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TR: Maverick's 2015 Annual HST Meet-Up 7/22-7/24/15

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TR: Maverick's 2015 Annual HST Meet-Up 7/22-7/24/15

Postby Hobbes » Sat Jul 25, 2015 8:50 pm

9 people made it to the 2nd annual meet-up:

Andrey
BlueWater
Hobbes
Oleander (f)
MN2CAPisco
Richlong8
RockyRoad
Wandering Daisy (f)
Gazelle (f)

3 gals, 6 guys = 33% - not bad.

YubeRiver is seriously fast, bags crazy peaks, traverses even nuttier passes and can kick my ass any day. Within walking with her for 5 minutes (actually, far behind), I told her she needed a better trail name, so I asked if she preferred Gazelle or White prong - she chose Gazelle.

MN2 & Andrey arrived late Thurs after hiking all day from Hamilton lake over Pyra Queen col. Yeah, I know, everyone had the same reaction. I've gotta say, if you ever want a self-esteem re-adjustment, just go to one of these meet-ups. LOL

Unfortunately, I missed Daisy while RichLong8 & I were descending from Picket lake early Fri morning. (Two non-HST members were looking for the gully on the final ascent - I pointed up to where I had just come down. In passing, they mentioned a lady [said her real name] who was further down below zig-zagging upward going to the meet-up.)

Here's a quick take of Gazelle, Oleander & RR before everyone arrived. (MN2, BW & RR all took complete group photos.)

Image

In case anyone is interested, here's my loop out of Shepherd & back. You can see I followed the Kern south for a bit trying to meet-up with Jimr but never saw him. Don't know if he made it later - his car was still at the TH when I got back today:
https://share.delorme.com/Hobbes

As for the weather, everyone has some kind of story to tell. I waited until Tues, but still caught a deluge right below Shepherd pass. Had to emergency bivy below the walls of Mordor complete with evil black skies, thunder & lightning. After that, it was glorious:

Image
Last edited by Hobbes on Wed Jul 29, 2015 3:01 pm, edited 5 times in total.



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Re: Maverick's 2015 Annual HST Meet-Up 7/22-7/24/15

Postby Gazelle » Sun Jul 26, 2015 10:06 am

Back and resting! Real trip report to come later, I came in Mineral king on Saturday and got to Spring Lake before all hell broke loose SERIOUS lightning and thunder at 1pm. had rain/hail/thunder/lightning until I got to Island lake on Wednesday (a day late for me). No one there yet so Thursday went and did picket guard peak up the east side and down the north the down to the traverse to picket guard lake where I met Hobbes. Great to meet the other HST members! Biggest thing I can say is don't go anywhere near Kaweah pass thank god I went up it could not imagine going down never been so scared for so long on any peak or pass before! Let out the biggest wahoo I have ever done at the top and I don't do that. Ended up not getting mt Kaweah or the second but did 16 miles to Spring lake that day. Best picture I have of the trip is from Island Lake Rich eat you heart out. As I said more to come. Great trip despite the bad weather. I love my Skyscape X it perform fantastic and one can cook well in the vestibule.
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Re: Maverick's 2015 Annual HST Meet-Up 7/22-7/24/15

Postby Jimr » Sun Jul 26, 2015 11:00 am

You'll have to wait for pictures because they are still in camera. John and I took off Monday morning from the Cottonwood/Trail pass trailhead. It was pouring rain. We missed the turn to Trail pass, probably because we were walking head down so much to keep the rain out of our face. Once we hit Cottonwood pass, the rain let up. We headed down the PCT to Trail pass and pulled off the rain gear and headed down through Mulkey meadow, then camped between Mulkey and Tunnel meadow. We found a trail camp with a stove and some trash left behind under a rock next to the stove. When we opened the stove, there was a book inside. I put the trash inside the stove next to the book. Normally, I'd carry it out, but it seemed to be a well used camp spot and my bear can was stuffed to the brim.

The next day was sunny as we trekked down to the Kern river. On the way down the canyon, my friend John hyper-extended his knee and it was swollen in the hollow. We crossed the bridge as it began to rain, so we picked a spot to camp and jumped inside our tents with our packs. I started to gear up to cook in the vestibule when the rain started to let up. From then on, it was only a slight drizzle, so we pulled the kitchens out and had a nice evening at a well constructed campsite. We were soon visited by the ranger, a young guy who was spending his first season as an NPS back country ranger. He had done the previous year in Colorado. After checking our permits and noting that we had bear cans out in plain sight, he warned us that the bears in the area were a bit aggressive at this time. Mating season was over and all they had in mind was food, so he reminded us to pack everything, even lip balm, in the cans.

The next morning, we set out for Kern Hot Springs. It was a beautiful trail complete with huge fern fields and excellent views of the mighty Kern. We stopped at the hot spring and took a long and leisurely bath, then headed up to Rock Creek to camp for the night. It threatened to rain, but never really made it. John's knee was swollen, but he was managing trail quite well. He's an absolute pack mule, much like me. He decided that as much as he loves cross country hiking in the high country, he would stay at Junction meadow and not risk injuring himself climbing up to the meet up. I thought that was a prudent decision considering he had an achilles tendon injury on the left foot and a swollen right knee. I would hike to the meet up, then connect back with him Friday morning.

Thursday morning, we started up to Junction meadow. About 3 miles up, John stopped and told me I had mail. Hobbes had gotten to about 3 mile above our camp and turned around to stay at Junction meadow Wednesday afternoon. It was two notes; one going down and another a half hour later going back up. We hit Junction meadow and found an excellent spot right near the river to camp. I stopped for a hot lunch, then dumped everything except for what I needed for an overnight at the meet up. I left the bear can and brought only enough for dinner and breakfast with the idea of camping at Island lake, then hauling down first thing in the morning to connect back up with John. I got half way up and a thought crossed my mind that I would rather be hanging out with my friend John at the excellent camp spot than spend the next couple of hours climbing just to leave early the next morning. I'm not the life of the party, so the party will go on with or without me. I no sooner registered that thought when I found myself turned around heading back down. I stopped for a moment to be sure then continued down with no doubt in my mind.

Very quickly, I was back at Junction Meadow to find John reading by the creek. Yep, good decision. I told him why I turned around and made myself some coffee. Within the hour, Wandering Daisy strolled into camp and asked if we were going to a meet up. I introduced myself and gave her a hug. We all chatted for a while, then she asked if she could join us. Of course, we said yes. WD is a wonderful person. We all chatted the afternoon and evening away. She and John live very close to each other, so they had many stories of their local area hiking adventures. We had a mini-meet up. I gave her a few of my hand tied flies to replenish her supply and showed off a few of my more stylish flies. She was wondering if anyone was still at the meet up. I told her she might see Hobbes on the way up and could ask him.

The next morning, we all broke camp and said our goodbye's I gave WD one last hug and we went our separate ways. John and I headed up the Kern to the first lake, then East until we reached Tyndall creek. We crossed the creek and set-up camp around 5pm. Looking at Hobbes tracks, he pulled into camp West of the creek. He must have seen our tents but not realized it was us. We sat and watched S/B JMT hikers flying down trail, then somebody from the park service came walking down from the JMT, through the trees heading in our direction. John's knee was hurting pretty bad and he said screw it. If he hassles us about our camp site, he can ticket him. He'd rather pay the fine than move camp. We were at least 100 ft from the creek, so we thought we were o.k. He never came over. He stopped on the JMT side of the creek, then took off his pack and nealt down like he was praying. He monkey'd around for a bit on his knees, then donned his pack and headed back up to the trees where he met up with somebody else.

Saturday morning we broke camp. We were 2 ¼ miles from the pass. Hobbes must have passed us above our camp based on his tracks. I thought I recognized his foot prints, but only the back of his shoes. I never saw the obvious barefoot toe design of his Altras so I wasn't sure. We passed about 4 or 5 tents at the pass; hikers preparing to summit Mt. Tyndall. My Tevas handled Shepherd pass very well. I thought they may have been the reason my knee gave me so much trouble last April, but I guess not. Sometimes sh!t just happens for no identifiable reason. John stopped for water within a mile of the TH, so I trucked on. I pulled my lawn chair out, changed my clothes and kicked back sucking down my reserve water until John strolled to the truck, then we beet feet back to Cottonwood to pick up his Tahoe.

It was an excellent trip. Since I'm only 4 hours from Lone Pine, I jammed home and was in the shower by 9:30pm. A couple of realizations I had was that fishing isn't nearly as important to me as it used to be. I never once pulled my fly rod out. There were plenty of prime fishing spots and I'd read the river all of the time, but had no desire to stop and fish, especially mid-day. Evenings, I was content to eat and chat rather than fish. I think I'll need to set-up some trips with layover days so I can fish the river proper. I also noticed that while the river was cool I really kicked into gear climbing out of the trench. The high country is where I like to be, but it is cool to occasionally hike the forests. It's just a different beast. A lot of mindless trail walking as opposed to cross country travel above treeline.
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Re: Maverick's 2015 Annual HST Meet-Up 7/22-7/24/15

Postby maverick » Sun Jul 26, 2015 11:27 am

Great to read that the 4 of you made it out safely, though sorry to read about you friends knee Jim, good call on turning around! Looking forward to seeing the photo's and TR's, not only about the Meet-up, but everyone's version of dealing with the crazy weather.
HST= Wilderness Adventurer who knows no bounds, except for their own imagination.

Have a safer backcountry experience by using the HST ReConn Form 2.0, named after Larry Conn, a HST member: http://reconn.org
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Re: Maverick's 2015 Annual HST Meet-Up 7/22-7/24/15

Postby Hobbes » Sun Jul 26, 2015 1:20 pm

Thursday morning, we started up to Junction meadow. About 3 miles up, John stopped and told me I had mail. Hobbes had gotten to about 3 mile above our camp and turned around to stay at Junction meadow Wednesday afternoon. It was two notes; one going down and another a half hour later going back up.


I recalled you mentioning about possibly stopping at the Kern/Whitney creek junction Wed night, so I continued on for awhile further south seeing if I would run into you. I found an ok place to camp a bit off trail and well secluded right next to the river, so I climbed back up to the trail and wrote out a quick note with an arrow pointing down to where I was. [I take along a small pencil to note section times on my detailed itinerary; I tore off a 2"x3" whitespace border strip from my permit.]

However, it was 3pm and I wasn't sure if you were in the area & I thought the Junction area looked nicer, so on the way back, I flipped the note over and left the new message with time & date. It's pretty cool that it was still there the next morning. Did you get a picture of it? Like the way I placed two (small) branches across the trail and stuck the note on a branch? LOL

Friday morning, John and I headed up the Kern to the first lake, then East until we reached Tyndall creek. We crossed the creek and set-up camp around 5pm. Looking at Hobbes tracks, he pulled into camp West of the creek. He must have seen our tents but not realized it was us.


I was 2.5 hrs behind you. It took me forever to get back down to the Kern from the meet-up location. First the x-country from Kaweah basin down to the Kern-Kaweah, then further down the Colby pass trail which is steep, exposed, hot and pretty tough (It's a 2,800' drop from the saddle between Island/Picket lake down to Junction). It took me 3.5 hours just to hike the 5 miles back to the HST. I hung out for 2 hours next to the Kern rinsing off & waiting for the heat to drop a little bit in the canyon before heading up river. I pulled in above the PCT/LSA trail junction @ 11.2k around 7:30pm and just set up a quick dry bivy in the middle of nowhere next to a stunted tree and crashed. I was sweaty and once I stopped moving I was getting cold fast, so no dinner, no nothing, just crawled under the quilt to recover. (We both had a 3,500' climb out from Junction up over the LSA shoulder.) I think I was around .5 mile above you - I didn't see a tent, person or animal from where I was that evening.

Got up the next morning before dawn and booked it to the TH (made it down Shepherd in under 4.5 hrs). Waved at two early-bird SOBO JMTers as I crossed the PCT and continued heading x-country towards Shepherd knowing I'd cross the trail coming from Tyndall somewhere below Rockwell pass. BTW, my wife thinks I should show this photo to people to dissuade them from any romantic notions about solo and/or UL backpacking (that's ice from body heat condensation - I was warm while outside was cold):

Image
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Re: Maverick's 2015 Annual HST Meet-Up 7/22-7/24/15

Postby richlong8 » Mon Jul 27, 2015 8:11 am

Hobbes, sorry I got disconnected from ya on the way down from Picket. I am especially sorry that you waited 2 hours at the Kern. I forded the Kern and saw your note about 4pm. I missed the gully, and ended up taking my original route down(more or less), and forded the Kern Kaweah at about 9500. I waited around a few minutes, hoping you might be coming down. Then I headed up to Gallants, hoping to intercept you, so I would not delay you in any way.(a mistake, but well-intentioned). I believe I saw the beginning of that gully route up there. Is the fording spot a log over the river, and is there single duck rock there also? I pretty much followed your occasionally visible footprints all the way down to the Kern . Anyway, after seeing your note, I just stayed on the Kern River Friday night, a little north of the Wallace Creek(HST) junction. I probably would have met you at 3 Bay about 730pm Friday, if I had not seen the note. It was probably for the better, because I would have slowed you down getting to the Shepherd Pass trailhead. You are the hare, and I am the tortoise. Then I hiked out to Cottonwood Pass trailhead the next 2 days getting to the car around 5 on Sunday afternoon. This was a great trip, despite the weather, the best part meeting all the members, and I will post a trip report once I get the pics downloaded from my camera later in the week.
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Re: Maverick's 2015 Annual HST Meet-Up 7/22-7/24/15

Postby Hobbes » Mon Jul 27, 2015 9:17 am

richlong8 wrote:I am especially sorry that you waited 2 hours at the Kern. I forded the Kern and saw your note about 4pm. I missed the gully, and ended up taking my original route down(more or less), and forded the Kern Kaweah at about 9500. I waited around a few minutes, hoping you might be coming down. Then I headed up to Gallants, hoping to intercept you, so I would not delay you in any way.(a mistake, but well-intentioned). I believe I saw the beginning of that gully route up there. Is the fording spot a log over the river, and is there single duck rock there also? I pretty much followed your occasionally visible footprints all the way down to the Kern . Anyway, after seeing your note, I just stayed on the Kern River Friday night, a little north of the Wallace Creek(HST) junction. I probably would have met you at 3 Bay about 730pm Friday, if I had not seen the note.


No biggie - I was so hot & tired coming down the Colby trail, I just threw my pack down and jumped in that hole in the Kern ford with my clothes & shoes. I then got up, took off my clothes & shoes, washed them out a bit, hung them up to dry and went back in. After that, I took out my pad and laid in the middle of the trail (nice cobblestone beach) in the dappled shade while I dried off. I knew the afternoon hike out of Junction was going to be hot & in direct (western) sun, so I was really waiting on my behalf. Finally, after 3pm, I knew I had to get going because I had another 10 miles and 3,400' of gain. I figured I could avg a 2.5- mph pace (actual was 2.35), so approx 4+ hours before stopping.

My real concern was that you had maybe gotten hurt (any word from the two amigos after their cliff descent?) behind me. Second was that you had run into Daisy and were having a nice visit/chat. My thinking was I had already rested for two+ hours, but was still pushing my limits, while you would just be arriving and might not have enough gas to reach 3Bay/LSA junction, much less power out the next day down Shepherd to the TH. (Same question as to Jim: did you like my note stuck on a branch that I placed in the middle of the trail? LOL)

I hit the Kern-Kaweah @ 9,645 - the same spot I had ascended from. When I was searching for a way up on Thurs, I had noticed a wide weep/stringer that led directly to the diagonal "tree escalator" to the notch, so that's what I aimed for on the way down. The weep entered the KK right where a series of rocks created a perfect hop, skip & jump path. The escalator was initially hard to find after coming down the knob gully (where I briefly talked to the two guys coming up who had run into Daisy down below), but once I had it in sight, it was pretty straightforward.

For those interested in the 'easy' non-vertical route up to Picket/Island from the Colby pass trail, here are a couple of pics:

Standing on a rock in the middle of the KK river looking back towards Colby pass (to the right over beyond the tree line). Weep/stringer coming down NE face of Picket Guard enters here @ 9645:
Image

Tree escalator running right to left to the point beyond the knob. Hike straight up to the right of the weep after xing the KK, and turn left when reaching the last tree hugging the cliff face:
Image

Gully/notch to the left of the knob leading directly to Picket lake. You can see the north waterfall to the left:
Image
Last edited by Hobbes on Mon Jul 27, 2015 9:55 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Maverick's 2015 Annual HST Meet-Up 7/22-7/24/15

Postby Hobbes » Mon Jul 27, 2015 9:43 am

For those in the BlueWater/Tom K stud class, you can also get to Island lake via the southern waterfall. Here's what it looks like from the Colby trail - southern waterfall is sort of hard to see, but the north cascade is very clear:

Image

Here's what the southern waterfall route looks like looking down from the outlet of Island lake. The tarn is the 1/3 point on the way down:

Image

I had hiked 21+ miles the day before (Wed), so I wasn't sure I was in the mood for anything remotely challenging Thurs morning in order to get to the meet-up location. The Colby pass trail from Junction meadow is steep, unmaintained, hot & rocky, so I was already worked by the time I got to 9,185' (Rockslide lake) - the traverse point. However, I took a look at what was next in store, swallowed my pride and opted for the 'easy' ascent - which of course involved a 2 mile detour (1 more up the KK river, 1 more to traverse back under PG peak).

Turns out the whole gang who came up the HST did the same thing, so we're all in the same boat. That leaves people like Gazelle, BW, MN2/Andrey & TomK in a whole different league. PS Getting a good look @ Milestone pass from the Kern river trail makes it seem pretty crazy. Of course, two of the above have done it; just a different level.
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Re: Maverick's 2015 Annual HST Meet-Up 7/22-7/24/15

Postby oleander » Mon Jul 27, 2015 2:13 pm

Bluewater, Rocky Road and I made it over Pyra Queen Col in an exhausting day on Saturday. Bluewater staying out through today (Monday).

I don't have any of the official group photos, but here is a candid one:

Kaweah Basin 2015 1305.JPG
Left to right: richlong8, mn2, andre, rocky road, yuberiver, and bluewater chat on Friday morning as yuberiver (Christine) prepares to leave. Island Lake, Kaweah Basin
Kaweah Basin 2015 1305.JPG (43.57 KiB) Viewed 482 times


- Elizabeth
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Re: Maverick's 2015 Annual HST Meet-Up 7/22-7/24/15

Postby oleander » Mon Jul 27, 2015 2:34 pm

Bluewater and Rocky Road topping out at Pyra Queen Col

Kaweah Basin 2015 1529.JPG
Kaweah Basin 2015 1529.JPG (46.64 KiB) Viewed 475 times
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Traverse to Picket Lake

Postby oleander » Mon Jul 27, 2015 3:21 pm

Why all the wordiness about the traverse to Picket Lake from the Colby Pass trail? Maybe we were lucky, but we found it simple:

1. Leave Colby Pass trail at 9650.
2. Cross the Kern-Kaweah at the easy rock hop. (This is not Gallats Meadow, but a small widening of the Kern-Kaweah one mile east of Gallats, that has a meadowy area around it.)
3. Walk due south. Coincidentally, this will be up the "tree escalator" mentioned by Hobbes - an upward contouring, diagonal line of trees. Stay between the upper trees and the lower trees. This is not a bench or a ramp exactly, but the ascent here is lower-angled than the rest of the ridge.
4. Arrive at lip of lake, and walk around it to the campsite.

In reverse:

1. Leave Picket Lake at the lip opposite the campsite.
2. Walk due north. Coincidentally, this will mostly be following a diagonal line of trees downhill, that is easy to walk.
3. When you're two-thirds down, aim for the east end of a meadowy area of the Kern-Kaweah.
4. That is the crossing. Rock-hop across.
5. Trail is one minute walk further north.

All Class 1 with a bit of easy/medium Class 2 thrown in.

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Re: Maverick's 2015 Annual HST Meet-Up 7/22-7/24/15

Postby richlong8 » Mon Jul 27, 2015 3:22 pm

Awesome. Good and rocky, but no weather worries going back.
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