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~4 Day Backpack /Rae Lakes

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~4 Day Backpack /Rae Lakes

Postby sambieni » Wed Feb 17, 2016 2:36 pm

Hi all -

Relatively new here. Moved out west a few years ago and now finally gonna dip my tow into High Sierras for extended treks.

Our group is likely:
Level 2 Backpack experience
Level 1 (possibly 2) Terrain experience

Seeking ~4 day (3 or 4 night) trip ideas in SEKI ideally or other areas. Loops preferred. We are coming up from LA and looking to trek in August.

I am looking at Rae Lakes Loop. I read a lot and keep getting mixed bag on how long this will take. Some say 3+ days, while others say 6-7 days. What is realistic for folks in reasonably good shape with modest experience.

Other ideas are High Sierra Loop, but realize that is hard to get permitting for.

Any ideas or help is super welcome. Thanks!



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Re: ~4 Day Backpack /Rae Lakes

Postby maverick » Wed Feb 17, 2016 3:10 pm

Hi Sambieni,

Welcome to HST!

I am looking at Rae Lakes Loop. I read a lot and keep getting mixed bag on how long this will take. Some say 3+ days, while others say 6-7 days. What is realistic for folks in reasonably good shape with modest experience.


Well this depends on what mileage your group is comfortable with, the trip is 41.4 miles long, you have an 11,978 pass to climb (Glen Pass). Has everyone in your group been to elevation before, no issues with mountain sickness, will you have time to acclimate at Roads End? Would definitely recommend that you plan on 4 nights, always good to have a layover or weather day.

http://www.nps.gov/seki/planyourvisit/r ... s-loop.htm


Also a loop out of Mineral King would be great for a 4 night trip, here are a few of many TR's:

http://calipidder.com/wp/2010/09/minera ... ooth-pass/
viewtopic.php?f=1&t=13315&p=99948&hilit=mineral+king+loop#p99948
viewtopic.php?f=1&t=11745&p=88632&hilit=mineral+king+loop#p88632
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Re: ~4 Day Backpack /Rae Lakes

Postby Wandering Daisy » Wed Feb 17, 2016 3:24 pm

Rae Lakes Loop. It depends on your trip goals, your previous experience and if you are in shape at the time of the trip. If you want to fish along the way, then you need more time. How many hours a day do you usually backpack? Do you like to take a lot of breaks? Have you done a 4-5 day trip before and how many miles and elevation gain did you do then?

The loop is all on good trails, so there should be no problem with "terrain". Some of the trail is rocky, and that will slow you down a bit. Start with a rule of thumb calculation: how many hours a day do you want to have a pack on your back? In general, 2 mph is a moderate trail pace allowing about 10 minute break every hour. Very fit people who do not have trouble with altitude and moderately light packs- add about half an hour/1000 feet elevation gain. If you are hauling 50 pound packs and are somewhat out of shape - then add 1 hour per 1000 feet gain. Obviously, you cannot just stop anywhere. Figure out water sources and potential campsites. If you are a photographer, you may want to choose campsites based on specific scenes you wish to photograph. Try to do the pass in the morning. Also figure in the inevitable delays in getting your permit and actually getting on the trail. They will not give a permit for the Rae Lakes Loop after about 3PM - you need to call and see about this. And build in a bit of contingency in case you have someone who "hits the wall" or weather gets too horrible to travel. The trailhead ranger station opens at 8AM - again, check on this. And you are required to get a certain number of miles from the trailhead before it is legal to camp. It used to be at the Sphinx Creek trail junction if you loop counter-clockwise. Cannot remember where the first legal camping is the other direction.

It is OK to get your reservation for the permit with a few extra days. Better to get too many days reserved than too little. This trail is very popular and you really need to jump on the permit on the day the permit process opens. It is one trail that you may not be able to get a walk-in permit, so if that is the plan you better have a "Plan B".

So, get out your map and do the homework. I think most backpackers are able to do it in 4-5 days, but do you WANT to? Some people have done it as a day-hike! Just remember that the more days you are out the heavier your starting pack weight is going to be. Find that "sweet spot" of just right number of days.
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Re: ~4 Day Backpack /Rae Lakes

Postby sambieni » Sun Mar 06, 2016 10:09 am

Thanks guys!

Well we got permitted for SEKI Rae Lake's Loop for August, plus we also got permitted for same time for Yosemite's High Sierra Camp Loop. We put in for both not sure what we might get. But my backpacking legs have been on the shelf for a few years and its been long while since doing high country, while my buddy has far less experience than I. While I prefer Rae Lakes, in the interest of safety and getting our "sea legs' under us, we are going to plan to do the High Sierra Camps Loop in Yosemite, but do our best to avoid the camps themselves. Yes, it will be crowded on the trail, more than I am used to. But seems best compromise for our party. Thanks for the advice.

Question - Does anyone know where I can obtain good USGS 7.5 maps for the entirety of the High Sierra Camp Loop? I prefer store bought than printing on my own / laminating, etc. Thanks!
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Re: ~4 Day Backpack /Rae Lakes

Postby Pulpit » Wed Mar 23, 2016 11:16 am

I would try Tom Harrison maps for the High Camps loop maps if you are looking for something to purchase. They are very good maps. Have a great trip!
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