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Stanford Col north side question.

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Stanford Col north side question.

Postby Charles2 » Wed Jan 24, 2007 12:36 pm

I'm new to this forum; hope this is the proper place for this posting.

I am planning a loop trip for this coming summer in the Sierra. To complete the loop, I need to cross the saddle between the Pioneer Basin in upper Mono Creek and Steelhead Lake in the upper McGee Creek drainage. The saddle I am talking about is between Mts. Stanford and Crocker. I believe the saddle is now called Stanford Col. Interestingly, I have been in this saddle on my way up Mt. Crocker from the Pioneer Basin side but I'll be durned if I can remember what the North side looks like; all I can remember is that there is a nice view from there.

According to the topo, it looks steepish but not too bad. But, I'll be solo and I'm not as agile as I was 50 years ago so don't want any challenging climbing. The route is listed as one of many Knapsack Routes in my copy of Starr's guide. Has anyone on this forum done this route? If so, what can you tell me about it? Thanks for any information.



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Postby SSSdave » Wed Jan 24, 2007 7:52 pm

I camped at Steelhead in 1985, climbed up above the east shores and got a pretty good look at those slopes as was interested in seeing how difficult that rated class 2-3 col was. The top shows lots of steep loose scree. Below the scree is lots of vertical through unpleasant talus. Questionable enough at the top and arduous enough through the big talus with a backpack that I've never since considered using that for a route versus Hopkins Pass. ...David
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Postby quentinc » Sat Feb 03, 2007 8:39 pm

Having looked down that col (on a failed ascent of Mt. Stanford), I would heartily concur that you seek out Hopkins Pass instead. Steelhead Pass is steep steep steep, and horrifyingly rocky. It certainly looks loose. Even when it's not steep, there appears to be absolutely endless talus once you are above Steelhead Lake. All in all, it looks like one of the most miserable knapsack passes around.
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Hopkins Pass it will be!

Postby Charles2 » Mon Feb 05, 2007 7:03 am

Dave and Quentinc: Thanks for the information. I had not considered Hopkins Pass; not sure where the mental block came from but there it was. I have now revised my travel plans and will change drainages via Hopkins Pass rather than by way of "break-neck" col. I have read descriptions of Hopkins Pass and have seen photos now from both sides and it certainly seems to be within my capability. Thanks again! :)
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Postby madeintahoe » Mon Feb 05, 2007 9:41 am

Hi Charles

I hiked up the South Side of Stanford Col from the upper Pioneer basin...which is very easy... But looking down the North side to Steelhead Lake looked quite steep and loose like Quentinc mentions. I don't know if you have R.J. Secor's book..but he has it as a class 3 pass..says the South side is easy, which it is & the North side is steep. I think going over Hopkins would be better too. Sounds like a nice trip to do..have a wonderful time :)
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