JMT itinerary/campsites tips, Red's to Horseshoe meadow

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
Topix Regular
Posts: 133
Joined: Thu Oct 25, 2012 11:37 pm
Experience: Level 4 Explorer
Location: Berkeley

Re: JMT itinerary/campsites tips, Red's to Horseshoe meadow

Post by thegib » Tue Mar 03, 2020 12:28 am

The walking on the Miter side is so easy no trail is necessary. It's easy to miss the trail up the final slope (I've done it.) If you're heading up Crabtree Ck towards Miter Basin the trail goes to the left (far) side of the last lake. The tendency is to swing immediately diagonally towards the pass (staying to the right of the lake), but this is a mistake.

User avatar
Wandering Daisy
Topix Docent
Posts: 5036
Joined: Sun Jan 24, 2010 8:19 pm
Experience: N/A
Location: Fair Oaks CA (Sacramento area)

Re: JMT itinerary/campsites tips, Red's to Horseshoe meadow

Post by Wandering Daisy » Tue Mar 03, 2020 9:53 am

The JMT is a route using well maintained trails. Unless I know the person requesting information is an experienced off-trail backpacker, I hesitate to send them on an off-trail route. We who do a lot of off-trail travel are pretty good at finding obscure faint trails, negotiating a few class 2 areas, and really good at micro-route finding, I doubt the average JMT backpacker is similarly qualified. I backpacked this area last year; the "use-trail" above the lower Crabtree Lake as well as in Miter Basin is a come-and-go affair at best. Even finding the start of the Crabtree trail (it is across the creek through a wide meadow) from the JMT can be difficult. The thing about use-trails, if you find them and can stay on them, great, otherwise when the crux part comes, you can get yourself into difficult terrain.

User avatar
Jim F
Topix Acquainted
Posts: 74
Joined: Wed Nov 02, 2005 12:29 pm
Experience: N/A

Re: JMT itinerary/campsites tips, Red's to Horseshoe meadow

Post by Jim F » Tue Mar 03, 2020 10:35 pm

I have gone over Crabtree Pass numerous times (most recently July 2016).

As thegib notes, walking on the Miter Basin side is easy. Above the tarn at 12,400' (a couple hundred yards south of the pass), there is a maze of crisscrossing paths on gentle terrain, most seeming to lead to the pass.

On the north side of the pass, I have never seen even a suggestion of a use trail. I have found the ascent and (particularly) the descent between the massive boulder field east of the lake to the top of the pass to be somewhat challenging. A couple of times I spent a great deal of time in retreat mode until a better line was found.

In 2016 I crossed over Crabtree Pass with a friend en route from the Miter Basin to Discovery Pinnacle. He asked if we could get killed there. I said, "Hell yes! Let's be careful." Accordingly, Wandering Daisy's solid advise in a post earlier today should be underlined.


PS: Actually, if headed from Crabtree Pass to Discovery Pinnacle, a quicker (not necessarily easier) way to go is the following: From the east end of Crabtree Pass, stay high and traverse below McAdie. This avoids the elevation loss/regain involved descending down towards the lake. But this leads to another story and I am getting off topic! Meanwhile we await to see if the 2020 SEKI application situation is going to be untangled.

Post Reply

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: Harlen and 11 guests