Planning the Sierra High Route | High Sierra Topix  

Planning the Sierra High Route

If you've been searching for the best source of information and stimulating discussion related to Spring/Summer/Fall backpacking, hiking and camping in the Sierra Nevada...look no further!
User avatar

Planning the Sierra High Route

Postby norcalhiker » Mon May 21, 2007 11:24 pm

Hey Ya'll!

I'm dreaming, no wait, planning(!) on thru-hiking the Sierra High Route this summer. And I've got a couple of questions/musings.

I'll be going south-north. I will be coming from the east. I'll be out there with no support. Not sure how I'm going to access the trail. Hike in from Kearsarge, down bubbs to Road's End, then start it? What's that distance? Or head up another eastside pass to join the trail in Upper Basin (just south of Mather) like the guidebook recommends for eastside joiners. Starting in Upper Basin seems kind of lame, missing the begining of the route and all. But having to hike clear across the Sierra, just to start the hike, it a little much too. Any advice on other ways to access from the east? I definitely plan on leaving my car at the southern trailhead, then hitching back to it when I'm done.

Resupply... I know that Devil's Postpile and/or Tuolumne Meadows are definites. But what should I do south of there? Is hiking out over Bishop Pass the most sensible option besides paying a pack company big bucks to carry in food for me? I don't have a ton of time, and would rather not have to spend a town day.

I've got 17 days hiking time. A little fast, but I'm a fast hiker. Can do 30 miles per day on trail... Yes, I know the SHR is a LOT harder. Given ability, what makes the most sense for a SHR itinerary? Hike to Kings Canyon, pick up a BIG food drop from the Post Office, hump it to Devil's Postpile, get a wee bit of food, then resupply again at the great Tuolumne store? I'm not sure that I really want to carry that much food in the beginning!

And lastly... What's the actual distance of this thing?! I know it's a route... Roper says 195mi, Backpacker.com/hikes says 220mi.



User avatar
norcalhiker
Founding Member
 
Posts: 57
Joined: Sat Oct 29, 2005 7:59 pm
Location: Sacramento, CA
Experience: N/A

User avatar

Postby hikerduane » Tue May 22, 2007 5:52 am

See Steve Armstrong over at Backpacker Magazines forum. He has done most of it a couple times. His son has done quite a bit of it too. For a guy in his late 50's he would put some younger guys to shame.
Piece of cake.
User avatar
hikerduane
Founding Member
 
Posts: 1194
Joined: Sun Nov 06, 2005 9:58 am
Location: Meadow Valley, CA, Carson City, NV
Experience: N/A

User avatar

Postby TwoFortyJeff » Tue May 22, 2007 7:23 am

hikerduane wrote:See Steve Armstrong over at Backpacker Magazines forum. He has done most of it a couple times. His son has done quite a bit of it too. For a guy in his late 50's he would put some younger guys to shame.

He's changed his name more times than I can count. At the moment, I think he goes by JMT Hiker.

I would start by reading Chris Willetts account of the hike. You can also read his PCT journal. You'll see he packs on the miles, but is slowed down quite a bit by route finding.

http://www.pierce.ctc.edu/faculty/cwillett/thru.html
User avatar
TwoFortyJeff
Topix Acquainted
 
Posts: 33
Joined: Fri Feb 16, 2007 2:09 pm
Location: TN
Experience: N/A

User avatar

Postby Snow Nymph » Tue May 22, 2007 7:42 am

We've only section hiked a few parts of it. Mono Pass to Pine Creek Road End, Bishop Pass to Pine Creek Road End (resupply at Piute Pass), Bishop Pass to Taboose Pass.

We had friends come in to resupply us. What are your dates? If we're out around the same time, maybe we can help?
Expose yourself to your deepest fear; after that, fear has no power, and the fear of freedom shrinks and vanishes. You are free . . . . Jim Morrison


http://snownymph.smugmug.com/
User avatar
Snow Nymph
Founding Member
 
Posts: 2041
Joined: Fri Oct 28, 2005 6:43 pm
Location: Santa Barbara & Mammoth Lakes, CA
Experience: N/A

User avatar

Postby sierra cyd » Tue May 22, 2007 11:39 am

Hi,
Wow, I haven't been on this forum for a while! Backpacking season is here now though with the snow being nonexistant and all.
:nod:

We thru hiked the High Route back in 2004, south to north, and took our sweet time (sabbatical from work, wanted to take as long as possible!). So we might not be able to help much since our schedule was so much different than yours. We used maps and compasses (no gps or anything) and carried Roper's route description and had no trouble staying on route. However, we are both very good with maps.

We had Rainbow Pack Outfitters resupply us at Bishop Pass and that worked really well. It was only about $75. The other outfitters were all twice as much. He even packed out the empty Guiness cans that he unknowingly brought in to us (full) which we immediately emptied. We had never dealt with pack outfitters before, and were pleasantly surprised with the experience. Very much worth it to us, to avoid civilization and an extra day or two of messing around.

We had various friends resupply us at other points: Pine Creek Pass, Red's Meadow, and Tuolumne Meadows. We also got rides to/from the start and finish, from family and friends.

Don't know if that helps at all! It is a great trip.
User avatar
sierra cyd
Topix Acquainted
 
Posts: 28
Joined: Tue Dec 06, 2005 6:00 pm
Location: Sunnyvale, CA
Experience: N/A

User avatar

Postby BrianF » Tue May 22, 2007 1:28 pm

A couple of thoughts: since the route takes you thru Dusy basin a day hike out over Bishop Pass is a good option for resupply. You can access Upper Basin via Taboose pass. From taboose you can always hike over Cartridge Pass (bushwack) into Lake Basin and join the High Route there, and not miss a fantastic area. Or leave your car at south lake and hike over Bishop pass and up into Lake basin via cartridge creek from the north, loop around the high route back to your car for resupply.
User avatar
BrianF
Topix Regular
 
Posts: 283
Joined: Thu Jul 06, 2006 1:29 pm
Location: Santa Barbara,Ca
Experience: Level 4 Explorer

User avatar

Postby Baffman » Thu May 24, 2007 3:57 am

I think a useful listen or read would be this link here.

http://backpacker.trimbleoutdoors.com/V ... ripDetails

I thoroughly enjoyed listening to his podcasts throughout the trip. You'll undoubtedly get some good information out of it. The podcast is at:

http://rodale.typepad.com/backpacker_po ... index.html

Have fun.
User avatar
Baffman
Topix Regular
 
Posts: 126
Joined: Thu Feb 16, 2006 7:35 pm
Location: Fernley, NV, formerly Independence, CA
Experience: N/A

User avatar

Postby Steve Bearman » Thu May 24, 2007 5:48 pm

I've done most of the High Route. I would never try to do the whole thing so fast, but everyone's got their own style. Here are a couple thoughts to throw into the mix:

STARTING:
It's about 22 trail miles across from Onion Valley to Road's End, which it sounds like you could manage in a day if you want to do the whole route. If you come in over another pass, such as Taboose, and miss the beginning part, I wouldn't bother looping over Cartridge Pass. Lake Basin is awesome, but you'll miss most of it anyway if you come in over Cartridge Pass. If you start at Taboose, I would suggest just going North from there. If you want to just save the first segment for another trip, starting at Bishop Pass will still make for a good, long hike.

RESUPPLY:
I am a fan of using pack stations for resupply. I am happy to pay in exchange for the immersion experience and so that I get to spend extra time exploring around rather than hiking out. If your money supply is limited, you need to calculate your resupply spots based on the locations of the pack stations. There are several pack stations that can send a packer out to reach you close to or on your route and still give the packer time to get home by the end of the day. Then you only pay for one day's worth of packer and mule time. This gives you so many options that you have great flexibility in how you time your trip. You have to call the pack stations for price, as they seem to vary widely.

PACK STATION RENDEZ-VOUS POINTS:
As Cyd says, Rainbow Pack Outfitters (out of South Lake) can meet you at Bishop Pass, less than 4 trail miles from the route.
Bishop Pack Outfitters (out of North Lake) can meet you right on the route along the Piute Pass Trail below Wahoo Lakes.
Pine Creek Pack Station (down by the old Tungsten Mine) can meet you at Pine Creek Pass, about 2.5 miles off the route.
If getting food at Red's Meadows doesn't work for your timing, Mammoth Lakes Pack Outfit (out of Mammoth Lakes) can meet you at Duck Pass, which is right on the route, or the Red's Meadows folks could meet you somewhere besides Red's Meadows.
North from there, Tuolumne is your best bet.

DISTANCES:
By any accounting, you are talking about doing each of the 5 sections of the route in 3 days (plus maybe a day to get to the beginning and a a total of a day's time getting to and from resupply points). This means one or two passes per day, most of them off trail. Even if I was moving fast every day consistently, I would want at least 4 days per section, so you might consider trimming the first section and starting at Bishop Pass. Though really, a week per section is more my speed.

Hope some of this helps.
User avatar
Steve Bearman
Topix Acquainted
 
Posts: 29
Joined: Thu Jun 15, 2006 1:35 pm
Location: Santa Cruz, CA
Experience: N/A

User avatar

Postby norcalhiker » Wed May 30, 2007 6:07 am

Thanks all for the fantastic advice! It definitely helps.

I've used Rainbow Outfitter before, to be carried out of Le Conte Canyon with an injury. They were great. For $75, I'll probably go that way over hiking out.

Thanks for the milage to Road's End from Onion Valley. That looks like what I'll do.

As for mileage, my vacation will be 20 days, so with driving and all I can probably squeeze an 18 day hike in, if need be. And if I decide I'm pushing too hard for enjoyment, the trip can turn in to a Sierra ramble, or whatever else I feel like when I'm en route. I really do enjoy fastpacking, 12 non-stop days and being dead tired, so I think the mileage won't be out of reach. Just need to get my climbing legs up to par. Off route is definitely a LOT steeper!

And thanks for passing on the links to the recent trail report. I'll read it.
User avatar
norcalhiker
Founding Member
 
Posts: 57
Joined: Sat Oct 29, 2005 7:59 pm
Location: Sacramento, CA
Experience: N/A

User avatar

Postby norcalhiker » Mon Jul 02, 2007 9:55 pm

Dates are set! Leaving July 25th from Onion Valley. Permit is through August 13th. I called Rainbow and they wanted $300 to bring a food drop to Bishop Pass!!!! I can't afford it, so unless some kind soul steps up, I'll be driving a food drop to the bear box at Onion Valley before I start hiking, and cross my fingers that no one steals it. Sucky :crybaby:

Other than that, I'm still a little nervous about some of the passes. Hope the weather is good. And I'm thinking about renting a PLB or Sat phone, but again, cost...

I'll spend the next few days highlighting the parts of roper's book that actually talk about the route. I want to draw it in on the maps, but I don't think I'll get around to it.

Very excited!
User avatar
norcalhiker
Founding Member
 
Posts: 57
Joined: Sat Oct 29, 2005 7:59 pm
Location: Sacramento, CA
Experience: N/A

User avatar

Postby hikerduane » Tue Jul 03, 2007 6:41 pm

Have a GREAT time! I will miss you by a couple days going over Kearsarge Pass, I leave that Friday to just do a loop. My goal if I make it to retirement age is to do the JMT, then?
Piece of cake.
User avatar
hikerduane
Founding Member
 
Posts: 1194
Joined: Sun Nov 06, 2005 9:58 am
Location: Meadow Valley, CA, Carson City, NV
Experience: N/A

User avatar

High Sierra Route

Postby Mike M. » Tue Jul 03, 2007 7:04 pm

If I were in your shoes, I would consider packing all my food on my back for the entire 17 day trip. With careful planning, you can easily keep your pack weight at about 50 lbs. at the beginning of the trip -- I have done this many times over the years. The benefits are many. For one thing, it will save you killing a day hiking out for resupply. For another, it allows you to spend the entire trip immersed in the wilderness, without a hint of civilization impeding the experience. I value this above all else. It is quite possible you will not see a single person for days on end.

Enjoy your trip and let us know how it turns out.

Mike
User avatar
Mike M.
Topix Expert
 
Posts: 475
Joined: Fri May 25, 2007 10:50 pm
Location: Portland, Oregon
Experience: Level 4 Explorer

Next

Return to Backpacking / Hiking / Camping



Who is online

Users browsing this forum: MSNbot Media [Bot] and 15 guests