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Sphinx Lakes to Lake Reflection

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Postby maverick » Wed Apr 18, 2007 12:07 pm

Descending from Sphinx Lakes to the trail will be easier, but the
descent down the stairs for some people is a real pain in the knee
so if you have treking poles take them!
Ive made it to the first Sphinx Lake from Roads End in a little
over 5 hrs which including a short lunch break but my pack for 4 nights
weighs in at 17lbs and I train for backpacking year round.
The point made earlier by others about the E-W route makes alot of
sense.
I dont know what your level of fitness nor your tolerance of altittude
is, the last thing you want is to get altittude sickness by ascending
to fast the first day out, hopefully your experienced and know your
limits.
I have seen hikers getting sick at 9000 ft even though they stayed a
night at 8000 ft the night before.
Pay attention to each other when climbing Brewer for any signs of
altittude sickness since you will not have much time to acclumate
with plans of going to 13600 ft in such a short time.
If you've done this kind of thing before then disregard my rabbling
I just dont want to see another fatality on Brewer as we did last year!



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Postby maverick » Wed Apr 18, 2007 12:23 pm

4 hrs to East Lake, thats my kind of hiking partner!
GB does your dad still do hiking trips to the Sierra ?
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Postby giantbrookie » Wed Apr 18, 2007 3:00 pm

maverick wrote:4 hrs to East Lake, thats my kind of hiking partner!
GB does your dad still do hiking trips to the Sierra ?


Sadly he has not been of this world for seven years. He did the epic East Lake run in a "race" with others of the Loma Prieta Chapter peak bagging elite on a trip to Brewer in Sept (?) 1971(?)--he apparently won. He said he carried an 'exceptionally light' pack for him with no stove, and no tent (but light for him probably still meant 35-40 lbs, even though he weighed all of 137lbs or so). As late as July 1988 my dad was still capable of some high speed death marching although I had passed him in pace as of 1979--our "quadruple header" peak bagging trip to Meysan Lake that fall was the turning point. On his 60th birthday in 1988 we went from the Edison Rd. (didn't know Bear Diversion dam was passenger drivable) to Lou Beverly Lake in 5.5 hours as a part of a 3 day trip to climb Seven Gables, and this also included a very long lunch break. I took a shot at my dad's East Lake "record" in May 1979, which was a colossal mistake. That early in the year I must have had to cross 30 streams and there were several flooded portions of the trail. This really slowed things down in addition to the fact that I had a rather heavy pack that included tent, stove, fishing gear, with strapped on ice axe and crampons (probably~45 lbs, although compared to my dad I was a bigger guy--155lbs in those days). One mile into the trip I slipped on a stream crossing and my hip landed on a boulder; this resulted in knife sharp pain in the hip for the rest of the trip (and occasional recurring problems to this day). My poor hiking partner was a top level cyclist at the time, but cycling muscles and hiking muscles are a bit different (my off season training of running football stadium bleachers may have been more effective). I had to alternately wait, encourage and prod him (probably not as nicely as I should have) to keep "on pace". At about 9 miles I figured we were still on pace to beat 4 hours to East Lake (it took 2 hours to cover the first 9 miles or so), but my buddy really slowed down after that. I didn't leave him until somewhere after the Jct. Meadow crossing (ultra scary and unsafe) and I reached East Lake in a bit under 5.5 hours and started to set up camp before having conscience pangs and heading back down the trail to carry by friend's pack to camp--as it turned out he was nearing the outlet by the time I got back to him.

Come this fall I will be 5 years older (48) than my dad was when he did the notorious East Lake sprint. Would I be capable to doing East Lake in 4 hours with my usual 3-day pack then? I really don't know (I'd give myself no better than 50/50 odds). I like to believe I can, but even if I could do it, it would be at the very limit of my capability. My dad set the bar pretty darned high for me as a hiker, to be sure.
Since my fishing (etc.) website is still down, you can be distracted by geology stuff at: http://www.fresnostate.edu/csm/ees/facu ... ayshi.html
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Postby maverick » Wed Apr 18, 2007 3:18 pm

Sorry to hear that!
I hope to be as active in my sixties!
It sounds like he must have done alot of epic trips in the Sierra, was
he into backpacking in his teenage years too?
Did he introduce you to backpacking? If yes at what age?
What were his favorite areas in the Sierra?
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Postby giantbrookie » Wed Apr 18, 2007 5:30 pm

maverick wrote:Sorry to hear that!
I hope to be as active in my sixties!
It sounds like he must have done alot of epic trips in the Sierra, was
he into backpacking in his teenage years too?
Did he introduce you to backpacking? If yes at what age?
What were his favorite areas in the Sierra?


Actually my dad didn't start hiking in the Sierras until he introduced his family to the mountains in the 60's. He was an awesome athlete: he ran a 2:58 marathon in his late (?) forties, as I recall. He introduced me and my family to the Sierras in about 1965 (I was 6). He took me on my first backpacking trip (to Pear Lake en route to bag Alta Peak on a Sierra Club trip) in the fall of 1967. Although we usually took at least one trip to the Sierra as a family (younger brother and mom, included), by 1969 there evolved a separate category of trip, which was a trip with me only (other two were not quite as physically capable or enthusiastic about peak bagging). I recall only two Sierran trips he did without me: the notorious Brewer trip in 1971 and a Matterhorn trip at about the same time (both with the Loma Prieta peak bagging crew). In 1972 we took the last of our major trips with the Sierra Club peak climbing crew (Matterhorn redux with me and my dad tacking on Virginia Peak on getaway day). After that it was just the two of us and we raised the degree of difficulty every year until our unforgettable climax trips of 1979 and 1980 (things stayed difficult after that but we could never top those two years). My dad didn't like taking days off so we usually crammed what would be normal 4-5 day trips into 2-3 days. I suppose I feel a little guilty for not going up with him more. Those were magical times then and they are magical in hindsight, too. From 1982 onward as my attention turned to my own social life and then my own marriage (my wife would take me into an era where I went to the Sierras 10x more than ever before with her as my ace hiking partner) we only did one trip a year, which became sort of my dad's birthday present. My mom always used to say to me how much that one trip meant to him. I do miss those trips, too.

I'm pretty sure his favorite area of the Sierra was the Saddlebag area in spite of the fact we had death marched all over the range. He would repeatedly return there with family trips and bring family friends or relatives there. It is for this reason that his ashes are scattered on the flanks of North Peak overlooking his favorite mountain paradise.
Since my fishing (etc.) website is still down, you can be distracted by geology stuff at: http://www.fresnostate.edu/csm/ees/facu ... ayshi.html
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Postby maverick » Wed Apr 18, 2007 6:51 pm

2:58 wow thats impressive and in his 40s!
Sounds like he loved the mountains and it was an intregal part of his
life from the 60's thru the 80's.
In hindsight I think alot of us would like to have spent more times
with our parents. My mom passed away 12 yrs ago and at the time
I had not seen her for 10 yrs since she lived in Europe, but I still
cherish all the good times we spent togheter.
I met a group near Sallie Keyes Lakes a few years back who where
bringing there fathers remains to the area to scatter his ashes back
toward Turret Lakes, he also was a mountaineer.
Its something I have planned having done, but hopefully not for a very
long time.
Off topic I'm down to 45 mins from the parking lot to the top of of
Mission Peak with a 20lb pack, thats my magic number letting me
know Im ready to hit the mountains!
Going to Yosemite for my warm up trip in the second week of May.
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Postby DoyleWDonehoo » Wed Apr 18, 2007 8:43 pm

Shawn wrote:Sphinx Lakes is always a good topic of discussion.

Yes it is!
Shawn wrote:PS. Doyle- I re-read your Sphinx and Brewer TR's, enjoyed them almost more than the first time.

Hey, thanks for reading! :nod: !!
Shawn wrote:Also, here is a topo showing the "approximate" route along Sphinx Creek:
http://www.theradioroom.org/BrewerRoute.JPG

That is a good map. That is almost exactly the way I have done it. Please allow me to add some corrections to the "approximate" part of the route:
1) At "Headwall 4" the easy way to turn the lake is on the north and east side of the lake and follow the granite ramp to lake 10514. Lots of talus the other way. ;)
2) Turning lake 10546 is easier on the north-western side along the trail around the lake.
3) Getting to the top of "Headwall 6" is easier closer to to the outlet stream.
4) The actual Sphinx Pass is off the map to the east, going up the gully where the box reads "0.89 miles Fror...". You know you are there on the pass when you can look down southeast to the small lake below the pass in Brewer Basin.
5) Go aound the lowest lake swamp on the west side.
6) It might be better to switch over to the east side of the stream at "Headwall 2".

This anal moment brought to you by Sierra-Trails. :lol:
Doyle W. Donehoo
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http://www.doylewdonehoo.com" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;
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Postby Aviprk » Thu Apr 19, 2007 9:46 am

Thanks so much all.

GB, I'm afraid 4 days is all i have. I'm definitely leaning more towards the east to west route that most suggested. I'm pretty fit but don't know so much about the buddies that will be going along especially with their heavy backpacks. I can average about 2.5 miles per hour of mostly uphill hiking. I do tons of stair master workout so uphill is not a problem but downhill where it feels my knees will jump out of my body!
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Postby maverick » Thu Apr 19, 2007 11:56 am

GB one of my favorite photos I have is of Conness Lakes with Mt
Conness and North Peak in it ! The whole 20 Lakes Basin is very
photogenic area!
Another is at Upper McCabe Lake.
The chute that descends from the ridge above Shamrock Lake to
McCabe Lake turned into a flaming red wall at sunset one evening when
I was there and reflected into the lake, a gorgeous shot!
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Postby maverick » Thu Apr 19, 2007 12:00 pm

Aviprk dont forget the trekking poles for the staircase from Sphinx
Creek down to Bubbs Creek!
Give us a trip report with photos if possible when you get back!
Have fun and be safe.
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Postby giantbrookie » Thu Apr 19, 2007 5:01 pm

maverick wrote:GB one of my favorite photos I have is of Conness Lakes with Mt Conness and North Peak in it ! The whole 20 Lakes Basin is very photogenic area!

Yeah, that area is nice. In fact even view of North Peak and Shepherd Crest at sunrise viewed from the Saddlebag resort area is above average. I too like the Conness Lakes/Conness etc. area for its rugged alpine character. By the way, regarding Mission Peak, how long have you been using that as your training ground? Although a 46-year resident of the Bay Area before moving to Fresno in the summer of 2005, I didn't start really using Mission Peak as a training hike until 2003. I did it multiple times in 2003 and 2004 to train for death marches, mostly to make up for the fact that after 2002, when my first little one was born, I wasn't making it up to the Sierras with much frequency. I really enjoyed those Mission Peak hikes in spite of pace I was pushing, except for two hikes that I did in 90+ degree heat.
Since my fishing (etc.) website is still down, you can be distracted by geology stuff at: http://www.fresnostate.edu/csm/ees/facu ... ayshi.html
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Postby maverick » Thu Apr 19, 2007 7:01 pm

Moved to Fremont in September 06 and used it as training till Nov
when I started my off-season training.
My in-season training started the end of March, so I have been going
up every Thursday in the morning before work.
Before moving over to the east bay I went to Prisima Creek (Harkins
Ridge Trail and Huddard Parks (Archery Road) for my training but
they are not as steep unfortunately, so moving here has its pluses.
Ever use the Ohlone Trail or Skyline to the Sea Trail as a day hike
for ultra's? I havent done either in several years, Id allways do
them in June around the summer solstice to get the longest day
of the year.
On the Horse Heaven Trail the flowers are starting to bloom as they
are at the Eaglescout Camp area behind Mission Peak, it looks pretty
good.
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