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Proposed Itinerary, Mono Divide/Silver Divide Area

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Proposed Itinerary, Mono Divide/Silver Divide Area

Postby allnatural49 » Fri May 06, 2016 12:11 pm

Hello all, I am planning a summer backpacking trip out of Lake Edison and would love some feedback.

I am a level 3 backpacker comfortable with class 2 terrain. Interested mostly in photography and big mountain scenery, but will be doing some fishing as well.

My tentative route right now will be leave from VVR south on the JMT, go up the Hilgard Branch up to Lake Italy, over Gabbott Pass down through Mills Creek and the second recess. Then head up Mono Creek to Hopkins basin and up over Hopkins Pass and join up with the trail over Mcgee Pass to Tully Lake. Then up over Rohn pass to Bighorn lake and Mott lake, and down back to Lake Edison.

My plan is to do this over about 7 Days at the end of August/beginning of September. 10-15 miles/day is a comfortable pace for me depending on the difficulty of the terrain. Possible 0 days if I feel like it.

A few Questions.

Is it easier to ride the ferry to VVR, then take the JMT south to access the Hilgard Branch to Lake Italy? Or should I hike up Bear Creek via the Bear Creek cutoff trail?

I am having trouble finding info on the route from Rohn Pass to Mott Lake. Any info would be appropriated.

How Difficult is route finding on the north side of Hopkins Pass and Gabbott Pass? I've done a good amount of research and they seem like normal class 2 but any info on what to expect would be great.

What are some of the best camping spots along the route? I have heard the Mills Creek area is beautiful.

Thanks for any feedback, I hope I followed the guidelines well. I will post a trip report after I am done.



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Re: Proposed Itinerary, Mono Divide/Silver Divide Area

Postby maverick » Fri May 06, 2016 1:50 pm

How Difficult is route finding on the north side of Hopkins Pass and Gabbott Pass? I've done a good amount of research and they seem like normal class 2 but any info on what to expect would be great.


viewtopic.php?f=31&t=13534&p=101499&hilit=hopkins#p101490
viewtopic.php?f=31&t=11674#p87994


I am having trouble finding info on the route from Rohn Pass to Mott Lake. Any info would be appropriated.


Easy, just go around the eastern side of the lake, there are some cliffs that need to be circumvented near the southern end of Bighorn Lake, follow down the outlet stream to Mott, use either side to circumvent it, good campsite under the lake.


Is it easier to ride the ferry to VVR, then take the JMT south to access the Hilgard Branch to Lake Italy? Or should I hike up Bear Creek via the Bear Creek cutoff trail?


Take the Ferry route.


What are some of the best camping spots along the route? I have heard the Mills Creek area is beautiful.


Lower Mills has some good camping near the north end at the outlet, near the trees, Upper Mills is more exposed, but still has decent camping near its northern outlet, it does have a grand view of the alpenglow off of Mills. :nod:
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Re: Proposed Itinerary, Mono Divide/Silver Divide Area

Postby allnatural49 » Fri May 06, 2016 6:14 pm

Thank you!

Any suggestions for good fishing or camping along the route?

Also, I have heard good things about pioneer basin, but the lack of an easy way out other than returning the way I came made me choose to go up Hopkins basin instead because I want to avoid class 3 terrain.

Am I missing out on pioneer basin? Is there any way out to the north other than Crocker col?
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Re: Proposed Itinerary, Mono Divide/Silver Divide Area

Postby maverick » Fri May 06, 2016 6:24 pm

Am I missing out on pioneer basin? Is there any way out to the north other than Crocker col?


Yes you would be, scenery and fishing wise. Crocker Col gets you between Hopkins Basin and Pioneer Basin, Stanford Col (Class 3) gets you north into the McGee Lakes Basin.

Why not use the trail from Mills to Pioneer, then use Crocker to get into Hopkins Basin, and then use Hopkins Pass into McGee Lakes Basin?
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Re: Proposed Itinerary, Mono Divide/Silver Divide Area

Postby SSSdave » Fri May 06, 2016 11:06 pm

By hiking that much that far over that kind of off trail terrain each day you will have little time to do much more than briefly pass through most of those areas and take modest snap shots only along your routes at whatever time of day you happen to passing through. You seem to be puzzled at trying to work in Pioneer Basin instead of Hopkins as though you will be missing something. Unless a person slows down and explores such timblerline and alpine country beyond their route through, much will be missed.
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Re: Proposed Itinerary, Mono Divide/Silver Divide Area

Postby Wandering Daisy » Sat May 07, 2016 8:04 am

Pioneer Basin is quite lovely, but easily accessed on a long weekend from Rock Creek, therefore, I would not feel inclined to try to squeeze it in on a loop from the west side. Leave it for another day. There is quite good fishing in Big McGee Lake as well as fine camping (sw end) so an overnight here would be productive. We also had good luck with fishing at Tully Lake. The view of Red Slate Mountain from the benches southwest of the lake are classic. Again, worth spending a night. You could also continue south on Roper's High Route to Laurel Lake with a side trip to Grinnell Lake and then drop to Mono Creek. I think this route is more scenic than via Mott Lake. Rosy Finch is a beautiful lake and you would miss it if you go out Mott Lake. There are a ton of smallish fish in Laurel Lake. I have dropped from the outlet area of Grinnell Lake to Laurel Creek- tricky route on steep slabs. A back-and-forth side-trip from the 10900 elevation (bench above Laurel Lake) to Grinnell Lake is easier.
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Re: Proposed Itinerary, Mono Divide/Silver Divide Area

Postby allnatural49 » Sun May 08, 2016 4:12 pm

Thanks for the feedback. I will look at possibly going the laurel lake route over Mott lake. Based on what I've read about Crocker col I wouldn't want to do try it, so I think I'll stick with the Hopkins basin route.

I would love to take my time, however time off work is precious and I want to get as much in as possible in the time I have. I've been looking at he mono creek area for a while and want to get as much in as I can.
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Re: Proposed Itinerary, Mono Divide/Silver Divide Area

Postby wildhiker » Mon May 09, 2016 5:20 pm

If you end up camping in the Tully Lake area, head south on easy cross-country up to the bench just north of Cotton Lake for outstanding views in every direction.

-Phil
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Re: Proposed Itinerary, Mono Divide/Silver Divide Area

Postby dandaman49 » Wed May 11, 2016 10:45 am

Thanks for the suggestion Phil.
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Re: Proposed Itinerary, Mono Divide/Silver Divide Area

Postby TehipiteTom » Wed May 11, 2016 3:52 pm

maverick wrote:
Is it easier to ride the ferry to VVR, then take the JMT south to access the Hilgard Branch to Lake Italy? Or should I hike up Bear Creek via the Bear Creek cutoff trail?


Take the Ferry route.

I'm dubious about this. Secor says it's 4 3/4 miles from Mono Creek to the Bear Ridge intersection (and the ferry doesn't take you all the way to Mono Creek), and 5 miles from Vermillion Dam to the intersection on the Bear Ridge Trail. So you're not actually saving any mileage, and you're adding significant time (especially if you're an early riser--the first ferry isn't til at least 8 am, IIRC). IMO, better bet is just to take the Bear Ridge trail.

allnatural49 wrote:Any suggestions for good fishing or camping along the route?

Lower Hilgard Branch (just after the climb out of Bear Creek valley) would be a great 1st day campsite--open forest, big slabs, nice views up Bear Creek. Best campsite in the Tully Lake area is near the tarn at the base of Rohn Pass.
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Re: Proposed Itinerary, Mono Divide/Silver Divide Area

Postby maverick » Wed May 11, 2016 4:16 pm

I'm dubious about this. Secor says it's 4 3/4 miles from Mono Creek to the Bear Ridge intersection (and the ferry doesn't take you all the way to Mono Creek), and 5 miles from Vermillion Dam to the intersection on the Bear Ridge Trail. So you're not actually saving any mileage, and you're adding significant time (especially if you're an early riser--the first ferry isn't til at least 8 am, IIRC). IMO, better bet is just to take the Bear Ridge trail.


True, yet if one has never done the ferry ride, it can be fun.
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Re: Proposed Itinerary, Mono Divide/Silver Divide Area

Postby dandaman49 » Wed May 11, 2016 4:50 pm

Thanks for the input. I may just base the decision on whether or not I arrive/wake up close to the time when the ferry is ready to depart. I live in Fresno and will likely be heading up the 168 and car camping after work to get a head start.

I am also considering a route from Florence to Edison. South from Florence then north on JMT to Selden pass, then up East fork of Bear Creek to Bear Lakes basin, over white bear pass to Lake Italy, over Gabbott pass to Mills creek area, then out Mono Creek to VVR. Would need to hitchhike back to Florence but I imagine that wouldn't be too much of an issue as i will be doing this trip around Labor Day and there should be plenty of people on the road.

I would probably be able to do this route significantly faster than my original route, leaving more time for 0 day exploration, and would still get plenty of off trail fun.
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