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Stunning lakes/remote locations?

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Stunning lakes/remote locations?

Postby cgundersen » Sun Jul 22, 2007 10:40 am

Hi Everyone,
This post is prompted by Trailblazer's trip report and amazing photos of the Kaweah Basin (which has garnered a lot of attention and well-deserved kudos). Anyway, besides prompting me to think about getting back there as soon as possible (my only visit was in 1976, when I was still a novice in the Sierras; so, yep, the downside of your report Trailblazer is that you've gotten a lot of folks VERY interested in the unspoiled desolation of that basin), it also got me to reflect on the other places that I've visited in the Sierras where the combination of remoteness, unsurpassed beauty and low-use reach a similar pinnacle. So, although the competition is mighty stiff, I think that a recent return visit my wife & I made to Blue Lakes puts them in a similar sphere. The Blue Lakes in this case are the ones that sit above Bench Canyon and have drop-dead views of Ritter-Banner and the Minarets to the East. On my first visit (about 10 years ago), as one reached treeline above Bench Canyon, one hit about a mile of lupine-rich meadow with intoxicating sweetness accompanying the stunning visuals. This year, with much less snow, the meadows were not nearly as rich, but Blue Lakes were still magical. They have amazing rock sculptures dotting the grass around the lakes (and white sand beaches) and if you like Ritter/Banner/the Minarets from the East side, they are even better from the West. Once I figure out how to post photos, I'll illustrate. Anyway, in my mind, a close second to the Blue Lakes is Spearpoint: although accessible from various directions, I've usually gotten there via Piute Pass, dropping into French Canyon and then up to Pemmican and on to Spearpoint (however, the approach from Three Island Lake is also rewarding, because the tableland above Spearpoint is quite amazing). If one camps at the meadow end of Spearpoint (furthest from the outflow) the views toward Goddard etc are remarkable, and in the half dozen times I've been there, on only one occasion was there another soul in the entire basin (well, that I knew about, some folks can be pretty stealthy). Anyway, after this duo, it's hard for me to choose among some of the other stunners out there, so I thought I'd leave it to the rest of you to chime in if you want to share locations that are more than worth the considerable exertion that it can take to reach them (because, as I recall, it was no mean task getting to the far side of the Kaweahs, in fact, that's mostly what I remembered until Trailblazer jogged some latent images).
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Postby TehipiteTom » Mon Jul 23, 2007 10:06 am

The west fork Goddard Creek basin meets the requirements (remote, unspoiled, stunning); lovely lakes with a great view toward Goddard Creek Canyone. For that matter, the lake at the head of Goddard Creek Canyon is amazing: dramatic cliffs on three sides, mile-long meadow on the fourth.
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Postby giantbrookie » Mon Jul 23, 2007 11:04 am

I would certainly include the lake at the head of Goddard Creek (10232 or whatever the revised 7.5' elev. is) on my list. In addition to the great long range scenery, when I visited there with my wife in July 1994 we found the wildflower display one of the best we've ever seen in the Sierra---in the same league as the legendary Carson Pass area. My two favorite lakes on appearance alone may not qualify as "remote"--and one is on trail. My two favorites are Amphitheater Lake (the one above Palisade Creek, not the Mineral King one) and Precipice Lake. Precipice Lake was made famous by Ansel Adams and it deserves the fame. The cliffs dropping abruptly into the deep blue water are amazing. With the reflection in the lake the sight lines get really confused and you have trouble figuring out where horizontal is. An amazing place. Amphitheater's combination of bounding cliffs and deep blue water , plus (early season) snow calving into the water, are amazing. "Window Lake" is somewhat similar in its alpine appearance to Amphitheater and might qualify as more remote; this is the lake below Window Peak made somewhat notorious because of the Last Season. I also like Twin Island Lakes sitting below the impressive western faces of Mt Ritter. I've always liked the dramatically alpine setting of the Ritter Lakes, too, although I'd guess the 'permanent' snow field and ice bergs (I was there in 1973 while climbing Ritter) may not be there past early season owing to global warming and the general shrinking of Sierran glaciers and "permanent" snowfields (many have vanished during the 40 years I've been going to the Sierra). Edyth (Edith) Lake in NW Yosemite is high on the remote lake list for appearance. The huge south face of Nance Peak looming above it, the big cascade flowing into it, the large old growth trees, all make the place special. If viewed from the south rim of the canyon, you can add that amazing waterfall that is a couple of miles upstream to the overall vista.
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
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Postby copeg » Mon Jul 23, 2007 3:47 pm

Thanks for the kudos cgundersen. I am very glad my pictures and trip report were received well by so many people. You may be right that they sparked interst in Kaweah basin, but fortunately the basin is quite protected by both rough terrain and distance that hopefully it will remain as pristine as it is.

Much of the terrain I've explored up till the last few years has been often travelled terrain (although on many short trips no one was to be seen for days in some of these areas). The remote and hopefully pristine places on the top of my list to visit (which have already been mentioned btw) - Goddard Creek, Blue Canyon, and the Bench Canyon area.

I must say though, that the terms remote and desolate are relative when it comes to seasons. I've visited some areas in winter/spring that seemed as remote, desolate, and pristine as any place I've visited. Be it winter camping at the edge of Tenaya Lake, or on Glacier Point, it felt as pristine as any place I've been in my life. Covered in untouched snow with no one around for miles - it is magical. Unfortunately (or maybe fortunately), few will or even can venture out during this amazing time of year (for good reason, its more dangerous, takes more preparation, short days, avalanche danger, sleeping on snow, wind, cold...its miserable, don't try it :D )
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Postby cgundersen » Mon Jul 30, 2007 4:38 pm

Thanks for the input!
I just got back from 5 days in the Hoover wilderness/northeast Yosemite and that's as far North as I've been in the Sierras, so I'm looking forward, someday, to visiting Nance/Edith as giantbrookie recommended. And, having been twice to lake 10232 on the western margin of the Ionian Basin, I have to agree that it has the best display of wildflowers I've seen in the Sierras along with amazing waterfalls. When I visited, they were not the booming, thundering variety, just a profusion of silvery, sinuous wisps decorating the hillside; memorable indeed!
As for Amphitheater, I agree that it's pretty splendid, but I've not been there during iceberg calving, so that sounds worthy of an early season visit.
And, for the lakes in the Minarets region, I find most of them to be great, even the ones that are very accessible; it's just that the serenity and isolation we experienced on the latest (as well as the first) visit to the Blue Lakes area was a notch beyond the usual. In fact, it was a notch beyond just about everything else I've seen up there!
And, for giantbrookie, I'd like to note that as we passed through the Ritter lakes area (and out past Catherine), I was pleasantly surprised by the amount of snow that was still up there in early July this year. Like you, I'd expected there to be much less snow/ice, but it was still pretty impressive and gives me hope that if we get a decent snow year soon, all the white stuff will not be lost..........and, on that note, for trailblazer, I've done a few winter camping trips, and agree that the incomparable silence and brilliance of a winterscape can serve as payback for the short days and discomforts of the cold. The only problem is my wife refuses to go. And I've found very few other souls willing to do it, and frankly, I'm chicken to go alone. C'est la vie.
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Postby maverick » Mon Jul 30, 2007 5:54 pm

CG, I was up there in June. Here is a shot from the ridge above
Twin Lakes looking east.Image
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Postby cgundersen » Tue Jul 31, 2007 8:56 am

Hi Maverick,
Great shot, but I confess I'm having trouble orienting it in my mind. The long-range views we got from above Mule and Burro passes had some similarity to what you posted, but I really cannot reconcile the details or the coloration in the foreground. The Sawtooth ridge above Twin Lakes was mostly light granite, not the reddish hues in the foreground of your shot (and, ditto for most of the other nearby peaks: Finger, Whorl, Quarry, etc). On the other hand, there was clearly more volcanic rock further East (Twin peaks and down in the direction of Virginia lakes). Anyway, just curious where you were when this was taken?
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Postby maverick » Tue Jul 31, 2007 11:33 am

Twin Lakes in Ansel Adams western addition.
To add to GBs comments on Edith Lake it is very pretty as are the 4 lakes on the western side of Kendrick Creek 1.5-2 miles down creek
from Edith.
The first 2 lakes were the highlights of the trip to the area for me, I saw
no evidence of previous useage.
There is alot of bush if you follow Kendrick Creek to close, an alternate
route that would be faster is to follow the ridge line to the east near
Frod creek and then climb down to Edith Lake, unless you like bushwacking, which in a crazy way I do enjoy.
Those little ponds under Finger Peaks are really photogenic, just west
of Burro.
Did you go down Slide Canyon or visit the hidden lakes at Seavey Pass
area while you were there?
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Postby cgundersen » Tue Jul 31, 2007 1:07 pm

Hi Maverick,
Yep; Edith is definitely going to be a future destination, though I'm also keen to check out the area south of Black Giant that you'd been planning to visit. It's a major southern Sierra region I've not reached yet.

As for the Hoover trip; I promised my wife that I'd not try to kill her (she was convinced that this was my goal on our preceding trip), so we planned lots of spare time for packless romping and went only to Peeler Lake on day 1 (well, it was raining by noon); Ice Lake on day2, just below the notch that separates Matterhorn Mtn from Whorl for night 3 and Turquoise Lake on night 4 and back out to Twin. Incidentally, the far side of that Matterhorn/Whorl notch is a long slope of granite that would be a bit more daunting with a loaded pack; we were glad that we were light. Anyway, the heavy rains on our first day made the next couple days really clear, so we got some nice panoramas to the South, but it'll take a longer trip to reach some of the other spots you mentioned!
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Postby giantbrookie » Tue Jul 31, 2007 5:44 pm

It dawned on me that there was another in that Ritter-Lyell-SJ/Merced divide area that I had forgotten about. The lakes of the Lyell Fork Merced are gorgeous even if they are fishless. Many are very deep blue there is a mix of metamorphic and granitic rock in the basin and there are nice fringes of greenery (but pretty much treeless). My wife one of our friends and I camped at Blue Lakes to go visit lots of places (Twin Island Lakes, Lyell Fork, Harriet Lakes, Mts Foerster and Electra). Although Blue was pretty and we have some memorable photos there, I guess we were more blown away by the up close look of the west face of Ritter from Twin Island Lakes with the long waterfall coming down from the Ritter Lakes. Speaking of which I was reminded the other weekend while on a trip there are different visual aspects of lakes that folks see as attractive. I tend to like the super sapphire blue ones. This must be why as a kid I saw Catherine Lake for the first time and proclaimed it the most beautiful lake I've ever seen only to find that I liked that Ritter Lakes even better when I saw them for the first time the next day.

Maverick, that view is stupendous. The south to southeast view from near or on the San Joaquin-Merced divide is so fine because the basin of the San Joaquin is so low so sight lines are long. I remember being surprised at Foerster to find it was probably one of the two or three best summit views I've had in the Sierra. You can really name off the peaks in those southward/southeastward views. In your photo Hilgard, Seven Gables, and Goddard so clear you can touch them and I know there are some more distant biggies in there. From Foerster I remember clearly seeing Williamson, Whitney, and the Kaweahs in addition to the middle range guys.
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
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Peak names

Postby oldranger » Tue Jul 31, 2007 9:12 pm

What peak is that on the skyline near the left side of Maverick's photo? It caught my eye from several viewpoints as I left yosemite over Post Peak Pass and down to the Fernadez Pass trailhead last friday and saturday.

Mike
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Re: Peak names

Postby giantbrookie » Wed Aug 01, 2007 8:06 am

oldranger wrote:What peak is that on the skyline near the left side of Maverick's photo? It caught my eye from several viewpoints as I left yosemite over Post Peak Pass and down to the Fernadez Pass trailhead last friday and saturday.

Mike

That should be Hilgard.
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
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