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5 day/4 night SEKI loop, where to go off-trail?

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5 day/4 night SEKI loop, where to go off-trail?

Postby mursey » Fri Jul 24, 2015 1:13 pm

I'm planning an end of August trip with a mid-level experienced group of backpackers. We are planning on heading out to car camp the first night and then stay for four more nights. I've been dubbed the route planner, and it's a lot of pressure I find! I don't want to bore everyone, but I also don't want to overdo it!

My group has requested a loop with some off-trail in high mountains and lakes, and we are split evenly between the Bay Area and LA, so I thought SEKI. The route I've come across which looks interesting is the "Circle of Solitude", starting at Road's End and making a circle beneath Rae Lakes.

My main question is, what interesting off-trail additions could be added to this route? Is my Day 3-4 excursion interesting or would something else be more adventurous or rewarding?

Day 1: Road's end up Bubb's to somewhere short of Junction Meadow. Acclimation really takes several days, so I figure we can go slow this day, even if the first few hours will have a fun climb!
Day 2: Junction Meadow to Reflection Lake, I've heard there is a small amount of decent places to camp around here.
Day 3: Westward, off-trail over Longley Pass, perhaps camp at South Guard Lake?
Day 4: Brewer Lake and down to Cloud Canyon, camp somewhere near Roaring River Station
Day 5: Out via Sphinx Creek to Road's End

My group is 30-35 year olds with a fair number of trips under our belts. Most of us run and are in fair shape. A few of us climb outdoors, and all have class 2-3 experience.



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Re: 5 day/4 night SEKI loop, where to go off-trail?

Postby AlmostThere » Fri Jul 24, 2015 2:14 pm

but have any of you done any route finding off trail before?


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Re: 5 day/4 night SEKI loop, where to go off-trail?

Postby maverick » Fri Jul 24, 2015 2:44 pm

Day 1: Road's end up Bubb's to somewhere short of Junction Meadow. Acclimation really takes several days, so I figure we can go slow this
day, even if the first few hours will have a fun climb!
Day 2: Junction Meadow to Reflection Lake, I've heard there is a small amount of decent places to camp around here.
Day 3: Westward, off-trail over Longley Pass, perhaps camp at South Guard Lake?
Day 4: Brewer Lake and down to Cloud Canyon, camp somewhere near Roaring River Station
Day 5: Out via Sphinx Creek to Road's End


Climbing Mt.Brewer is a must, if you have the time, and the experience.

The Brewer Creek takes a little time, and some good route finding abilities, but does not goes beyond class 2, same with Cunningham.

The last day is kind of long, climb from Roaring River to Avalanche Pass, and then down the staircase, it will toast your knees, (15.9 miles).

Here are previous post on Brewer Creek (you could also use Cunningham Creek):
viewtopic.php?f=1&t=3722&p=21768&hilit=brewer+creek#p21749
viewtopic.php?f=1&t=8295&hilit=brewer+creek#p60363

Cunningham: viewtopic.php?f=1&t=10684&p=80941&hilit=cunningham+creek#p80941


After all that, I would not waste time, and effort, to go down to Roaring River, especially after all the beauty, and solitude you have been enjoying since Reflection Lake, unless my route was taking me up Cloud Canyon, that is a whole different story. Would recommend that you visit some of the route, down Brewer Creek, to the lake TT write so eloquently about in his TR, and go out via Sphinx Lakes, which are quite pretty, instead of the unnecessary descent down to RR, and then ascent up AP.
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Re: 5 day/4 night SEKI loop, where to go off-trail?

Postby mursey » Fri Jul 24, 2015 4:48 pm

Maverick: excellent advice and reading, just like two years ago haha. Checking summit post on Mt. Brewer now! It looks like the east ridge is approached from East Lake? Should be fun. Staying up around Sphinx lakes instead of descending to RR sounds like a great idea.

I have several years (off/on) experience trad climbing and have climbed a few of the cascade volcanoes. Have a dog-eared copy of Freedom of the Hills I should go through again. I used to be good at orienteering in high school, have gotten lazy with GPS.

How does this revised itinerary sound?

Day 1: Road's End to somewhere up Bubb's Creek, get eaten by bears
Day 2: Bubbs to East Lake or Reflection
Day 3: East Lake to Brewer pass, stash packs, ascend Mt. Brewer, descend to Big Brewer Lake
Day 4: Big Brewer over Sphinx pass to Sphinx lakes, explore a bit
Day 5: Descend Sphinx creek to Road's End.

More questions: Do you think Day 3 is too much? How is camping at East vs. Reflection? Where along Bubb's but before Junction would be the best weeknight place to camp?

Really appreciate your input.
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Re: 5 day/4 night SEKI loop, where to go off-trail?

Postby maverick » Fri Jul 24, 2015 5:32 pm

Day 1: Road's End to somewhere up Bubb's Creek, get eaten by bears
Day 2: Bubbs to East Lake or Reflection
Day 3: East Lake to Brewer pass, stash packs, ascend Mt. Brewer, descend to Big Brewer Lake
Day 4: Big Brewer over Sphinx pass to Sphinx lakes, explore a bit
Day 5: Descend Sphinx creek to Road's End.

More questions: Do you think Day 3 is too much? How is camping at East vs. Reflection? Where along Bubb's but before Junction would be the best weeknight place to camp?


Did the Ouzel Creek route the last time from East Lake, it was a fun climb, but I would recommend doing your original route over Longley Pass, and do your climb rather from the Big Brewer Lake area, as a day hike, via the Northwest Slopes route (class 2).

Day 1: RE to Junction Meadow
Day 2: JM to RL
Day 3: RL to Big Brewer Lake
Day 4: Climb Brewer early from BL via Northwest Slope Route (class 2), then come down, go over Sphinx Pass, and head down to either the camp located near Sphinx Creek, and where the Avalanche/Bubbs trail meet, or just stay at one of the lower Sphinx Lakes for the last night.
Day 5: Head out to RE
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Re: 5 day/4 night SEKI loop, where to go off-trail?

Postby balzaccom » Fri Jul 24, 2015 6:54 pm

"The last day is kind of long, climb from Roaring River to Avalanche Pass, and then down the staircase, it will toast your knees, (15.9 miles)."

I did that 44 years ago, and had no problem at all.

Oh wait. I was 18 years old then. nevermind. :lol:
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Re: 5 day/4 night SEKI loop, where to go off-trail?

Postby maverick » Fri Jul 24, 2015 7:30 pm

Oh wait. I was 18 years old then. nevermind. :lol:


:)
Sure it is doable, but it makes for a long car ride, up that windy road, while you had that exhausting day already, all the way back to LA and SF, that is the bad part.
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Re: 5 day/4 night SEKI loop, where to go off-trail?

Postby mursey » Sat Jul 25, 2015 8:17 am

maverick wrote:Did the Ouzel Creek route the last time from East Lake, it was a fun climb, but I would recommend doing your original route over Longley Pass, and do your climb rather from the Big Brewer Lake area, as a day hike, via the Northwest Slopes route (class 2).

Day 1: RE to Junction Meadow
Day 2: JM to RL
Day 3: RL to Big Brewer Lake
Day 4: Climb Brewer early from BL via Northwest Slope Route (class 2), then come down, go over Sphinx Pass, and head down to either the camp located near Sphinx Creek, and where the Avalanche/Bubbs trail meet, or just stay at one of the lower Sphinx Lakes for the last night.
Day 5: Head out to RE


This sounds perfect. Thanks again.
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Re: 5 day/4 night SEKI loop, where to go off-trail?

Postby BigMan » Sat Jul 25, 2015 9:04 am

maverick wrote:Sure it is doable, but it makes for a long car ride, up that windy road, while you had that exhausting day already, all the way back to LA and SF, that is the bad part.


Ain't this the truth.

I don't realize how tired I am until I start driving home. And driving home is the most dangerous thing I'm doing that day.
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Re: 5 day/4 night SEKI loop, where to go off-trail?

Postby maverick » Sat Jul 25, 2015 2:06 pm

Please write up a TR of your adventure when you get back, not only so we can all enjoy it, but also so others can learn from it. :)
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Re: 5 day/4 night SEKI loop, where to go off-trail?

Postby mursey » Sat Jul 25, 2015 3:41 pm

maverick wrote:Please write up a TR of your adventure when you get back, not only so we can all enjoy it, but also so others can learn from it. :)


Will do
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