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Fern Lake to Minarets Trip Report (Aug. 9 - 14, 2015)

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Fern Lake to Minarets Trip Report (Aug. 9 - 14, 2015)

Postby stormdude » Mon Aug 24, 2015 8:21 pm

Two days of cross-country, including Nancy Pass and a section of Roper's Sierra High Route. Full report is on my web site:
http://www.stormdude.com/hab/backpacks/minarets/minarets1.html
http://www.stormdude.com/hab/backpacks/minarets/minarets2.html


After leaving the Devil's Postpile trailhead, it wasn't long before we were enjoying views of the Ritter Range:

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A pleasant night at Fern Lake, followed by a scenic cross-country trip to beautiful Ashley Lake for lunch.

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A bit of haze at Ashley Lake due to fires further south, but an incredible setting nonetheless:

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More cross-country to Superior Lake, all fairly straightforward, though with more obstacles then we're used to for our usual higher-elevation trips:

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The next morning we joined the Sierra High Route and began the most difficult part of the trip, cross-country over Nancy Pass:

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By staying left, we found a steep but simple route to the top, where we were treated with a magnificent view of the Minarets:

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Getting down the north side of the pass was a little more complicated, with a little high-end Class 2 and some exposure.

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After a relaxing lunch stop in a remote, pristine meadow, we spent several hours picking our way through the landscape towards Minaret Lake:

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The scenic rewards of the Minarets is truly exceptional...

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...and we spent most of the following day contemplating the beauty of the High Sierras from near our campsite:

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The next day we took a day hike up to Cecile Lake, using a Class 2 route near the outlet creek to avoid Roper's Class 3 slot on the Sierra High Route.

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Cecile Lake was barren and stunning:

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This photo best depicts our joy in hiking that day:

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During our hike out on the sixth day, the scenery in early morning sunlight helped complete a terrific backpack. We loved the combination of High Sierra views, two days of challenging but not stressful cross-country trail finding, remote serene lakes and meadows, and the amazing scenery of Minaret and Cecile Lakes.


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I highly recommend this route for those who want a blend of everything that makes backpacking in the Sierras a great experience, but without the commitment of longer trips or multiple high passes.

Dave Chapman
http://www.stormdude.com/



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Re: Fern Lake to Minarets Trip Report (Aug. 9 - 14, 2015)

Postby copeg » Wed Aug 26, 2015 11:00 am

Thanks for sharing the report and beautiful pictures! Especially love your inclusion of hikers into many of the pics (gives excellent sense of scale and perspective). Welcome to HST!
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Re: Fern Lake to Minarets Trip Report (Aug. 9 - 14, 2015)

Postby maverick » Wed Aug 26, 2015 1:12 pm

Hi Dave,

Thanks for the wonderful TR (including the link) and photo's, one of the Sierra's finest. Great to see that the smoke did not impact the area, we will be there on our search in few weeks.
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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Fern Lake to Minarets Trip Report (Aug. 9 - 14, 2015)

Postby Bluewater » Fri Aug 28, 2015 11:59 pm

Thanks for posting your tr and pxts. I also really liked the meadow between Nancy Pass and Minaret Lake. It was in full bloom when I was there, classic magical Sierra scenery.


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Re: Fern Lake to Minarets Trip Report (Aug. 9 - 14, 2015)

Postby windknot » Sat Aug 29, 2015 7:27 am

Great report! Thanks for sharing photos of your trip into this pretty area.

Agree with copeg about liking the hiker subjects in your shots; I'm no photographer, but I think I read somewhere that the distinction between a photograph and a background is that a photograph has a subject and a background does not. Too many of my backpacking "photos" are in fact merely backgrounds. Visually appealing backgrounds, but backgrounds nonetheless. I need to get better at remembering this for future trips!
A few backcountry fishing pictures: http://wanderswithtrout.wordpress.com/
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Re: Fern Lake to Minarets Trip Report (Aug. 9 - 14, 2015)

Postby Beantown » Sat Aug 29, 2015 10:05 am

nice trip, i recently did one very similar to yours. I visited a few more lakes than you, Anona, Gertrude, and becks lake is very worthy of a visit before going up Nancy pass. i think i went more direct and straight up than staying left as you did.

I would have liked to see cecil and iceberg lake with clear skies, but that was not the case on my trip.

viewtopic.php?f=1&t=13182
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Re: Fern Lake to Minarets Trip Report (Aug. 9 - 14, 2015)

Postby stormdude » Sat Aug 29, 2015 8:49 pm

Thanks for everyone's comments. Glad to see others appreciate my efforts to include people in the composition. It's something I've learned over the years and it worked particularly well this trip because I always had an SLR around my neck. A bit of a hassle at times, but the results are well worth it.

I figured the lakes we were missing are also quite scenic, but we were pretty focused on completing each day's cross-country so skipped several. Definitely worth another trip.
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Re: Fern Lake to Minarets Trip Report (Aug. 9 - 14, 2015)

Postby deadeyes » Thu Sep 03, 2015 9:14 pm

Great trip report of a fabulous route. I agree with you comments re: a mix of everything for a great hike. Didn't see a pic, but my favorite spot was Deadhorse Lake, right below Reigelhuth Minaret. At the top of a beautiful little glen leading down to Minaret Lake. Highly recommended for your next time.
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