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The almost unknown Sierra Crest Route

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The almost unknown Sierra Crest Route

Postby norcalhiker » Thu Jun 18, 2015 8:40 pm

Leonard R. Daughenbaugh's guide to the Sierra Crest Route has been out since 2008. But it seems like barely anyone knows about it. I'd wager that it's too hard for most of us. And that the book is too rare.

Can we start some discussion about the SCR? It deserves at least a little bit of chatter on this forum. I couldn't find mention of it. Perhaps search wasn't working?

The website for the Sierra Crest Route: http://www.sierracrestroute.org/

The book is selling for $275 on Amazon right now. I bought my copy at Wilson's Eastside Sports back in 2009 for something like $10. I bet there are plenty of copies kicking around, probably unsold, and going to the source might be a way to pick one up. [EDIT: this seems like a better place to buy it.]

Amazon's description of Sierra Crest Route: and other routes less traveled:

"The Sierra Crest Route is a 228-mile, cross-country route that parallels the Sierra Nevada Crest from Haiwee Pass, west of Haiwee Reservour, which is 9+ miles south of Olancha, north to the Sawtooth Ridge, located southwest of Bridgeport. This Route never strays further than one mile from the Crest, but most of it lies either on or within 1/4th mile of said Crest. The objective difficulty can reach class 3, so it is not for beginners or individuals traveling alone. Also included are hundreds of miles of other cross country Sierra routes, which provide access to the rest of the Sierra. The Crest Route and these other routes also provide access to virtually every peak in the Range. This is the first time a cross country route of this length, complexity, and difficulty has been created. To successfully complete this route, group members should possess a highly developed sense of adventure. Too many Sierra guidebooks carefully shepherd travelers by giving exact directions as to where to go, the best way to get there, how long it's going to take, what will be seen, and, in some cases, what to think and feel about it all. Instead, travelers on this route will be given the opportunity to, for the most part, utilize their own initiative, skills, and knowledge to complete a difficult and sometimes dangerous route with a minimum of outside guidance. Whenever a group crests a ridge or peak, everything seen, thought, and sensed will be brand new, much like it was for the early explorers. No distances are included, and there are no photographs or route maps. Only the eight major points on a compass are utilized to tell general direction, and only the altitude, objective difficulty, and general location of the various features along the Route and its alternatives are given. Directions are only given for a South to North trek, which makes a traverse in the opposite direction much more interesting. This route will also expose each traveler to the true concept of wilderness. It is quite possible to traverse the entire route without seeing another person, just like it was in the early days of Sierra exploration."

What I've found is pretty limited. In 2012 Stephen Hoefler hiked it. His photos look sweet.
Last edited by norcalhiker on Sat Jun 20, 2015 7:56 am, edited 1 time in total.



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Re: The almost unknown Sierra Crest Route

Postby RoguePhotonic » Fri Jun 19, 2015 7:31 am

Only once I considered it and I quickly said screw that!

It would be hard on the dry years when you spend so much time up on the crest with no water.

Also I'm sure it would be lovely if you had a week of thunderstorms as you go.
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Re: The almost unknown Sierra Crest Route

Postby SSSdave » Fri Jun 19, 2015 9:24 am

Not a practical pursuit for backpackers but rather peakbaggers knocking off small sections at a time. Long trail enthusiasts that actually carry their own food and hike long distances are likely to have carrying weights of gear that make negotiation of difficult terrain as Class 3 rock, too dangerous. That is not to say there are and have always been a few that can do so just as Norman Clyde did so regularly and RP is practicing today. Generally just hiking long distance trails are epic challenges by themselves without needing excessive route difficulties added in.

The author further poses the route more as a puzzle by not actually documenting routes through difficult areas but rather challenging those to figure it out themselves. Thus this is just another variation of challenge, endurance, trail speed games that seem to excite certain competitive types that are more often climbing enthusiasts than backpackers.

Many of we experienced offtrail backpackers have occasionally made routes through difficult terrain however we choose to avoid such if possible and not look to ways to maximize such. Thus from a backpacker's perspective when it comes to creating long trail routes through the Sierra, the more productive guide for our audience would find efficient, least difficult ways to travel through challenging sections.

David
http://www.davidsenesac.com/Spring_2015 ... 015-1.html
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Re: The almost unknown Sierra Crest Route

Postby norcalhiker » Sat Jun 20, 2015 8:11 am

I definitely agree with some of both of your sentiments. Especially the "screw that" comment and that the SCR is laid out to be a puzzle to decipher. The amount of additional research required to do this hike is pretty extensive. I do respect his desire to "keep it wild" by not mapping the trail and keeping some challenge in terms of navigation. It's clearly not a route that should be popular. While I'd love to see it on a map, I don't believe the route should be shared in a format other than the guidebook or maybe someone's text heavy trip report. Of course, someone will do so anyways (and probably put it behind a paywall or something).

And with that, I do think that it'll gain in popularity. Hard not to when there is currently zero interest in it. It's a very small group that has the long-distance hiking and climbing/peak bagging skills for this thing. Heavy packs on steep terrain, lack of water, thunderstorms, it's all a challenge, that's for sure. I wonder what type of technical gear people would bring on this thing? I'd imagine ropes, helmets and some sort of protection would be in order for most people. I wonder too about doing it before snow has melted. Easier in some aspects, harder in others.

In an era when new long-distance routes are exploding in popularity, this one seems special as it's a crazy step up in difficulty and yet makes so much logical sense.
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