Mono Pass to Lake Edison advice

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michaelzim
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Re: Mono Pass to Lake Edison advice

Post by michaelzim » Fri Jan 22, 2021 2:51 pm

@kpeter I think I would trend to the two trips version like @SSSdave suggests. One from the east and one from the west. Just the idea of having to drive all the way over Kaiser Pass to Edison then turn back and drive to the east side makes me cringe somewhat. I don't know the east side at all as have always entered from the west so know that terrain out of Edison well. There is plenty to keep you busy for 9 days if swing in an arc from Graveyard Lakes/Peter Pande and over to the near side of the Mono Creek drainage and valleys.

Peter Pande alone is a truly gorgeous lake worthy of being a base camp for a few days. Best place to camp is at the far end (west). Hiking up to the divide beyond Anne Lake is a tremendous view. However, I would not advise venturing on a map hunch all the way to the small lakes to the east of Sharktooth Peak (Pocket, Scarab, Midge, etc.) as they were nothing special at all when I did that. Better to spend the time in the Pande basin area and then over in Graveyard Lakes basin - which can be surprisingly un-peopled for being so close to a major trailhead. Your July date though may make it a bit more inhabited but most will be at the main, lowest lake. It's a pretty area too.

Best ~ Michaelzim








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kpeter
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Re: Mono Pass to Lake Edison advice

Post by kpeter » Fri Jan 22, 2021 6:06 pm

All fabulous advice--the sort I've come to expect from this fabulous group of experts.

I'll talk it over with my friend. He really wants the feeling of accomplishment of traversing the Sierra, but perhaps I can talk him into a long loop out of Edison. We also could do a simpler traverse, just adding extra days at key recesses, leaving out the Silver Divide.

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Re: Mono Pass to Lake Edison advice

Post by bobby49 » Fri Jan 22, 2021 8:07 pm

There is one completely different way to go. Do it as a dayhike from Mono Pass to Lake Edison. The last time that we did this, we started before dawn at the Mosquito Flat TH and ended up at the parking lot near VVR after sunset. In order to ease the logistics, there was one team of hikers that started at VVR going east, and I was in the team that started at Mosquito going west.

By the way, you better pack some extra lunch for that.

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Re: Mono Pass to Lake Edison advice

Post by Wandering Daisy » Fri Jan 22, 2021 10:10 pm

If you skip Sliver Divide, from Grinnell Lake, do not go back down to Mono, rather, x-c to Rosy Finch and out via Mott Lake trail that then intersects Silver Pass Trail.

If I were to do the recesses as a loop, I would go in from Rock Creek, doing the downhill when packs are heavier and coming out uphill. Go directly over Mono Pass to Pioneer Basin, then Laurel/Grinnell, back and cross creek to Second Recess (Mill Creek) , day-hike up to Third and then camp at Fourth Recess on way out. Second Recess is a bit more difficult to get into as the "use-trail" is overgrown and hard to find. You can do an easy day-hike up to Third Recess (good trail)- really no need to camp up there. You could day-hike up to Gabot Pass. Another reason to loop from Rock Creek is that there is a paved road to the trailhead. I just HATE that dirt road to Edison Lake, and the boat ferry is over-priced, and gets crowded with PCT and JMT hikers.

1 drive and hike to Ruby Lake
2-3 Pioneer Basin
3 Laurel Lake
4 dh to Rosy Finch and move camp to Grinnell Lake
5 Lower Mill Creek Lake
6 dh upper Mill Creek Lake and drop back to Mono Creek and camp on creek
7 Third Recess (you could also just do this as a day-hike on way to Fourth Recess
8 Fourth Recess Lake, with a side day hike up to Third Recess or one day in each
9 Optional Day - perhaps Explore the upper hanging valley (Snow Lake), or do three days in Pioneer Basin
10 out

I have not calculated the mileages, this suggestion is off the top of my head - you would need to work out the details.

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Re: Mono Pass to Lake Edison advice

Post by LMBSGV » Sat Jan 23, 2021 12:02 pm

I agree with WD’s suggestions, though I have a couple of personal tweaks to the itinerary. It’s a matter of what one subjectively prefers for campsite choices and one’s personal hiking style. Since you’ll be with another person, there are also his preferences. To me, a Sierra traverse is not a big deal if one is hitting the best places one will be visiting. The few miles of lower Mono Creek above Edison Lake before you get to the Laurel Lake trail/Second Recess use trail junction are the least beautiful/interesting sections of your trip.

I also hate the Edison Lake Road. There’s a reason they have the bumper sticker for having successfully driven the road. And you have to be sure to arrive on time to catch the ferry. The Rock Creek Road is definitely easier and saner to drive. You can camp for free the first night at the Mosquito Flat walk-in campground. By late afternoon, the people in the parking lot have gone away so it almost feels the same as backpacking except one can eat/drink car camping style.

I also think Pioneer Basin is worth two nights. The first day/night to hike in there to camp at Lake 10,862 and a second day to explore the upper part of the basin. The other part of WD’s itinerary I would modify for my sensibilities is the sixth day. I would either day hike to Upper Mills Creek Lake and Gabbot Pass or move camp to Upper Mills Creek Lake and dayhike.

If you are really going to make it a 10 day trip, you can add the extra day anywhere in the trip though I think Fourth Recess Lake is the least interesting compared to Pioneer Basin, Laurel/Grinnell, and Second Recess. However, you choose, it will be great trip.
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Re: Mono Pass to Lake Edison advice

Post by SSSdave » Sat Jan 23, 2021 5:10 pm

Ready links off my site:

Pioneer Basin expanse
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Silver Fox Pass south
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Wonderfully remote idyllic Olive Lake, our base camping top choice.
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Laurel Creek
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Anne Lake
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Peter Pande Lake
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Re: Mono Pass to Lake Edison advice

Post by oleander » Mon Jan 25, 2021 10:58 pm

The Creek Fire map indicates extensive burning along the entire length of the north shore of Edison. That burn then extends uphill for a ways along the Goodall Trail and the route to Graveyard.

So if you do drop into Edison, you may want to just head straight to Edison's east shore. The Mono Creek Trail, the JMT via Silver Divide, or a cross-country pass from the Mt. Izaak Walton area (I forget its name) will get you there. You avoid the burned areas; and can catch the ferry to VVR.

Hard to know how serious the burns were. I've decided to skip Edison/Graveyard this year. Can go back some future year after there is more intel.

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Re: Mono Pass to Lake Edison advice

Post by balzaccom » Tue Jan 26, 2021 8:19 am

It is a lovely area...but we were then when the Creek Fire erupted. Not a great place to be.

Very sad to think that is has been burned...
Balzaccom

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