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4 day loop out of N. Lake/Lake Sabrina/S. Lake?

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4 day loop out of N. Lake/Lake Sabrina/S. Lake?

Postby DanielG » Mon Aug 22, 2016 11:34 pm

Hi, I'm looking for some route advice. I'm trying to plan a 4 day / 3 night trip with my wife for the Labor Day (getting started on Friday). I've been eyeing the area around the 3 trailheads of N./S./Sabrina Lakes with eye toward doing a loop, maybe using N. and Sabrina Lakes. I've done Bishop pass and south but never explored this area to the north/west of Dusy Basin, so pretty excited to use the long weekend.

In our recent mixed on/off trail endeavors in the Sierra we've been able to do 8-10 miles/day. We like x-country a lot and done a fair amount in the Sierra at this point. Would prefer, though, to keep it fairly leisurely and avoid serious Class 3 passes and snow fields (wife hates walking on snow).

I've been searching through the forums. Current thought was maybe following part of SHR with idea of Lake Sabrina --> Echo Lake Col (not sure how challenging that is) --> Evolution Basin --> Darwin Bench --> Alpine Col --> Humphrey Basin --> Piute Pass --> N. Lake. Was also considering going into Ionian Basin or over to Davis Lakes, or a nearby peak as side trips and then coming out over Lamarck Col. Having not been in the area I'm not sure how challenging those passes are or what the must-see areas are. Any advice or thoughts would be greatly appreciated!



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Re: 4 day loop out of N. Lake/Lake Sabrina/S. Lake?

Postby rayfound » Tue Aug 23, 2016 9:48 am

North Lake > Carol Col> French Canyon > Hutchinson Meadow > Back to North Lake stopping wherever interesting.
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Re: 4 day loop out of N. Lake/Lake Sabrina/S. Lake?

Postby SSSdave » Tue Aug 23, 2016 10:03 am

Your most difficult challenge will be getting a wilderness permit since reservations for those very popular limited quota trailheads have been filled since May. Trying to get a walk up permit at 11am on the Friday (to start Saturday) or Thursday (to start Friday) on the Labor Day weekend one is likely to have a lot of competition. Even decades ago the lines would be way out the door. I know when the ranger stations open up, if one is in line for an 11am day before permit, that they hand out some kind of line position ticket. Not sure how they deal with prioritizing between the different Inyo offices.
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Re: 4 day loop out of N. Lake/Lake Sabrina/S. Lake?

Postby maverick » Tue Aug 23, 2016 1:11 pm

As Dave points out, obtaining wilderness permits during the holiday will not be easy, but can be done, just have alternative plans ready.
Would not recommend doing Ionian Basin on your time schedule, 3 nights is way to short, climbing Black Giant Pass and then peak itself to get a view into Ionian could be an alternative, Davis is nice, especially the western end, but McGee Lakes is much prettier and easier to access for you.

Echo Col>McGee Pass>McGee Lakes>Darwin Bench>Lamarck Col viewtopic.php?f=31&t=8882&p=65236&hilit=echo#p65236
North Lake>Lamarck Col>McGee Canyon (McGee Lakes)>McGee Pass>Echo or Haeckel Col viewtopic.php?f=31&t=9225
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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Re: 4 day loop out of N. Lake/Lake Sabrina/S. Lake?

Postby Daniel71587 » Tue Aug 23, 2016 9:42 pm

Tremendously helpful, thank you! Marked both down as options to play the permit lottery. I'm hoping we're in a good spot as I will get to Mammoth a day earlier going to Reno on a business trip.

One question for the route that Maverick suggestion: For the McGee Lakes --> Darwin Bench portion, do you propose going west and around through McGee Canyon? On the topo+google images that looks quite forested and I don't see a trail? Alternatively, is there a not too challenging route over the top toward "The Hermit" that would keep the route high? Seems kind of doable on the topo but don't see any reference to a pass between the two 12,300 peaks to the NW and SW. 3rd option wold seem to backtrack to the east and go over the top between the third peak about half mile west of WNW of McGee Pass.

Thanks so much!
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Re: 4 day loop out of N. Lake/Lake Sabrina/S. Lake?

Postby maverick » Tue Aug 23, 2016 9:58 pm

Just follow McGee Creek up into the canyon to the lakes and exit via McGee Pass.
HST= Wilderness Adventurer who knows no bounds, except for their own imagination.

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