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Fall Backpacking Trip Help!

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Fall Backpacking Trip Help!

Postby emjocko » Mon Sep 12, 2016 9:18 am

Hi, I am looking to plan a backpacking trip for the end of November. I am looking for a 4-5 day loop (preferably). We would like to stay south more so that it is not too cold. I hike a lot, but have only backpacked overnight a few times. The people I am going with are much more experienced than me, having done Grand Canyon, Yosemite, etc. We like cool mountain views and scenery, and are always up for a challenge. Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated!

When: End of November
Where: Southern California
Duration: 4-5 days

Thank you!



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Re: Fall Backpacking Trip Help!

Postby maverick » Mon Sep 12, 2016 1:07 pm

Hi Emjocko,

Hi, I am looking to plan a backpacking trip for the end of November.


We would like to stay south more so that it is not too cold. I hike a lot, but have only backpacked overnight a few times. The people I am going with are much more experienced than me, having done Grand Canyon, Yosemite, etc.


Welcome to HST! Any trips to the Sierra after October should only be done by folks with experience in winter like condition, temps are cold and the days are very short at the end of November, 7 am to 4:30 pm. Your experienced friends who have done the GC do not even come close to the kind of experience required to make such a trip or being able to make difficult decisions that could be required while in the backcountry. If there has been snow fall or if you get caught in a storm while you are out, all the trails will be gone, buried under the snow, and will not thaw out quickly as they do during the earlier months since it is much colder, your trip becomes a crosscountry trip with no trails, and being able to navigate in these conditions is imperative and understanding the difficulties associated with traveling under these conditions is paramount.

Please reconsider doing your trip to the Sierra for next year, in a month that is much more backpacker friendly, like July or August. :nod:

PS You might consider going to Death Valley, temps will be in the 70's during the day, cooler higher up, there are some backpacking places worth doing, if you decide to go, take a 4 wheel drive or rent one so you can access some of the rougher roads.
The following places can be access with a regular car: the ridges around Dante’s View; Golden Canyon, Mosaic Canyon; the west end of Titus Canyon and Fall Canyon that intersects it to the north, Ubehebe Crater, and drive up north on Artist's Drive.
With a 4 wheel drive: Titus Canyon with a side hike into Fall Canyon, Red Wall Canyon and Marble Canyon are some other beautiful locations.
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: Fall Backpacking Trip Help!

Postby Wandering Daisy » Mon Sep 12, 2016 4:26 pm

Consider Zion NP. It is actually pretty close if you live in Southern CA. The "mountains" are more cliffs, but very impressive. It will still be cold, but less snow. Still have to keep an eye on weather reports.

How about the Grand Canyon again? We did it in November and although snow and ice on the south rim, it was perfect temperatures down at the river. There are tons of trails so you would not have to repeat what you have already done. We got a walk-in permit; no reservations needed. Actually, the recent snow on the rim chased off many people who had permits, leaving spots for walk-ins.
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Re: Fall Backpacking Trip Help!

Postby franklin411 » Mon Sep 12, 2016 8:43 pm

#1. I'd ditch the backpacking plan if you want to stay in So Cal. What's the point, when you can get hotels on hotwire at reasonable rates and eat/sleep/poop civilized?

#2. I'd dayhike a few of the local peaks:

San Gabriels:
a. Mt Baldy via the Ski Hut trail, or if you've been there, Mt Baldy and Mt Harwood via Register Ridge (who doesn't like climbing 2000 feet in less than a mile? :) )... 9 miles w/ 4000' of gain r/t
b. Cucamonga Peak from Icehouse Canyon ... 12 miles w/ 4300' of gain r/t
c. The Three Ts loop... start at Icehouse Canyon to Icehouse Saddle, then summiting Timber Mountain, Telegraph Peak, Thunder Mountain, and ending up at the Mt Baldy ski resort parking lot (requires a car shuttle back to Icehouse Canyon TH). 15 miles w/ 4600' of gain (loop)

or if you're dead set on backpacking, how about an overnight?
a. Icehouse Canyon to Kelly Camp (~4 miles one way, 2000' of gain), dump your stuff, summit Ontario and Bighorn Peaks (~2 more miles w/ 1000' of gain one way), and spend the night, and pack out in the morning...be out in time for pancakes.

or if you really want to backpack for a few days, do a few legs of the PCT through the San Gabriels.

Other options in the So Cal area:
1. San Gorgonio, which is the highest peak in So Cal. Between 10 to 20 miles r/t depending on the route. However, this peak might have snow by Nov.
2. Mt. San Jacinto, 10 miles w/ 2000' of gain r/t if you take the tram from Palm Springs

or go totally different, and go to the Channel Islands. You can dayhike, you can stay at one of the established campgrounds, or you can backpack there. I've never done it, but I imagine it's something like backpacking just to camp in one of the developed campgrounds because once the ferry leaves...you're not leaving until they come back for you!
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Re: Fall Backpacking Trip Help!

Postby psykokid » Mon Sep 12, 2016 10:58 pm

franklin411 wrote:
if you really want to backpack for a few days, do a few legs of the PCT through the San Gabriels.



Lots of areas to string something together with the PCT. You could also do the Silver Moccasin trail.. It cuts through the San Gabriels and shares a bit with the PCT..

San Gogonio - the shortest r/t is an 18 mile hike at current with the Lake Fire Closures via Vivian Creeek. That area is good for an overnight or two if you want to keep the mileages pretty low. If you make a loop of Momyer/Alger Creek/Divide Trail/Vivian Creek and a short stretch of pavement between trailheads it will net you 24 miles total. Camp at Saxton on day 1 and High Creek on day 2. I did that loop as a day hike a month ago..

Normally late fall is when I head out to the desert and poke around. When its not too hot, and not freezing cold at night.. I've been on trips through Death Valley around thanksgiving and gotten snowed on though so ymmv..
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Re: Fall Backpacking Trip Help!

Postby Cross Country » Tue Sep 13, 2016 11:04 am

Go in October and do not go above 6500 feet, no later than Oct 20 and preferible below 5500 feet. This way the chance of dying in the Sierra, backpacking is much less likely.
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