Reflection Lake to Upper Kern- which pass? | High Sierra Topix  

Reflection Lake to Upper Kern- which pass?

If you've been searching for the best source of information and stimulating discussion related to Spring/Summer/Fall backpacking, hiking and camping in the Sierra Nevada...look no further!

Reflection Lake to Upper Kern- which pass?

Postby Wandering Daisy » Thu Jul 09, 2015 9:01 am

I have been over Harrison Pass, but not Lucy's, Thunder Pass or Milly's. I am going this route to get to the meetup. From Reflection Lake, the end-of-day goal is "Casper Lake".

1) Harrison Pass is longer (7.5 miles, 2755 gain) but nothing too difficult and I know what I am in for.

2) Millys is the shortest- 4.8 miles, 2270 gain. I am concerned about the difficult upper portion on the north side. I am not that good at class 3 or exposed ledges with a full pack. Without a pack, OK, but I will have nearly 9 days of food. And I am short, so a lot of ledges that normal tall people can easily go up or down, are quite a challenge for me.

3) I have done the south side of Thunder Pass (when climbing Thunder Mtn years ago) and have looked down the north side, but not sure what the north side would be like. The year I looked down it, was a higher snow year. I have also gone up to Lake 3496 from Reflection Lake previously on my way to Longly Pass, but have not been into the adjacent drainage that goes towards Thunder Pass. Thunder Pass would be 9 miles, 3095 feet gain. If I did this route I would go up to Lake 3496 the previous day instead of camping at Reflection Lake, and this would make the day over the pass 5.5 miles and 1425 feet gain. Thunder Pass is my preference simply because I get to see more new territory. It does not look too bad on Google Earth. I can find little detailed information, though.

4) From what I have read, I think Lucy's would be too technical.

I would appreciate any information that would help me decide. Particularly from those who have done more than one or all the passes for an objective comparison.



User avatar
Wandering Daisy
Topix Junkie
 
Posts: 3302
Joined: Sun Jan 24, 2010 7:19 pm
Location: Fair Oaks CA (Sacramento area)
Experience: N/A

Re: Reflection Lake to Upper Kern- which pass?

Postby giantbrookie » Thu Jul 09, 2015 10:36 am

WD, I'm pretty sure there have been more than one thread on this subject, but I have done Lucy's and can offer some insight into it. Lucy's is in fact class 2, but the very top part on the N side features a section of steep loose talus. How bad is this compared to other crummy loose class 2 passes? I think I've been over worse. Certainly the north side of Kaweah Pass is worse because it has very unstable large talus over a longer stretch--that is my standard for the scariest class 2 pass I've ever been over (large amounts of stuff were shifting and making noise up to 100 feet upslope of where I was climbing). I think Pants Pass is worse than Lucy's too (esp the very top of the E side of it). My recollection of Lucy's is that the crucial bad spot is rather short (perhaps a few talus moves that cover 15-30 feet of gain). The rest of the talus and scree could be managed with some good choices of a zig zag 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
User avatar
giantbrookie
Founding Member & Forums Moderator
Founding Member & Forums Moderator
 
Posts: 2704
Joined: Wed Dec 28, 2005 9:22 am
Location: Fresno
Experience: N/A

Re: Reflection Lake to Upper Kern- which pass?

Postby maverick » Thu Jul 09, 2015 11:04 am

I have done the south side of Thunder Pass (when climbing Thunder Mtn years ago) and have looked down the north side, but not sure what the north side would be like. The year I looked down it, was a higher snow year. I have also gone up to Lake 3496 from Reflection Lake previously on my way to Longly Pass, but have not been into the adjacent drainage that goes towards Thunder Pass. Thunder Pass would be 9 miles, 3095 feet gain. If I did this route I would go up to Lake 3496 the previous day instead of camping at Reflection Lake, and this would make the day over the pass 5.5 miles and 1425 feet gain. Thunder Pass is my preference simply because I get to see more new territory. It does not look too bad on Google Earth. I can find little detailed information, though.


Wrong choice WD, TP has a steep cliff that needs to be by-passed to the west by using a very loose sand/scree chute, think something similar to Pants Pass steepness, why it is rated class 2 is beyond me.

Stick with Harrison, or try Ericsson, which is easier over all, just has more talus down low.
I don't give out specific route information, my belief is that it takes away from the whole adventure spirit of a trip, if you need every inch planned out, you'll have to get that from someone else.

Have a safer backcountry experience by using the HST ReConn Form 2.0, named after Larry Conn, a HST member: http://reconn.org
User avatar
maverick
Forums Moderator
Forums Moderator
 
Posts: 9313
Joined: Thu Apr 06, 2006 4:54 pm
Experience: Level 4 Explorer

Re: Reflection Lake to Upper Kern- which pass?

Postby Bluewater » Fri Jul 10, 2015 2:40 pm

ImageUploadedByTapatalk1436567328.928217.jpg


This is a photo from the top of the chute on the north side of Thunder Pass. The photo doesn't adequately show how steep and loose this was. I don't have the extensive amount of experience that you do, but this is the only time I have turned back from a pass. I was solo and after much deliberation and searching I went back down the southeast side. The closest thing I have to compare it to is the steep chute on the east side of Darwin Pass. At least with that pass it's possible to see where it ends. With Thunder Pass it was unstable, steep, loose and impossible to see the end. The angle steepened until it disappeared.

I did this short video that might give a more accurate perspective:

http://youtu.be/MJqG17RmCJc

I hope this helps. I know Charles Hayden did a trip report, but he was going up the north side and didn't take any photos.




Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk
You must register an account and login to view the files/photos attached to this post.
User avatar
Bluewater
Topix Expert
 
Posts: 553
Joined: Sun Oct 23, 2011 2:33 pm
Location: Laguna Beach
Experience: Level 4 Explorer

Re: Reflection Lake to Upper Kern- which pass?

Postby Wandering Daisy » Fri Jul 10, 2015 3:14 pm

Thanks for the information. When I looked down the pass it was a high snow year and most of the gully was snow covered. Did not know that such rotten stuff was under the snow! If I go this way, I will do Harrison Pass or Ericson Pass.

Right now I have five different routes to go to the meetup. :confused: I am driving myself crazy trying to decide which route to choose. I may end up doing the shortest and most direct route (from Wolverton) and not try to tie it into other plans. Sometimes a "one goal" plan is the best option.
User avatar
Wandering Daisy
Topix Junkie
 
Posts: 3302
Joined: Sun Jan 24, 2010 7:19 pm
Location: Fair Oaks CA (Sacramento area)
Experience: N/A

Re: Reflection Lake to Upper Kern- which pass?

Postby Jimr » Sat Jul 11, 2015 8:38 am

I agree that men are fairly simple (another thread). If it were me, WD, I'd make a list of trips, have a couple of beers, then throw a dart. Then, I wouldn't have to ](*,) ](*,) ](*,)
In our thirst for freedom, we must be careful not to drink from the cup of bitterness and hatred

- Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
User avatar
Jimr
Forums Moderator
Forums Moderator
 
Posts: 1660
Joined: Fri Jul 31, 2009 1:14 pm
Location: Redondo Beach
Experience: Level 4 Explorer

Re: Reflection Lake to Upper Kern- which pass?

Postby limpingcrab » Mon Jul 13, 2015 2:52 pm

I've only done Milly's and Harrison and I remember Milly's being sketchier than I thought and I didn't have a pack. I'm very comfortable off trail and I had to free up my hands to get down it so going up with a pack probably wouldn't be great.

Do Harrison, just so you can walk through that meadow on the NE side of Ericsson Crags, still one of the most beautiful places I've ever set foot!
User avatar
limpingcrab
Topix Regular
 
Posts: 197
Joined: Sun Nov 04, 2012 7:38 pm
Experience: Level 4 Explorer

Re: Reflection Lake to Upper Kern- which pass?

Postby dematson » Sat Dec 26, 2015 8:39 pm

Does anyone know if Harrison Pass was part of the JMT before Forester Pass was completed?
User avatar
dematson
Topix Novice
 
Posts: 9
Joined: Fri Oct 02, 2015 3:17 pm
Experience: N/A

Re: Reflection Lake to Upper Kern- which pass?

Postby commonloon » Sat Dec 26, 2015 10:01 pm

I think Junction Pass was part of the old JMT.
User avatar
commonloon
Topix Acquainted
 
Posts: 38
Joined: Wed Aug 07, 2013 2:32 pm
Experience: Level 4 Explorer

Re: Reflection Lake to Upper Kern- which pass?

Postby kpeter » Sat Dec 26, 2015 11:01 pm

commonloon wrote:I think Junction Pass was part of the old JMT.


Yes. Hard to imagine driving sheep over Harrison pass, but apparently they did. It was a pre JMT pass, dating to the 1870s.

Then after the JMT act was passed in 1915, they put the trail over the ridge to the NE of Junction Peak, then down and back up to Shepherd Pass. This was a stop-gap until they could construct a more proper pass that did not gain and lose so much elevation.

They came back to construct Forester Pass in 1930. A trail worker died working on it.

http://www.sequoiaparksfoundation.org/t ... ison-pass/

Mathur Pass was the final piece of the JMT to be completed--in 1938. There had been crews working on pieces of the trail since long before the JMT was officially authorized. It took 46 years and a number of deaths to build it.

http://jmt.sierra-hikes.com/JMT.html
User avatar
kpeter
Topix Expert
 
Posts: 684
Joined: Mon Jan 04, 2010 12:11 pm
Experience: N/A

Next

Return to Backpacking / Hiking / Camping



Who is online

Users browsing this forum: Bing [Bot], Google Adsense [Bot], Yahoo [Bot] and 5 guests