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Route Advice: 3days Starting from Bishop or Points East

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Route Advice: 3days Starting from Bishop or Points East

Postby jawcar » Thu Jul 07, 2016 1:14 pm

I posted about our original plan to hike the Evolution Loop via Lamarck Col and got great responses. I'm sure that thread will be useful to others in the future.

But we have nonetheless decided that we are not comfortable with the final ascent over the col. So we're looking for something else. TIA to everyone for reading and replying!

Our Parameters:

What level of backpacking experience do you have?
- We are a party of two at at least level 2. We have some experience with cross-country travel.

What terrain are you comfortable/uncomfortable with?
- We are comfortable with on-trail passes and some cross-country travel. We are not comfortable with "Class 3" inclines/scrambles, cross-country passes, or steep snowfields/glaciers.

What is your main interest?
- All-round Sierras experience including mountains, alpine meadows, and glacial lakes.

How many days/nights is your trip, not including travel to trailhead?
- Minimum of two nights out on the trail. Max of four nights.

How many miles did you want to do a day, any layovers?
- 7-10 miles per day. No layovers, but we're amenable to spurs and side-trips.

Do you have a route logistics preference: loop, out and back, point to point (which may require 2 vehicles or hitchhiking)?
- Ideally a loop, but fine with an out-and-back or a lollipop.

Is there a particular area in the Sierra that your most interested in (Yosemite, SEKI western sierra start or eastern start ect.)?
- We want to start from points east. We are flying into Vegas and hope to be in Bishop on the morning of our first full day out west to get walk-up permits.

Will you be hiking with a dog?
- Dog's staying home to be spoiled by the sitter.

I have cancelled my permit for North Lake, but we also have a permit for Florence Lake. I think it's too long of a drive from Vegas, but if anyone thinks it's worth it to do an out-and-back from Florence above other options, please let me know.

At the present we're considering a hike over Bishop Pass to Dusy Basin or a similar South Lake/Sabrina hike. Maverick suggested Little Lakes Valley and 20 Lakes Basin which sound great, but I worry about overcrowding. I've thought of Minarets or something else up near Devil's Postpile/Agnew Meadow, also Taboose Pass and Kearsarge Pass, an out-and-back over Piute Pass. We're really wide open.

What do you all think about good routes? And are there any places that might be more or less likely for us to get a walk-up permit?

Last edited by jawcar on Fri Jul 08, 2016 2:59 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Route Advice: 3days Starting from Bishop or Points East

Postby Wandering Daisy » Thu Jul 07, 2016 4:39 pm

Cottonwood Lakes would be good and the shortest drive from Las Vegas. Plenty to do there in 2-4 days.

Taboose Pass would be logistically difficult. You really have to be on the trail at about 4:30 AM to beat the heat. That means getting a permit PM and driving up to the trailhead to camp for an early start. It is a very rigorous haul to get to the lakes near Striped Mountain or the PCT or Bench Lake in a day. This route is better with a 4-5 day trip.

Onion Valley is better. You can get on the trail anytime, and there are nice places on both sides of Kearsarge Pass. You can even get a 4PM start and camp at one of the lakes on the east side. If you go down to Kearsarge Lakes, just go past the standard campsites near the bear boxes and you will have more solitude. You could then go North of Glen Pass to Rae Lakes or 60 Lakes Basin, or go south to Center Basin. or down Bubbs Creek to Junction Meadow and do a day-hike up to Reflection Lake. Vidette Lakes are kind of hard to get to - the trail is in poor shape. It would be a good trip even if you only got to Kearsarge Lakes.

I just did a trip to Dusy Basin (see my trip report). There are lots of permits available and I had no trouble getting one. There are a lot of day-hikers but you can have a quiet campsite if you get off the trail. Rawau Lake is nice and very few people camp up there. In Dusy, the same- the off-trail travel to the lakes is easy. Lots of campsites. The majority of the usage is on the main trail- people doing the JMT or PCT and resupplying. Barrett Basin over Knapsack Col is also really spectacular - slightly less difficult than Lemark Col. Thunderbolt Pass is difficult, so just come back via Knapsack. This trip would not be much of a loop. But there is so much to see every inch of the way that doing it in-and-out is still very nice and scenic.

Sabrina is lovely and a perfect basin for a 2-3 day trip. It is popular and a bit crowded. Again, you can avoid crowds when camping by getting away from the trail. For example, the inlet end of Blue Lake, Moonlight Lake, or if on Hungry Packer Lake, go out to the peninsula. Lots of day-hiking opportunities.

First through Sixth Lake from Glacier Lodge TH is also a nice 2-3 day trip. Again, can be crowded with day-hikers. Best campsite is up at the outlet of Sixth Lake. Day hikers do not get this far. Overall, campsites at the lakes are quite limited and smallish. But the scenery is spectacular. You can day-hike up to Sam Mack Meadow and then up onto the glacier.

And, also from North Lake, just go over Piute Pass. Either off-trail through the lakes on the south side (Muriel, Gothe, Wahoo, Golden, Honeymoon), or the lakes on the north side (below Mt Humphreys), and then return on the trail.

Coming from Las Vegas, there are enough trips from or south of Bishop that I see no need to drive all the way to Mammoth.

The good thing is that, if you cannot get a reserved permit, you can must make a priority list of the above, and simply see what permit you can get as a "walk in". You can get a permit anywhere on the east side from any of the ranger stations (except Whitney zone). I come from the north and always pick up my permit at Mono Lake regardless of where I am going in. Your first permit office is the Lone Pine office, which also covers the Whitney zone.
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Re: Route Advice: 3days Starting from Bishop or Points East

Postby jawcar » Fri Jul 08, 2016 4:22 am

Thank you very much for your detailed reply, Wandering Daisy.
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