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Bench Canyon & Twin Island Lakes Traverse Advice

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Re: Bench Canyon & Twin Island Lakes Traverse Advice

Postby Pietro257 » Sun Jul 03, 2016 4:48 pm

Seamus--It's going to be a great trip. Bench Canyon is one of the most beautiful places in the Sierra.

I don't think you need to worry about crossing the northern Twin Island Lake outlet, especially in late July. The crossing looks harder than it is. I was there in late July on a snowy year once and we didn't have any trouble crossing. The water is slow moving. There is a little waterfall a ways down the outlet stream which could intimidate you, but really, the water is quite slow and won't knock you down, and even if you slip the water won't push you.

Do you have a GPS device? It would help you find the reverse Roper Route from Bench Canyon to the Twin Island Lakes. I've been through there twice (the opposite direction from you) and had to do a lot of wandering. I never did find Roper’s “wild and beautiful lake at 10,200 feet” or his “pleasant basin.”

Please keep detailed notes (and share them here) about your route finding from Long Creek up to Rockbound Lake and cross over to Blue Lake/Bench Canyon. I would like to take that route to Bench Canyon someday.



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Re: Bench Canyon & Twin Island Lakes Traverse Advice

Postby Wandering Daisy » Sun Jul 03, 2016 7:28 pm

Image

This is my route, for what it is worth. I was going the same direction you will be going. The dotted line is the official High Route. I did a variation.
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Re: Bench Canyon & Twin Island Lakes Traverse Advice

Postby seamus124 » Sun Jul 03, 2016 11:44 pm

Thanks all - I'll be sure to report back and post some photos of the route, especially the early section up Long Creek. I just was given a DeLorme InReach messenger though I don't know that it has any usable GPS functions. I plan to play with it this week to get some familiarity with it. I was planning on just using map/compass navigating, but you're right; that middle valley between Bench and Twin Island seems a bit complicated and waypoints could be helpful.

Daisy- thanks for the variation map. Your route around the northern Twin Island Lake is instructive-I'm hoping I won't have to use it but we will see!

Tom-will def keep an eye out for Surprise Saddle- too bad it'll be on our last day.

Thanks all!
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Re: Bench Canyon & Twin Island Lakes Traverse Advice

Postby Beantown » Mon Jul 04, 2016 9:21 am

I just returned fresh off the trail from June lake to Yosemite. I'll get a trip report up in a few days. Although I went the opposite direction you are planning, I had no trouble whatsoever following roppers directions and navigating. When you leave bench canyon just climb high to 10,200 above the dark bluff and level with the peak mentioned. Traverse straight across staying level with the peak. Simple as that. Drop to the lake at 10,200. make the long traverse around the ridge to twin island lakes. The water crossing is No big deal, really. It was waste high for me but you can't even feel the current.
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Re: Bench Canyon & Twin Island Lakes Traverse Advice

Postby Beantown » Mon Jul 04, 2016 10:03 am

By the way I didn't need gps nor did I use it except once just to confirm my elevation was correct on my altimeter. Just map, compass, and altimeter was useful, and study the terrain.
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Re: Bench Canyon & Twin Island Lakes Traverse Advice

Postby giantbrookie » Mon Jul 04, 2016 12:51 pm

Wandering Daisy wrote:I have done Blue Lake - Twin Island Lake four times. The first took me 8 hours - got hung up on a lot of little cliffs and did a lot of back-tracking.

I think the last statement sums up the nature of the route. There is a lot of small-scale topography (ie cliffs to small to show up on topo) on the route, so one has to do a lot of terrain reading on the fly in addition to larger scale terrain evaluation from the topo.

My last time in the area (July 1994) I did a round trip dayhike from Blue to the Twin Islands and back. As with most off trail routes there are many options that are equally good, but there are places where the optimal route will use the same set of benches or same gully. Back in '94 I found very little in the way of use trails. I was unaware that this was actually part of the SHR when I did this, so my route finding was strictly based on reading the topo map and on-the-spot small-scale terrain analysis.

In a nutshell the topography pretty much forces the main aspects of the route. From the Blue Lakes I believe there are two main sets of options. The first is the "low option" which is to descend to the confluence of the two forks of Bench Cyn at about 9700 then ascend to 10200 to round the next ridge, then across the next drainage at about 10200 before wrapping around the last ridge at about 10000 or a tad lower to swing into the southern Twin Is lake. The other set of options leaves high from Blue Lakes. I recall I went to the Twin Is. Lakes via the 'lower' option and returned via the 'higher' one. On that one, if you're leaving Blue Lakes you stay higher and round the ridge above the two Bench Cyn forks at near 10400, then begin rounding the next ridge at about 10200 joining the "lower" set of alternatives. In essence the two choices exploit the mellowest topography rounding the various spurs: the topography is steeper (ie cliffs) between the two options and above and below them.
Since my fishing (etc.) website is still down, you can be distracted by geology stuff at: http://www.fresnostate.edu/csm/ees/facu ... ayshi.html
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Re: Bench Canyon & Twin Island Lakes Traverse Advice

Postby Rockyroad » Mon Jul 04, 2016 1:04 pm

This is a very useful thread for me as I will be traveling from Twin Island Lakes to Blue Lakes as part of my route to the HST meetup. In fact, I will likely be at Twin Island Lakes the same day (July 25th) as you so might see you there.
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Re: Bench Canyon & Twin Island Lakes Traverse Advice

Postby seamus124 » Tue Jul 05, 2016 10:56 am

John/Beantown - Thanks for the routing input. In my head I anticipated starting from lower Bench Canyon so the "low option" seems like the way to go.

RR - Would be great to see you there and glad the thread is helpful for someone other than me! I was wondering if we might come across folks heading to Maverick's meetup.
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Re: Bench Canyon & Twin Island Lakes Traverse Advice

Postby maverick » Tue Jul 05, 2016 11:58 am

Oleander, Jimr, myself and possibly 2 others will be in the Twin Island Lakes area 26th or 27th and then going over Old Bones Pass to the Meet-up.

Thanks all - I'll be sure to report back and post some photos of the route, especially the early section up Long Creek. I just was given a DeLorme InReach messenger though I don't know that it has any usable GPS functions. I plan to play with it this week to get some familiarity with it. I was planning on just using map/compass navigating, but you're right; that middle valley between Bench and Twin Island seems a bit complicated and waypoints could be helpful.


Seamus124,

Consider using our ReConn Form too, it's free and a good back up. http://reconn.org/
HST= Wilderness Adventurer who knows no bounds, except for their own imagination.

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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