TR: North Lake to Pine Creek via Steelhead Pass 6/21-6/22 | High Sierra Topix  

TR: North Lake to Pine Creek via Steelhead Pass 6/21-6/22

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TR: North Lake to Pine Creek via Steelhead Pass 6/21-6/22

Postby vexorg » Sat Jun 25, 2016 2:22 pm

Plan was originally to go from North Lake to Hutchinson Meadow up French Canyon and out Pine Creek through Royce Lakes and Granite Park. A hiker headed out warned about high water levels around 9,000 feet (crossing Piute and French Creeks near Hutchinson Meadow), so I decided to detour around Desolation Lake and over Steelhead Pass to reach the French Canyon and Pine Creek Pass trail.

approaching piute pass.jpg

humphreys basin from piute pass.jpg

Trail the entire way to Humphreys Basin was in good shape with a few wet areas due to snowmelt.

approaching desolation from the south.jpg

Snow showed up on the east side of Desolation but not significant enough to be a problem. Easy traversing all the way to Steelhead Pass with great views the whole way.

glacier divide from steelhead pass.jpg

Route over Steelhead was very easy to follow class 2 with a couple of tricky snow chute crossings that have probably melted out by now.

view across to royce and basin from above l lake.jpg

Views from Steelhead pass and across French Canyon from the first night's camp above L Lake were second to none. The combination of snow, mud, water, and squish on the traverse from here to French Canyon made travel a bit of an effort.

down french canyon from l lake trail junction.jpg

pine creek pass.jpg

Pine Creek Pass conditions were a little wet...and a little tricky following the trail thru the snow. By this point the wetfoot slog down from L Lake made heading down sound a lot more fun than heading up to Royce Lakes.

view up from pine lake.jpg

Bugs were here but were not biting. Great place for a swim.


pine creek fall.jpg

Total of two full days hiking, probably around 24 miles. With the hot weather Royce Lakes and Granite Park should be melted and dried out in the next week or two. Though the streams could still be high for a little longer.
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Re: TR: North Lake to Pine Creek via Steelhead Pass 6/21-6/2

Postby rlown » Sat Jun 25, 2016 2:31 pm

Surprised the lakes in Humphrey and French basins haven't fully thawed, esp Summit and Desolation. I think Austex is up there now wanting to float his raft. He might be a little bummed, but how can you be that bummed if you're up there. :)

Thanks for the TR!!

PS: Welcome to the HST forum.
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Re: TR: North Lake to Pine Creek via Steelhead Pass 6/21-6/2

Postby dougieb » Sun Jun 26, 2016 10:00 am

Looks like you had a nice time out there. I'm surprised by the amount of snow but I guess I shouldn't be. Last year and the year before weren't exactly "typical" years. Probably heading out of Pine Creek in early September, looking forward to it.
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