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Where to next?

Posted: Wed Aug 22, 2007 2:46 pm
by maverick
As someone who is allways trying to find the most isolated places,
with alot of adventure, its starting to get harder to find such spots.
I guess one area Im looking at is the lakes east of Blue Canyon Peak
and east and southeast of Tunemah Lake.
Has anyone visited these lakes?
It looks like there would be some good views of the Ragged Spur,
Black Divide, Goddard Creek below, and the peaks to the north.
Got any other ideals?

Posted: Wed Aug 22, 2007 5:11 pm
by cgundersen
Hi Maverick,
Obviously, if you've not been to the backside of the Kaweahs (see Trailblazer's post earlier this summer), that'd certainly get you off the beaten path. Although it's somewhat more accessible, I like the Gardiner Lakes basin, and the drainages that run off the flanks of Mt. Clarence King were largely untouched when I visited there a few years ago. I'm also "soft" on Spearpoint Lake (as I noted in an earlier thread this summer). And although I keep getting skunked in trying to post a report in which I've embedded lots of photos, the trip my wife and I did earlier this summer (a high loop around Mt. Lyell) included two spectacular canyons (Hutchings Creek and the Lyell fork of the Merced) that showed negligible impact. Your trip earlier this year (that included Blue Lake/Bench Canyon) got you awfully close to that area, but I'd still recommend it. Here's one photo that was taken on the southern ridge (up on the plateau that holds Harriet Lake) looking back at the canyon of the Lyell fork of the Merced:

Posted: Wed Aug 22, 2007 5:18 pm
by TehipiteTom
I've looked at that (east of Blue Canyon) area as some quintessential remoteness...gotta be spectacular up there.

Another option would be what I tried (and failed) to get to this year: the east side of the LeConte Divide, north of Hell For Sure. For that matter, there are some lakes on benches above the east side of Goddard Canyon that also look pretty darn spectacular.

Tough to top what you just did, in any case. That's quite a trip.

Posted: Wed Aug 22, 2007 5:58 pm
by maverick

I have been to Gardiner via King Col from the north and out
Gardiner pass in the south.
Hutchings and Lyell Fork were visited over 20 yrs ago.
I have a long trip report back in 2006 on Kaweah Basin and
Red Spur Lakes with photos of the trip on the linked web site.
Here are the 3 photos from that trip. 1-2 in Red Spur Basin, 3 in upper
Kaweah Basin at sunrise at around 11000ft(all are around 11000ft).

Posted: Wed Aug 22, 2007 7:12 pm
by rightstar76

Posted: Wed Aug 22, 2007 8:29 pm
by giantbrookie
I've been to Blue Canyon and Goddard 10212, but not the lakes E of Tunemah Lake and that area. I too would be highly tempted to get to that area--I would go there whether I heard anything about them or not. If I weren't limited to a maximum of 5 days on my trips, I had an 8 day trip on the docket that would have passed through the Tunemah area. My daydream plan was something like this (allowing for death march factor of course): day 1 Rancheria to Tehipite, day 2 devoted to going up Middle Fork to near Goddard Creek confluence, day 3 up Goddard Creek thence to lakes below Tunemah (may have better spawning potential than Tunemah itself so more likely to have fish). day 4 climb Tunemah Peak en route to Blue Canyon, day 5 climb Finger Peak, then move into Blackcap Basin, day 6 to Bench Valley, day 7 to Crown Lake, day 8 out. Of course you can also do loops where instead of going to Blackcap after Blue Canyon you can go to Goddard Creek 10212 and then Martha Lake before crossing over.

Another spot that was once on my remote list that is also out of range for a 5 day trip is Lake 11482 below Kern Point. I tried once to get there from Colby but was suffering from a bad cold and feet that were bloody and raw over more than half of their area, so I failed. I then had it scheduled from Lake 10875 in the Kern-Kaweah R. headwaters (this would mean dropping into the canyon climbing up the other side, then over the saddle to the lake). That was called off because of round-the-clock thundershowers (this was the same trip I went to Kaweah Basin and Red Spur). The easiest way to get to 11482 would be to traverse from the Milestone Creek basin, accessed from Shepherd Pass.

Yet another one on my hit list is unnamed lake 9680+ SE of Wells Peak above Stubblefield Canyon in northern Yosemite. I even bought stereo air photos of the place to check it out. That could be combined with a visit to the lake at the head of Stubblefield as well. Other northern Yosemite trailless spots could be mixed in.

I guess the one adventure I put in the same league, but different character, than the giant Tehipite-Tunemah-Blue Canyon-Blackcap-Bench Valley loop would be to force the entire Kendrick Creek canyon from the lakes downstream of Edyth Lake to the Twin Lakes (note one cannot faithfully stay on the creek all the way because there is one major cascade plus a stupendous 400 foot waterfall)--one could loop out via a number of attractive options (start at Hetch Hetchy). This would be the lightest traveled of any area. I'll bet fewer people would try this than even Red Spur.

Posted: Wed Aug 22, 2007 9:53 pm
by rightstar76
Giantbrookie, since you've been to Lake 10212 (10232 according to some other maps), what is the least technical way to get there? Is it from Martha Lake over Reinstein Pass? Or is it from Crown Basin over Mantle and Blue Canyon passes? Looking at my 7.5 minute Mt. Goddard map, Reinstein looks like it's the longest way in, but technically the easiest since the lines are the furthest apart. Which way did you go and how technical was it?

Posted: Thu Aug 23, 2007 7:43 am
by giantbrookie
rightstar76 wrote:Giantbrookie, since you've been to Lake 10212 (10232 according to some other maps), what is the least technical way to get there? Is it from Martha Lake over Reinstein Pass? Or is it from Crown Basin over Mantle and Blue Canyon passes? Looking at my 7.5 minute Mt. Goddard map, Reinstein looks like it's the longest way in, but technically the easiest since the lines are the furthest apart. Which way did you go and how technical was it?
We (my wife and I) descended to 10212 from Ionian Basin and departed via Reinstein Pass,plus we went into Blue Canyon from 10212 (see below). Reinstein Pass is easy class 2. The descent from Ionian Basin is class 2 also, but there are many blind drop offs--that route can get into loose class 3 easily if the best route isn't followed. I haven't been into Blue Canyon via Mantle Pass, but went there from 10212 via Blue Canyon Pass. Blue Canyon Pass is not bad except for some boulder hopping on the north side (which is mentioned by Secor). We probably didn't take the optimum route as per Secor which seems to suggest heading further west below Finger than we did on the north side of the pass, but whatever amount of boulders we encountered, we didn't think there were overly onerous (and my wife hates boulder hopping, too).

Of the three approaches, I'd say the Ionian approach is certainly the most beautiful--stunning, really--but easily the most difficult of the three. Not only is the final approach rather intricate (especially if you are doing this going down instead of up), but just getting through Ionian Basin is much tougher than it looks on the topo. The Blue Canyon route is a very close second in beauty but I'd say significantly easier than the Ionian Basin approach, plus it may be the least traveled of all three. The long approach from the San Joaquin (Martha L./Reinstein) isn't bad scenically, but that is on well/moderately traveled trail longer than the other approaches, which means it's not quite as "exotic" as the other two routes. It is, however, the easiest approach.

Thanks for bringing this up--this area brings back such fine memories.

Posted: Thu Aug 23, 2007 8:40 am
by Jeremy
I definitely see some good suggestions here. How about Enchanted Gorge? It's a bit east of Blue Canyon if I recall.

Posted: Thu Aug 23, 2007 10:27 am
by cgundersen
Hi Maverick,
Wow, between you & Trailblazer, those photos from the Kaweah basin are incredible. I definitely have to get back there soon; I think part of my reluctance is that Pants Pass was responsible for my first near-death experience in the Sierras, and that colored my enjoyment of the other side. Still, it's so gorgeous up there, if I crashed and burned now, I wouldn't mind....
Anyway, like you, that area around Tunemah peak has always looked attractive, but although I've gotten close, I've never made it up there (a trip over Rambaud Pass and heading up the Enchanted Gorge to Chasm Lake gave the closest views, but it's not the same as being there). Still, for wildflowers, the best displays I've seen were on the hillside above Lake 10212 (10232), and I'd definitely recommend including the area around that lake on any trip (even if it made things a bit longer; however, for flowers, you might want to go earlier in the summer). Like Giantbrookie, I've dropped down to 10212 from Ionian basin and even though I remember having to back off from ledges, it's just so pretty you tend not to mind.
Since you have nailed all my other suggestions (though, if you've not visited East Pinnacles/Spearpoint etc, it's worth a peek), the one other spot that came to mind is the area above (and west of) the Muro Blanco. As Dee (ndwoods) pointed out in a recent posting, that area gets amazingly little traffic (in part, I think, because the first hot grind up Copper Creek, or the equivalent) is off putting. Still, I was amazed last year at how little activity was evident around Grouse Lake, Kid Lakes, Glacier Lakes and the unnamed little tarns that decorate the ridge above the Muro Blanco all the way into Marion Lakes basin. And, the views both to the north (everything from Tunemah Peak, Goddard & the Palisades) and to the south (the entire Great Western Divide down to the Kaweahs) are pretty amazing. Even so, it may not match Giantbrookie's suggestion for Edith (Edyth) Lake in upper Yosemite.....that area looks about as remote as Tunemah and a real grunt to get to....but more than worth the effort.