Big SEKI loop and North/South lake loop

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Teri
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Big SEKI loop and North/South lake loop

Post by Teri » Sun May 05, 2019 3:31 pm

In August I intend to hike the Big SEKI loop and the north/south lake loop. My 19 yo son (my JMT partner) will be with me. The first 9 days (southern loop) we will be joined by his girlfriend and her father. My goals for this trip are to challenge myself, to see more of the southern Sierra, and see more higher elevations. My itinerary is ambitious, and I waffle between ''of course we can do this to maybe this is too much". So maybe ya'll can weigh in on what I might be missing, stretches that are especially hard.

Day 1 Roads End to Sphinx Creek (6.8 mile)
Day 2 Sphinx to Ranger Meadow
Day 3 Ranger Meadow to Hamilton Lake
Day 4 Hamilton to Moraine Lake
Day 5 Moraine to Junction Meadow
Day 6 Jxn to below Forester
Day 7 below Forester to Bullfrog Lk
Day 8 Bullfrog to Castle dome on Woods trail
Day 9 castle dome to RE

Average 2800 ft gain/11.5 miles per day and with 8 days of food.

2nd half: After resupplying at RE (and parting from our friends) my son and I will head up Copper Creek Trail to the JMT, up Bishop Pass Trail, resupply at Parchers, down Piute to take the JMT south to Woods creek out to RE again.

Average 2nd half: 2900 ft gain/13 miles per day

This is definitely more ambitious than what we did on the JMT, but we didn't feel the JMT was too hard.

Of note, I originally thought we would cut across Kaweah basin from Kaweah gap to cut out ~12 miles and avoid dropping down to Kern valley. But after reading every trip report here about pants pass and the kaweah basin decided against it. Not because it would be too hard, but because i decided it would be very time consuming. It wouldn't be a short cut with all the talus and route finding and may indeed be too difficult with four of us. I decided someday i will get to the Kaweah basin, but it won't be when I'm in a hurry. :)


What level of backpacking experience do you have?
Level 3- Numerous backpacking trips, tiny bit x-country travel

What terrain are you comfortable/uncomfortable with?
- comfortable with rivers/snow/Class 1 and some Class 2

What is your main interest?
- Lakes
- Big Mountain scenery

Have you hiked at elevation before? Any prior issues with Altitude Sickness? - Did JMT with only 1 night at TM to acclimate. Was fine.

Have you hiked in the Sierra Nevada before, if yes, where? Please list a few of your more difficult hikes, so we can then recommend routes based on your experience level. Did JMT July/August 2017 in 18.5 days from TM to WP. We thought it was great but could have easily hiked more each day. Want to challenge myself this year, see more of the southern Sierra, prefer above the treeline.








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AlmostThere
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Re: Big SEKI loop and North/South lake loop

Post by AlmostThere » Sun May 05, 2019 4:08 pm

Look up Copper Creek trail on this forum - this is a popular route and you'll definitely have company.

Any of the trails that come up from RE, an early early early start is recommended. When I start there I usually go in the day before, get the permit for the following day, camp in a campground, and wake up pre-dawn.

I would check on Bullfrog Lake - I don't believe they have allowed anyone to camp there in years, and I doubt that's changed.

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Flamingo
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Re: Big SEKI loop and North/South lake loop

Post by Flamingo » Mon May 06, 2019 8:41 am

Hi Teri,
This route looks exciting. I can confirm AlmostThere's comment: camping isn't allowed at Bullfrog---its a heavily impacted site.

Have you thought about adding a zero day to your itinerary? It seems like a lot of big days without a break.

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Teri
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Re: Big SEKI loop and North/South lake loop

Post by Teri » Mon May 06, 2019 9:06 am

Flamingo wrote:
Mon May 06, 2019 8:41 am
Hi Teri,
This route looks exciting. I can confirm AlmostThere's comment: camping isn't allowed at Bullfrog---its a heavily impacted site.

Have you thought about adding a zero day to your itinerary? It seems like a lot of big days without a break.
I agree with needing at least a nero. I hope to spend the night at cedar grove when we resupply, but that will require us to get walk ups for copper creek. Possible, but not guaranteed. Also, If we need/want a nero during the second half I'm looking at taking Lamarck trail from North Lake to rejoin the JMT. That will cut out ~17 miles. It'll be a game time decision.

I know you cant camp at Bullfrog, but I think there is camping by the small lake near it? Either way, this is just a planning itinerary.

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AlmostThere
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Re: Big SEKI loop and North/South lake loop

Post by AlmostThere » Mon May 06, 2019 9:12 am

Copper Creek will be an easy walk up permit - no one wants to do it, it's the toughest grind out of Roads End. Especially if you are walking up on a weekday... Folks on the Theodore Solomons route and the Big SEKI loop are doing it more and more, but those are still not as popular as Rae Lakes loop.

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