TR: Alta Peak, Silliman Pass, and Mist Falls (5/28-5/31) | High Sierra Topix  

TR: Alta Peak, Silliman Pass, and Mist Falls (5/28-5/31)

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Re: End of May Overnighter to Mt. Brewer -- Route advice?

Postby giantbrookie » Sun May 17, 2015 7:50 pm

I'd agree with others that Brewer via East Lake and the E. Ridge is the easiest option. I suspect that even the notorious Bubbs Creek crossing at Jct Mdw will be OK owing to the much lower-than-average runoff, but I could be wrong--perhaps the Seki folks might have some info on this. The only thing that could possibly mess things up is if there is snow in the final little chute you take from the top of the E Ridge to get onto the S slope of Brewer. This is a class 2 chute but if there is snow in it the snow can be very sleep. I did this as an early season climb in late May (or was it mid May) but this was 1979 and it was certainly a heavier snowfall year--the Jct Meadow crossing of Bubbs Creek was very sketchy, and I was on snow almost continuously from East Lake to the top of the E. Ridge, including some very steep snow at the top (used crampons and ice axe). I'm pretty sure there is vastly less runoff and snow this year on this route.
Since my fishing (etc.) website is still down, you can be distracted by geology stuff at: http://www.fresnostate.edu/csm/ees/facu ... ayshi.html



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Re: End of May Overnighter to Mt. Brewer -- Route advice?

Postby franklin411 » Wed May 20, 2015 11:31 pm

Thanks again for the tip! Looks like mountain forecast.com is calling for about a snowfall of about 2' on Mt. Brewer tomorrow, so I guess we'll just have to see how things look/feel as the date approaches (the backpacking portion of the trip begins on 5/29). I've been reading up on the route and feel I have the general idea, but of course you never really understand until you try it for yourself.

I'm definitely open to alternate peaks if anyone would care to throw them into the pot. The idea is to keep them in my hip pocket so if I or my friend decides to nix the plan, we have other cards to play.

Mt. Bago? It seems easy enough (described as Class 1-2). Let's say we get to East Lake, take one look at Brewer and say "hell no!" Could we bag Bago the next day and then hike out reasonably? Or perhaps there's something else Bago-ish in the East Lake area that would be a good consolation prize?

Also, this is my understanding of the correct East face route. Is this about right? The blue line is the north branch of Ouzel Creek that's missing from the topo maps. I'm not sure if the red line or the pink line is better, since the descriptions I read just mentioned following the north branch for a bit.

possible brewer route 1.jpg
is this the right route?
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Re: End of May Overnighter to Mt. Brewer -- Route advice?

Postby hurricaniac » Thu May 21, 2015 4:39 pm

The East Creek crossing upstream of Bubbs Ck. is no walk in the park early season either. Take a rope or trekking poles if in doubt, don't count on low water.

The switchbacks up Sphinx are killer, but spectacular. You will be pooped after the first day and lucky to make the trail crossing of Sphinx Ck or lower Sphinx Lk.
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Re: End of May Overnighter to Mt. Brewer -- Route advice?

Postby franklin411 » Sun May 24, 2015 7:24 pm

Thanks for the reply! We will definitely have trekking poles, and if the Bubbs Creek crossing is at all sketchy we have a backup plan: we'll try for Charlotte Lake to climb Mt. Rixford and/or Mt. Bago.

So far, my pack weighs in at 16.6 lbs, including everything but food and water. I wish we could leave the damn bear can at home, but the NPS website says Rae Lakes includes East Lake (huh?) so non-through hikers must have a bear can (really?). I'm disappointed. Were it not for that rule, I could keep my pack to 20 lbs flat. I totally understand reserving space in the high season, but is late May really high season for through hikers? I have my doubts.

Let's say we decide to bug out of the backpacking idea entirely. Neither of us enjoys backpacking at all. We just put up with it because sometimes you have no choice if you want to see the really cool stuff. But if I had my 'druthers, I'll hike 15-20 miles r/t if it means I get to come back to an already set-up campsite, eat good food, and use a nice flush toilet instead of pawing at the ground like an alley cat.

What about Goat Mountain as a dayhike? Not that long (8.5 miles one way), TONS of gain (7000'), but reportedly doable. How hard is the route-finding?

Then the next day, we could do something easy, like go up to Mist Falls and possibly beyond if we feel like it, then back to the car and spend a leisurely afternoon driving out of Kings Canyon.

Then the third day, which is our last, could be another extreme dayhike? A second crack at Sawtooth out of Mineral King (yes, I've become open to that possibility)? What about White Chief Peak? I've always been intrigued by the name on the map, but I can't find any info at all on how to get there!

Thanks!
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Re: Possible Extreme Dayhikes from Roads End / Mineral King

Postby Shawn » Mon May 25, 2015 12:45 am

It would seem that Brewer will have some amount of snow on all aspects for the next few days, at least in the shade on the approach above 12K. I haven't read this whole thread so I don't know if you're equipped to manage the ascent safely given the conditions.

What about Goat Mountain as a dayhike? Not that long (8.5 miles one way), TONS of gain (7000'), but reportedly doable. How hard is the route-finding?
It's been done before, but it sounds like a painful way to enjoy limited time in the Sierra.

Then the next day, we could do something easy, like go up to Mist Falls and possibly beyond if we feel like it, then back to the car and spend a leisurely afternoon driving out of Kings Canyon.
Good thinking.

Then the third day, which is our last, could be another extreme dayhike? A second crack at Sawtooth out of Mineral King (yes, I've become open to that possibility)?
If you're in decent shape and have done your homework, then I would not call Sawtooth an "extreme dayhike". An ascent via Sawtooth Pass and a descent via the south ridge and out via Monarch Lakes makes an enjoyable loop.
Sawtooth141.JPG
The view from the bottom of the south ridge looking down toward Monarch Lakes descent.
Sawtooth141.JPG (74.47 KiB) Viewed 140 times


What about White Chief Peak? I've always been intrigued by the name on the map, but I can't find any info at all on how to get there!
Probably the easiest route is to hike the trail to Eagle Lake, then ascend the notch south of the lake (class 2) and walk over the easy terrain to White Chief "peak". White Chief is really just an extended rubble pile east of the ridge line, but it is beautiful country.
WCAug13-2006-081.JPG
Looking south across Eagle Lake at the notch
WCAug13-2006-081.JPG (180.31 KiB) Viewed 140 times


WCAug13-2006-171.JPG
The rubble pile known as White Chief Peak
WCAug13-2006-171.JPG (65.57 KiB) Viewed 140 times
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Re: Possible Extreme Dayhikes from Roads End / Mineral King

Postby franklin411 » Mon May 25, 2015 4:07 pm

Thanks for the reply, Shawn! Neither of us is equipped or skilled enough for anything besides minor/dry scrambling, so we figured on calling it quits if we get to East Lake and there's still lots of snow, or if we get up there and we find the snow is right where we need to go.

Assuming the snow has melted...now I'm thinking that doesn't mean there isn't ice. Hmm... Would Rixford/Bago be any better? I thought they might be better options because (I gather) we have lots of options for routing around patchy snow/ice there, whereas with Mt. Brewer we have to get through the East ridge to South slope notch or we're done.

And thanks for the info on White Chief! I assume I was looking at White Chief last October as I ascended towards Sawtooth Peak via Crystal Lake--I noticed a really pure whitish peak that looked cool at first light.

My Sawtooth Peak ascent turned into an extreme dayhike because I screwed it up due to insufficient prep work and inexperience. But I learned, and I lived, so it worked out. :D

I think I got really close on Sawtooth before I bugged out due to weather that built in around me shockingly quickly. Couldn't have been more than a few hundred feet I think. Here's a pic taken from the highest I got on Sawtooth:
sawtooth.jpg
This is as high as I got.
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Re: Possible Extreme Dayhikes from Roads End / Mineral King

Postby seanr » Tue May 26, 2015 10:23 am

Given the month of late spring storms and the cool nights in the forecast, saving all the Brewer research for a mid-summer/future outing and just exploring from campgrounds is a great idea. Camping up at Mineral King and dayhiking Sawtooth and White Chief areas will be fun and scenic. You might enjoy the other trails up there as well and maybe pick a couple of other peaks/high spots to scramble up. I bet you'll make it to the summit of Sawtooth this time if the snow isn't too deep or slick. Be mindful of any slick talus and bring extra socks. If you find the snow too problematic to reach the higher summits you have in mind, shift focus more to sequoia groves, waterfalls, and easier peaks/viewoints. There are groves in the MK area. It may not be the most heavily traveled part of the park, but it is spectacular and you may enjoy just staying there and dayhiking the whole trip.

If you venture north, Silliman, Alta Peak, and the surrounding terrain make for great dayhikes. Marble Falls, the biggest tree, Moro Rock, Tokapah Falls, and Pear Lake make for easier outings on off days or when looking to fill spare time.

Farther north, Jennie Lake and Peak (the peak above it) from Stony Creek is a fun half-day outing. Mitchell Peak from Marvin Pass area makes for an easy dayhike with expansive views. Near Mitchell, Lookout Peak is a good viewpoint if your vehicle can make it all the way up the bumpy road to the base of the summit area. You could easily do Lookout and Mitchell in one day and, if really ambitious, visit Jennie Lake and Peak from Fox/Big/Rowell Meadows TH the same day.

http://www.mk-webcam.net
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Re: Possible Extreme Dayhikes from Roads End / Mineral King

Postby Cross Country » Tue May 26, 2015 12:06 pm

I´ve been to just about all of the lakes and none of the peaks out of Kings Canyon. Ditto from Mineral King. MK is ideal for extreem hikes to any number of lakes and KC even better. You don´t need me to mention them, just look on the map. I think Sphnix and Grouse are the most beautiful (and the best fishing). They´re WAY better than Granit, Paridise, Swamp or anything else on Bubbs. Of course these are just my opinion but I imagine I´ve BPed out of KC more than anyone else here. Maybe not.
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Re: Possible Extreme Dayhikes from Roads End / Mineral King

Postby seanr » Tue May 26, 2015 2:19 pm

Building off Cross Country's comment, you could do some dayhikes in MK, then spend a day visiting tourist spots or easy peaks near Lodgepole, and then dayhike to some great spots out of KC. I did mention some easy peaks with big views in the NF between Sequoia and Kings Canyon, but would personally skip them for now if conditions allow for high peaks, if you can stomach all the driving & hiking, and if you want your friend to see the best stuff achievable via dayhikes. On the other hand, if peakbagging is important and you find conditions sketchy up above 11-12k, then the easy peaks I mentioned might be ideal. You could even do Mitchell Peak, Jennie Lake/Peak, and Mount Silliman in one dayhike loop from Marvin Pass and drive out to Lookout Peak if you feel really ambitious and have time leftover.
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Re: Possible Extreme Dayhikes from Roads End / Mineral King

Postby franklin411 » Tue May 26, 2015 11:04 pm

Thanks for the replies all! I checked out a pic of Grouse Lake and it looked pretty awesome, and it would be a new area of the park for me so that would be cool. Ditto with Mineral King/Sawtooth/White Chief Mountain etc...

Our zone on the first day is pretty firm because I booked a campsite online weeks ago (but it's a great ne...right next to the heated bathroom at the hiker shuttle stop!), so I think Alta Peak is a good start. I think I'll try bringing binoculars...assuming it's a clear day, you should be able to see the S-SW slopes of Mt. Brewer, right? And is Brewer the one that looks like a pyramid from the West? After Alta, we plan to talk to the rangers to see if they have any info.

I really prefer this dayhike/see the whole durn park even though it means getting up way early to drive to different trailheads thing. It's just a ton easier to plan, pack, and be spontaneous. I'll have to talk with my friend when she gets here, and I'll present it to her that way to see what she says: a backpacking trip where you get the whole wilderness experience. An inch wide and a mile deep. Or a wide-ranging dayhiking trip, where you get to see the whole west side of the park, but you move on quickly.

I guess it's up to fate now!
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Re: Possible Extreme Dayhikes from Roads End / Mineral King

Postby Shawn » Wed May 27, 2015 12:09 am

you should be able to see the S-SW slopes of Mt. Brewer, right?

Here is a view of Brewer as taken from Alta (pardon the low quality image, this was from 2003):
Brewer 2003.jpg
Brewer from Alta
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Re: Possible Extreme Dayhikes from Roads End / Mineral King

Postby franklin411 » Wed May 27, 2015 10:32 am

Perfect! Thanks Shawn!
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