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A few questions about Mineral King

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Re: A few questions about Mineral King

Postby maverick » Tue Jun 09, 2015 5:23 pm

If you just take your time, you will be fine going up Sawtooth Pass.


Yes it is fine Shawn, but why not do Franklin, visit Forester and Little Claire Lakes, down Soda Creek, fish Big 5 Lakes and Little 5 Lakes, go over Black Rock Pass down to Spring Lake, use cross-country route up past Cyclamen to Columbine Lake, and then back to MK via Sawtooth Pass instead? This gives one the entire MK circuit, instead of going up Sawtooth, which is the middle route of the three.
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Re: A few questions about Mineral King

Postby justm » Tue Jun 09, 2015 5:40 pm

Thanks SS Dave and Shawn, thats a helpful photo. I'm not going to change my permit, going in over Sawtooth !!
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Re: A few questions about Mineral King

Postby Shawn » Tue Jun 09, 2015 9:05 pm

I agree Mav, a more interesting trip via the route you suggest. Just trying to address the hassle of changing permits.

Yes it is fine Shawn, but why not do Franklin, visit Forester and Little Claire Lakes, down Soda Creek, fish Big 5 Lakes and Little 5 Lakes, go over Black Rock Pass down to Spring Lake, use cross-country route up past Cyclamen to Columbine Lake, and then back to MK via Sawtooth Pass instead? This gives one the entire MK circuit, instead of going up Sawtooth, which is the middle route of the three.
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Re: A few questions about Mineral King

Postby SSSdave » Tue Jun 09, 2015 9:23 pm

Shawn's input shows one of what I referred to as peakbagger routes. Of course going up difficult routes is much easier with a light daypack. He has been up in those areas more than I have so is a better authority. See my attached image. This was shot from the blue spot on the topo and Shawn's image maybe about the orange spot. Monarch Lake would be uphill off to the right. I'm making this additional input because his route is exactly where I advised backpackers not descend though that is not because I've actually gone that way.

Image

The red route approximates Shawn's route minus the zigzagging. The visible top is not the pass but rather the convex bulge as indicated where it stops on my topo insert. Few backpackers use that route but rather the approximate dotted line traditional route shown on the topo. One can just look at the topo lines to understand it is a more direct and steeper route. The magenta line on the image correlates with that on the topo. The visible top on my image is not Glacier Pass but rather the knee of the slope where my line changes to green. All the discussion I made above about crossing the loose face is that green part that is not visible in either Shawn's or my image. On our 2013 trip we spent our first night at the yellow spot which is at the bottom of the long loose sandy slope. Any route straight up has to deal with the sand possibly burying whatever footpath. He seems to be ok with going that way so it might not be as difficult as I suspect although it is certainly steeper and more likely looser.
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Re: A few questions about Mineral King

Postby Optimus-00 » Wed Jun 10, 2015 9:30 pm

If one's going to make the CCW loop that gets to Big Five from Franklin, I think it's much more enjoyable to go up into the upper of the Big Five Lakes, which are very scenic, then go straight over to Spring Lake via Hands and Knees Pass (XC) and from Spring, jump over Glacier Pass (also XC), From the top of Glacier, you can see the route down to MK, and there's two options - go left and jump into the Sawtooth sandy switchbacks, or go straight down on the "old" trail, which bypasses Monarch Lake and drops really quickly and directly to Mineral King. Yes, the old trail is falling apart, has been unmaintained for decades, but it's still there, and still works.
Last edited by Optimus-00 on Thu Jun 11, 2015 9:44 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: A few questions about Mineral King

Postby alpinemike » Thu Jun 11, 2015 3:58 pm

I certainly agree with Maverick that Sawtooth is not the most fun of passes to start on the first day with a heavy pack. I did it last year during an incredibly hot day with over 14 days of food. I never lost the trail and went up the most preferred route which angles out towards Glacier Pass on SSSDave's map. But... Would I want to do it again? Certainly not. It was definitely an enormous amount of work and there are better options in the area as pointed out. 7 days worth of food is not a super-lightweight pack especially if not all the gear is ultralight. Personally I would go over Franklin and return via Blackrock and cross country up to Columbine as Maverick suggested.
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Re: A few questions about Mineral King

Postby justm » Thu Jun 11, 2015 5:46 pm

Thanks again for all the helpful info !! I chose this trip from a book, Backpacker magazines, "Trekking California". The route has me going over Sawtooth to Columbine lake 1st night, 2nd night at Little five lakes,3rd night at Big Arroyo creek, 4th night at Moraine lake, 5th night at Funston creek/ Kern river, 6th night at Forester lake, and 7th at Franklin lakes. How does that look ? Would you make any changes ?

Thanks !!
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Re: A few questions about Mineral King

Postby SSSdave » Thu Jun 11, 2015 9:23 pm

Going down into the Kern River trench after being way high is asking for a lot more strenuous vertical effort in order to reach places that have modest scenery without views of peaks. Those who drop down there usually are doing a trans Sierra route hiking out at Whitney. Also those interested in Kern Hot Springs or fishing the river which has larger trout usually start by hiking up the river from the south which has far less vertical. Moraine Lake is also just a ho hum way point for those doing trans Sierra.

Instead of visiting Moraine then climbing down in that hole, after Columbine, camp a day at Big 5 Lake #2 then the next day go to one of the Little 5. After that enjoy a pleasant day camping stream side near the Big Arroyo and Soda Creek junction. From there continue on with your itinerary. All the high timberline GWD areas are fabulous places to day hike about exploring. So just stumbling down trails all day and or being so tired one has little energy to do much after reaching these destinations will miss out experiencing on why they are highly regarded. Thus these areas are more about the destinations than the journeys.

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Re: A few questions about Mineral King

Postby sparky » Thu Jun 11, 2015 9:54 pm

AlmostThere wrote:Sawtooth isn't a maintained trail. A friend and I got into the maze of use trails the peak baggers make with our backpacks on - had to shake scree out of my pants. If you don't know where the switchbacks are, it can be much harder. The other side is much more straightforward coming up.


This happened to me as well, except I was coming over glacier? pass from spring lake....ended up way off course
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Re: A few questions about Mineral King

Postby texan » Fri Jun 12, 2015 5:56 am

I think you will be fine going over Sawtooth. I have done it and Glacier Pass many times. For fishing I would go to the upper Kern or Little/Big Five Lakes basin.

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Re: A few questions about Mineral King

Postby justm » Fri Jun 12, 2015 7:08 pm

I'm going over Sawtooth, unless, when i get my official permit at the ranger station, they can change it there. I know it will be tough, but it's not my first hike either. Texan, are there particular lakes in the big/and little lakes area that you would recommend ? I will be fishing. Are you from Texas ? If so, which city? ( I'm originally from Texas, El Paso)

Thanks,
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