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Fast & Light on HST to Big Arroyo late Jul/early Aug

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Fast & Light on HST to Big Arroyo late Jul/early Aug

Postby psykokid » Fri Apr 29, 2016 2:30 pm

Due to lack of available vacation days this year I'm planning on tackling part of the HST solo as a fast packing trip. The general plan is as such:

- Leave LA Thursday evening after work and make the drive up to the park, catch a couple hours of sleep.
- Get up early Friday morning and grab a permit at Lodgepole. Hoping to be able to get a same day walk up permit for Crescent Meadows as the reserved ones are all quota'd out. Plan B is to leave out of Alta and take the connector over to the HST.
- Keep up a good pace and make it to Big Arroyo by the end of day 1.
- Saturday morning wake up and weather permitting, tag Eagle Scout Peak. After tagging ESP start the trek back down at a liesurely pace. Camp at Buck Creek at end of Day 2.
- Sunday Morning, wake up and hike back to whichever trail head I started from and drive back to LA.

That being said - the forum formalities:

What level of backpacking experience do you have?
-Level 3- Numerous backpacking trips, some x-country travel

What terrain are you comfortable/uncomfortable with?
- Class 3 terrain/pass/x-country

I'm going to travel light with an OR alpine bivy for shelter if needed, will cowboy camp if conditions are good. Not going to carry a bear can so I'm planning to camp where there are bear boxes. Will have some cordage and a bag for a hang just in case.

I'm working on building up my stamina and overall pace. Fortunately there are plenty of trails with yo-yo like elevation gains/losses in the San Gabriels. My usual modus operandi is to run on the downhills and flats and then hike on the uphills. I'm currently averaging around a 3-4 mph pace, depending on how much I run. I've got a 9 mile loop I do on the weekends which gains and loses 3K overall, and I can finish it in 2:15. Next step is to start hiking a section of the PCT from just west of the tunnels near Islip Saddle to Mount Baden Powell as an out and back to get myself ready for 20 mile days with lots of up and downs.

Part of the reasoning behind the trip is to do recon for taking some of the boys from my son's scout troop up to do part of the HST. When taking someone elses kids out I always pre-hike a trail so I know the lay of the land and what's coming up, regardless of how it looks on a topo map. The other part is, why not? It's good to set goals and do new things..

That being said, any comments or ideas are welcome :)
Last edited by psykokid on Fri Apr 29, 2016 4:23 pm, edited 1 time in total.



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Re: Fast & Light on HST to Big Arroyo late Jul/early Aug

Postby maverick » Fri Apr 29, 2016 3:45 pm

Easily doable, sounds like you have implemented a training plan with this specific goal in mind, so if your body had been introduced to 20 mile days beforehand, then you should not have any issues. Getting some good sleep would be great the night before your hike, if you could manage it somehow. Also start carbo loading 2 days prior, along with properly hydration, July/Aug can get quite warm.
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Re: Fast & Light on HST to Big Arroyo late Jul/early Aug

Postby psykokid » Fri Apr 29, 2016 4:59 pm

Here's a comparison of the majority of the track that I'll be using to train on compared to the HST from Wolverton to Big Arroyo as far as elevation goes. Have to find something relatively close down here that replicates the slog up the HST from Hamilton Lakes to Kaewah Gap and traverse that a few times beforehand. I'm thinking maybe the Vivian Creek trail to San Gorgonio should suffice as it climbs pretty relentlessly.

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Re: Fast & Light on HST to Big Arroyo late Jul/early Aug

Postby Jimr » Fri Apr 29, 2016 5:18 pm

vivian creek would get you in shape for nearly anything. I sweat profusely just thinking about it.
What?!
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Re: Fast & Light on HST to Big Arroyo late Jul/early Aug

Postby maverick » Fri Apr 29, 2016 5:24 pm

Even if you only made it to Hamilton because of a late start, you could get a really early start the next morning, go bag ESP, and make it back to Buck as an alternative plan, which may even work better, instead of going down to the Big Arroyo bear box location. This way if you train your body to handle a 13-15 mile distance you would be covered.
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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: Fast & Light on HST to Big Arroyo late Jul/early Aug

Postby psykokid » Fri Apr 29, 2016 11:17 pm

I can currently knock out a 15 mile day no problem. I usually do a loop from Chantry Flats to Mt Wilson and back which is 16 miles and I can complete that in 5 hours and that's not really even pushing. Here's the elevation profile of that loop - long and steady gain from 1800 feet at the bottom to 5500 at the top.

The suggestion of stopping at Hamilton Lakes on Day 1 isn't a bad idea. Would give me fresh legs to tackle the climb to the Gap. Conversely, the hike down to Big Arroyo from the gap is all downhill and only a couple of miles. I'll play it by ear and see how I'm feeling when I get there. That's one of the good things about going solo, being able to make last minute decisions like that on the fly...
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Re: Fast & Light on HST to Big Arroyo late Jul/early Aug

Postby Wandering Daisy » Sat Apr 30, 2016 9:14 am

I am an early-to-bed, early-to-rise person, so I would consider going to bed early Thursday (7PM with the aid of a sleeping pill), get up at 4AM and do the drive without traffic, get to Lodegepole in time for an early permit, and start on the trial. I rarely sleep well at the trailhead and would rather get a full 8 hours sleep in my own bed.

I have found that going in Wolverton provides a slightly faster start (less drive to the trailhead), is generally cooler than Crescent Meadow and really not that much more elevation gain going in (but it does require a big uphill going out). In other words, I think either trailhead would work out just fine.

What is the reason to go down to Big Arroyo? Seems like a bunch of trail walking without much to gain. I would rather do some off-trail exploring of Nine Lakes Basin. Or climb Stewart from Keweah Gap - really nice climb and good views.
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Re: Fast & Light on HST to Big Arroyo late Jul/early Aug

Postby mkbgdns » Sat Apr 30, 2016 5:58 pm

Interesting finding I recently came across--conventional wisdom is that exercise (as long as it's not too soon before bedtime) helps sleep. In fact, the stronger correlation is the other way--a good night's sleep enhances one's ability to exercise.
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Re: Fast & Light on HST to Big Arroyo late Jul/early Aug

Postby milkfish » Sun May 01, 2016 7:27 am

What application do you use to create those elevation profiles?
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Re: Fast & Light on HST to Big Arroyo late Jul/early Aug

Postby psykokid » Sun May 01, 2016 9:40 am

milkfish wrote:What application do you use to create those elevation profiles?


I use Garmin Basecamp and GPS tracks to create the elevation profiles.

here's a pic of a conglomerate of a bunch of tracks. I tend to nerd out on stats for some things so it's nice to see total mileage hiked over a period and tracks compared in relation to each other.
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Re: Fast & Light on HST to Big Arroyo late Jul/early Aug

Postby psykokid » Fri May 13, 2016 4:01 pm

Wandering Daisy wrote:What is the reason to go down to Big Arroyo? Seems like a bunch of trail walking without much to gain. I would rather do some off-trail exploring of Nine Lakes Basin. Or climb Stewart from Keweah Gap - really nice climb and good views.


WD - Not planning on carrying a bear can so I was planning on camping where there were bear boxes for food storage.

Also, so say I show up and cant get a walk up solo permit out of either the Alta or HST TH's- How is the route finding from Emerald or Pear Lake to Alta Peak off trail? Thinking about having the Lakes Trail as my Plan C entry trail head (Alta being Plan A and HST being Plan B) just in case..
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Re: Fast & Light on HST to Big Arroyo late Jul/early Aug

Postby AlmostThere » Fri May 13, 2016 5:41 pm

psykokid wrote:
Wandering Daisy wrote:What is the reason to go down to Big Arroyo? Seems like a bunch of trail walking without much to gain. I would rather do some off-trail exploring of Nine Lakes Basin. Or climb Stewart from Keweah Gap - really nice climb and good views.


WD - Not planning on carrying a bear can so I was planning on camping where there were bear boxes for food storage.

Also, so say I show up and cant get a walk up solo permit out of either the Alta or HST TH's- How is the route finding from Emerald or Pear Lake to Alta Peak off trail? Thinking about having the Lakes Trail as my Plan C entry trail head (Alta being Plan A and HST being Plan B) just in case..


Lakes trail permits are all walk in, because it is the most popular trailhead. Most people are aiming to stay at Pear or Emerald. You will lose the bear boxes for storage on the Tablelands, the next one being all the way over at Hamilton or Bearpaw.... Even if I hadn't see bear poop around Moose the marmots up there are nothing short of predatory.

Anyway, you're more likely to get Alta for a walk in. No bear boxes at the meadow, either. Lots of bears tho.
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