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West side of Minarets Ashley Lake

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West side of Minarets Ashley Lake

Postby overheadx2 » Tue Jun 16, 2015 3:23 pm

I just read a report regarding Garnet lake area and having that many folks around didn't sound very inviting. Mav mentioned going around the west side of the Minarets was much more secluded and so I canceled my reservations and was able to pick up a permit for Beck Lake trail head. Mav mentioned Ashley lake since I was interested in seclusion and fishing. Upon checking it out, it looks like I could hike to Ashley and up to minaret lake via nancy Pass and then loop back down to Devils Postpile using the minaret trail. Looking to make this a 20 ish miler with fishing. Is it worth going over Nancy to Minaret (it seems that this area would be a photographers dream)? Just hike to Beck lake and fish instead of getting back into the overcrowded Minaret area? Any tips or thoughts would be appreciated. By the way Mav thanks for the tip. After I first read that report I was already starting to try and figure a alternate trip. Phil



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Re: West side of Miarets Ashley Lake

Postby Ska-T » Tue Jun 16, 2015 4:03 pm

overheadx2 wrote:Is there a way to make a larger loop and get from Beck lakes to Mineret Lake that is class 2 or less?


Hi Phil. The trip you laid out (with the extra I will suggest) is almost the exact trip I wanted to do a couple of weeks ago when the bad weather cancelled our plans.

From Beck Lakes backtrack down to the west end of Superior Lake. Go north over an easy class 2 Nancy Pass. From Nancy Pass head northish in a westerly arc and walk over Deadhorse Pass and beyond to Minaret Lake. Take the trail at Minaret Lake back to Devils Postpile. According to Wandering Daisy, a visit to Deadhorse Lake is worth the walk. Due to the lateness of the day I didn't see it on my hike a few years ago.

Nancy Pass and Deadhorse Pass are shown on the HST map. IIRC, my walk over Deadhorse Pass was a bit west of where it is shown on the HST map (the next low spot using the USA topo).

-Scott
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Re: West side of Minarets Ashley Lake

Postby Ska-T » Tue Jun 16, 2015 4:08 pm

I didn't see your mention of Nancy Pass when I first read your post Phil. Did you edit it when I was composing my response? Not that it matters, I just wonder if I'm getting old and senile. :eek:
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Re: West side of Minarets Ashley Lake

Postby maverick » Tue Jun 16, 2015 4:19 pm

Last time visiting Ashley, my route went over Nancy, Deadhorse, and Volcanic Pass, saw no one until I got to Minaret Lakes, and then no one at Cabin, and then crowds at Ediza. Ashley is southern Minarets, by west I meant going in from the Bass lake area south of Yosemite. Dike Creek is very nice, as is Iron Creek to Iron Lake, but do not know about the fishing. You have Iron Lake Pass (class 2), Beck Lakes Pass (class 2), and South Notch (class 2), but for this last one you may need an ice axe depending when you go, to get back onto the eastern side of the Sierra Crest Phil. These passes would allow you to visit the lakes in the southern region go around using the Granite Staircase to access the western side, or use Iron Lake Pass to check out the western side for a few days, then come back via Beck Lakes Pass.
This of course depends how difficult you want this adventure to be, and on how many days you have to do this trip in.

The views from Nancy Pass is well worth the effort if you decide to do it, and the Minaret Mine on the way up to Volcanic Pass, including the views from the top are also recommended.
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Re: West side of Minarets Ashley Lake

Postby overheadx2 » Tue Jun 16, 2015 5:27 pm

Ska T, yes I edited my post after doing a search for Ashley Lake and seeing Mavs post from some time back.
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Re: West side of Minarets Ashley Lake

Postby overheadx2 » Tue Jun 16, 2015 6:43 pm

Obviously dead horse lake should be very secluded but it seems that the minarets have more beauty for photos. Given the choice, which lake would you camp at?
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Re: West side of Minarets Ashley Lake

Postby maverick » Tue Jun 16, 2015 7:22 pm

Given the choice, which lake would you camp at?

With out a doubt Phil, Ashley Lake: http://WildernessApertures.com/img/s10/ ... 8007-6.jpg
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Re: West side of Minarets Ashley Lake

Postby overheadx2 » Tue Jun 16, 2015 10:47 pm

Sorry Mav, based on your info Ashley was already a chosen spot. I was going to loop over Nancy and Dead Horse passes and camp in that area for an night and then head back to DP for nice easy 3 Dayer. I was thinking that Dead horse lake would be vacant while Minaret may be more populated but may be better since id like to get some good shots of the minarets at dusk and dawn. Is Minaret significantly prettier than Dead Horse.
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Re: West side of Minarets Ashley Lake

Postby Wandering Daisy » Wed Jun 17, 2015 7:42 am

I did almost the same route, but north-to-south. Minaret Lake is the more spectacular site. Camp near the outlet for the best views. You can then day-hike up to the inlet. It does get crowded. When I arrived at about 4PM, all campsites were taken, so I continued to Deadhorse Lake were there were no others. It was also scenic with good sunrise lighting for photos. The flat ground is strange- mossy/spongy. No tent stake would stay in, so I used rocks. I was pretty tired and it was late so I did not try to find a better campsite.

Contrary to others experiences, I had a hard time with Nancy Pass. The little drainage southeast of Deadhorse Lake is really swampy. I was headed south, sun in my eyes, mosquitoes thick, and could hardly see with my head net on. I cut up too early to get out of the mosquitoes and ended up too far west. Both up and down the pass was steep and a lot of loose rock. I read an internet report earlier that indicated the route on the north side was a bit east of the actual pass. Even knowing this, the terrain forced me too far west until I was so high that I could not easily go farther east. All in all, it was a pretty miserable pass for me.

I went over to Holcomb to check it out and it is not worth the effort, in my opinion, however it may have fish. It is probably about as fast to stay on the trail and drop down and then pick up the trail to Ashley Lake. Ashley Lake is very scenic, but when I arrived there were several group of people on horses, so I did not camp there. Then when I got to Anona Lake (easy x-c traverse) a large college class was camped there. So on to Fern Lake, where there was another large group of people on horses! I ended up camping where the trail crosses King Creek.

So, my experience was that this area is not always less crowded. You can check at the wilderness office and see if all permits have been issued to the area. The area seems to be popular with horsemen and day hikers. There was also a horse group camped at Superior Lake. Mosquitoes were also thick at Superior.
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Re: West side of Minarets Ashley Lake

Postby Wandering Daisy » Wed Jun 17, 2015 7:58 am

I think Minaret Lake is significantly more scenic. You see the core peaks of the Minarets from Minaret Lake. You see a subsidery ridge from Deadhorse.

Image
Deadhorse Lake

Image
Minaret Lake
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