Favorite/Least Favorite Passes?

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BSquared
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Post by BSquared » Wed Sep 19, 2007 5:39 am

I'll have to go with Calpidder about Glen Pass, partly because it was the first big Sierra pass I can recall going over (probably back in the early 1970s). We were camped at Vidette Meadow, having come up Bubbs Creek from KC and did a day hike up to the top of the pass. What particularly struck me was hiking up and up and up, and then finally cresting a rise to see a beautiful little tarn -- and an apparently vertical rock wall behind it! Looking very closely at the rock wall, we could just barely make out a speck of a red jacket here, a blue windbreaker there: whaddaya know, there really is a trail up that thing! Then at the top, there was a girl who quoted John Muir at us: "Man must labor for beauty as well as for bread," she said.

I don't have an unfavorite (well: Lamarck Col, just because I spent an extremely frustrating afternoon looking for the damn thing from the west, but that was my fault). I'd be happy to go up and over any Sierra pass about now. Been out of the mountains way too long!








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TehipiteTom
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Post by TehipiteTom » Wed Sep 19, 2007 8:02 am

giantbrookie wrote:The pass I went over on Glacier Divide in '97 was far to the west of Snow Tongue. The pass is about 1.5 mi due east of Pavillion Dome. On the north side one ends up descending the drainage that is west of the one that Ramona Lake in. The reason for doing this western pass was that I wanted to explore that big lake L11200+ (fishless) south of the divide as well as the unnamed lakes (chain of several plus 10886) I hit right after going over to the north (also fishless).
I've looked at that pass before--those lakes on the west side look very intriguing. I don't care about fish, but are they worth a visit from an aesthetic standpoint?

I've also wondered about making a loop of it by descending the drainage to Piute Creek. Looks doable, but who knows?

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Post by giantbrookie » Wed Sep 19, 2007 7:51 pm

TehipiteTom wrote:
giantbrookie wrote:The pass I went over on Glacier Divide in '97 was far to the west of Snow Tongue. The pass is about 1.5 mi due east of Pavillion Dome. On the north side one ends up descending the drainage that is west of the one that Ramona Lake in. The reason for doing this western pass was that I wanted to explore that big lake L11200+ (fishless) south of the divide as well as the unnamed lakes (chain of several plus 10886) I hit right after going over to the north (also fishless).
I've looked at that pass before--those lakes on the west side look very intriguing. I don't care about fish, but are they worth a visit from an aesthetic standpoint? I've also wondered about making a loop of it by descending the drainage to Piute Creek. Looks doable, but who knows?
Those lakes are very scenic and nobody visits them. The descent to Piute is class 2 and is not too bad. Going down you have to improvise here and there because there are several vanishing points and I recall having to do some short back tracks when the bench system we were on didn't work (this happened mainly in the upper section descending to the outlet of 10886). We did in fact do this as a loop that we called "Astride the Glacier Divide". Day 1 was from North Lake to Darwin Cyn, Day 2 was a long traverse to L11200+. This was actually rather easy as sidehill traverses go. Day 3 went over the top, down to Piute Cr. then upstream for about a mile over some really bad downed log steeplechase stuff to find a big log jam that got us across the creek to the trail. Then we traveled upstream before leaving the trail once again and ascending to Knob Lake. Day 4 was a 'layover' featuring a climb of Pilot Knob and exploration of French Canyon Lakes. Day 5 we packed out of Knob Lake to the trailhead over Piute Pass. This was a good one for five days even though I was plagued with a nasty intestinal bug on days 3-5.
Since my fishing (etc.) website is still down, you can be distracted by geology stuff at: http://www.fresnostate.edu/csm/ees/facu ... ayshi.html" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

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TehipiteTom
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Post by TehipiteTom » Thu Sep 20, 2007 9:43 am

Those lakes are very scenic and nobody visits them. The descent to Piute is class 2 and is not too bad. Going down you have to improvise here and there because there are several vanishing points and I recall having to do some short back tracks when the bench system we were on didn't work (this happened mainly in the upper section descending to the outlet of 10886). We did in fact do this as a loop that we called "Astride the Glacier Divide". Day 1 was from North Lake to Darwin Cyn, Day 2 was a long traverse to L11200+. This was actually rather easy as sidehill traverses go. Day 3 went over the top, down to Piute Cr. then upstream for about a mile over some really bad downed log steeplechase stuff to find a big log jam that got us across the creek to the trail. Then we traveled upstream before leaving the trail once again and ascending to Knob Lake. Day 4 was a 'layover' featuring a climb of Pilot Knob and exploration of French Canyon Lakes. Day 5 we packed out of Knob Lake to the trailhead over Piute Pass. This was a good one for five days even though I was plagued with a nasty intestinal bug on days 3-5.
That's really excellent info, GB--thanks!

Crossing Piute Creek would be another potential obstacle. Sounds like you managed it, but I couldn't count on that log jam being there. One option I've wondered about would be angling downstream to the bridge (I'd be coming in from the west anyway)--did that look feasible to you?

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Post by maverick » Thu Sep 20, 2007 1:13 pm

I went over Snow Tongue Pass above Wahoo Lakes and went
down to Lake 11092, then on to the small ponds west and over the
shoulder to the next basin that has some small lakes and Lake
11236 in its upper region. This basin is really nice with good views
towards the Evolution Valley area, saw no traces of human traffic.
Glacier Divide Pass (class 2) is above the last lake above Lake 11236.
The lakes on the other side of the pass are also worth visiting, from
here I descended the creek to Piute Creek, I stayed on the western side
of the creek while descending .
That year was a low precipe year so I found a crossing a little up
the creek near the treeline.
I also checked out the Lobe Lakes area on this trip, which are also
quite pretty an worth the visit.
I had been to Packsaddle Lake and PL pass on a previous visit to
the area.
To me the highlight of the trip was the Lake 11236 basin, which might
be worth a revisit in the futher with my new camera gear!

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Post by TonyC » Fri Sep 21, 2007 6:37 pm

I only have two to choose from, but my recent hike to Kearsarge Pass was one of my best hikes ever, so it wins easily over Morgan Pass, which was very anticlimatic after hiking through the beauitiful Little Lakes Valley.

I'm glad to hear there are so many more amazing ones out there that perhaps I will see someday.

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Post by SPeacock » Sat Sep 22, 2007 2:14 pm

Shepherd Pass is the most spectacular in early Summer. Its the trail from the first ridge on (including the slight dip in the trail) until Anvil is the best part. Early snow melt allow tumbling waterfalls off from the granite on your left and Williamson does a slow strip tease as you labor up the trail. It is a great (!) day hike up to Anvil.

The trail going between BearPaw Meadows and Kaweah Gap - that counts as a pass, right?

The south to north route over Forester Pass - especially the grandeur unfolding from the top going north down toward Vidette Meadows.

There are many others, but they don't have trails.

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Post by BigPsycheDadee » Sat Sep 22, 2007 4:30 pm

My first pass was Shepard Pass, I like going from hot desert to stark alpine in less than 24 hours.

New Army Pass is very nice. Very imposing appearance, great views - but not all that difficult.
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Post by gcj » Sat Sep 22, 2007 9:07 pm

Hi
The worst for me has to be Harrison Pass... getting to the top was simple and easy from the south, but that north side... :eek: It could be, though that I was just inexperienced with that kind of mixed ice, snow and steep rock. Actually, some better route-finding would have been beneficial. Many great views, though. The Ericcson Crags and the Mount Brewer group were outstanding.
It's hard to choose a favorite; I enjoyed them all for various reasons (even Harrison was mostly great). The one that pops into my head first, though, is Colby Pass. It was one of my earliest passes and I remember the excitement and anticipation of kick-stepping my way up the northwest side through late season snow. The view from the top, especially of the Kaweahs, was truly unforgettable.
-gordon
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Taboose is Taboo

Post by asabat » Sun Sep 23, 2007 9:36 am

I consider Taboose my least favorite. For what I would consider a primary route, it is miserable - 6,000 feet gain in 7 miles, which consists of soft sand at the bottom and loose football-sized rock at the top.

I've seen worse conditions, but those were lesser-used paths and crosscountry routes. For a trail, Taboose is taboo. Maybe because each time I've been on it the weather has been less than favorable as well.

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