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60+ mile Loop? in SeKi North or South..Help!!

Posted: Sun Apr 29, 2007 7:08 pm
by horseridinggirl
New from SC!! We've been to the Teton's, Washington ect. We're late on getting a trip together because of my school.. anyways, about 60 miles, flying in from San Fran. We're not afraid to sweat, we're experienced back packers, and going Mid june. We really want to see all aspects of seki diversity. We're worried about a one way because the shuttle is just being started, and are looking at Lodgepole-Roaring river-Bearpaw or the more "southern route" of mineral spring-bearpaw-Kaweh-Kern-Lost cannon-Sawtooth pass to MK. If you were flying from the "right" coast to the "left" coast for 2 weeks.. what would you do (planning on spending a day or so eating in SanFran.) Thank you for any help to us, poor mountainless SC.

Posted: Sun Apr 29, 2007 10:44 pm
by Snow Nymph
I've done the Mineral King loop ( in 5 days. I don't remember what the mileage was.

I haven't done much on the western side of the Sierra, so I'm not much help. I'm sure you can add on to this trip.

Posted: Mon Apr 30, 2007 10:11 am
by TehipiteTom
One question: are you willing to do off-trail, or do you want an all-trail loop?

There's about a 60-mile all-trail loop out of Road's End up Paradise Valley, Woods Creek, over Pinchot and Mather Passes, down Palisade Creek to the Middle Fork Kings, down the Middle Fork to Simpson Meadow, back over the Monarch Divide. It's a whole lot of really spectacular country, and about as diverse as it gets (of course, that's because there's a ton of elevation gain and loss--from 5000' to over 12,000').

Problem is, mid-June might be dicey as far as snowpack and stream crossings. (That's true of any high-country loop.) This year it might actually be doable in mid-June, because we've had an extremely low snowpack, but whatever route you settle on you should talk to the rangers and monitor trip reports beforehand, and be prepared to modify the route if necessary.

Posted: Mon Apr 30, 2007 12:46 pm
by giantbrookie
I second Tom's question about off trail travel. Some of the very best (THE best, in my estimation) of the Seki backcountry is best enjoyed by routes that include a fair amount of off trail travel. Other questions are whether you also like side activities, such as fishing and peak bagging, in addition to appreciating great scenery and solitude.

I would agree with Tom, that there are commonly some stream crossing and snow concerns in mid June, but this is an exceptionally dry year in Seki, and what normally goes in late July to August probably goes this year in mid to late June. As noted by Tom, please check with Seki rangers for the latest update.

I once had a friend who flew from out of state for his "last hurrah" in the Sierra. He figured whatever it was it HAD to include the heart of the old Mt. Goddard 15' quad: this means the interior of northern Kings Canyon NP, including Evolution Basin, Ionian Basin, etc. Now he did an east side trip with his wife going from North Lake to South Lake via Lamarck Col and Bishop Pass. That is a classic route with lots of variations (there is a long thread on this posted earlier in this forum) and there is no reason that coming from SFO limits you west side entry. That route requires only a little bit of off trail stuff (Upper Lamarck Lake to the JMT via Lamarck Col and Darwin canyon), avoids major stream crossings, and the snow situation will not probably not result in anything semi technical (ie requiring ice axe and crampons for safety). If you do not want to do a true shuttle, a short hiking segment between South Lake and North Lake can be done (involves a nice hike via Tyee Lakes, etc. over to the Sabrina side); this is actually what my friend and wife on their "last hurrah" trip did. For West Side entry with a similar slant, you may consider a semiloop beginning and ending at Florence Lake; the only potential problem with this one would be one key stream crossing (I think). Such a loop might have several options depending on what degree of difficulty you wanted. The shorter loop with easier off trail would include Evolution to Davis Lakes westward to Goddard Canyon then north back to the San Joaquin, with possible and recommended side trip to Mc Gee Lakes. A longer, more difficult, option with lots of exotic cross country would be to go Evolution into Ionian Basin down into Goddard Creek headwaters, back north over Reinstein col (between Reinstein and Goddard) to Martha Lake thence out Goddard Canyon back toward Florence: there is some rather rugged off trail stuff in this option, though.

Thanks everyone-another question...

Posted: Mon Apr 30, 2007 1:29 pm
by horseridinggirl
How bad do you think the crowds would be if we did a loop from Mineral King June 12- til.... up to bear paw Kahua, nine lakes basin, sawtooth to mk. We don't mind doing off-trail stuff, not sure we'll do any fising, we just want to experience as much of seki as we can. I know that the loop described above is more of a classic route, but we only want to do it if we're gettin out early enough. Otherwise, Going off of Roads end is my number one choice. Thanks for all the info. we're really scrambling to get plans laid out.

Posted: Mon Apr 30, 2007 5:00 pm
by maverick
An alternate trip out of Roads End could look like this Rae Lakes loop
which is about 40 miles with a side trip into Sixty Lakes Basin and
Gardiner Basin and out Gardiner Pass down to Charlotte Lake would be
a fun trip with lots of great scenery and fun x-country.
Once away from Rae lakes you probably will not see anyone till
Charlotte Lake, but Woods Creek and Rae Lakes area may have
alot of people.
This trip is contingent on your experience with travel thru
snow and x-country travel(2 class 2 passes, Sixty Lake Col
and Gardiner Pass).

Posted: Tue May 01, 2007 2:05 pm
by maverick
Another trip from Roads End would be up to Sphinx Lakes over Longley
Pass(class 2) to Reflection Lake then Harrison Pass(class 2) into Upper
Kern then over Forester Pass and back down Bubbs Creek.
Here you'll need an ice ax and probably crampons for Harrisons
northern side and Longley will be blocked by a cornice which you by-
pass to its north.
Forester is the highest pass on the JMT and will still have snow on it.
This trip will take you to the beautiful Mt Brewer area and visit
majestic Reflection Lake. Then you climb over the Kern Divide to
the South America region and meet up with the JMT and go over
Forester Pass take a side trip to Center Basin and down to Vidette
Meadow where you'll meet up with the Bubbs Creek Trail and head
down to Roads End.
This trip requires experience with x-country travel in snowy conditions
but the rewards will last a lifetime!

Posted: Wed May 02, 2007 1:53 am
by ndwoods
In reply to your question on crowds mid June...they should not be a problem. Californians don't generally hit the high Sierra til July 4th...that is except us crazies!:) I have had some fine solitude trips in June. I second the Mineral King trip...the trailhead is a drive tho. But that area is spectacular for certain. If this is your first trip to the Sierra I would stay on trail and just do some good loop trailed trips and get a feeling for where you would like to come back and explore. Especially since you will be here that early.
By the have horses?:) I have two....


Posted: Wed May 02, 2007 2:50 pm
by horseridinggirl
Thanks so much for all the ideas, We're ok with 70+ miles. Thinking about roads end to Rae Lakes to South Fork of Kings and Cross country to Paradise valley. Even thought about doing the whole Two Kings loop but don't know if we're up for 90 miles and such dramatic climbs/decents.

Thanks for all the ideas, never been in the area and this trip came quick due to my school sced. being up in the air.

And Yes I do have horses. My mare is due with a foal to Negro(Ferro) in a month, and we're on our way next week to a show in pinehurst nc to really start the season :)

Posted: Wed May 02, 2007 3:28 pm
by maverick
You mention x-country SF Kings River, if your referring to Muro Blanco
it is class 2 with some serious bush as you get closer to the
Woods Creek junction.Youll have to negotiate thru alot
of talus and slabs along the descent down the canyon, but the
small intimate meadows are beautiful and the trip is really an
adventure back in time!
Youll have to descend on the northwestern side of the river and go
up higher onto the talus to get around the worst of the brush starting at
the Kid Creek crossing.
Make sure you visit Bench Lake and check out the reflection of
Arrow Peak in the lake in the morning(absolutely priceless)!!!
As an alternate route, you can go to Bench Lake and head
down toward Arrow Peak and go over Arrow Pass into the Arrow
Creek Basin with some pretty lakes youll have to yourselves.
Then go over the southwest spur of Pyramid Peak and follow the steep
creek (Window Creek)down to Woods Creek.
Both passes are easy class 2 but the descent to Woods Creek is
very steep in sections over slabs of granite in places.