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"Harrison Pass Trail" betwn Deerhorn Saddle & Lk Reflection

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"Harrison Pass Trail" betwn Deerhorn Saddle & Lk Reflection

Postby Teresa Gergen » Mon Feb 29, 2016 2:51 pm

Hi. I've just browsed through all the forum posts I could find that reference "Deerhorn Saddle"/"Pass." The general consensus appears to be that it's more or less miserable, but beautiful. :)

I can see in photos and on satellite imagery and Google Earth what to expect on both sides of the pass in the upper basins. All of the posts here pretty much only mention what the terrain is like on both sides going over the pass. My question is, what is the state of any "trail" that goes down the drainage from the upper basin, after crossing Deerhorn Saddle from north to south, to get to Lake Reflection? Secor says to be forewarned that the trail shown on some maps hasn't been maintained in years. Not sure if I should interpret that to mean that it's really not something anyone ever finds and uses at all, and it's just going to be a straight cross-country bushwhack, or if it's something you can find and follow, but just expect it to be in unmaintained condition. I can see hints of a trail above treeline in the upper basin on the satellite imagery, but lose it lower down. If I find it while I'm up high in the basin between Deerhorn and Harrison Passes, will I likely be able to follow it down to the East Creek trail? If it's all cross-country, where in the basin is the best route? Satellite imagery shows a lot of potential for running into cliffs/steep slabs and huge steep boulderfields.

Thanks!



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Re: "Harrison Pass Trail" betwn Deerhorn Saddle & Lk Reflect

Postby maverick » Mon Feb 29, 2016 2:56 pm

Did you read this one Teresa: viewtopic.php?f=31&t=7729
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Re: "Harrison Pass Trail" betwn Deerhorn Saddle & Lk Reflect

Postby Teresa Gergen » Mon Feb 29, 2016 3:26 pm

Thanks, maverick, yeah, I saw that one. It doesn't really answer my question about the lower part of the route.

Harrison Pass Trail drainage.jpg


Here's a route I drew in caltopo and imported into Google Earth. It's looking from the East Creek drainage in the foreground, up the drainage that goes to the basin between Deerhorn Saddle and Harrison Pass.

I circled two areas that look interesting on the imagery. It's hard to see at this zoom level. The upper one is where the trail shows on the 7.5' topo map as doing some switchbacks, but if nothing resembling a trail actually exists, the area is slabby. The lower circled area is full of big boulders and brushy vegetation. I drew my route above it on the south side to try to avoid that, but that's not where the trail shows on the topo map.

Just trying to be able to come up with a realistic time estimate for myself and my pace for this section of a climbing trip, so I know how many days to allow. I'm hoping to climb a peak before going over Deerhorn Saddle. If there's anything resembling a trail, I should be able to do that and still get to Lake Reflection in one day. If the cross country section below Deerhorn Saddle is a maze of backing off drop-off slabs, trying to get through rough clingy vegetation, and crawling over boulderfields the whole way down (as opposed to just the boulders and talus I can see on the upper parts over the actual pass itself), with a pack full of climbing gear and 8 days' food, I should allow another day.

This trip would be in late summer, by the way.

Thanks!
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Re: "Harrison Pass Trail" betwn Deerhorn Saddle & Lk Reflect

Postby limpingcrab » Mon Feb 29, 2016 5:29 pm

When I did that route (going up) I didn't even know there was an abandoned trail. Just headed up the through the forest from Lake Reflection (about where your red line is) and don't remember anything that caused trouble.

Maybe we got lucky but all I remember is a pleasant walk in the mountains on our way to summit Mount Stanford. Nothing that would cause any sort of delay beyond standard cross country wandering.

The meadow below Ericsson Crags is still one of my favorite places. It was beautiful!
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Re: "Harrison Pass Trail" betwn Deerhorn Saddle & Lk Reflect

Postby maverick » Mon Feb 29, 2016 5:55 pm

There was a faint use trail to the lakes north of Mt. Ericsson past the Lucy's Pass moraine and Ericsson Crag, the footing starts getting nasty only as one approaches Harrison, which you are not doing.

If the cross country section below Deerhorn Saddle is a maze of backing off drop-off slabs, trying to get through rough clingy vegetation, and crawling over boulderfields the whole way down (as opposed to just the boulders and talus I can see on the upper parts over the actual pass itself),


You can follow the use trail up to near the lakes north of Mt. Ericsson, just after Ericsson Crags. The terrain is not bad in the upper part of the basin until one starts to ascend up towards Harrison. Once you get up the sand slope to the top of Deerhorn, follow it a little to the east and start you descent on very loose, steep scree down towards the moraine and small tarn, if any water is in it. Head down towards Lake 10865 bypass the headwall down to the lake on its eastern side on scree/boulders to avoid the cliffs, continue down towards Lake 10500, bypass the headwall down to the lake by using the western side to bypass it this time to get to the lower part of the basin.

- See more at: http://www.highsierratopix.com/high-sie ... QYeKm.dpuf
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Re: "Harrison Pass Trail" betwn Deerhorn Saddle & Lk Reflect

Postby Teresa Gergen » Mon Feb 29, 2016 7:03 pm

Thanks both of you; that's helpful!
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Re: "Harrison Pass Trail" betwn Deerhorn Saddle & Lk Reflect

Postby sekihiker » Tue Mar 01, 2016 4:20 pm

If you can make it up to Deerhorn Saddle from Bubbs Creek, you have the skills to find your way down to Lake Reflection.

http://www.sierrahiker.com/DeerhornSaddle/index.html
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Re: "Harrison Pass Trail" betwn Deerhorn Saddle & Lk Reflect

Postby Teresa Gergen » Wed Mar 02, 2016 8:52 am

Thanks, sekihiker, I appreciate the photos.

Yeah, I'm not worried about being able to do it one way or the other, but because of some leg and lung issues, my pace is much different on and off trail. I know how to estimate my time for the boulder and talus stuff in the upper basins going over the pass itself, since I can see it on the satellite imagery and in everyone's photos, so I know what to expect there. When the map shows a trail but then sources say it's "unmaintained," I was just hoping to get a sense of the likelihood of being able to find and follow it, so I could estimate my time for that part.

Maverick says there's a use trail, and I can see bits of it in the upper basin on the satellite imagery. I drew my route line above over the trail bits on caltopo, and I'll have that in my GPS, so I'll just hope that's enough to find it up high, and that I'll be able to keep track of it from there on the way down to Lake Reflection.

I always bring one spare day's worth of food on my peak climbing trips, but I like to have a realistic estimate of how many days to plan for going in, given a slow pace. I'll be carrying rock shoes and other minimal rock climbing gear in order to attempt to solo some harder peaks, so especially given compromised lungs, I'd like to not take any more food weight than necessary. From Lake Reflection, I'll be heading over Longley Pass and back. Except for the first day getting into Vidette Lakes, and the last day coming out from Lake Reflection, I'll be climbing peaks every day and then moving camp afterwards. It's too tough a plan for a broken down climber to afford to carry any more weight than necessary, but too important and remote a trip to not carry enough rock gear to be ready to attempt, and keep myself out of trouble while attempting, the harder peaks alone. This balancing act is something I work really hard at while planning and researching each of my climbing trips, so I just thought it was worth asking for some clarification on this segment of the plan. Thanks everyone!
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Re: "Harrison Pass Trail" betwn Deerhorn Saddle & Lk Reflect

Postby maverick » Wed Mar 02, 2016 1:11 pm

Since you are interested in doing some peaks in that area, Leor's site has some interesting climbs/routes (cool photos too) which may interest you and assist in putting together some cool crosscountry routes.
https://pantilat.wordpress.com/tag/east-lake/
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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: "Harrison Pass Trail" betwn Deerhorn Saddle & Lk Reflect

Postby Teresa Gergen » Wed Mar 02, 2016 2:27 pm

Wow, thanks! I've bookmarked that site and I'm sure it will be helpful. Those trailrunner peakbagger people are amazing!
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Re: "Harrison Pass Trail" betwn Deerhorn Saddle & Lk Reflect

Postby limpingcrab » Wed Mar 02, 2016 5:06 pm

Worrying about extra food? Just take a some fishing string and print out this document I made using info from a few websites:

Edible Plants.docx
Edible Plants
(150.04 KiB) Downloaded 31 times


I guess I'm not too worried about comfort but I always thought the recommendation to bring supplies for extra days was odd. You'd have to be out there a lot of extra days to die.
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Re: "Harrison Pass Trail" betwn Deerhorn Saddle & Lk Reflect

Postby Teresa Gergen » Wed Mar 02, 2016 5:29 pm

The extra food is to be able to make a smart decision about choosing to staying out longer to finish climbing the peaks I went in to an area to climb, especially if they're remote, if I get behind schedule, not because I might need it in an emergency. If I'm mobile, I can walk out without food for a long time - my longest "dayhikes" were about 35 continuous hours, twice, all at high altitude. If the emergency leaves me immobile, I have an InReach, and know from personal experience that in that kind of emergency, the last thing you care about is eating anyway.

The edible food info is actually really interesting - but doesn't tend to help when you're almost always camped above 11000 ft in the rocks.
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