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Day hikes from Sixty Lake basin

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Day hikes from Sixty Lake basin

Postby dreamer1 » Sat Aug 27, 2016 10:40 am

My buddy and I (both in our 50s but fit; experience level 2-3; class 2 for terrain) are planning a 5 night trip in mid-september from Onion Valley, over Kearsarge Pass and into the 60 Lake Basin. We had originally considered doing the Rae Lakes Loop trail but after reading multiple postings, decided that spending more time in the 60 lake basin area would be nicer in terms of scenery while providing greater solitude (all things being relative). We will be entering on a Sunday and exiting on a Friday, thereby hoping to lessen potential crowds, especially along the Rae Lakes. We love lakes, big mountain scenery, day hiking from camp, but won't have fishing gear. Looking for advice and info on day hikes (10-15 miles OK) from the 60 Lake basin area or any other suggestions.

Have been in Yosemite twice (Vogelsang loop + Sunrise and Cloud's rest; part of the HSC camp loop as well; and explored Ansel Adams Wilderness on a 5 day trip (Ediza, Garnet, TI, Iceberg Lake etc) All trips were made in mid-September and each trip was amazing in its own way.

As it stands, our plan for this year is as follows:
Day 1: Onion Valley to Charlotte Lake.
Day 2: Charlotte Lake, over Glen Pass, and into 60 Lake Basin.
Day 3: Day hike to Rae Lakes up to Dollar lake, and DragonLake on the way back.
Day 4: Suggestions? Have read about getting up the 60 Col Pass, overlooking Gardiner basin, but unsure about route and distance.
Day 5: Hike back to Kearsarge Lakes.
Day 6: Hike out to Onion Valley

Many thanks!



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Re: Day hikes from Sixty Lake basin

Postby maverick » Sat Aug 27, 2016 11:03 am

Have read about getting up the 60 Col Pass, overlooking Gardiner basin, but unsure about route and distance.


Have you read this thread with lots of info and then to the subsquent TR:
viewtopic.php?f=1&t=11444&hilit=sixty+lakes+col#p86396
viewtopic.php?f=1&t=11703&p=88195&hilit=sixty+lakes+col#p88195
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Re: Day hikes from Sixty Lake basin

Postby dreamer1 » Sat Aug 27, 2016 1:27 pm

Thanks Maverick,

indeed I had read the threads as well as others about trips into Gardiner Basin, but almost all describe routes going in either off Charlotte Lake /creek and cross country over Gardiner Pass, or from Gardiner Basin into 60 Lakes area instead of the other way around (directly from the 60 Lakes side; or looking towards Mt. Cotter). My understanding is that finding one's way to an overlook onto Gardiner Basin directly from 60 Lakes Basin area (e.g., from Long Lake) wasn't that obvious and wanted either info finding one's way up 60 col Pass (if accessible from the basin as opposed to via Charlotte Col route; the 60 col pass is not marked on my Tom Harrison map) or alternative suggestions for day hikes from or within the 60 Lake Basin area. Thank you again for your help and for any other advice or suggestions. Cheers.
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Re: Day hikes from Sixty Lake basin

Postby maverick » Sun Aug 28, 2016 11:27 am

the 60 col pass is not marked on my Tom Harrison map)


Here it is on our HST Map and sorry, but I will not describe specific routes details, it takes away from the adventure spirit. If someone has the experience with class 2 terrain and is competent with their navigational skills then they will be able to figure out the best route, otherwise they should not be attempting such routes to start off with.
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Re: Day hikes from Sixty Lake basin

Postby zacjust32 » Sun Aug 28, 2016 7:25 pm

dreamer1 wrote:My understanding is that finding one's way to an overlook onto Gardiner Basin directly from 60 Lakes Basin area (e.g., from Long Lake) wasn't that obvious and wanted either info finding one's way up 60 col Pass (if accessible from the basin as opposed to via Charlotte Col route


I've done that before, not too difficult, just expect to go slow. It's all class 2 stable ramps and rocks. I'm assuming it gets quite a bit of traffic as we saw another party hiking through when we went up for the day.
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Re: Day hikes from Sixty Lake basin

Postby Alpinista55 » Mon Aug 29, 2016 11:56 am

Hi Dreamer,

We just finished a trip into 60 Lakes Basin over the second week of August. Here is a link to our Trip Report:

viewtopic.php?f=1&t=14919

I'd recommend a first nights camp at Kearsarge Lakes, which is way more scenic than Charlotte. Second day follow the lower trail past Bullfrog Lake to its junction with the JMT. On your way out, take the upper trail back to Kearsarge Pass for the views and a walk through some awesome Western Junipers.

We did a couple of great day hikes from a basecamp at Long Lake. The first was up to 60 Lakes Col. That is a fairly easy class two ramble. You need to ascend 30 feet or so and find the "catwalk" at the south end of the lake to start the hike, then just wander up granite slabs and boulders to the left of the creek bed to the small tarn just below the col. There is some routefinding required from the tarn to the col to find the easiest path up granite ramps to the col, but it is pretty straightforward. We had the entire area completely to ourselves. One hour to the tarn, and 45 minutes from tarn to col.

The next day we hiked a easy rising traverse north from camp to get up high in the cirque below the big faces of Mt. Cotter and Mt. Clarence King. This was also an excellent hike, with sweeping views of the 60 Lakes Basin and the cirque. Again we saw no other humans all day long.

I'd highly recommend the cross-country route into 60 Lakes over "Shortcut Col". After descending from Glenn Pass to the small lakes at approx. 11,200', head up through the string of lakes then ascend to the col. There is an easy but steep scree slope to descend into the basin, then a nice ramble down another nice chain of lakes until you meet the old 60 Lakes trail from Rae Lakes.

Our trip report has a link to a CalTopo map with this route marked.
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Re: Day hikes from Sixty Lake basin

Postby dreamer1 » Tue Aug 30, 2016 6:33 pm

Thanks Maverick for pointing out the col on the HST Map -- very clear and just what I needed!

Alpinista55, I had perused your highly informative and beautifully photographed TR. Given the descriptions of what some of you did near and on Mt. Cotter (including the ascension), I was worried that the = route described that most interested me may have been above our comfort level, but it appears not to be the case and will keep these options in mind (all routes have been duly noted!). Thank you also for the recommendation of Kearsarge Lake as opposed to Charlotte on our way in. All very much appreciated.

Looking forward to discovering this fabulous looking area!
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Re: Day hikes from Sixty Lake basin

Postby Alpinista55 » Wed Aug 31, 2016 8:59 am

Hey Dreamer, have a great trip! You won't be disappointed. Be sure to post up a TR =)
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Re: Day hikes from Sixty Lake basin

Postby Cross Country » Sat Sep 10, 2016 12:27 pm

Two obvious easy places - Dragon and Baxter Lakes. Two hikes or both in the same day. Gardner would by my first choice. Somewhere over Glen Pass would by my last choice. A long day hike would be the lake under Window Peak. I ALWAYS (five times) had good fishing there.
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Re: Day hikes from Sixty Lake basin

Postby dreamer1 » Wed Sep 14, 2016 6:14 am

Thanks! Flying out of Montreal (home) this Friday -- truly looking forward to our week away in those splendid mountains. TR will follow once we get back!
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