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Trip Advice, Southern Sierra, 4.5 days, Late June

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Re: Trip Advice, Southern Sierra, 4.5 days, Late June

Postby Ska-T » Sat May 07, 2016 8:53 pm

I'll second the Miter Basin out of Horseshoe Meadow as a trip that meets yours desires. Plus I'll make you a qualified guarantee that snow will not stop you this year from making a loop including New Army Pass and Cottonwood Pass. Of course if there are significant late snow storms that nullifies the guarantee. :lol:

From Horseshoe Meadow go over New Army Pass. In the afternoon you shouldn't have any trouble kicking steps up the last part of the pass if you have to. Chance are other people will have made steps for you. The west side of the pass is gently inclined and will have much less snow, if any. If there is too much snow on the east side of the pass you can backtrack and go in (and back out) over Cottonwood Pass. In early June 2006 (more snow than 2016) we hiked to Miter Basin over Cottonwood and tried to go out over New Army Pass. At the top of New Army we looked down and decided for the sake of safety to backtrack and go out over Cottonwood. If you do the loop in the counterclockwise direction you won't be pressed for time if you have to backtrack. However, I prefer the loop in the clockwise direction. Allow 2.5 to 3 days to hike the loop. That doesn't include peak bagging time.

All that said, here is another trip to consider. This one comes with a softer snow guarantee. Start at Onion Valley. Go over Kearsarge Pass, walk pass Charlotte Lake, go over Gardiner Pass and drop down into Gardiner Basin. Meander up the basin, over Sixty Lake Col, down to Rae Lakes, over Glen Pass, and back out over Kearsarge Pass. For a rough estimate of days to allow, at 51 & 53 yr of age with lightweight packs this took us 3.5 days to hike (including Mt Cotter from Sixty Lakes Col). That was July 4th weekend 2003, a slightly higher snow pack April according to the snow sensor history of Upper Tyndall Creek, 11,400. The route is beautiful and deserves more time. Besides Mt Cotter you have a number of peaks to choose from including the demanding Mt Clarence King and Mt Gardiner. You will have snow on the west side of Sixty Lakes Col, but it isn't very steep or long. There will also be snow on the north side of Glen Pass, but many people will have cut a path by then.

Both trips work great for leaving LAX in the morning and driving up to Lone Pine (about 4 hr even with traffic) where you can pick up your permit in the afternoon at the Eastern Sierra InterAgency Visitor Center. If you want to acclimate at altitude you can drive up to Horseshoe Meadow (10K ft) or Onion Valley (9K ft), camp overnight and get an early start.

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Re: Trip Advice, Southern Sierra, 4.5 days, Late June

Postby Ashery » Sun May 08, 2016 3:20 pm

Miter Basin it is! Well, after I confer with my friends a bit tonight to see if that suits them, :p

We can use the other trailhead on the east side that was further north if conditions don't look favorable for us in the couple of days leading up to the trip.

Thanks for the suggestions and advice all.
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Re: Trip Advice, Southern Sierra, 4.5 days, Late June

Postby cslaght » Wed Oct 05, 2016 11:43 am

Ashery, not to reintroduce your post, but I'm curious, were you able to make it to Miter Basin? Of what this thread includes, this sounds like something I want to do next summer.
"The mountains are calling, but can't find my phone"

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