-Relief is tricky if the goal is being efficient and that is what Roper is talking about, not wasting unnecessary effort up and down. The many who rarely navigate with a topo are likely to end up with a few hundred feet of extra up and down in order to get around some cliffy features because they immediate upon leaving Bighorn Pass go right down to Rosy Finch Lake on a well worn though steep route. Yeah "it was easy" without realizing what they did.

http://mapper.acme.com/?ll=37.46972,-118.86854&z=15&t=T

See that knoll at 11320+ to the northwest of the pass with the little pond on the north side? That is the efficient feature to pass atop. To get there requires not dropping below 11080+ then climbing up the steep side of that nose by studying a series of ramps on the face and climbing up.

There are a lot of tricky class 2 passes across the Silver Divide where a group could make their effort more difficult than need be much like in the rest of the range. One can always see numbers of unwise beaten routes often in granite sand at passes others have taken and more often than not they are made by those who navigate by sight alone and immediately start dropping straight down the other side of slopes even when those slopes are concave such that one cannot see gradients lower down. Because much of the topography was the result of glaciers, that created cliff bands in all manner of slopes within the granite geology.

David
http://www.davidsenesac.com/Spring_2015 ... 015-1.html
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Re: Recommendations for Crossing the Silver Divide Off-Trail

Postby SweetSierra » Sat Apr 25, 2015 7:17 am

Dave, good points about Bighorn to Shout-of-Relief. On the first trip there from the other direction, we considered dropping close to Rosy Finch Lake. It was apparent others had gone that way. But we saw that there were easy ways up the chunk of hill/mountainside in front of us. Since Roper says it goes, we went that way. The drop to the lake and around this feature looked like a slog.
I read Secor's description after the first trip and I felt he was off saying there was ("tedious talus." on the north side). To me that means acres of time-consuming talus. It isn't that at all---there's that one big solid hump that you climb up and around (there are a number of ways to get up or down it and it's a short stretch), then a couple of car-sized pieces of talus that you walk around (not over) before an easy climb to Shout-of-Relief.
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Re: Recommendations for Crossing the Silver Divide Off-Trail

Postby acvdmlac » Sun May 03, 2015 7:11 pm

Bighorn to Shout-of-Relief is tricky if the goal is being efficient and that is what Roper is talking about, not wasting unnecessary effort up and down. The many who rarely navigate with a topo are likely to end up with a few hundred feet of extra up and down in order to get around some cliffy features because they immediate upon leaving Bighorn Pass go right down to Rosy Finch Lake on a well worn though steep route. Yeah "it was easy" without realizing what they did.

http://mapper.acme.com/?ll=37.46972,-118.86854&z=15&t=T

See that knoll at 11320+ to the northwest of the pass with the little pond on the north side? That is the efficient feature to pass atop. To get there requires not dropping below 11080+ then climbing up the steep side of that nose by studying a series of ramps on the face and climbing up


Thank you, SSSDave and Sweet Sierra, that is very helpful. We're planning to come over Shout-of-Relief from the north, and if I read your advice and look at the topo section you posted, it looks like the best route is to stay high and contour eastward from S-O-R towards the small pond, then turn SSE and cross the SW-trending ridge, and continue to contour SSE towards Bighorn Pass, to avoid what look like cliffs on either side of the inlet stream at the north end of Rosy Finch Lake. The east side of Bighorn looks uniformly steep but as long as it stays class 2 without too much exposure I think we'll be fine. We're likely to be taking along my 82-year old step-dad but he loves XC and has been backpacking in the Sierra since the 1930s. A couple summers ago he was out in front of us 50-something geezers carrying his own weight and route-finding over Puppet and Royce Passes so he won't complain but I also want to avoid unnecessarily steep or technical sections or a lot of backtracking. Your comments and map are most helpful.
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Re: Recommendations for Crossing the Silver Divide Off-Trail

Postby nsmeier » Tue May 05, 2015 8:53 am

This was a trip I did a few years back that crossed the silver divide.
https://nicholasmeier.wordpress.com/200 ... vide-loop/
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Re: Recommendations for Crossing the Silver Divide Off-Trail

Postby SweetSierra » Thu May 07, 2015 5:31 pm

I'll post some photos when I get the chance, but going up Shout-of-Relief from the north, stay to the left and up the fairly gentle slope. At the top, go to the left down and then up over the mixed terrain. You will see Bighorn Pass as you cross this big hump---the fairly large notch has a use trail which will become apparent. I had a photo of Bighorn which was helpful at the time. From Bighorn, if you walk just slightly to the right, you'll see a steep grassy gully. You can't see to the bottom of it. On our trip, we didn't go this way thinking it might cliff out. It doesn't. There's a switchback use trail all the way down. Instead, we went to the right and angled down quite a bit of stable, sometimes steep talus to a short steep section which required a little time to figure out the way down. Not hard though. But the grassy slope is the way to go.
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Re: Recommendations for Crossing the Silver Divide Off-Trail

Postby acvdmlac » Sat May 09, 2015 10:57 am

Thanks, SweetSierra! Very helpful to have the route guidance. I appreciate your posts.
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Re: Recommendations for Crossing the Silver Divide Off-Trail

Postby acvdmlac » Sat May 09, 2015 11:06 am

Anyone have any experience with Pace Col (Grinnell Pass) in a low-snow year like 2015? I read the HST info page which documents the snow on the north side, but in September of this year there probably won't be a flake anywhere...It looks like the sort of pass which is easier without snow but I know some are easier with...it looks like a more direct route from north to south over the Silver Divide than Shout-of-Relief and Bighorn.
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