Crabtree Pass to Trail Crest - class rating

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wanderin.jack
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Crabtree Pass to Trail Crest - class rating

Post by wanderin.jack » Mon Mar 19, 2018 9:30 pm

Hi Folks,
Looking for a little info / class rating on the xc route from Crabtree Pass to Trail Crest. Basically curious on the difficulty of getting from Sky Blue Lk in the miter Basin to the Whitney Summit via this traverse.
https://caltopo.com/m/F737

Many thanks


Wanderin' Jack






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Re: Crabtree Pass to Trail Crest - class rating

Post by psykokid » Tue Mar 20, 2018 4:30 am

Here's my trip report for most of the same route: http://www.highsierratopix.com/communit ... 14&t=16976

From the route I took this past September which is pretty close to the route you have sketched out, save for a few differences, I'd say it goes around 90% class two, with a few small sections of class three sprinkled in here and there for giggles.

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Re: Crabtree Pass to Trail Crest - class rating

Post by wanderin.jack » Tue Mar 20, 2018 6:30 am

Thanks


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Re: Crabtree Pass to Trail Crest - class rating

Post by notis » Wed Mar 21, 2018 9:04 am

I would agree. Crabtree Pass is class 2. Discovery Pinnacle is class 1+, maybe parts 2. I don't recall any sections of class 3 stuff. The S side of Crabtree/upper Miter Basin still held snow when we went last year in July, but nothing dangerous. Also, depending on when you're going, monitor New Army Pass' cornice.

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Re: Crabtree Pass to Trail Crest - class rating

Post by wanderin.jack » Wed Mar 21, 2018 6:11 pm

Great, this is going to be fun! You guys are so awesome!


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Re: Crabtree Pass to Trail Crest - class rating

Post by CAMERONM » Thu Mar 22, 2018 7:27 am

I am guessing that the Caltopo link you sent is someone else's tracks, so I am not sure if this is completely the route you intend to take and my comments may not apply to your intentions:
-I came down the Mountaineers Route in the dark and got lost and sidetracked many times. It is not well marked, nor obvious. Don't do it in the dark or at the end of the day like I did.
-The climb up to the Russel saddle is a real vertical sliding sand/scree affair, no fun, and I choked on the Russel ascent, it is scary as f*ck.
-I'd much rather go up the Mountaineers route above Iceberg Lake than walk all the way around and stay at Guitar Lake, but it does have some slightly challenging class 3 at the top.
-Avoid Guitar lake, its been severely abused and is depressing.
-Crabtree Pass is no big deal, but the track shown from Trail Crest to Crabtree Pass looks very high off the lake to me. Might be perfectly doable, but I did not do it, partially because I hit it late in the day and camped by the lake. I dropped down close to the lake and then went back up.
-The path down Army Pass looks "creative" and may be more interesting than you may want; I have taken an obvious trail that is more to the west of the lake. The trail is not maintained and regularly has large falling boulders taking out bits of the trail.
-Muir Lake is nice and takes you away from everyone crowded around the Cottonwood Lakes.
My trip report of this area: https://www.trailnamebackstroke.com/soshr-14er-part-2/

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Re: Crabtree Pass to Trail Crest - class rating

Post by longri » Thu Mar 22, 2018 9:20 am

CAMERONM wrote:-The climb up to the Russel saddle is a real vertical sliding sand/scree affair, no fun, and I choked on the Russel ascent, it is scary as f*ck.
The term "vertical" gets a lot of abuse by hikers. But neither the Whitney-Russell Pass (where the Caltopo guy went) nor the Russell-Carillon saddle (where it looks like you went) are even close to vertical. The first is class 2 sand, the second is class 1 sand, at least on the south side.

The OP never said how he's getting down from Whitney. Maybe he's walking the trail?

I did the Crabtree pass to Whitney thing in winter. By going then I traded a steep sand slog for a steep soft snow slog. It was so hot I nearly passed out climbing up to Trail Crest. I had to stop and melt like a gallon of snow when I finally got up there. Beautiful area though, that Miter Basin.

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Re: Crabtree Pass to Trail Crest - class rating

Post by psykokid » Thu Mar 22, 2018 9:58 am

CAMERONM wrote:I am guessing that the Caltopo link you sent is someone else's tracks, so I am not sure if this is completely the route you intend to take and my comments may not apply to your intentions:
-I came down the Mountaineers Route in the dark and got lost and sidetracked many times. It is not well marked, nor obvious. Don't do it in the dark or at the end of the day like I did.
-I'd much rather go up the Mountaineers route above Iceberg Lake than walk all the way around and stay at Guitar Lake, but it does have some slightly challenging class 3 at the top.
-Avoid Guitar lake, its been severely abused and is depressing.
-Crabtree Pass is no big deal, but the track shown from Trail Crest to Crabtree Pass looks very high off the lake to me. Might be perfectly doable, but I did not do it, partially because I hit it late in the day and camped by the lake. I dropped down close to the lake and then went back up.
-Muir Lake is nice and takes you away from everyone crowded around the Cottonwood Lakes.
My trip report of this area: https://www.trailnamebackstroke.com/soshr-14er-part-2/
Having done most of his outlined route I'd recommend to do it in reverse of what he has sketched out. I much rather to go down the North Fork of Lone Pine Creek Route than up. You could go down the MR and skip the whole Guitar Lake/Arctic Lake/Russell-Whitney pass bit as well, unless that's something you really want to see. We arrived at the summit of Whitney late in the day. Our original plan was to camp at Iceberg Lake, but going down the MR in the dark seemed ill advised so we bivvied at the summit and saw the sunrise. Only do this if the weather and forecast is good. Any sort of weather makes the summit a big no go. We took the easy walk off vs the final 400 going down. It was pretty gravy except a small patch of ice right before the notch of the MR. The MR itself was straight forward in the light. Just follow the path of least resistance down. Our route from Crabtree Pass to Discovery Pinnacle hugged the cirque, and then we zig zagged up through the cliff bands. Not hard, just long. The cliff bands look a lot worse from the pass than when you actually get up close to them. Regardless, there's a reason why it's called the dreaded sand hill. None of the ways up are particularly hard, just a long slog through sand and garbage. Doing the route in reverse also makes it easier to get the permit since you are exiting via the North Fork of Lone Pine Creek and starting at Cottonwood Lakes. The other bonus of starting at Cottonwood Lakes is that you also have a relative easy first day or so for you to get used to the elevation versus heading straight up the North Fork of Lone Pine Creek route. Muir Lake is nice to camp at if you are going to stay in the Cottonwood Lakes Basin, out of the way and you don't actually see the lake until you are pretty much right at it. I usually camp on the sandy bench on the north side of the lake.

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Re: Crabtree Pass to Trail Crest - class rating

Post by maverick » Thu Mar 22, 2018 11:45 am

Hi Folks,
Looking for a little info / class rating on the xc route from Crabtree Pass to Trail Crest. Basically curious on the difficulty of getting from Sky Blue Lk in the miter Basin to the Whitney Summit via this traverse.
https://caltopo.com/m/F737

Many thanks
Please clarify your intentions after summiting Whitney, whether you planning on using the trail down or interested in doing a variation? Your intended route from SBL to Whitney is class 2, but this rating could rise, if you planned on going early because of snow. When are planning this trip for?
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Re: Crabtree Pass to Trail Crest - class rating

Post by CAMERONM » Thu Mar 22, 2018 11:47 am

The term "vertical" gets a lot of abuse by hikers. But neither the Whitney-Russell Pass (where the Caltopo guy went) nor the Russell-Carillon saddle (where it looks like you went) are even close to vertical. The first is class 2 sand, the second is class 1 sand, at least on the south side.
Sand is pretty much by definition limited to the angle of repose, and when it is as vertical as it can possibly be, the consequence is constantly sliding downhill with every step, something some people may want to avoid. In the context of sand and loose scree, I think that "vertical" can be a helpful description. "Steep" works also.

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