Bear Diversion Dam vs. Bear Creek Trail | High Sierra Topix  

Bear Diversion Dam vs. Bear Creek Trail

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

Postby SSSdave » Thu Jul 12, 2007 6:18 pm

maverick wrote:Apollo - Goldens
Apollo lives up to its name as being to best of the three.


Remote trail less Orchid and Apollo were on my itineraries during 3 backpacks. Superb views up the EF Bear Creek canyon to Feather Peak and Seven Gables especially for capturing pink earth shadow dusk when the weather and clouds cooperate. Aggressive goldens in Apollo too.

In a few days we'll be on a trip up on the other side of the crest at Granite Park. I may bother to climb the Black Bear Lake col given the likely minimal snow conditions about its glacier and look west down the EF towards that area.
...David



User avatar
SSSdave
Topix Fanatic
 
Posts: 1965
Joined: Thu Nov 17, 2005 11:18 pm
Location: Silicon Valley
Experience: N/A

User avatar

Postby giantbrookie » Thu Jul 12, 2007 8:20 pm

Buck Forester wrote:I think you can access Cirque Lake without much difficulty from Hooper Diversion Dam too, cutting over near the Infant Buttes.

Hey giantbrookie, have you fished Cirque Lake? Please tell! The lakes of Hooper Basin, and Chamberlain, are full of average-sized goldens.


I would agree that a route from Hooper Diversion dam is feasible. I have not fished Cirque, Apollo, or Orchid, which is why they are on my list (other than the fact that the cross country hiking to reach them looks very fun). I also haven't hit the Medleys, Three Island (heard several reports of big goldens), nor Lower Turret, so a trip combining all of the above in the now characteristic 4 or 5 day trip (probably the former) will be on tap for 2008 or 2009. There are a few fish in the Hoopers that go to the 12-14 inch range (I didn't catch them but others I know have), but Chamberlain is one where a few truly big ones prowl (saw but didn't catch a golden of at least 16 inches; best I did was 13 inches).

Btw, thanks Maverick for the fishing update. The only other info I have on those lakes is the very old (vintage 60's) DFG Anglers Guide to Bear Creek that doesn't say much about size except for saying that brookies average 9" in Marcella and rainbows 10" in Cirque. A lot can change in 40 plus years, so it's good to get the recent info.
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
User avatar
giantbrookie
Founding Member & Forums Moderator
Founding Member & Forums Moderator
 
Posts: 2439
Joined: Wed Dec 28, 2005 10:22 am
Location: Fresno
Experience: N/A

User avatar

Postby Buck Forester » Thu Jul 12, 2007 11:03 pm

Gracias you people for the info!

Anyone have any photos of Cirque or Apollo Lakes? I like off-trail lakes, especially if they have goldens, and especially especially if they are extra-photogenic. Lately the extra-photogenic seems to be more important than trout (somebody spank me!). Actually, I shouldn't say "lately" because last summer, and so far this summer, I have not had many opportunities to get out. That should change in August.
It's all about the WILDERNESS!!!

http://www.flickr.com/photos/buckforester/page9/
User avatar
Buck Forester
Founding Member
 
Posts: 452
Joined: Mon Oct 31, 2005 1:38 pm
Location: Lincoln, CA (Sacramento area)
Experience: N/A

User avatar

Postby Buck Forester » Thu Jul 12, 2007 11:06 pm

giantbrookie, I've really only fished Chamberlain Lake once and that was while passing through to climb Mt. Hooper. I saw lots of 10-12" goldens but I've also heard of big boys in there too. I'd like to camp near the lake and get a good evening and morning fishing out of it.
It's all about the WILDERNESS!!!

http://www.flickr.com/photos/buckforester/page9/
User avatar
Buck Forester
Founding Member
 
Posts: 452
Joined: Mon Oct 31, 2005 1:38 pm
Location: Lincoln, CA (Sacramento area)
Experience: N/A

User avatar

Postby Steve Bearman » Fri Jul 13, 2007 8:28 am

I started a trip at the Diversion Dam a couple years ago.

I went to the Vermillion Valley Resort and asked around. The folks there arranged, for a quite reasonable fee, to get me a ride up to the trailhead. A young man who had the morning off took us up in one of the resort's 4WD trucks.

It was nice to save ourselves the extra miles at the cost of a few bucks. Our car would not, in its most superheroic dreams about what a great car it is, have made it up that road.
User avatar
Steve Bearman
Topix Acquainted
 
Posts: 29
Joined: Thu Jun 15, 2006 1:35 pm
Location: Santa Cruz, CA
Experience: N/A

User avatar

Postby mountainLight » Fri Jul 13, 2007 11:24 am

In addition to all that was stated there is also Bear Ridge (i think that is what the ranger called it). This starts at Lake Thomas Edison dam and goes up the ridge and joins the JMT. We did this when we couldn't get the bear diversion dam trail head. It worked find but was an extra unnecessary climb. If i remember it was shorter then the bear creek trail head for where we were headed, Hilgard Branch and bear basin.

We are actually headed back to Bear Basin in a few weeks, but were able to get the bear diversion trailhead this time. I have been down the road and it is definatly a 4x4 jeep road in my opinion.
User avatar
mountainLight
Founding Member
 
Posts: 99
Joined: Mon Apr 03, 2006 10:03 pm
Location: SF Bay Area
Experience: N/A

User avatar

Postby maverick » Fri Jul 13, 2007 12:19 pm

I found someones trip report to the area with a few pictures.
I used the same route they did to get to Apollo Lake.
http://home.inreach.com/kelley/Whatnotrail.html
User avatar
maverick
Forums Moderator
Forums Moderator
 
Posts: 8034
Joined: Thu Apr 06, 2006 5:54 pm
Experience: Level 4 Explorer

User avatar

Postby TehipiteTom » Sat Jul 14, 2007 10:46 am

The route over the ridge besides full of smelly horse road apples adds a few hundred feet of extra vertical.

Interestingly enough, the cutoff has about as much gain going in as the jeep road--the jeep road starts lower. Coming out, though, there would be a few hundred extra feet of gain. The cutoff appears to cut at least a half mile and maybe a full mile off the distance (unless you have a vehicle that can make it to the dam).

Maverick, thanks for posting that link. Looks like a lovely area.
User avatar
TehipiteTom
Founding Member
 
Posts: 814
Joined: Thu Aug 24, 2006 8:42 am
Experience: Level 4 Explorer

User avatar

Postby hawkfeather » Sat Jul 14, 2007 2:26 pm

I've been over both routes to Bear Creek, various times. In fact, I was on the Sierra Club trip with you umpteen years ago when you walked in to Bear Dam (if you're who I think you are). That's an awful, shadeless walk. So, if you haven't got a vehicle that will make it in, I highly recommend going in over the ridge (as you go up towards Edison, the TH and parking area is off to the right). It's a prettier route, with good views, and you'll come out in that dry meadowy area up the trail from the dam.

I've never yet been to Apollo, Orchid, Cirque Lakes, etc., though I've considered the map many times. The packers used to go to Marcella (and to Cirque?); I don't know if they still do. I've dayhiked up to Chamberlain Lake--exquisite--looping back via Hooper Lakes (another packer destination), where you can pick up a trail that goes down to Hooper Diversion Dam. Anyway, I'd be very interested in hearing how your trip goes and hope you'll post a report here.

Enjoy!
User avatar
hawkfeather
Topix Acquainted
 
Posts: 24
Joined: Wed Jun 21, 2006 12:28 pm
Location: Mission Viejo, CA
Experience: N/A

User avatar

Postby giantbrookie » Sun Jul 15, 2007 10:25 am

Interesting observations regarding stock reaching Marcella. I remember being very disappointed to find the well developed stock trail to the Hoopers (a trail that still isn't shown on any maps). The packer presence at Marcella points to a "back door" or "side door" route similar to that reaching Mattie L. in Yosemite (long a packer favorite in spite of off trail location). This also highlights a potentially easy way into (or out of) the Cirque/Marcella area. If we assume the packers are (or have been) getting in via the most obviously subdued topography, I would guess one possible entry route would be from the vicinity of the JMT/Bear Creek trail junction. From there they would head toward the Bear Twin Lakes (would be willing to bet there is good evidence of stock use there) before veering off to a more WSW direction going over a shoulder and heading toward Marcella. It is also possible that the packers double back toward Bear Twin from further upstream (S) also (such as upstream of Hilgard Branch, making a long diagonal ascent on benches toward Bear Twin), but I'll bet the packers are using the shorter route from the near the JMT/Bear Creek junction.

Regarding the cutoff trail (that I've never taken), I was just looking at Harrison, and, if we believe Harrison's mileages, the cutoff trail to the junction with the main trail is 3.3 mi vs 3.6 mi for the Bear Creek trail all the way from the Edison Road. There is considerably more elevation gain associated with the cutoff trail, though. The hump-over to the junction via the cutoff trail involves a climb to 8240+ from 7560, before descending to 7470 feet, a gross elevation gain of 680+ feet (ie more than 680 and less than 760), and a loss (that must be climbed on the way out) of 770 to 850 feet. The elevation gain from the Edison road to the cutoff junction is 7470-7045=425 feet. Consequently the specs according to Harrison to the common junction are as follows: 1. cutoff trail 3.3 mi elevation gain 680 to 760 feet, loss 770 to 850 feet. 2. main trail starting at road junction with Edison road 3.6 miles 425 feet gain, negligible loss (ie no nasty 770 to 850 foot ascent to kick one's behind near the end of one's exit). Not everything will play by the numbers as there are other factors (shade, rockiness, etc.), but to me there is a big enough disparity in the numbers regarding elevation gain that I would choose to hike the standard route rather than the cutoff.
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
User avatar
giantbrookie
Founding Member & Forums Moderator
Founding Member & Forums Moderator
 
Posts: 2439
Joined: Wed Dec 28, 2005 10:22 am
Location: Fresno
Experience: N/A

User avatar

Postby SSSdave » Sun Jul 15, 2007 12:05 pm

Long ago I seem to recall hearing the packer route to Marcella crosses the creek above Bear Diversion Dam reservoir. Then swings back west along the shore to the main SJ canyon and winds up through the manzanita in below the Infant Buttes before gaining the upper forested slopes above the steep walls of the glaciated canyon. It always sounded like a route only for the most mountain wily horse and riders. ...David
User avatar
SSSdave
Topix Fanatic
 
Posts: 1965
Joined: Thu Nov 17, 2005 11:18 pm
Location: Silicon Valley
Experience: N/A

User avatar

Postby TehipiteTom » Mon Jul 16, 2007 8:23 am

hawkfeather wrote:I've been over both routes to Bear Creek, various times. In fact, I was on the Sierra Club trip with you umpteen years ago when you walked in to Bear Dam (if you're who I think you are).

That would be 15 years ago...hard to believe it's been that long. You may recall that I wound up doing the 4WD section twice, because I had to hike out a sick trip member (I think I got a ride for the third leg).

Let's see now...I believe Helen was from Mission Viejo, and I remember Helen saying she had been to Chamberlain Lake. Is that you? In any case, good to hear from you! :)
That's an awful, shadeless walk. So, if you haven't got a vehicle that will make it in, I highly recommend going in over the ridge (as you go up towards Edison, the TH and parking area is off to the right). It's a prettier route, with good views, and you'll come out in that dry meadowy area up the trail from the dam.

Thanks! That's exactly the sort of information I was after.

GB, I ran a Topo! profile and the 4WD road actually came out with slightly more elevation gain than the ridge route on the way in (within the margin of error; I'd call them equivalent). The 4WD road does some extra climbing before dropping back down to the dam. Hiking out is another story--that would involve maybe 500' of additional gain.. The ideal would be to hike in on the cutoff and out via the dam road.

In any case, the only person so far who has hiked both recommends the cutoff, so that's what I'm inclined to go with. I do hate that dam road.
User avatar
TehipiteTom
Founding Member
 
Posts: 814
Joined: Thu Aug 24, 2006 8:42 am
Experience: Level 4 Explorer

PreviousNext

Return to Backpacking / Hiking / Camping



Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 2 guests