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Question about Forester Pass and Lake South America

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Question about Forester Pass and Lake South America

Postby Aviprk » Thu Feb 14, 2008 4:35 pm

I won't be able to do many backpacking trips this summer (only two :crybaby: ) so I want to do one that counts but I will only have 5 days.

This past summer I tried going from Sphinx Lakes to South Guard pass and down Lake Reflection to Junction Meadow but due to time and tiredness we had to bail out right before Sphinx Col.

This time I would like to do the eastern half of it and go over Forester Pass to Lake South America and then over any of the Kings Kern Passes (Harrison, Milly's Ft, Lucy's ft and etc... )

I've never been over Forester Pass. How hard is it going over from the North? If we choose that route it be to avoid the North or West sides of Harrison, Milly's Ft, Lucy's ft and etc... or would it be better to go over those passes from the East and THEN go over Forester from the South?



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Re: Question about Forester Pass and Lake South America

Postby maverick » Thu Feb 14, 2008 6:21 pm

Forester Pass is easier from the south, but the other 3 pass are easy on
there southern side and get there rating because of there northern sides.
Harrison is the easiest of the three you mentioned, though the pass
can be difficult if snow is present(icy).
Milly's Foot is class 3 and a favorite of mine, but is for people who like
steep talus and a climbing challenge(about 100 ft of class 3 climbing).
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Re: Question about Forester Pass and Lake South America

Postby giantbrookie » Thu Feb 14, 2008 6:26 pm

The off trail passes across the Kings-Kern divide are very rough, so you'll need to prepare accordingly. Milly's Foot is class 3. Lucy's Foot is class 2 but has some extremely steep and precarious talus on its north side--it is effectively class 3 in terms of hazard and then some. I haven't done Harrison (class 2), but it is said to have pretty steep and unpleasant talus on its north side, too. One option you may consider to visit the upper Kern (Lake South America, lots of unnamed beautiful lakes in the headwaters, etc.) is to do it as part of a loop that comes in from Onion Valley over Kearsarge and Forrester Passes and leaves via Shepherd Pass (this would be a shuttle trip that would require two cars or a shuttle service). If, on the other hand, off trail adventure is exactly what you seek then the more exotic options crossing the K-K divide may be considered, with the caveat that those are much nastier-than-average off trail passes to take a full pack over.
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
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Re: Question about Forester Pass and Lake South America

Postby LMBSGV » Thu Feb 14, 2008 11:11 pm

Last year, I did the loop from Kearsarge Pass to Lake Reflection, Harrison, Upper Kern, and Forrester. The climb up the north side of Harrison is very steep over loose rock - imagine a giant sand dune made of small rocks. It’s one of those you take a step and slide halfway back down climbs. I tried avoiding the worst loose stuff by climbing next to the small cliffs along the east side. The snow field that was still there was solid ice - I suspect this year it will be much larger. The view from the top is fabulous and makes the agony of the climb worth it. The south side is easy. Doing it the other way probably depends on how you (and your knees) feel about going down steep loose rock with a full pack. The Upper Kern is a cross country paradise, filled with small and large lakes, creeks, and pristine meadows. Beyond East Lake on my second day, I didn’t see another person for 5 days. I thought Lake South America was about the most least interesting lake in the basin except for the view of the Great Western Divide from it - most of the unnamed ones to the west offer more seclusion and are more beautiful with another gorgeous lake practically next door. The south side of Forrester is a grind it out climb up graded switchbacks, but the views relieve the tedium.
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Re: Question about Forester Pass and Lake South America

Postby SPeacock » Mon Feb 18, 2008 9:24 am

I think the trail over Forester is best from the south. It is a bit of a boring approach from Tyndall Creek, however. Going down the North side is beautiful when you get to watch it the entire way down. It is a long walk over it no matter which way you do it. Unless there is a lot of snow on top, it is un-eventful -- except for the scenery.

There is a non shuttle loop from Onion Valley, Kearsarge, Forester (or if a masochist - Junction Pass to the Pothole), Shepherds and then a couple mile walk on dirt road to main road up to Onion Valley. Easy hitch for the driver back up the hill to parking lot at Onion Valley. I find it best to park the car where I am coming out -- drop off bags at Onion, return down the hill and park car at Shepherds Pass T/H then hike/hitch back to bags. I personally like the trail going UP Shepherds. Better scenery as you are doing it a lot slower. Also Kearsarge Lakes do a grand striptease as you take the higher route above them to the pass. From K Pass, It's a day to Vidette Meadows, another day to Tyndall Creek and a day out from there over Shepherds. Gives you 2 days to explore the upper Kern or a look see at Harrison. Many would say that is the core WOW of the high Sierra. If you go up Shepherds you should plan on adding a day. It usually takes two days to lower Tyndall Creek. Especially if you plan on taking Mt Tyndall on the way over the pass.

Harrison Pass always seems easier (the first time) going UP it from the north. The link here shows the old abandoned and now very indistinct route.

http://www.topozone.com/map.asp?lat=36. ... &layer=DRG

Staying to far right (west) ascending gives you more route options as you get higher up. Like climbing a sand hill, however. Coming down you don't get a chance to see the steeper rock covered with loose gravel and can be a bit of a pucker if you are tired or just not paying attention. One of your goals is to stay out of the talus of the moraine below. Either way is doable. Just depends on what your adventure threshold is.
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Re: Question about Forester Pass and Lake South America

Postby Buck Forester » Mon Feb 18, 2008 4:33 pm

I haven't been over any of the above mentioned passes, but I did hike from Lake South America to the crest and peered down to Lake Reflection. Here's a link to a photo I took from that trip (was many years ago, ha!) http://photo.net/photodb/photo?photo_id=746343&size=lg I do believe this is looking down from the top of Lucy's Foot Pass, or very near. It's hard to tell because in all directions I looked I couldn't make out any particular trail. As has been said, it's basically a very steep loose talus slog to come up from the north side. The lakes of the Upper Kern River are wonderful to explore. I'm eager to explore the lakes above Lake Reflection too.
It's all about the WILDERNESS!!!

http://www.flickr.com/photos/buckforester/page9/
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Re: Question about Forester Pass and Lake South America

Postby SPeacock » Mon Feb 18, 2008 6:54 pm

Buck, those are some fine photos in your gallery -- some exciting, well thought out photographs.

But... I think maybe you have Reflection Lake in sdrawkcab -- or at least reversed. I used to do that all the time with slides. :snipe: And I'd agree that is from near Lucy Foot if you flip it.

I can't believe that you were t h a t close to Forester and didn't go up it just for the, well, bragging rights I'd guess.
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Re: Question about Forester Pass and Lake South America

Postby Buck Forester » Wed Feb 20, 2008 11:32 pm

SPeacock, ha!, you're right, I scanned that one in reverse! It's an old slide (and a pretty old scan now too) and I'm too lazy to reverse it and re-upload it, but good eye!

In regards to Forester Pass, I did do that one in 2003 during my JMT hike http://photo.net/photodb/photo?photo_id=2014970&size=lg and http://photo.net/photodb/photo?photo_id=1757423&size=lg which was many years later than my upper Kern River trip overlooking Lucy Foot Pass. And it was before I used the alias Buck 'Forester', otherwise I would have done it just because! :D
It's all about the WILDERNESS!!!

http://www.flickr.com/photos/buckforester/page9/
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Re: Question about Forester Pass and Lake South America

Postby quentinc » Thu Feb 21, 2008 9:52 pm

It was a long time ago, but I remember Harrison Pass being quite easy. Given some of the other comments here, maybe it just had a snow cover in the right places and I lucked out. Lucy's Foot on the other hand, kicked my a**! The north side is ridiculously loose. A huge (huge!) boulder spun out from under me and I was lucky to have escaped with just some bruises.

In any event, the loop you are considering is a really beautiful trip. Like many others suggest, I would do Forester from the north -- much more scenic.
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Re: Question about Forester Pass and Lake South America

Postby giantbrookie » Sat Feb 23, 2008 5:02 pm

Buck Forester wrote:I haven't been over any of the above mentioned passes, but I did hike from Lake South America to the crest and peered down to Lake Reflection. Here's a link to a photo I took from that trip (was many years ago, ha!) http://photo.net/photodb/photo?photo_id=746343&size=lg I do believe this is looking down from the top of Lucy's Foot Pass, or very near. It's hard to tell because in all directions I looked I couldn't make out any particular trail. As has been said, it's basically a very steep loose talus slog to come up from the north side. The lakes of the Upper Kern River are wonderful to explore. I'm eager to explore the lakes above Lake Reflection too.

Nice photo (L-R flip notwithstanding). That would appear to be from Millys Foot Pass. The line of sight from Lucys Foot looks down on Golden L. rather than Reflection (and the outlet of Golden dumps to East Creek downstream of Reflection).
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
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Re: Question about Forester Pass and Lake South America

Postby Buck Forester » Sun Feb 24, 2008 10:40 pm

I think I've got more than just my image flipped, ha!
It's all about the WILDERNESS!!!

http://www.flickr.com/photos/buckforester/page9/
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Re: Question about Forester Pass and Lake South America

Postby obxcola » Fri Apr 01, 2011 2:26 pm

I've been researching routes in that area I believe this is a route over the King/Kern divide That I've only seen labelled as "The Chute". It is between Millys Foot and Lucys Foot right where that ridge makes a 90 degree turn. I guess it's not really in the traditional sense a "pass" since it is near the highpoint of the ridge between Generva and Erickson rather than a low point.

Here's a link to another photo I found on the web of this route. You'll notice how closely it matches Buck Forester's photo. The trip photo sequence includes about 20 shots of the groups descent along this chute.

Anyone have any knowledge about this? I've seen references that it may be the "safest" way to cross the divide.

http://www.scaruffi.com/monument/hikes10/miles314.jpg
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