TR: Upper Soldier Lake, Miter Basin via Army Pass - Oct 9-11 | High Sierra Topix  

TR: Upper Soldier Lake, Miter Basin via Army Pass - Oct 9-11

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!
User avatar

TR: Upper Soldier Lake, Miter Basin via Army Pass - Oct 9-11

Postby redbear » Wed Oct 14, 2015 2:11 pm

Greetings, fellow hikers!
I'm guilty of reading this forum a lot before my trips to obtain a lot of useful back country info and rarely posting trip reports. So, I apologize and will try make amends by posting more in the future, as I understand how valuable such information might be for all of us.

Below is a short report of a 3 day backpack past weekend (Oct 9-11) from Cottonwood Lakes TH to Upper Soldier Lake via old Army Pass and back via NAP. I've also done a day hike to Miter Basin as far as Iridescent Lake and back on Saturday the 10th. This trip is of somewhat higher significance for me due to the fact that it's my very first solo backpack.

Friday the 9th I've started from Horseshoe Meadow and hiked through the Cottonwood Lakes basin via old Army Pass to Upper Soldier Lake. There was a bit of snow before the pass, but nothing substantial. The upper second half of the pass had considerable amounts of snow and instead of trying to look for and follow the trail in knee-deep snow I've taken the steep, but practically snow-free chute that leads to the lowest point of the saddle, in the middle of picture below:

P1000021-PANO (1280x553).jpg
View of the old Army Pass from Cottonwood Lake #4

The chute had very steep loose scree at the top and I had to move to the left and finish it on class 4 rock with some exposure, not pleasant with a full pack.

P1000028-PANO (1280x842).jpg
View down from the chute

Upper Soldier Lake bowl had some snow but I managed to avoid most by descending on the south-west facing side.

P1000044 (1280x960).jpg
View of the Upper Soldier Lake cirque

My day hike into the Miter basin on Saturday was very pleasant. I've traversed from USL around the base of Major General and got into the middle of the basin, then hiked to Iridescent Lake and back to camp in about 5 hours. There was very little snow in Miter basin, but much more at the upper portion of the gully leading to Iridescent Lake.

P1000075-PANO (1280x366).jpg
Panorama of the beautiful Miter basin

Iridescent Lake PANO (1280x531).jpg
Iridescent Lake

P1000106 (1280x391).jpg
Back in camp at Upper Soldier Lake

On Sunday I've decided to return via the south facing New Army Pass as I was hoping it would have less snow. I went back up to the plateau and it was much less snow already. I was able to find the trail leading to the summit of Mt. Langley and followed it back down to the Army Pass.

P1000154 (1280x264).jpg
Panorama of the plateau from Mt. Langley to the Army Pass

From the saddle I went cross-country to the NAP due to much snow still present on the slope leading there. The direction of my travel was basically dictated by the rock patches I was trying to follow. Switchbacks down NAP were all clear of snow.

P1000158 (1280x316).jpg
Panorama east from just below the New Army Pass

Beyond switchbacks there were some snow patches in shaded parts of the trail but I expect it to be mostly gone by now. I was back at the parking lot in less than 7 hours.
For a longer report and a few more pictures, you can read my Google photo story here:
Please, keep in mind that the "story" geared towards my non-hiking friends and relatives. :D
Thanks for reading!
Last edited by redbear on Thu Oct 15, 2015 12:01 pm, edited 6 times in total.

User avatar
Topix Novice
Posts: 10
Joined: Thu Aug 22, 2013 4:31 pm
Experience: N/A

User avatar

Re: TR: Upper Soldier Lake, Miter Basin via old Army Pass

Postby tie » Wed Oct 14, 2015 3:48 pm

Thanks for the information on the two passes (and the OAP chute). Great pictures, too.

Edit: Just clicked on the Google story. Really nice!
User avatar
Topix Acquainted
Posts: 52
Joined: Mon Jun 16, 2014 11:42 am
Experience: N/A

User avatar

Re: TR: Upper Soldier Lake, Miter Basin via Army Pass - Oct

Postby Rockyroad » Thu Oct 15, 2015 4:51 pm

Thanks for the trip report and photos. It's nice to see the dusting of snow. I'd like to get back to the Miter basin someday.
User avatar
Topix Regular
Posts: 156
Joined: Tue Aug 17, 2010 9:05 pm
Experience: N/A

User avatar

Re: TR: Upper Soldier Lake, Miter Basin via Army Pass - Oct

Postby psykokid » Fri Oct 16, 2015 12:34 am

Nice report and pics. What a difference a week makes..
User avatar
Topix Regular
Posts: 116
Joined: Tue Jun 30, 2015 4:39 pm
Location: Pasadena, CA
Experience: N/A

Return to Backpacking / Hiking / Camping

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: astrogerly, Cross Country, HikenFish and 7 guests