Aviprk wrote:Why is it that you guys recommend going over Longley pass east to west when there is a cornice? Is it because of the off trail route around Sphinx lakes? Here is my planned itinerary
Wednesday Night: Arrive at Roads End and sleep
Thursday: Start hiking by 10:00am and reach any of the Sphinx lakes by around 5:00pm. Set camp
Friday: Climb Mt Brewer and South Guard. Go over Longley Pass and down Lake Reflection
Saturday: Down to Bubbs Creek
Sunday: Head Home.
Is such itinerary too packed? Too little room for error in navigation?
The reasons several of us recommend going up Bubbs then up East Creek to Reflection and over Longley first are: (1) The Bubbs Creek crossing at Jct. Meadow is sometimes very dangerous early season, even following a low snowfall year. If it were to be uncrossable and you don't find this out until you've done 3/4 of your loop and are on your last day out, you'll be in a world of hurt (have to reverse your way to get out). If you do East Creek first, you will reach this key crossing on day 1, and if it is uncrossable, you find out early on your trip and can develop an alternative itinerary, rather than being "trapped".
(2) You can't see that cornice on Longley going from west to east, but you be able to see it well coming up from Reflection and (a) decide not to cross the pass or (b) find the best way around it (low class 3). If you are coming the west-to-east, it will be very difficult to pick out a good route around the cornice, if it does in fact block the class 2 chute.
As to your planned itinerary it is indeed fast paced leaving little time to sit back and actually enjoy the country you traverse, unless you cover the hiking parts at higher than average hiking speed (the itinerary calls for spending most of the day hiking instead of being at a given destination and relaxing). Your itinerary demands an well-above-average (compared to the average backpacker) amount of hiking for each day, but it is by no means impossible--Several of those on this board and I have done trips like that.