TR: "big" slide, little slide, and northern yosemite (10/17-19, 2020)

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frozenintime
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TR: "big" slide, little slide, and northern yosemite (10/17-19, 2020)

Post by frozenintime » Tue Feb 02, 2021 12:24 pm

hi all

the full report is here: https://badmountain.org/big-slide-littl ... n-yosemite

and here are some stray thoughts and photos below :)

my two big 2020 sierra trips were scheduled for late august and early september, and the smoke canceled them both. the september trip mercifully transformed into an out and back on the ruby crest trail in northeast nevada (though the creek fire's smoke managed to make it there too!), but the idea of an entire year without the sierra was just too much to take.

fortunately, a warm spell in mid-october afforded me the opportunity to get into the sierra for at least one weekend. the original plan was east fork cherry creek and environs via bourland, but the day before the trip the wind shifted and more smoke from the creek fire lit up the emigrant-adjacent sensors. the east side of sonora pass looked a lot clearer, so we scrambled for mono village instead.

it was my first time in that hoover/northern yosemite canyon country, and i came away really impressed. i've got to see the rest of those canyons sometime soon! i like how they're just lined up like dominoes up there.

our route was: mono village > little slide canyon > slide canyon > suicide ridge (a bit much on the name, folks) > rock island lake > rock island pass > mono village.

the cross country stuff on the route was pretty easy. i might even say it's a good first xc trip for someone comfortable on trails? this is not legal advice, though.

it certainly helped that we managed to stick with the little slide use trail for virtually the entire length of the canyon -- there's some pretty nasty looking stuff at points. it also helped that we were there so late in the year -- that is a seriously north facing canyon, and has got to carry real snow deep into the summer. (i feel like i've read a story about needing SAR from a snow-related injury in little slide?)

i got caught up in a bit of bushwacky stuff at the bottom of the ascent out of (big) slide canyon, but otherwise it was easy: mostly big, smooth (and steep) slabs. "suicide ridge" was some standard up, down, and around traversing.

our weather was very lucky -- lows in the upper 30s overnight at 9000-and-something both nights. however, the nights were certainly long!


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the route. i like how rock island lake (bottom left) is so shallow that it barely registers as a lake.


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fall in the high-ish sierra


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little slide canyon


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a particularly talus-choked section


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the incredible Incredible Hulk


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a well hidden trail camera!


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the striking west side of ice lake


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a slightly smoky slide canyon


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morning light


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climbing out of slide


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rock island lake and its peculiar, flat basin


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evening at crown lake


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one more








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neil d
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Re: TR: "big" slide, little slide, and northern yosemite (10/17-19, 2020)

Post by neil d » Tue Feb 02, 2021 3:14 pm

Really excellent report and photos! That light is just amazing. Had two trips in that part of Hoover this year and am ready to go back for off-trail adventures. I've never seen Little Slide/Slide captured so well in photos, definitely looks enchanting! Prost.

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Re: TR: "big" slide, little slide, and northern yosemite (10/17-19, 2020)

Post by balzaccom » Tue Feb 02, 2021 5:59 pm

Isn't Crown Lake one of the most photogenic lakes in the Sierra? It's just stunning in all kinds of different light.

Nice trip! We've done the loop out of Twin Lakes to Benson and all, but now I'd like to go back and explore the Slides!
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Re: TR: "big" slide, little slide, and northern yosemite (10/17-19, 2020)

Post by Wandering Daisy » Tue Feb 02, 2021 8:11 pm

I did a loop from Twin Lakes in June 2008 that included dropping from Snow(?? not sure of the name- maybe it was Rock Island Lake)) Lake into Slide Canyon. It looks like you did not get all the way to the end, in a beautiful meadow below Bath Mountain. (At least you had no photos of Bath Mountain) There was a bit of snow on the lakes at that time. I was scoping out Bath Mountain for rock climbing potential. I have done several trips in Little Slide Creek. Incredible Hulk is quite the piece of rock! I really liked one of the photos on your web site that you did not put in the trip report. Great photos.
1686_Bath Mountain_Small.jpg
1682-83_Bath Mountain_small.jpg
08_TwLk_031.JPG
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Re: TR: "big" slide, little slide, and northern yosemite (10/17-19, 2020)

Post by wildhiker » Wed Feb 03, 2021 12:06 am

Your longer report mentions finding a nice use trail to take you around the east side of "The Slide" in Slide Canyon. When I traversed this canyon (starting at Smedberg Lake on the PCT in the south) in 1974, I was entranced by the beautiful meadows and peaceful solitude - that is, until I came up to "The Slide". What a mess of giant talus! We pushed straight through at a very slow pace. If I ever make it back there, I will be quite happy to use that new use trail around the slide!
-Phil

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Re: TR: "big" slide, little slide, and northern yosemite (10/17-19, 2020)

Post by frozenintime » Wed Feb 03, 2021 11:55 am

thanks neil d!

balzaccom, i was definitely surprised by crown. a real winner of a lake. we didn't find a ton of great sites, which was a little surprising given how close it is to the trailhead. our site was good but as i mentioned, it seemed like it might be wet earlier in the year.

speaking of close to the trailhead, i found barney lake to be fairly spectacular for something 4 miles from the car.

wildhiker, yes the slide looked like it would be very unpleasant to negotiate! there are some truly mammoth blocks in there. the use trail was easy to pick up from the north side. when we exited on the other end, it seemed like it might(?) be a little harder to find coming from the south, but ultimately it runs within 10-20 feet of the edge of the slide all the way across, so one could likely pick it up later without too much trouble. even without a trail, side-hilling through the dirt and forest would probably be less taxing than the slide itself.

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Re: TR: "big" slide, little slide, and northern yosemite (10/17-19, 2020)

Post by frozenintime » Wed Feb 03, 2021 12:03 pm

WD,

here is a picture from the huge meadow at the base of the climb out of (or your descent into) slide. this is looking southeast, so bath would be to camera's right.

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unfortunately, i was probably too focused on checking out the route to notice bath mountain!


you can see the lovely, winding creek in this one, though greatly diminished in october of a low snow year:

Image

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Re: TR: "big" slide, little slide, and northern yosemite (10/17-19, 2020)

Post by balzaccom » Wed Feb 03, 2021 5:17 pm

Yep--when we were there the rangers were actually discouraging people from camping at Barney because it is so close and easy...not that they were successful.

We found campsites at Crown behind a couple of granite ridges on the Northeast corner of the lake
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Re: TR: "big" slide, little slide, and northern yosemite (10/17-19, 2020)

Post by Enigmagic » Wed Feb 03, 2021 6:15 pm

balzaccom wrote:
Wed Feb 03, 2021 5:17 pm
We found campsites at Crown behind a couple of granite ridges on the Northeast corner of the lake
we've stayed at these a couple times. I poked around the area for a while and haven't found anything better.

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Re: TR: "big" slide, little slide, and northern yosemite (10/17-19, 2020)

Post by kpeter » Wed Feb 03, 2021 9:51 pm

This is a wonderful report about a part of the Sierra which is completely new to me. And the light and color of fall is also foreign to me--my work schedule has prevented me from ever--even once--backpacking at that time of year. I am eager to give it a try!

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