Trail/Route between Vee Lake and PCT

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!
Post Reply
User avatar
OzSwaggie
Topix Acquainted
Posts: 89
Joined: Fri Mar 02, 2012 9:19 pm
Experience: N/A

Trail/Route between Vee Lake and PCT

Post by OzSwaggie » Fri May 03, 2019 10:59 pm

Hello
I've not had much luck searching the forum for information and I wonder can anyone help with a description/notes of the way from the PCT/JMT to Vee Lake? I've read a few conflicting suggestions in blogs and trip reports about the difficulty of the route, which side of the creek is best, whether or not there's a trail, whether it's class 1 or class 3, and so on. Some suggest there's a mile-long "unavoidable" unstable talus field, others say it's easy walking ... so obviously choosing the best route will be important! (I'm mostly a trail traveller and talus is out of my comfort zone.) Any suggestions gratefully received.

(Background info - lady in my 50s, hike with my partner, both of us have been hiking several weeks in the Sierra every summer (ranging from June through to late September) since 2010. We have completed hundreds of trail miles and our enthusiasm is not showing any sign of petering out! - we are starting to do little offtrail forays and are seeking easyish off trail routes that will lead us to beautiful places where we can sit on rocks and admire everything! Last year we went exploring around Tully Lake after going in via McGee Pass and we loved it! This year we'd like to explore the Bear Lakes Basin, Humphrey's Basin and Miter Basin).

Thank you, Donna








User avatar
Wandering Daisy
Topix Docent
Posts: 4312
Joined: Sun Jan 24, 2010 8:19 pm
Experience: N/A
Location: Fair Oaks CA (Sacramento area)
Contact:

Re: Trail/Route between Vee Lake and PCT

Post by Wandering Daisy » Sat May 04, 2019 7:40 am

I have stayed on the north side, and recall an off-and-on use trail. The maintained trail ends high above the north side as shown on the map. I ended up on the banks of the creek so had to climb up to the end of the maintained trail. Early season, crossing the creek is not easy, which is the main reason I stayed on the north side. I recall some brushy sections and had to go away from the creek at times to avoid cliffs. Any class 3 you read about would be because someone tried to climb up the cliffs, instead of finding an easier path. I think if you are a good route-finder and able to find faint trails you can keep it to a moderate off-trail experience. But it is slow, so plan for about 1 mph. You certainly can get stuck in dead-ends and have to backtrack to find a better path. I have done it twice and second time I definitely did better. Second time, I also crossed the creek lower down and went to Lou Beverly Lake cross-country. THAT was quite gnarly.

I did this years ago, and cannot tell you exact route details. There was a fairly recent trip report on this route with more details. You may want to search for this report.

User avatar
SSSdave
Topix Addict
Posts: 2660
Joined: Thu Nov 17, 2005 11:18 pm
Experience: N/A
Location: Silicon Valley
Contact:

Re: Trail/Route between Vee Lake and PCT

Post by SSSdave » Sat May 04, 2019 8:58 am

VeeL2.jpg
Per link below, this USFS topo version shows where a supposed trail routes however no there is not an actual trail there but rather one can find use route sections and ducks unless someone has been knocking them over. I would also not have any confidence in trying to follow that map dotted line and immediately notice some sections I'd reject. It could be a ducked route someone made 70 years ago. The obvious horse trail through forest ends at elevation 9840 where a ducked route begins to climb bedrock.

https://caltopo.com/map.html#ll=37.3212 ... =15&b=f16a

The crux of the route where horses are stopped is at 10160+ just east of the "t" in "East". At that point one climbs down using hands a class 2 section where a small rocky gully leads to a densely forested mosquitoey streamside dell. At the bottom, one will find ducked use paths leading up along the north side of the creek for about a quarter mile before the lower canyon walls narrow and talus sections begin. Note I once continued up above 10160 to see if as that trail shows, there was a way horses might otherwise drop down to that dell and did not find any. That was great because it meant stock users could not visit the East Fork basin. East of the dell there are areas of easy small to moderate talus on both sides of the creek with ducked use paths through each. If a horse managed to get around the dell, they would still be blocked by all the talus. I suspect 80 years ago, horse packers may have managed to fill in a path through the talus but some of those areas have fresh talus burrying whatever. There are also some willow and brush areas to wind through. On the caltopo map switch to the Google Satellite view to to inspect these areas more closely.

After average winters it will probably be too much effort to cross the creek until mid August so that one ought expect staying on the north side. Another quarter mile up by 10440 the route returns to easy bedrock. There are places to camp up at the 10680+ dogleg zone at the shallow noname L pond. To continue further requires climbing up maybe 80 feet around a rocky bluff on the northeast side of the L pond. The next impediment is there is there is a short cliff following the Little Bear Lake stream for a long distance above the EFBC confluence with just a couple class 2 with hands ways through. Otherwise one might cross the EF and continue towards "Boot" Lake (noname below Stub). Travel through this section is more difficult than the map tends to indicate because of talus and short cliffy spots. Finally one must cross the EF and follow the deep ravine of Vee Lake's outlet creek or continue upstream a bit and wander up through slabs.

We usually take another steeper route I made with less talus that follows the Little Bear Lake stream some before climbing up southeast through a slab and bench system. Also is Vee Lake a good place to camp? There are expansive flat bedrock areas beside the lake one might tent on, however they are bright sunny areas without any trees or large boulders for shade. So no, not mid day beside the lake (image above). But then anyone base camping here that is a campsite busybody, is in the wrong kind of destination as there is much in this basin to explore.
You do not have the required permissions to view the files attached to this post.

User avatar
OzSwaggie
Topix Acquainted
Posts: 89
Joined: Fri Mar 02, 2012 9:19 pm
Experience: N/A

Re: Trail/Route between Vee Lake and PCT

Post by OzSwaggie » Sat May 04, 2019 5:48 pm

Thank you so much Wandering Daisy and SSSDave, fantastically detailed information! Dave is this roughly the route you are describing from the dogleg area? Thanks again.
East End of Route to Vee lake .png
You do not have the required permissions to view the files attached to this post.

User avatar
OzSwaggie
Topix Acquainted
Posts: 89
Joined: Fri Mar 02, 2012 9:19 pm
Experience: N/A

Re: Trail/Route between Vee Lake and PCT

Post by OzSwaggie » Sat May 04, 2019 5:51 pm

And SSSDave yes we'd hope to get up there late afternoon to enjoy sunset and sunrise, then wander on further (TBD). We will be there mid-September, all going well.

User avatar
Wandering Daisy
Topix Docent
Posts: 4312
Joined: Sun Jan 24, 2010 8:19 pm
Experience: N/A
Location: Fair Oaks CA (Sacramento area)
Contact:

Re: Trail/Route between Vee Lake and PCT

Post by Wandering Daisy » Sat May 04, 2019 7:57 pm

This is the map I was referring to- it shows the trail ending a little over a mile from the JMT. CalTopo shows the trail continuing about another 2 miles. When I did the route, there was not much of a "trail" going up farther than shown on the TOPO map. But that was years ago.
Bear Creek route.JPG
You do not have the required permissions to view the files attached to this post.

User avatar
SSSdave
Topix Addict
Posts: 2660
Joined: Thu Nov 17, 2005 11:18 pm
Experience: N/A
Location: Silicon Valley
Contact:

Re: Trail/Route between Vee Lake and PCT

Post by SSSdave » Sun May 05, 2019 12:26 am

There are problems I don't recall, staying close to the creek passing by the east edge of Boot Lake. The west side is is obvious but uneven.

User avatar
Harlen
Topix Expert
Posts: 600
Joined: Sat Mar 11, 2017 9:13 am
Experience: Level 4 Explorer
Location: California

Re: Trail/Route between Vee Lake and PCT

Post by Harlen » Sun May 05, 2019 2:12 am

Hey Donna, you're heading into a favorite area of ours. We hope you make it in, and have a great time. I'll include a couple of route photos, but they may look harder than they are. Slow and easy does it every time.

338.JPG
Here is that steep section along the outlet of Vee Lake. Though it gets tight and rocky, it never felt dangerous, and that was with kids on our backs. If you're going upward it'll be even easier for you.

267.JPG
Behind "Bear" is the outlet of frozen Vee Lake. You can see that on either side there is some slabby bedrock, so we have always opted for the route in the photo above, following the stream and the gravelly path which comes and goes on the true right- north side of the outlet creek.
You do not have the required permissions to view the files attached to this post.

Post Reply

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: Google Adsense [Bot], Teri and 6 guests