TR: South Lake to Barrett Lakes and Agassiz | High Sierra Topix  

TR: South Lake to Barrett Lakes and Agassiz

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TR: South Lake to Barrett Lakes and Agassiz

Postby Sierra_Summits » Wed Aug 24, 2016 11:44 am

Recently went on a few mini 2-3 day trips into the High Sierra. The most memorable was going into Barrett Lakes and then a bivy night ontop of Agassiz. It was quite a thrill to be camping at that elevation. I have never done it before, so I was pretty nervous about going alone. There were no bugs and the weather was outstanding. It seemed that for the 12 days I was out there the weather was some of the best I had encountered. Nights were warm and no wind. This gave me hope that I could summit Agassiz and not have any issues.

The first day going over Bishop pass and then over Knapsack proved to be a serious undertaking. Bishop Pass was easy no props but then as I approached Knapsack that is where I became exhausted and was definitely not on the right route. I approached from the lakes below Knapsack and I remembered coming over this pass years ago. I remember as I descended that we made a long traverse to the east but couldn't find the route this time as I ascended. It was some hard work getting up. I didn't take any photos of Knapsack pass but I'm sure its written about in the cross country passes section. The correct way to go over knapsack is to traverse from the lakes that are near the word "BASIN" on the 7.5 quad maps. Anyway, I had a great night in the Barrett Lakes. I hoping someone would be there so I could share stories with them but nope. it was just me. I have begun to be more comfortable being alone in the wilderness. It takes me a few days to really ease into but this trip I did much better than other trips.




The next day I set out for Mt. Agassiz. I made it over knapsack with a few problems this time as I traversed more than climbed. I had a great night of sleep and woke up a few times to check out the moon lit mountains. I made it too Mt Agassiz around 2pm and set up my tent at the base of the climb. I figured that if anything did go wrong and I had to come down at night I could have my tent already setup. As I got ready to go I had a sinking feeling in my gut about this decision. However, On a previous trip I had already turned back from a campsite that I was excited about due to being scared. So I wasn't going to let that happen again. I started to climb and the route was pretty easy class 2 all the way to the top. I even found a tiny stream in the chute i was climbing. Mostly talus slog but fun though. I reached the top in about 1.5 hours and immediately set up my sleeping situation on a patch of flat dirt about 200 feet from the summit. It was an epic place to be! As night approached I felt great. No issues with altitude and no feeling of nausea. I got some real nice photos up there! Around 1130pm things started to get a little crazy though. I woke up feeling a little dizzy and had a chest pain. I wasn't sure if this was a big enough deal to hike down in the middle of the night or not. I lay in my bag debating the merits of staying here or going down 2000 feet of talus in the night. Due to the situation, I started to have a panic attack. My heart rate started to get really high and my legs started to shake uncontroably! It was very nerve wracking trying to decide what I should do. I cracked open a hand warmer and kept telling myself that i was just panicking and that nothing was really going on. I get this same kinda panic feeling when I go in for an IV for a surgery. SO i knew I had felt this feeling before. I finally calmed down and got cozy in my bag and was able to stay up there the whole night! Whew! I awoke in the am to a smoke filled horizon. The sunrise wasn't as I had planned but it was still an amazing experience none the less. I learned a lot about myself on this trip!






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Re: TR: South Lake to Barrett Lakes and Agassiz

Postby austex » Wed Aug 24, 2016 12:03 pm

AWESOME. Thanks for taking me there. Views worth $$$!
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Re: TR: South Lake to Barrett Lakes and Agassiz

Postby maverick » Wed Aug 24, 2016 12:36 pm

Cool TR and pictures, nice shot of NP, have also bivied at that exact site on that ridge before. :)
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Re: TR: South Lake to Barrett Lakes and Agassiz

Postby bbayley80 » Wed Aug 24, 2016 2:36 pm

those are epic portraits!
thanks for sharing..
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Re: TR: South Lake to Barrett Lakes and Agassiz

Postby seanr » Wed Aug 24, 2016 3:09 pm

I was just in that area earlier this month, but some of your photos are more scenic than what I experienced first hand! Thanks for sharing! BTW, I too have a strong aversion to IV situations that brings on a strong vasovagal reflex. Fortunately, I get no such feeling in the mountains anymore after a long, gradual desensitization to extreme fear of heights over the past decades.

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Re: TR: South Lake to Barrett Lakes and Agassiz

Postby tie » Wed Aug 24, 2016 3:38 pm

Thanks for the pics. Sorry about the smoke.

Here are some links to Knapsack Pass for anyone else reading along: ... o=r&n=0.25
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