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HST/JMT/RAE LAKES route questions

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HST/JMT/RAE LAKES route questions

Postby klsever » Sun Jul 03, 2016 8:38 am

Hi all! I'm new here-
My threesome is looking to do the HST this early Aug, but we plan after summiting Whitney (2 of our 3 have never done so, so it feels like a must-do for this trip) we'll head back westward to reconnect with the JMT, then travel north until we hit the southern junction of the Rae Lakes loop, and take that out to Roads End.
I have a couple questions for you all-
-I'd like to arrive at the trail head of the HST the night before to get a nice early start on our entry date so that we could hoof it up to Bearpaw Meadows, but I see that there is no camping at the trailhead. Does anyone have a suggestion for where perhaps to camp the night before?
-We'd like to do this trip in 10 days (9 nights on trail). I'm the weak link in the group, but I've done several trips where we average around 10 mi/day at altitude so my guess is that this isn't too out of reach for me- but am I possibly missing any critical info on this route that might shift my thinking? I've read many TR's on the HST and have hiked roads end to Whitney Portal so I'm familiar with that section of the JMT, but I did do that SOBO which is a different experience.
-Any favorite campsites along the HST that are not to be missed that we should reverse engineer our itinerary around?
Thanks!



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Re: HST/JMT/RAE LAKES route questions

Postby frozenintime » Sun Jul 03, 2016 9:55 am

you can camp at lodgepole and hike out in the morning via the alta/wolverton trails. it adds a mile or three, but means you can start as early as you'd like, and the trail is very beautiful from panther gap onward. we did this last year and it worked very well.

it does mean you'd miss the first five-ish 'official' HST miles, but the internet consensus seems to be that they are nothing special (by sierra standards).

the park shuttles don't start until 9 (i think?), meaning you probably wouldn't get to crescent meadow until 10 if you were relying on them.
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Re: HST/JMT/RAE LAKES route questions

Postby maverick » Sun Jul 03, 2016 11:08 am

I have a couple questions for you all-
-I'd like to arrive at the trail head of the HST the night before to get a nice early start on our entry date so that we could hoof it up to Bearpaw Meadows, but I see that there is no camping at the trailhead. Does anyone have a suggestion for where perhaps to camp the night before?
-We'd like to do this trip in 10 days (9 nights on trail). I'm the weak link in the group, but I've done several trips where we average around 10 mi/day at altitude so my guess is that this isn't too out of reach for me- but am I possibly missing any critical info on this route that might shift my thinking? I've read many TR's on the HST and have hiked roads end to Whitney Portal so I'm familiar with that section of the JMT, but I did do that SOBO which is a different experience.
-Any favorite campsites along the HST that are not to be missed that we should reverse engineer our itinerary around?


Welcome to HST!

Lodgepole is the closest campground, the previous posters recommendation is a good one, especially if you cannot secure permits starting from Crescent Meadow. You mentioned arriving the night before and getting a nice realy start, when are you planning to pick up your wilderness permit, the Wilderness Office is only open from 7am to 3:30pm and there are no night drops permitted?

What is your planned itinerary? Will you be carrying bear canisters or using the bear boxes?
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Re: HST/JMT/RAE LAKES route questions

Postby klsever » Sun Jul 03, 2016 12:05 pm

We have a permit from Crescent Meadows beginning Aug 3rd. My hope was to spend the night of the 2nd somewhere in the park and head out early on the morning of the 3rd after grabbing our permit at the Visitors Center.
We'll be carrying bear boxes, but are planning a 10 day trip, so I'm guessing it'll be good to land at sites with established bear boxes the first couple nights because we'll most likely have personal bear box spill-over.
We're still planning our exact itinerary, so i'm not sure where we'll be night one. I'm guessing either nine mile or Bearpaw?
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Re: HST/JMT/RAE LAKES route questions

Postby frozenintime » Mon Jul 04, 2016 12:43 pm

our permit was crescent meadows as well. for what it's worth, it was the *rangers* idea to start via wolverton. so, they perhaps aren't too fussed about starting trailhead as it relates to the HST.

the shuttle system is great, but as i said it takes time (i was quoted 45+m between lodgepole and crescent meadow) and does not start up first thing in the AM. perhaps you can get a hitch from someone at lodgepole, but no guarantees there.
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Re: HST/JMT/RAE LAKES route questions

Postby maiathebee » Mon Jul 04, 2016 2:09 pm

Were your trips with average 10 mile days long or short? Ten days of food is a lot to carry and those first days are gonna be especially hard... What's the motivation for heading back to Road's End. Is it the car shuttle/transportation issue?
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Re: HST/JMT/RAE LAKES route questions

Postby maverick » Tue Jul 05, 2016 1:12 pm

-We'd like to do this trip in 10 days (9 nights on trail). I'm the weak link in the group, but I've done several trips where we average around 10 mi/day at altitude so my guess is that this isn't too out of reach for me- but am I possibly missing any critical info on this route that might shift my thinking?


Your trip is about 120 miles, which would mean that you will need 12 miles per day to complete it. Your trip includes summiting Whitney, climbing Forester and Glen Pass, which will be hard enough. You already wrote that 10 miles a day is your limit, have you ever backpacked, at elevation, with 10 days worth of food? Your mileage at the beginning may be severely limited because of this, you should consider doing the Rae Lakes section another time and exit via Bubb's to Roads End.
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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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