TR: S Lake to Dusy Basin Via Bishop Pass 6/3 to 6/7/15 | High Sierra Topix  

TR: S Lake to Dusy Basin Via Bishop Pass 6/3 to 6/7/15

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TR: S Lake to Dusy Basin Via Bishop Pass 6/3 to 6/7/15

Postby gabe&mel » Mon Jun 08, 2015 11:20 pm

If you want "just the facts" skip ahead to the paragraph starting at 6/3/15...

Our month long adventure on the JMT last year was one of the highlights of our lives, but I've found there is an inverse relationship between how many miles we hike per day and our enjoyment as a couple. On my own I feel comfortable doing around 10-15 miles per day, but as a couple I've found the sweet spot to be around 5-8 miles per day. Last year on the JMT we went out over Bishop pass for resupply. As we made our way through Dusy Basin, I was just struck by the longing desire to just spend more time there. You know, time to just be, time to explore, to wander off trail, to fish when I wanted to fish, to wake up as I saw fit, nap when I wanted to nap. Likewise for Mel, she never misses an opportunity to sleep in or nap, wash her hair, nor the opportunity to catch a fish that she can spot in the clear Sierra waters. These things though were often in opposition to "needing to make the miles."

With this in mind, our trip planning was stuck between hiking the miles we missed on the JMT last year (LeConte Canyon to Rae Lakes) to formally check the JMT off our ever growing list o' things to do vs spending some time in Dusy Basin. Luckily Dusy Basin won out. From our last trip, http://highsierratopix.com/community/viewtopic.php?f=1&t=12695 I decided to make a few changes in how we do things, It started with these three equations:

     #1 Good food = Happy Mel = Happy Gabe
     #2 Hair washing time = incredibly Happy Mel = More fishing time for Gabe :rock:
     #3 Fish= hopefully good food + fun = Happy Mel & Gabe \:D/

This was a math exam I could conquer. But to do so, I had to revamp our entire cook kit, So I picked up an MSR wind Pro II stove, a 9" MSR Flex Skillet (hopefully one day I'll get my hands on my own white unicorn ... the ever elusive 10" titanium frypan that markskor raves about), a tiny spatula, and printed out cliff notes http://www.highsierratopix.com/culinary-aspects-of-sierra-trout-safe-practices-guttingcleaning-and-cooking-methods/.

PreTrip Planning
Once we decided on Dusy Basin I began to monitor HST for conditions on Bishop Pass and the upcoming weather. With http://highsierratopix.com/community/viewtopic.php?f=1&t=12796 TR I was a little concerned that there would be a bit too much snow. But as time passed I was hopeful that some of the snow would melt off. I also figured we would need microspikes and snow baskets to help us with the snow (awesome decision in hindsight).

6/2/15
Our friends' wedding brought us to Fresno the day before. From there we made a decision to make a scenic drive through Yosemite to wet our appetites for our upcoming adventure. Around 2-3 in the afternoon we picked up our permit from the White Mountain Ranger station in Bishop who told us that JMT'ers and PCT'ers were getting over Bishop Pass just fine, and to expect a little bit of weather in a few days. We then moseyed on over to Schatt's Bakery to stuff our faces before heading up to Willow campground at 9,000 feet to help acclimatize.

6/3/15
With our new stove and fry pan we were able to you know, actually cook, not just heat up water and twiddle our thumbs. Breakfast was delicious, I wish I had a picture to capture Mel's delight of waking up to the aroma of Sizzling sausage, slighlty toasted pita bread and a tasty pastry from Schatt's. We broke camp without the slightest of concern for time. Our goal for the day was somewhere near Bishop Lakes or Saddlerock Lake. I hoped to fish that night, but much to my chagrin, Saddlerock lake was nearly iced over completely.... maybe tomorrow. Mostly uneventful night except for 10 minutes of snow fall around 4 am. Oh yeah, on our hike up when we were having lunch when we met two guys hauling two ginormous 50-lb kayaks, headed to LeConte Canyon later that night with plans of kayaking all the way down the Middle Fork of the Kings River... I was quite impressed by their determination but wondered what conditions they would find late in the afternoon going over Bishop Pass. A solo hiker/climber hiked past us around 7 pm.


6/4/15
Ok, so I really really tried to get us up and moving early in the morning to with hopes of getting over Bishop pass while the snow was still firm. We maybe broke camp at 8ish. We hit the switch backs for the final push up Bishop Pass around 10:00 am. We had three options:
     #1 the trail which was mostly covered with snow
     #2 a steep snow field adjacent to the trail with fresh boot tracks and evidence of much postholing and what looked liked two kayaks being dragged over the snow
     #3 a less steep snow field adjacent to the first with more boot tracks and some signs of postholing

We chose option #3. We put on our microspikes, and I led the way. The trail was mostly firm, and we mostly avoided postholing. There is a really funny picture of Mel on our ascent... words not necessary. Once the trail plateaued, we made our way across a snow field to Bishop Pass with the snow ending a few hundred feet from the elevation sign. Time was around 11 am.

4 Gabe Climbing up Bishop Pass.jpg

5 Mel… not amused.jpg

6 Gabe Climbing.jpg

7 Finally at Bishop Pass, and off of Snow.jpg
Bishop Pass 6/4/15

8 Looking Down Dusy Basin.jpg
First Look down into Dusy Basin


We ate a snack then continued on down into Dusy Basin... what a view, I was expecting a bit more snow. On the long switch backs down we met several JMT section hikers, all uniformly said that the high passes between Bishop and Kearsarge (Mather, Pinchot, Glen) were really tough. Strolling along with our appetites growing, we headed off trail to have a nice lunch and break near a gorgeous lake ~ 11,300 feet. From there we descended some more switchbacks basking in the beauty. At around the 10,800 foot contour line we broke from the trail, crossed a stream (I mentally noted the plethora of fish there), dropped our packs, and began our search for a secluded spot to call home for the next few days. We would not see another person for two days.

Around 4:30 pm a brisk cold wind kicked up, the clouds rolled in and we got dusted with a hail/snow flurry. I had battened down the hatches pretty well and we fell in and out of sleep as the storm raged on. A few hours later, the sun was shining and the clouds had dissipated. Mel made dinner and I went fishing. I caught a handful of fish as the sun set.



6/5/15
Mel slept in as I made breakfast and hot chocolate. She stuck around camp to wash up as I headed out to the streams & lakes and commenced a fish catching spree like a bandit. Mel joined the foray and we worked our way up and down the streams and lakes exchanging my little tenkara rod like a hot potato. We lost count around 40 or 50. But man o' man they were pretty fish. We haven't been fishing long enough to identify them all but my best guess is a collection of rainbows, goldens and some other type with a fiery reddish orange underbelly. We were unstoppable, a well oiled machine, you know Bonnie and Clyde type stuff. For every fish Mel caught, I could of swore it was Christmas with her jubilation. If I was transported to Vegas at that moment I would of put it all on red in Vegas :nod: Hyperbole aside, it was awesome.

10 Gabe Fishing.jpg


A single snow flake crossed my periphery and within no time, some mean and cold clouds devoured us and turned off the faucet on our little run.

11 Storm, Rolling in hard and fast.jpg
Storm Rolling in hard and Fast


So there we were, laying low in our tent, full of joy and happiness as the skies unleashed with a fury. Wouldn't rather be anywhere else in the world or with anybody else. The storm passed a few hours later but the cold chill remained. We caught some more fish and made the leap by keeping a few of them for dinner. With marskor's excellent guide we successfully gutted, cleaned, foil pan fried them. They didn't have a lot of meat on them, but were tasty and a nice compliment to our scalloped potatoes.

12 Gabe Fishing #2.jpg

13 First Trout Attempt.jpg
First Trout cooking attempt


6/6/15
We awoke to a dusting of snow on our tent. A solo hiker crossed near our campsite around 6:30 in the morning. From his trajectory I suspect he came down from Knapsack pass. Today I planned to head up to Knapsack pass and have lunch. Shortly after a late breakfast we got hit with a thunderstorm and snow flurry. I scratched the Knapsack plan. When the weather cleared we fished our way up the rest of the streams and lakes. Light snow threatened us back into our tent in the early afternoon but never dumped on us as we feared. The weather took a strange turn in the late afternoon as a thick veil of cloud/fog rolled up on us from LeConte Canyon. T'was a cold night.
14 Morning After Storm.jpg
Morning After Storm

15 Gabe Fishing #3.jpg



6/7/15
Again, I hoped to get up and over Bishop pass early enough to avoid major postholing. We actually broke camp by 6:15 am, which by all accounts may be a world record. :^o We made it to the pass around 9:30 am and descended the same route we had climbed by following some footsteps in the snowfield. We were back on solid trail in about 40 minutes. We were really glad to have had microspikes on. I postholed a few times to my thigh as did Mel, and could of benefited from hitting the snow a bit earlier (lesson learned, although I'm not sure I can wake Mel up any earlier). Hikers we met at the base of the switchbacks made the decision to stick to the trail and hike on the rocks lining the switchbacks to the top of the Pass.
16 Descent from Bishop Pass.jpg
Descent From Bishop Pass


We made it back to our car at 1 pm and after grabbing a bite to eat in Bishop were back in Sacramento by 8 pm. If you actually read this far, you are awesome! Thanks to all the HST members who literally and figuratively helped us make this awesome trip, in particular markskor, olranger, rlown, SSSdave for the advice on fishing and cleaning/cooking trout.



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Re: TR: S Lake to Dusy Basin Via Bishop Pass 6/3 to 6/7/15

Postby austex » Tue Jun 09, 2015 5:16 am

AWESOME! Thanks for sharing. I'm a hiker with a fishing habit. To me hiking is a means to a destination. Scenery is just part of the hike/destination. So I know what base camping is about; the fish. Miles don't mean anything, Quality of fish is my goal. Also, relaxation. Whatever your sweetspot is go for it. It's a vacation for me. It's you "own personal Idaho".
Nice report,pictures and all. Thanks for reflecting the soul of this forum.
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Re: TR: S Lake to Dusy Basin Via Bishop Pass 6/3 to 6/7/15

Postby Beantown » Tue Jun 09, 2015 6:34 am

Nice trip report. I believe I was the solo hiker that went by your camp. I was camped in further in Dusy basin, doing the south lake north lake loop. I got done yesterday and will post a trip report later.
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Re: TR: S Lake to Dusy Basin Via Bishop Pass 6/3 to 6/7/15

Postby maverick » Tue Jun 09, 2015 9:51 am

Thank you for the wonderful TR and pictures. Sounds like you all had a fun trip with a little weather thrown into the mix. Dusy Basin doesn't have a lot of snow at all, thought there would be a bit more.
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Re: TR: S Lake to Dusy Basin Via Bishop Pass 6/3 to 6/7/15

Postby gabe&mel » Tue Jun 09, 2015 1:31 pm

austex wrote:AWESOME! Thanks for sharing. I'm a hiker with a fishing habit. To me hiking is a means to a destination. Scenery is just part of the hike/destination. So I know what base camping is about; the fish. Miles don't mean anything, Quality of fish is my goal. Also, relaxation. Whatever your sweetspot is go for it. It's a vacation for me. It's you "own personal Idaho".
Nice report,pictures and all. Thanks for reflecting the soul of this forum.


Thanks austex.
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Re: TR: S Lake to Dusy Basin Via Bishop Pass 6/3 to 6/7/15

Postby gabe&mel » Tue Jun 09, 2015 1:33 pm

Beantown wrote:Nice trip report. I believe I was the solo hiker that went by your camp. I was camped in further in Dusy basin, doing the south lake north lake loop. I got done yesterday and will post a trip report later.


Beantown, if it was you then Hello! I hope the rest of your trip went well and look forward to reading about it.
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Re: TR: S Lake to Dusy Basin Via Bishop Pass 6/3 to 6/7/15

Postby LMBSGV » Tue Jun 09, 2015 1:55 pm

Dusy Basin doesn't have a lot of snow at all, thought there would be a bit more.

That's what I thought, too. I' ve seen more snow on the ground in Dusy in late July.

Thanks for the great report Gabe and Mel.
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Re: TR: S Lake to Dusy Basin Via Bishop Pass 6/3 to 6/7/15

Postby cslaght » Tue Jun 09, 2015 2:48 pm

Fantastic TR! Dusy is on my short list, as your report clearly illustrates why. Keep up the good work! Also, I've noticed that you (both of you two?) went to Fresno State at about the same time as me. You look kind of, sort of, familiar. If so, go 'Dogs!
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Re: TR: S Lake to Dusy Basin Via Bishop Pass 6/3 to 6/7/15

Postby old and slow » Tue Jun 09, 2015 5:03 pm

Gabe, another great TR (picking right up from your earlier report in May), a very fun read with excellent fotos too. It really is a treasure to share adventures like these with someone special and you really capture that feeling well-- my wife and I started backpacking late in life but she's still able to accompany me on some of the easier trips and it always is a time "full of joy and happiness". Thanks for sharing.
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Re: TR: S Lake to Dusy Basin Via Bishop Pass 6/3 to 6/7/15

Postby gabe&mel » Tue Jun 09, 2015 5:22 pm

cslaght wrote:Fantastic TR! Dusy is on my short list, as your report clearly illustrates why. Keep up the good work! Also, I've noticed that you (both of you two?) went to Fresno State at about the same time as me. You look kind of, sort of, familiar. If so, go 'Dogs!


cslaght, Go Dogs! I graduated class of 2009, Mel went to UCLA but don't hold that against her. :wink:
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Re: TR: S Lake to Dusy Basin Via Bishop Pass 6/3 to 6/7/15

Postby gabe&mel » Tue Jun 09, 2015 5:46 pm

old and slow wrote:Gabe, another great TR (picking right up from your earlier report in May), a very fun read with excellent fotos too. It really is a treasure to share adventures like these with someone special and you really capture that feeling well-- my wife and I started backpacking late in life but she's still able to accompany me on some of the easier trips and it always is a time "full of joy and happiness". Thanks for sharing.


old and slow,

I'm really glad you enjoyed our story and my writing. Mel will be very happy to know that you liked her pictures. I agree it really is a treasure to have someone to share your adventures with. While I love my solo rompings (and look forward to them), I surely don't laugh as much by myself than with trips with Mel. I'm happy that you and your wife are able to still enjoy backpacking, thats what we hope to continue to do for a long time.

Gabe
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Re: TR: S Lake to Dusy Basin Via Bishop Pass 6/3 to 6/7/15

Postby FeetFirst » Tue Jun 09, 2015 11:33 pm

Great report - thanks for sharing! :thumbsup:

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