Summer Eastern Sierra trip - Looking for advice!

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jfbruin34
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Summer Eastern Sierra trip - Looking for advice!

Post by jfbruin34 » Sun Jan 24, 2021 10:53 am

Hi everyone, I’m fairly new to HST but found this amazing community invaluable in 2020 to help plan a few trips.

My buddies and I are in our mid-thirties and live in LA/OC/SD and have gotten really into hiking these last few years. We have done a bunch of the SoCal peaks (Baldy, Gorgonio, Ontario, Cucamonga, etc.) and got lucky enough to win the Whitney overnight lottery in 2019 and we summited. Last year we did a day hike over Kearsarge from OV and thought Kearsarge Lakes was one of the prettiest things we had ever seen, and I spent some time in Glen Aulin in Yosemite and loved it. We’ve also done some short 2-3 night backpacking trips in other NPs but all on trails. Our most experienced guy has done quite a bit of backpacking and another has done guided trips up Mt. Baker and Mt. Reinier.

We want to do a couple of 3-4 night Eastern Sierra trips this coming summer and am looking for advice.

Here are the details:
- 3-4 nights total (including one for acclimation if needed)
- Most of us are prob Level 2, a couple level 3
- Would like to stay on class 2-3 terrain
- Open to a little snow but only what would be ok with micro spikes and poles
- We all did ok with altitude over Kearsarge and summiting Whitney
- Aiming for late Jul / early Aug to avoid mosquitoes
- Prioritizing big mountain scenery, lakes, some high elevation (but peak bagging not so important)
- Prefer loops but open to there/back
- Ideally like 8-10 miles per day but we can make the occasional push

So far I’ve been reading HST a bunch and from that we’ve been considering the following, but open to all suggestions:
- Kearsarge to Rae Lakes and back
- Something around Dusy Basin
- Agnew Meadows to Thousand Island Lake

We’ve all got small kids so these trips are quite the precious escapes. If we’ve only got 1-2 this year what should we do?

Thanks!








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markskor
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Re: Summer Eastern Sierra trip - Looking for advice!

Post by markskor » Sun Jan 24, 2021 11:35 am

Hey and welcome. (Are you a UCLA bruin?)
Many trail options available for this trip but for a nice 3 or 4 day backpack adventure, strongly suggest the Agnew Meadows to Tuolumne Meadows (or reverse) route and YARTS back to car...'nuff said.
BTW, you never mention anything about fishing?
mark
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Re: Summer Eastern Sierra trip - Looking for advice!

Post by Jimr » Sun Jan 24, 2021 11:38 am

I suggest adding Sabrina Basin to your short list.
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Re: Summer Eastern Sierra trip - Looking for advice!

Post by jfbruin34 » Sun Jan 24, 2021 12:28 pm

Love to fish (loved the Eastern side of Kearsarge for that and grew up fishing around Lone Pine <> Bishop) and picked up a telescopic fishing rod this winter. That said, most of the crew is more about the hiking/scenery.

Yes, UCLA class of 2006!

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Re: Summer Eastern Sierra trip - Looking for advice!

Post by markskor » Sun Jan 24, 2021 1:03 pm

AS you well know, the Eastern Sierra rocks but you only have 4 days to explore...sigh, too many trips to mention.
Rae Lakes, Sabrina Basin, North Lake to Humphrey Basin, Tuolumne to the Valley, Saddlebag to Tuolumne, Tuolumne to Vogelsang/ Ireland loop, maybe Chain lakes, etc., etc....all are possible.

Whatever. Still highly recommend the Mammoth to Tuolumne trip, (using YARTS for a return to car)...not a big fan of retracing my routes.

Mammoth Lakes ski area parking and $7 shuttle bus down to Agnew Meadows - 3 trails choices available up to Garnet Lake. (Camp backside Garnet - great fishing,)
Garnet to backside 1000 Island by using a short/easy off-trail backside pass (see TOPO)...an easy day but worth it. You can fish while others explore...scenic as heck.. Catherine or Banner.
1000 Island...go a few miles down over Donahue pass to the Lyell Canyon overlook.
Lyell Canyon to Tuolumne Meadows - (stop in the store and say hi to the old fart behind the counter!) and 7:00 PM bus back to Mammoth ski parking.
Go Bruins!
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Re: Summer Eastern Sierra trip - Looking for advice!

Post by Wandering Daisy » Sun Jan 24, 2021 3:36 pm

Personally, I limit driving when I have limited time on 3-4 day trips. I try to drive (early start to beat traffic) to the trailhead by noon and walk in some distance the same day. I would look at trailheads from Bishop south, and with short drives from 395. Do not forget that there are many very scenic lakes on the east side of the passes that you can reach on the same day you drive. For example;

Sabrina Basin- first night Blue Lake

Dusy Basin - first night Chocolate Lakes or any of the lakes east of Bishop Pass

First-Sixth Lakes (TR near Glacier Lodge)- first night Second Lake

Humphreys Basin- first night Piute Lake (east of the pass)

Sky Blue Lake- first night in one of the Cottonwood Lakes and over New Army Pass (off-trail and/or faint use trail from Soldier Lake to Sky Blue Lake)-perhaps go out Cottonwood Pass for a loop

Granite Park from Pine Creek TH- it is a rigorous hike up the switchbacks to the first lake, but I have done it starting at noon.

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Re: Summer Eastern Sierra trip - Looking for advice!

Post by davidsheridan » Sun Jan 24, 2021 3:54 pm

Great recommendations above.

I highly recommend buying the book called "Sierra South" by Kathy Morey and Mike White - it is a great way to orient yourself to all of the East-side trailheads and have multiple options from most trailheads described.

You will find itineraries for most all of the afore-mentioned trips with details about daily itineraries and locations of campsites.

Lots of trips in the 3 night/4 day range

Itineraries are very manageable and do not cover too many miles ins a single day, but bring you to awesome places with time to explore.

The trips with cross country sections are usually suitable for for most people with moderate XC experience.

It is also good to have a few trips in mind. Permits are going very fast for the most popular trailheads (e.g. N. Fork Big pine Creek), so if you really want to get a specific permit... I would reserve 6 months t the day in advance, exactly at 7AM.

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Re: Summer Eastern Sierra trip - Looking for advice!

Post by Pietro257 » Thu Jan 28, 2021 6:29 pm

Mr. Bruin--

Are you into cross-country hiking? Here's an itinerary with some cross-country hiking thrown in:

1. Starting at Agnew Meadows (outside of Mammoth Lakes, near Devil's Postpile in the Ansel Adams Wilderness), hike to Garnet Lake. This lake will be crowded with fisher folk but it is beautiful nonetheless.This first day is an easy hike and will help you acclimate.

2. Cross-country to south to Ediza Lake by way of Nydiver lakes (and Whitebark Pass). The cross-country route out of Garnet is initially kind of hard, but once you get over the pass to Nydiver the route (and route-finding) is pretty easy. If you don't care to cross-country to Ediza, go there by trail.

3. Take the cross-country route to Iceberg Lake and Cecile Lake to Minaret Lakes, and camp there. This is probably the most used cross-country route in the entire Sierra. It's very beautiful. Much of the way you'll find a use trail. Route-finding on the descent to Minaret Lakes can be kind of hard, but look for the little creek that flows downward to Minaret Lake and follow it. Minaret Lake is gorgeous.

4. Hike to Devil's Postpile and make your way to Agnew Meadows (if your parked your car there). If you parked it at the Mammoth Ski Area you can take the shuttle bus to the ski area. If you're feeling really adventurous, hike over to the Minaret Mine on your way out. There is a cross-country route from the mine downhill to the trail that goes down to Devil's Postpile.

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Re: Summer Eastern Sierra trip - Looking for advice!

Post by Wandering Daisy » Thu Jan 28, 2021 9:13 pm

Last I was there, you could only drive your car to the trailheads before 7AM and after 7PM. Not sure that is the case now. Or do they now require the shuttle bus in all cases? My experience with the shuttles, is that if you hit it right, it is just about an half an hour longer than driving your car. If you just miss the bus, or if it is full on a busy weekend and you have to wait for the second one, you can waste 1-2 hours.

Because of the driving restrictions and shuttle delays, I have never considered Agnew Meadow or other trailheads in Devils Postpile as "easy access".
Just saying you have to take that extra time into consideration, particularly if driving from LA area, plus traffic and all.

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Re: Summer Eastern Sierra trip - Looking for advice!

Post by jfbruin34 » Fri Jan 29, 2021 12:25 pm

Quick follow-up here. Wilderness permits went super fast this morning but did snag 5 for Sabrina Lake to explore the Sabrina Basin and nearby areas for 3 nights the wkd of 7/29. Anyone have favorite itineraries? I've fished Lake Sabrina a couple of times but never hiked around it.

Also "Sierra South" just came in the mail, super excited to dig in :)

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