Trip Advice (July 2021): 5 Day Loop Suggestions for Evolution Valley , Ionian Basin, Darwins Basin, Etc

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mbehlen
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Trip Advice (July 2021): 5 Day Loop Suggestions for Evolution Valley , Ionian Basin, Darwins Basin, Etc

Post by mbehlen » Sat Jan 02, 2021 12:19 pm

Hi HST! You have helped me plan my first ever trip, my first multi-day trip, and multiple solo trips. And now I have backpacked a couple of hundred miles! Thank you for all of your help! (my first post said Iwas scared to do the Mineral King Loop, and you encouraged me! I ended up knocking it out in about 2.5 days!)

I wanted to ask your advice/opinion on finding a 5-day loop from the west to explore the following areas with the goal of 12-13 Miles a day to do 65 miles or so total.

-Evolution Basin/Valley
-Ionian Basin
-Darwins Basin
-Humphry Basin
-Any other areas I can use as a loop (I am open to suggestions)!

One path that seems to work from Courtright is:

Day 1: Courtright to Hell For Sure Pass and to Martha Lake - 13 Miles
Day 2: Explore Ionian Basin and go over Wanda pass to Wanda Lake - 13 Miles
Day 3: Jump on the JMT and head to Darwin Basin and Take Alpine Col to Goethe Lake -12/13 Miles
Day 4: Then where?
Day 5: Back at Florence Lake for someone to pick me up and drop me off at my car at Courtright.

Perhaps a loop out of Florence would be better? I have already been to Hell For Sure and things didn't get real beautiful until Disappointment Lake.

The Stats/Info:
What level of backpacking experience do you have?
Level 3- Numerous backpacking trips, some x-country travel (recently did BeaRoyce Pass in August 2020) and did x-country exploring bear lakes, Royce lakes, etc.

What terrain are you comfortable/uncomfortable with?
- Class 1 terrain/trail hiking
- Class 2 terrain/pass/x-country
-Class 3?

What is your main interest(s)?
- Lakes
- Big Mountain scenery
- Photography

LAST NOTE: I am open to "go somewhere completely different" replies. Even a completely different area!








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Re: Trip Advice (July 2021): 5 Day Loop Suggestions for Evolution Valley , Ionian Basin, Darwins Basin, Etc

Post by Wandering Daisy » Sat Jan 02, 2021 3:42 pm

Your daily mileage is unreasonably optimistic.
1) Re-calculate your days' travels by adding time for elevation gain- if acclimated and pack light then about 1/2-3/4 hour extra for each 1000 feet gain. Getting all the way to Martha Lake in one day is pretty difficult.
2) 13 miles a day in Ionian Basin is unlikely. Travel is quite slow there being a TON of talus. Also, why? Ionian Basin offers several days worth of exploring.
3) Alpine Col also involves tons of talus and and very slow travel getting around the lakes. The route finding is quite tricky.

You could limit the trip to Ionian Basin, given you only have 5 days and spend more time really exploring more.

Personally, if I were not going to stop and camp in Red Mountain Basin, I would instead do a loop from Florence Lake that also would eliminate the transportation problems and have a lot less elevation gain. With an early start, you could reach Martha Lake from Florence Lake in a long day. However I think the earliest ferry is 8AM.

Do not take this wrong, but given your "plan" how much off-trail experience you have had? In general you need to cut daily mileage in half when on difficult off-trail terrain vs. trails. The navigation and terrain on your planned route is quite tricky and not trivial.

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Re: Trip Advice (July 2021): 5 Day Loop Suggestions for Evolution Valley , Ionian Basin, Darwins Basin, Etc

Post by mbehlen » Sat Jan 02, 2021 5:38 pm

Hi! Thanks for the response! I think I am being overly optimistic. I will rethink this plan and try and do a loop out of Florence. I will post an update!

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Re: Trip Advice (July 2021): 5 Day Loop Suggestions for Evolution Valley , Ionian Basin, Darwins Basin, Etc

Post by mbehlen » Sat Jan 02, 2021 7:36 pm

So looking at the map, a trip like this sounds doable in 5 hiking days! Any recommendations for a trip out of Florence to evolution valley with a bunch of side trips in a lollipop format?

-

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Re: Trip Advice (July 2021): 5 Day Loop Suggestions for Evolution Valley , Ionian Basin, Darwins Basin, Etc

Post by Wandering Daisy » Sun Jan 03, 2021 9:29 am

Many of us have done trip reports for the Ionian Basin as well as Alpine Col. If you have not already read those, please do as they would be informative. Someone else this fall asked about Ionian Basin camping. Read that too. I do not mind commenting on proposed routes, but hesitate to do route-planning for others. I find the route planning fun and it makes me look more closely at the area and become familiar with it. Your mileage estimates seem a bit low compared to what I have calculated using the old TOPO program using 7.5 minute USGS maps. Perhaps check that again.

I think other than getting a sufficient distance from the trailhead, you are not obligated to stick to what you said on the permit, so you still have plenty of time to plan your route, even if you have to get the permit early. Why exactly are you set only on a 5-day route? Can you add a day or two just for contingency? Off-trail in Ionian Basin can be some of the slowest travel for Sierra off-trail in general, with lots of challenging micro-route finding. It is considerably more difficult than the off-trail travel you have cited in your experience.

Exactly when in July are you planning your trip? July conditions vary considerably. Ionian Basin tends to have a lot of steep snowfields that linger well into July. I would avoid early July.

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Re: Trip Advice (July 2021): 5 Day Loop Suggestions for Evolution Valley , Ionian Basin, Darwins Basin, Etc

Post by balzaccom » Sun Jan 03, 2021 6:13 pm

One addition to Daisy's note--is that your permit really only determines where you enter the wilderness. If you choose to follow another route once on the trail, that isn't problem. Nor would it be a problem if you took an extra day to hike your route. They are mainly interested in two things with permits:

1. Controlling the traffic at busy (i.e. trailhead) locations.
2. Having some idea of where to look for you if you don't make it out.
Balzaccom

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Re: Trip Advice (July 2021): 5 Day Loop Suggestions for Evolution Valley , Ionian Basin, Darwins Basin, Etc

Post by stevet » Sun Jan 03, 2021 7:55 pm

Daisy is correct on your initial route being overly optimistic. I travel Martha Lake to Ionian Basin this past summer and it was a 12 hour day, maybe could have been 10 if I had nailed every routing decision. Though had I just skirted Ionian and went direct from Martha Lake over Wanda Pass, that would have been about the same.

A maybe route, assuming you can get to Martha Lake on Day 1. X-country over to Chasm Lake. This will give you a taste of the west end of Ionian Basin. Alternate, if you are running late is to stop at Lake 11592 as Chasm Lake is an out and back from there. Day 3 over Wanda Pass to Wanda Lake. Day 4 over over Davis Lakes Pass. Can stop at Davis Lakes and set up a long exit back over Hell for Sure or continue past the Davis Lakes and over Hell for Sure Pass and set up for a shorter exit day.

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Re: Trip Advice (July 2021): 5 Day Loop Suggestions for Evolution Valley , Ionian Basin, Darwins Basin, Etc

Post by Wandering Daisy » Tue Jan 05, 2021 10:31 am

Just for your information, these are the miles that I had calculated for my previous trips. Both are all-trail routes.

Maxon Meadows to Martha Lake via Hell for Sure Pass- 22.3 miles, 6040 feet gain, 3790 loss (includes small diversion to camp at Horseshoe Lake)
Florence Lake to Martha Lake- 18.5 miles. It is pretty much a straight up hike, the elevation gain being Martha Lake - Florence Lk

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Re: Trip Advice (July 2021): 5 Day Loop Suggestions for Evolution Valley , Ionian Basin, Darwins Basin, Etc

Post by kylekuzma » Tue Jan 05, 2021 12:42 pm

You've already got a lot to see, but the McGee Lakes area is stands out even in a region as beautiful as this

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