First SEKI trip

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AlmostThere
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Re: First SEKI trip

Post by AlmostThere » Fri May 03, 2019 6:41 pm

I think, and I hope for your sake that I am wrong, that the long climb on the first day will wipe you. That pass is not known as "the b*t*h" for no reason... Typically it takes so many people three days to get over it.

That trail, or Avalanche Pass, I am getting the permit the afternoon before, then starting as early as I can possibly haul my bleary eyed self out of the sack and start walking with a pack. Getting caught trying to climb that steeply from below 9k after 10 am is a guarantee that my first day will be very, very miserable.








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Wandering Daisy
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Re: First SEKI trip

Post by Wandering Daisy » Fri May 03, 2019 8:26 pm

I have gone up Copper Creek twice, post-60 yrs old. Early season, and not in great shape yet, I drove from sea level and went up in the afternoon and camped at Lower Tent Meadow, continuing the next morning crack of dawn. The only problem was mosquitoes up top. Second time was in late August and I was in end-of-season great shape, got my permit the day before, lazed around Moraine Campground, left next morning at 5AM and reached Grouse Lake by early afternoon. I was carrying a 9-day pack. I would think an in-shape young person would be fine, as long as you are very careful to keep a slow but steady pace the first day. Even though not high altitude, several sea-level to 6000 foot backpacks (in NH) carrying an equivalent weight pack will really help. One concern would be jet-lag. I think it is more important to get a full good night's sleep the night before, than to worry about the altitude of the camp the night before.

I also agree that reversing the route is easier, but permits up Copper Creek are easier to get than permits up Bubbs Creek. I have not done the trail down to Simpson Meadow. But from what I have heard, the trail down is much steeper and without water sources.

The Copper Creek elevation gain is a lot but only reaches about 10,000 feet. If you are in good shape, and have done a lot of big elevation gains before this trip, I do not think you will have a lot of problems. The trail is one of the best graded trail in the Sierra; just set a good steady moderate pace and put one foot in front of the other. Mentally be prepared for tons of switchbacks. It is all a matter of pacing and getting higher before the heat. There are a couple of reliable water sources on the way up. If you feel terrible, you can always camp at any of the water sources and make up time later in the trip.

A key for this trip is to go as light as possible. Be particularly careful not to carry excess food weight. Knowing how to use trekking poles is very helpful, especially for the long downhill to Simpson Meadow.

Only you know how adding a few more days would impact your pace. Every one has a "sweet spot" with respect to what is the optimum length of trip that still allows you to make some miles each day. I have done 14 day trips but because the pack is heavier I really cannot push too hard the first few days. Longer trips work better if you do the day-hikes and off-trail exploring early, while your pack is heavier. This works better if you reverse the route. If you cannot reverse the route, you may want to do an easy second day, day-hike over to Volcanic Lakes. Then drop to Simpson Meadow the third day.

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wsp_scott
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Re: First SEKI trip

Post by wsp_scott » Sun May 05, 2019 6:52 am

One piece of advice from another east coast hiker. You might want to dial back your mileage expectations. The elevation gains feel very different at 10k. I have no problem hiking 10-15 miles and climbing 3-4k in the Smokies and feel fine the next day. My first trip to SEKI was last summer and I found that amount of elevation gain left a bit of a mark on my body. It is a lot harder to do east coast miles at the higher elevations.

You can see what I ended up doing last summer here https://backpackandbeer.blogspot.com/20 ... -2018.html
My trip reports: backpackandbeer.blogspot.com

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Spencerc
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Re: First SEKI trip

Post by Spencerc » Sun May 05, 2019 9:23 am

@wanderingdaisy- thanks for the reassurance that copper creek is doable and well graded. Here in the whites trails tend to just go straight up the mountain so maybe switchbacks will be a welcome change? I'm definitly going to try to start early in the morning, take it slow and steady and hike all day so even if I slow down to 1 mph I could get some miles in.

@scott- that looks like a great trip... amazing pictures, what type of camera do you use backpacking? Ive always just stuck with just my iphone with some moment lenses to save weight. I'll definitely listen to my body, push it when I feel I can and slow it down when I feel I should.

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Re: First SEKI trip

Post by wsp_scott » Mon May 06, 2019 5:37 pm

@SpencerC I have a Sony A7II, for that trip I had a 15mm and 65mm prime lens. I used to just take my cell phone, but I've been trying to force myself to slow down on the trail since I hate sitting around in camp (I'm mostly solo). So a camera encourages me to notice the small things (flowers) and I get better photos to remember my trips, the only problem is the added weight :)

Post a trip report when you get back
My trip reports: backpackandbeer.blogspot.com

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