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Lakes at Observation Peak

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Lakes at Observation Peak

Postby maverick » Thu May 17, 2007 1:27 pm

Ive visited Lakes Basin, Dumbbell , Amphitheater Lakes and
the Devils Washbowl but have never been to the lakes west of
Observation, Mt.Shakspere an north of Windy Cliff.
It looks like there might be some great views of the Black Divide,
Great Cliffs, Mt Woodworth and Devils Crags.
Has anyone visited these lakes? And if yes what approach did you
use?



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Postby giantbrookie » Thu May 17, 2007 9:09 pm

Maverick, you always set your sights on the most exotic spots. The big island filled lake west of Observation is beautiful. It is easily reached from the Dumbbells via the gap 11360+. This crowns a NNW trending gully. This is class 2. My wife hiked there from the Dumbbells in a heavy snow year (1993) in late July. I crashed and burned on a glissade on hard snow down the north side of this pass. It was fun, but I lost a bit of skin and took a few bruises. The big lake is fishless but a very nice place to relax (even for fishing crazed off trail nuts). Looking at the topo, it looks to me that you can get there from Palisade Creek directly, too, going more or less due south through a gap at 10560+ WSW of Shakespeare. Given how much I like the "Inner Sanctuary" (Dumbbells), I'd opt for the former route, of course.
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 TehipiteTom » Fri May 18, 2007 9:25 am

Maverick, I've been dreaming about those lakes myself for a long time. Looks like one of the most isolated areas in the whole of Kings Canyon. I've toyed with the idea of climbing up the drainage that empties into the Middle Fork just north of Devil's Washbowl. No guarantee it would go, but if it did you'd get some spectacular scenery and serious isolation.

Claude Fiddler has a photo of that big lake in one of his books (http://www.wildernesslight.com/highsierra.html), but it doesn't appear to be online. The book is well worth getting in any case--fantastic photography.
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Postby maverick » Fri May 18, 2007 12:25 pm

Thanks fellas for the info. Sounds like Ill have to visit Amphitheater
Lake and Dumbbells again or maybe follow up the stream from
the Devils Washbowl which was one of my first options, but Ive
been wanting to revisit the first 2 locations so this may be just the
reason to do it.
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Postby giantbrookie » Fri May 18, 2007 2:26 pm

I have some really low res. scans of 35 mm photos from that general area on my Dumbbells webshots album. A photo of the big lake as viewed from the summit of Observation Peak is: http://outdoors.webshots.com/photo/1113 ... 8940ATpjSz


In addition there are a couple pictures of descent from the saddle to the south, including one of my wife glissading the chute shortly after my wipe out.
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 » Fri May 18, 2007 3:29 pm

Thanks GB for the memories. Thats the exact route I took the last
time I visited the area.
The Dumbbell and Amphitheater Lake area are just gorgeous
and now I really have to revisit the old neighborhood!
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Postby Buck Forester » Fri May 25, 2007 3:52 pm

I have had my eyes on these lakes as well, especially after viewing Claude Fiddler's image taken above the lakes from Observation Peak a few years ago. What a glorious setting!
It's all about the WILDERNESS!!!

http://www.flickr.com/photos/buckforester/page9/
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observation lake

Postby lostcoyote » Tue May 29, 2007 9:19 pm

i was soooooo close to making it down to this lake but opted to get on over to amphitheater instead. i spent too many days with the local marmot ar dumbell lakes and had to make up some time.

another set of lakes i'd like to vist are the ones up rambaud creek

as i get older, i hope my knees will allow it :lol:
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Re: observation lake

Postby giantbrookie » Wed May 30, 2007 8:18 am

lostcoyote wrote:i was soooooo close to making it down to this lake but opted to get on over to amphitheater instead. i spent too many days with the local marmot ar dumbell lakes and had to make up some time.

another set of lakes i'd like to vist are the ones up rambaud creek
as i get older, i hope my knees will allow it :lol:


I hear you about the knees when it comes to off trail backpacking. Mine were repeatedly damaged while younger playing basketball (two operations 20 years apart) and also by a painful hyperextension while missing a landing while boulder hopping will a full pack. From the late 70's through the 90's I was able to overcome the damaged knee by keeping the legs strong by weightlifting and doing lots of hiking. Now I don't do enough hiking, have lapsed on my weight training, and I find myself very much shakier because the creaky knees are not as well supported as they used to be. I guess this means I just need to get up there more to get my "off trail backpacking legs" back.

I haven't been to the Rambaud Creek area either. Someday perhaps I'll check those out along with Ladder Lake, although I hear that the once premium big rainbow fishery at Ladder was overrun by numerous small brookies. I always wanted to do an east side of the Black Divide traverse, basin hopping from Rambaud to Ladder and northward; some good summits are to be had in that area too (although I'm too chicken to go after Devils Crags).
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 lostcoyote » Wed May 30, 2007 9:09 am

i think mine got damaged through the repeated years (30+) of carrying 100 pound packs (20 of the 30+ years) and much boulder hopping with no trails.
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Postby maverick » Wed May 30, 2007 9:38 am

100 lbs pack, for how many weeks?
I quite carrying heavy after a trip 8 yrs ago to Northern Yosemite.
It was a 9 day trip which I took to 2 bear canisters and a 5lb tent
and promised myself that this was my last trip carrying heavy packs.
Now for 10 days my weight is at about 32 lbs+camera and lens.
Rambaud and Ladder Lakes are very pretty as are the lakes that
are just north of Ladder I visited the area in the early 80's.
I had planned a trip a few yrs back to go into Ionian and then cross
over the Black Divide to Lake 11654, but something came up and I
haven't gotten back to it yet(so many places to go).
I wholeheartedly agree that you must do exercise to have a chance
of extending you backpacking career into your latter years without
having to suffer from excruciating knee pain or arthritis.
I mainly go solo and understand how important my physical fitness
relates to my chances of survival in extreme conditions.
Some people dont like them, but for steep descents nothing takes
the pressure off you knees like a pair of trekking poles.
I dont use them uphill because they can put alot of wear and tear on
your shoulders.
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Postby giantbrookie » Wed May 30, 2007 9:47 am

lostcoyote wrote:i think mine got damaged through the repeated years (30+) of carrying 100 pound packs (20 of the 30+ years) and much boulder hopping with no trails.


My goodness, 100lbs? Norman Clyde reborn. What were you carrying in there? My dad was a human pack animal, too. His pack was routinely 70+lbs and he weighed only 135lbs. On one trip (a rugged off trail backpack) we were rockhounding and he carried out so many specimens that his pack indeed weighed over 100lbs. In my best death march days with my wife (who weighs in the low 90's), I carried between 60 and 68 lbs (body weight usually between 165 and 170 lbs ) on the first day of a 7 to 9 day trip that usually included a hefty dose of off trail backpacking. With my current crew of closer to equal sized hikers my death march packs are more in the 50's range. I suppose when I start backpacking with my kids (now 1.5 and 5 yrs old), in a few years I will be carrying a very heavy pack once again (perhaps heavier than I've ever carried), but not on a nasty off trail backpack.
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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