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Tough Hikes

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Tough Hikes

Postby Hobbes » Sat Aug 01, 2015 2:53 pm

After getting back from the HST meet-up last week, I was wondering why I thought the hike from Shepherd seemed tougher than usual. I started going through some of my notes with respect to elevation gain/loss and mileage for some other "regular" 3-4-5 day trips, and began to compare various mixed class 1/2 trail/x-c hikes. Here's what I came up with:

1. Shepherd/Kern/Kaweah loop = 13k gain, 13k loss, 64 miles

2. North lake/Larmarck/Kearsarge PCT/JMT = 13.4k gain, 13k loss, 72 miles

3. Kearsarge/Forester/Mt Whitney = 9.9k gain, 11.6k loss, 48 miles

4. Piute/Puppet/Italy/Feather/Hutchinson/Piute = 7.2k gain, 7.2 loss, 43 miles

Disregarding peak bagging, what are some other hikes that would be comparable to these mixed trail/x-c stats in the 3-4-5 day range? I gained a new found respect to west side passes after traveling to the Kaweah basin, especially ones like Kaweah & Milestone, the latter which looked like a sheer cliff from the Kern basin. What part of the SHR has the biggest gain/loss over a 50-70 mile range? The initial climb out from Road's End?

Here's an example of a hike which I don't have any familiarity: when I was hiking down from Shepherd, I ran into two guys @ the Pothole who were on the way up. They were happy to take a break, so we chatted for a few minutes. Their planned itinerary included heading to LSA, over Harrison, down to Reflection, up to Gardiner, through Rae, and back down Baxter. It seems like a pretty tough hike, which got me thinking about other good 3-4-5 day loops and/or section hikes that would present a good physical challenge.



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Re: Tough Hikes

Postby sparky » Sun Aug 02, 2015 11:49 am

not really the answer you are looking for, but I have (on paper) linked together some very difficult west to east crossings of the range that look interesting.
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Re: Tough Hikes

Postby Hobbes » Sun Aug 02, 2015 12:09 pm

Au contraire, le spark, please post up what you have. Maybe Eric and/or Mav have a summary somewhere of challenging 3-5 day hikes. If not, perhaps this could be a nice anchor post to collect these kinds of trips.

I would suggest, however, that anything involving purposely seeking out class 3+ passes/peaks that involve short distances would fall into another type of category. That is, I'm thinking of 10-15 mile days that involve a mix of trails and class 2 passes that provide around a 50-60 mile range for a 4+ day weekend.

My guess is something like the Hamilton lakes->Pyra Queen->Pants and/or Colby loop, etc. Or, Bishop->Tehipite->SHR->Dusy, etc. Or, the aforementioned Shepherd->Harrison->Gardiner->Baxter. Or, the Larmarck->McGee loop Wandering Daisy did last month.
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Re: Tough Hikes

Postby sparky » Sun Aug 02, 2015 12:23 pm

oh I see what you are getting at here...here is one I havnt done....bishop pass > SHR south > catridge pass > dumbell pass > amphitheater pass > up the creek to palisade basin > knapsack > bishop pass

for crossing, lots of cool ways from courtright or florence to taboose pass....descend goodale creek or armstrong canyon for extra gnar points...there are all kinds of cool/interesting lines to make this crossing.
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Re: Tough Hikes

Postby Hobbes » Mon Aug 03, 2015 7:25 am

"bishop pass > SHR south > catridge pass > dumbell pass > amphitheater pass > up the creek to palisade basin > knapsack > bishop pass"

Yes, exactly. Daisy suggested a variation of this to Tehipite from Bishop. She also piqued my intereste with the Lamarck->McGee loop - maybe add Hell For Sure as a spur and exit/enter Haeckel col.

Eric Su does a variation of these quick loops, just on a whole - and I mean whole - different level:

http://peaksforfreaks.blogspot.com/

http://www.summitpost.org/phpBB3/2014-s ... ml#p960778
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Re: Tough Hikes

Postby sekihiker » Mon Aug 03, 2015 8:05 am

If you poke around in the 50 or so trip descriptions at www.sierrahiker.com, you might be able to fine some.
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Re: Tough Hikes

Postby Cross Country » Mon Aug 03, 2015 10:55 am

Of hikes that I did several times my toughest was out of Mineral King over Timber Gap to Cliff Creek. Now comes the difficult part. From 10-15 minutes down the trail you hike up and over the ridge to the lake at the head of Granit Creek. It's only class 2 but what makes it so diffult is that it is relentlessly steep hiking for several hours. After a while it starts to grind at you. I went there several times because you can go there in June. Once I hiked it on my birthday. I kept saying to myself - this is proof that I don't believe in arbitrary designations like birth dates. I tried to never let those interfere with a good oportunity (like a 5 day stretch with no softball games). I got to hike to a really cool place and miss no games. This trip is 5 days with a layover day including the driving. I could play games on Wed, Thur and Fri nights, drive to MK and hike to Cliff Creek on Sat, do the grind on Sun, layover with fishing on Mon, hike out Tue, drive to Three Rivers and slide down "Old Slicky" in the river for a few hours, drive home and play a game Wed night. Ahh - those were the days (the 70s)
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Re: Tough Hikes

Postby oleander » Mon Aug 03, 2015 11:06 am

Cross Country wrote:I tried to never let those interfere with a good oportunity (like a 5 day stretch with no softball games).


The trick with Hobbes, apparently, is: Never mess with his surfing days.

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Re: Tough Hikes

Postby tie » Mon Aug 03, 2015 11:36 am

This might meet your standards, or it might be too short.

Onion Valley -> University Pass -> Center Basin (cross country)
-> Forester Pass (JMT)
-> Lake South America -> Little Joe's Pass -> Reflection Lake (cross country)
-> Kearsarge Pass -> Onion Valley (trail).

Image
Image
(This GPS track is missing the descent from Kearsarge Pass.)

The loop is about 35 miles, with maybe 12K' or 13K' elevation gain & loss (?).

The cross-country passes are class 2, but no joke, and personally I can't imagine doing them with a pack.

Here's a trip report from Leor Pantilat https://pantilat.wordpress.com/2009/09/27/the-stanford-loop/ . He took Milly's Foot Pass down to Lake Reflection, but most people on the Internet prefer Little Joe's.
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Re: Tough Hikes

Postby Wandering Daisy » Mon Aug 03, 2015 12:07 pm

This is a trip I did several years ago. Upper Basin lakes plus climb of Split Mountain - 3 days. Day 1 to Cardinal Lake (9 miles, 6730 feet gain). Day 2 to the lake north of Split Mountain, climb, to west side and up to lake below Mt Ruskin (11 miles, 3860 feet gain). Day 3- drop to Kings River and up to lakes below Striped Mtn and back out Taboose Pass (13 miles, 1350 gain, -7500 loss).

I think my pack only weighed 18 pounds to start with. Did it with a bivy. You cannot directly traverse to Cardinal Lake- have to drop down first.
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Re: Tough Hikes

Postby Hobbes » Mon Aug 03, 2015 12:50 pm

If we remove difficult & tedious class 3+ passes & peaks, it seems like the common thread between 'tough hikes' are high passes and low valleys. Now, before everyone screams "duh!" in unison, perhaps we can refine this observation a little bit.

We've got 3 major river canyons: Kern, King & San Joaquin, and a handful of steep passes/cols like Whitney, Shepherd, Baxter, Sawmill, Taboose, Lamarck, et al. (As many know, I haven't a clue about the westside, so feel free to add any to the ledger.) That being said, any combination of the above will result in the very definition of a 'tough hike'.

So, if any mix/match given those basic parameters will produce a tough hike, which ones are actually "worthy" of the effort? I would suggest the Shepherd->Kern->Kaweah run is the very definition of a destination hike. Each of us at the meet-up were making mental notes on how to get there again in order to spend a little more time.

Perhaps a Lamarck->McGee->Ionian->Bishop, or Bishop->Tehipite->SHR->Dusy loop would fall into a similar category. Before I bailed at the last minute (due to weather), Jim and I were going to join the PCT from Taboose and exit Kearsarge, but do it while there was still significant snow/ice coverage from 2-3 miles on either side of each of the passes.

What I'd really like to see is someone summarize the best loop into Kaweah from the west that would fit these parameters. I know people went every which way coming & going to the meet-up, so in your collective opinions, which loop would deliver the highest visual bang for the physical buck?
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Re: Tough Hikes

Postby oleander » Mon Aug 03, 2015 3:07 pm

Hobbes wrote:What I'd really like to see is someone summarize the best loop into Kaweah from the west that would fit these parameters. I know people went every which way coming & going to the meet-up, so in your collective opinions, which loop would deliver the highest visual bang for the physical buck?


I vote for the route Bluewater had intended to take.

Tablelands (Pear Lake) - Pterodactyl Pass - Horn Col - Coppermine - Triple Divide Pass - down into upper Kern Kaweah basin. Now to Picket Lake via either Picket Guard Pass, or the lower easy traverse that we all did. Island Lake and Red Spur Basin. Up to upper Kaweah Basin. Out Pyra Queen. You get to see the best of the Nine Lakes Basin that way. Join the HST (you MUST see this section of trail past Precipice, Hamilton, etc. if you've never seen it before). Out either to Crescent or to Wolverton. No repeat miles, or just 2 if Wolverton.

A possible modification to the outbound route - less cross-country, more trail - is to drop into Deadman Canyon after crossing Tablelands (from either Lake 11,200/Big Bird or else Horn Col) and onto the Elizabeth Pass trail northbound; hang a right onto the Colby Pass Trail and walk over that pass all the way to the Picket traverse. Looks roundabout on paper, but frankly those sections of trail are SPECTACULAR. Elizabeth Pass itself is visually superior to any JMT pass I can think of, and yet nobody is up there. Deadman Canyon an amazing green paradise! Cloud Canyon, Colby Lake, the upper bench on the south side of Colby Pass...Mile for mile, some of the best trail stuff out there.

In second place, for me, would be a Mineral King start (Glacier Pass - Black Rock Pass) ending at Crescent or Wolverton. I guess I would go in Pants Pass and exit Pyra Queen. (You could go in Pyra Queen and out Pants, but PQC is a thousand feet higher than Pants so I'd save it for second.) This however is not an easy car shuttle at all.

The *least* visually stimulating approach from the west - for me - would be to start at any of the trailheads (Rowell, Horse Corral, etc.) that send you through Sugarloaf area. Bleh. I really actually can't stand that trail. Hot, lots of burned and not-very-interesting forest, not much to see. Ironically, that's also the fastest and most direct way to Colby Pass from westside. Could walk 3 miles per hour down the first 15 miles of that trail, and get to Kaweah relatively fast.

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