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Postby maverick » Fri May 25, 2007 12:46 pm

GB, what trip rated as the best ever?

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Postby giantbrookie » Fri May 25, 2007 1:30 pm

maverick wrote:GB, what trip rated as the best ever?

You can probably guess this one: It would be Dumbbell Lakes in late July 1993. At the time my wife and I considered starting a family and she asked me if there was any place that was so outrageously inacessible that I had never seriously planned to visit it (you need to keep in mind this was the year after we had done Edyth, too). Her rationale was that we should go there on a trip and then get down to starting a family. I replied that in high school a friend and I, looking over topo maps (would have been 1976), had referred to the Dumbbells as the "helicopter lakes" owing to their inacessibility. Accordingly, we headed for the Dumbbells. Day 1 took us to Dusy 11393 (no brainer for fishing nuts). Day 2 suffered a delay as I inadvertantly launched my rod tip into the depths of icy 11393 (tip section ejected itself AND snapped the line doing it). It took a serious dredging operation with multiple lures for me to snag the lead line guide and rescue my fishing for the trip. We headed over Knapsack Pass and then made a studpendous mist-drenched slot canyon descent to Deer Meadow (included one hairy crossing of a side stream above a waterfall, at the head of the slot canyon section--runoff was very high that weekend and we were perpetually drenched from multiple stream crossings). Because of the delay we did not reach Amphitheater Lake as planned that day. On day 3 we nearly gave up. Barrett Creek was an extremely wet crossing and Palisade Creek was not even close to wadable--it had fatally high flow. Just before giving up we found a giant magic log that gave us access to the other side. We then thrashed through the deadfall steeplechase along lower Cataract Creek, then had to make three more very wet stream crossings before reaching Amphitheather. Gazing up at the pass it looked like we were sunk again--the pass was guarded by multiple cornices--even the "alternate" northern class 3 bypass. Having come so far we decided to look at the cornices up close and personal before giving up. It turned out we were able to find a crack between the rock and the left hand side of a minor northern cornice. We were able to jam wiggle this crack, the most physically difficult single move I've ever done with a full pack. After that we were home free. The next day we explored the basin and climbed Observation Peak when the fishing was so good we got bored. On day 5 we decided to add an extra layover day because we enjoyed lounging around in the basin so much (consequences later). On day 6 we explored that wonderful frog-filled lake west of Observation, then returned, pulled up camp and moved to Amphitheater. Enough of the cornice had melted so the wiggle crack was much easier (walk through). We had motel reservations in Bishop the next day, so the extra layover day set up our greatest "dismount" ever. Amphitheater to South Lake in one shot via Knapsack Pass. I remember jogging the last 1.3 mi to Parchers Camp to get the car (left my pack and wife waiting at the trailhead). As a result of that trip, having kids kept get putting off; it wasn't until 2002 that we had our first one.

The next best ones:
"Ring Around the Goddard" (1994). Lamarck Col-Evolution-Ionian Basin-Scylla-Goddard Creek 10212-Blue Canyon-Mt Reinstein-Martha L-Davis Lakes-McGee Lakes-Evolution-Lamarck Col.

"Mordor II" (2003). High Sierra Trail-Pants Pass-every basin in the Kern-Kaweah River Basin (including backpacking over the top of Picket Guard Pk) plus the Red Spur Lake-Kaweah Pass, etc. Rain round the clock nearly every day. Otherwise this would have also been a peak bag feeding frenzy.

Whitney (above, 1996) New Army then split off to Upper Soldier-Miter Basin-Crabtrees-unnamed lakes on southern flank of Wallace Creek-Wallace L.- Mt Barnard-Wright Lakes-all over the trailless upper Kern-plus unnamed basin that fish and game people don't want me to talk about-Shepherd Pass. Yeah that made up for the bugs.

"Mordor I" (2002) Wolverton-Tableland-Glacier Ridge-Josephine L-Cloud Canyon-Colby L-Triple Divide Pass and Peak-whatever the col is that then gets you to Lion Lake-Tamarack L-High Sierra trail and cutoff to Wolverton.

If I had to do one trip I believe can top all of these for quality of off trail hiking plus fishing it would be a Bishop Pass-Taboose Pass shuttle: Dusy-Barrett-Amphitheater-Dumbbells-Lakes Basin-Bench L -unnamed mysterious places-Taboose Pass. the other one might be:

Rancheria to Tehipite up Goddard Creek up to Tunemah to Blue Canyon to Blackcap Basin. May not do this second one now that I'm headed for Blackcap (this summer), but I will do the Bishop-Taboose thingie someday, even if I have to wait for my kids to get old enough to do it.
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 Mike M. » Fri May 25, 2007 11:07 pm

I favor longer trips (10 days or more), so weight is of paramount concern to me. I have been using plain old tube tents for many years and find them tolerable -- if pitched correctly, they can even be pretty comfortable and cozy. These tents weigh less than a pound and are inexpensive. (Unfortunately, they don't offer any protection against mosquitos.)

I only pitch a tent if I think it is likely to rain at night. Which in the Sierras, fortunately, means I almost never have to resort to using a tent. Why would anybody forego the pleasure of sleeping under the stars?!

Giantbrookie, I've hiked (usually solo) almost all of the routes you identify as your favorites. It is truly incredible country -- can't wait to get back up there this summer!

Mike M.
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Postby Fishytodd » Mon Jun 04, 2007 1:38 pm

Thanks for the suggestions, I tried out my tarp setup the other night on a particularly windy east bay ridge and had a wonderful night. Skeeters were not a problem there but i will be packing netting for the sierra trip.

I will certainly let you know if going tentless was a huge mistake. But the buddies that i am going with will have some extra space in their tent, just in case :)
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