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Ladder Lake via Hester Lake

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Ladder Lake via Hester Lake

Postby maverick » Tue Jul 24, 2007 4:06 pm

Anyone climb up to Hester Lake from Le Conte Ranger Station and
then to Lake 11654 and then on to Ladder Lake?



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Postby giantbrookie » Tue Jul 24, 2007 4:35 pm

I haven't done this and I am as interested as you are to see responses. I had long wanted to do this the other way (S to N), going to Ladder then working my way north along that side of the Black Divide (my motivation is less now after hearing reports of smaller fish in Ladder). I first gazed at Ladder from the top of either Agassiz or Goode back in the 70's and my brother and I thought Ladder looked like a real fortress lake to go after.
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 maverick » Tue Jul 24, 2007 5:57 pm

Hi GB

I plan on leaving Sat to go over Bishop Pass and down to Le Conte
then climb up to Hester and on to Ladder Lake. Climb down and
head towards the Devils Washboard and follow the creek north of it to
the lakes of Observation Peak. Then on to Dumbbell and Amphitheater
Lakes.
Ill be back next Sat evening or Sun.
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Postby giantbrookie » Tue Jul 24, 2007 8:50 pm

Wow. That's a heck of game plan with some seriously choice cross country. Have a great trip. Are you going to do the Barrett Creek option (and Knapsack Pass) to close the loop?
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 Cloudy » Wed Jul 25, 2007 7:29 am

I tried about four or five years ago. Unfortunately, I had a heavy load and it was raining so my motivation suffered accordingly. I remember that once you climb up the other side, you end up in a large U-shaped canyon with the outlet stream from Hester Lake coming down a crack in the smooth , steep surface at the end of the U. I didn't see an easy way up and as I said, being cold and wet gave me an excuse to turn around. I really did want to see if there were any pieces of the B-24 still there though so I hope you make it and can pass on any info :-)
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Postby maverick » Wed Jul 25, 2007 12:06 pm

Yes, the Barrett Creek route is my planned route unless I get so
blown away with the Observation Peak area and spend an extra
day there then Ill use the trail ,or if the monsoonal flow picks up
again and throws a wrench into my plans.
Thanks Cloudy for the info. Both the Hester and Observation area
have the added interest because of the possible plane wreckage
to be found!
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Postby TehipiteTom » Wed Jul 25, 2007 1:00 pm

I remember that once you climb up the other side, you end up in a large U-shaped canyon with the outlet stream from Hester Lake coming down a crack in the smooth , steep surface at the end of the U. I didn't see an easy way up and as I said, being cold and wet gave me an excuse to turn around.

That does look like a mighty steep headwall above 10,000'. Just based on the map, it looks like it might be feasible to continue up the trail to Lake 10,320+, then follow the valley south to Lake 11,654 and loop around to Hester. Purely map speculation, though.
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Postby giantbrookie » Wed Jul 25, 2007 1:34 pm

maverick wrote:Yes, the Barrett Creek route is my planned route unless I get so
blown away with the Observation Peak area and spend an extra
day there then Ill use the trail ,or if the monsoonal flow picks up
again and throws a wrench into my plans.
Thanks Cloudy for the info. Both the Hester and Observation area
have the added interest because of the possible plane wreckage
to be found!


If you've done Barrett Creek before you can disregard the following info, but I figured I had better give a few details given that the last time I advised someone to go that way they were probably cursing my name when they did it, owing to either changed conditions since my wife and I did it in 1993 (there has been a fire since then) or the choice of routes (followed east side of creek instead of west as my wife and I did). If the conditions are anything like they were for my wife's and my trip you will find it one of the nicest off trail routes (except that Barrett Creek won't be booming and spraying as it was in July 1993). In ascending from Palisade Creek you will want to start west of the creek (and not right up against it) and zig zag through openings in the brush before actually coming in contact with the creek at the top of the prominent waterfall/cascade the marks the top of the steep lower section of the drainage. Above the waterfall you can stay very close to the creek along its west side in a spectacular slot canyon until you've ascended to the point where the angle eases and the canyon broadens. Above that the ascent of the drainage and eventually Knapsack Pass is trivial. If the optimal route is not followed it can apparently be pretty brushy. In '93 there was actually a use trail in sections. It is possible that even the best route isn't as easy as it used to be too if things grew back brushier after the fire. This is one of my two favorite slot canyon off trail routes in the Sierra, the other being the outlet of Lake Genevieve in Convict Canyon. The Barrett route is much longer and you are directly in the throat of the slot instead of being above it on a shelf as one is in the narrowest section of the Genevieve climb.

Enjoy

Cheers,

John
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 maverick » Wed Jul 25, 2007 3:53 pm

Thanks GB for the 411, by the way have you climbed Giraud Peak?
Ive heard it has some great views from the top.
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Postby giantbrookie » Wed Jul 25, 2007 7:29 pm

maverick wrote:Thanks GB for the 411, by the way have you climbed Giraud Peak?
Ive heard it has some great views from the top.

I haven't done Giraud and its one I certainly wouldn't mind doing. Some day.
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 cgundersen » Mon Jul 30, 2007 3:29 pm

Hi Maverick,
I need to respond to comments you & giantbrookie left on an earlier post I made, but just for the record, I too have looked longingly at the route you're about to do, but have only nibbled at parts of it. I went over Rambaud Pass ages ago and that was pretty dramatic, and I've sort of tinkered with ideas of working my way high through that entire area (from Black Giant down to the Devil's washbowl). But, the more important tidbit is that if you're planning to visit the lake 10585 that's up the drainage I think you're planning to take, be prepared for a very interesting encounter going around the lake. It may be easier in low snow, but when my wife and I went through there about 4 years ago, we circled the north side of the lake (the south side included a patch of snow that extended into the lake and my wife hates traversing those things). About 2/3 of the way around (we were coming from Marion Lakes via Dumbell) there is a collection of boulders the size of school buses that drop into the lake. The water was too deep to wade around the mess (at least, at the time we did it). It was a helluva climb to get around it, and as I mentioned, the other side was a no go for the boss. So, we spent roughly 90 min doing some very weird contortions to get around the obstacle (and 90 min for 100 meters is SLOW!). It's one of those things where just when you think you're on cruise control, the whammy strikes. Part of the fun of those areas, I guess. Lastly, as for the hike up to Barrett Lakes, I agree with GB that it's a cool route, but having done it only going down, I'd have to say, I'd recommend the down direction versus up. Having recently botched the ascent to Lake Catherine (coming up to Ritter and Banner from the west), I can vouch for the fact that it's usually easier to pick one's way down rather than up (and thus avoid cursing someone). Regardless, I hope it's a great trip!
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Postby maverick » Mon Jul 30, 2007 3:59 pm

Thanks C for the 411, but my trip got canceled.
I have descended Barrett Creek and was looking forward to ascending
this time it after 20 some years later, oh well.
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