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Have you been to the Pinnacles area in the JM Wilderness?

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Have you been to the Pinnacles area in the JM Wilderness?

Postby hikerduane » Wed Dec 28, 2005 11:44 pm

SSSDave or Snow Nymph may have been by here. I am thinking about going here next Summer in August or Oct. The area I am interested in is between the PCT and French Canyon, north of Piute Canyon. It may take too long to access in a week, but how hard will it be? It looks pretty steep and I have seen it from Piute Canyon twice now and it don't look pretty. No matter how you slice it, it will take three days to get into the area. It might be accessed via Merriam Lake, but then the area I want to see would take more time. I would only be able to see the area on one side or the other of the Pinnacles. Then there is the issue of going up to Honeymoon Lake again. Groan. All those switchbacks. It will take too much effort to do it in two different trips. Been there, done that?

Back on Sunday, off to Winterfest 06 in the Shasta area in the morning.



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Postby SSSdave » Thu Dec 29, 2005 3:30 pm

Just grabbed a 1968 copy of Sierra South, Wilderness Press Winnette/Schwenke. Page 29, Bear Dam junction to Little Mocassin Lake. A full two pages of text going through the two Pinnacles basins. Bet an older guy like you has that classic. I've been documenting future trip plans all month including three to surrounding areas. Never had an interest to go to those two basins though. Descriptions remind me of other narrow high alpine canyons all mostly rock with bits of turf and icy barren waters. Sort of like the Lost Lakes above Muriel Lake north of The Keyhole. The similar area elevation basin over on the East Fork of Bear Creek is far more scenic peakwise when I am anywhere near that. Ditto for the Royce Lakes. And when up over Selden Pass, Marie Lake is way too sweet to bother going further. I just completed putting a another trip into Humphreys Basin onto a spreadsheet. The two topos are full of little red arrow marks where I plan to climb up to various good perspectives to shoot lakes and landscapes from including several that put the Pinnacles in the background dead center. There is a clifflike slope on the south side of famous Golden Trout Lake with a bench at the top for taking pics down towards the lakes and basin below. I'll be climbing up atop that one afternoon to shoot across the lake 600 feet below with Mt Humphreys in the background. Places like that almost always look like I'm the first to ever bother visiting. Then next morning will scamper up half way to shoot the other direction across the lakes downcanyon towards the Pinnacles.

...David
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Postby Buck Forester » Thu Dec 29, 2005 4:08 pm

This area you speak of has long been on my list to vist. My list is quite long so it hasn't been on the short list, but I have checked into it. I have been all around the area many times and looked up at it and have climbed peaks looking across to it. It looks quite barren but the Pinnacles are spectacular so it may be a gem of a basin when you're actually there. I would think you could get up there in two days though, not three.
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Postby hikerduane » Sat Dec 31, 2005 9:21 pm

My neighbor years ago gave me all his old bping related books. One just happens to be a 1977 version of Thomas Winnett's "Sierra South". I have a bunch of those little books he gave me also. The page is still the same, I have to read it on Sunday, still putting gear away from the aborted early Winterfest 2006, that mtnsteve from Redding hosts. Lots of snow in the Mt. Shasta area.

There is lots of country between Bishop and Lonepine and further south that I need to explore. I have been all around the Pinnacles area, one thing I was worried about is if it had spots to camp or if one would have to keep a movin. Kind of like Catherine by Thousand Island. Well if I go, I can say I have been there. The Bear Basin is pretty, but on the rugged side to be scrambling all over the place with a pack. I wish I could knock 5 pounds off my gear weight.

I wish I had the eye for photos that you guys have. I get a lucky shot once in awhile. A couple photos that I think turrned out great are one of Bear Creek, Honeymoon Lake and a shot of Banner and Ritter from the trail west of the Clark Lakes.
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Postby SSSdave » Sun Jan 01, 2006 3:51 pm

It 2:23pm on News Years Day and the forum shows no one has bothered to post here today yet so guess if I post this I'm the first postee of 2006!


hd >>>"...I wish I had the eye for photos that you guys have. I get a lucky shot once in awhile. A couple photos that I think turrned out great are one of Bear Creek, Honeymoon Lake and a shot of Banner and Ritter from the trail west of the Clark Lakes."

Taking good images takes more than a good eye. One needs to be wisely in the right place at the right time and then be lucky with whatever the weather throws at you. Location is everything in mountain landscapes and knowing what time of year and what time of day to be at a location complements that. And after a couple dozen years at it, I am vastly better at it than when I'd just been doing it for a few years and thought I was already pretty good. This summer on my 9-day trip with a group of 4 others up from Florence into Evolution, I didn't get a single great shot during the whole trip. Breezy conditions plagued my efforts to get reflection images on lakes, and afternoon shadowing clouds kept building up each day that frustrated my attempts to shoot any other types of landscapes. That is just what happens some of the time. You win some you lose a lot. I got a lot of great shots this year but also put in a huge number of days. Many days were just foul like the six out of seven days of stormy weather during one trip at Death Valley this spring. But the one good day at the end of the week with blue skies and calm breezes was all I needed to pounce on what I'd been watching all week.

Despite the fact I've been quite a lot of places, there are many areas I have not been in like the whole upper alpine area of the Kern. Other places like Pioneer Basin I've been everywhere around it, and planned some trips there in the past, but just never followed through. And even to places I've been to alot like Bear Creek, there are significants little zones therein that I haven't walked through. Compared to average backpackers, I tend to explore far more because I ramble all over the terrain looking for interesting shots. But one has limited time to visit areas, thus one can at best choose to explore in the most promising places. And who wants to climb up atop every 1000 foot high ridge and viewpoint? No, I just choose to climb to a select few that I've scrutized carefully beforehand.

...David
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Postby hikerduane » Sun Jan 01, 2006 5:58 pm

I tend to "document" mostly with my photos. Mostly to show others what the trail was like, scenery etc. I've wondered years ago, how many photos the greats took to get just one exceptional photo. Experience, right place at the right time.

I read the trip description in "Sierra South" and the area is as I thought, bare of trees for the most part. The prospect of great fishing is a lure, although it sounds like not all the lakes have fish. Something to think about this winter. Speaking of winter, it has been snowing and I have about 2" on the ground right now. It is a start.
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Postby Buck Forester » Mon Jan 02, 2006 2:45 pm

I guess each photographer has their own style and preference. Dave prefers clear blue skies and the more I've been taking photos, the more I MUCH prefer storms and clouds. I actually seek them now. I'm bummed if I go on a weeklong High Sierra trip and it's just blue skies (photographically speaking, of course... I'm never bummed in the wilderness and I still love blue sky!). One of my partners I often go with on the more adventurous 9-day trips we take is from W. Virginia so he LOVES blue skies because it rains so much where he's from. And he hates mosquitoes. So we usually take a long trip in the fall when the weather is nice and there are no bugs. I pray to God for clouds and he's on his knees pleading with God for not one puffy white cloud to appear, ha ha! To me clouds add remarkable drama to an otherwise beautiful but bland-lighting scene. The changing shadows, the softer lighting, the color they catch in the morning and evening, it's what I look for. On a clear day I might burn a roll of film, but on a cloudy day I might burn 8 rolls. Like Dave, I do prefer glass on the lakes for reflections. But if it's windy I have learned long exposures give a surreal look on a windy lake. You can still smooth out ripples and it looks pretty cool (but no sweet reflection), or if it's really windy you will get a very cool misty/fog look to the water with a long exposure. Whatever you do, GIVE ME CLOUDS OR GIVE ME DEATH!!! :nod:
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I've looked at clouds from both sides now.....

Postby Mataharihiker » Mon Jan 02, 2006 3:57 pm

Yep, admit it...I'm a cloud freak...once, on a month long trip around the block (Wisconsin, Minnesota, N. Dakota, Montana, Idaho, Washington, Oregon, N.Califonia, Nevada, Utah, Wyoming, S.Dak., Minn and home) I saw narry a cloud for the entire month..in fact, I took a picture of the first cloud I had seen in 2 weeks when camping on Whidbey Island. Photography, for me, is all about light and the light is always changing when there are clouds...I prefer storm clouds for photography to those fair weather, white puffy guys...but, that's just me.... :p
abandon the search for truth; settle for a good fantasy
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Postby hikerduane » Mon Jan 02, 2006 5:50 pm

For me, I like the blue sky when shooting scenery with lots of color. Ridge tops, far off mountains look great with clouds over them or a storm that is about to blow up everything. On my Evolution Valley trip in the late summer of '04, I really liked one of my photos from Pack Saddle Lake I think it was, I have to look at my map, turned out great with the clouds in the sky about to unload. People are surprised when I tell them I only had a cheapie Kodak camera or a heaven forbid disposable camera. Sequoia admitted to me over a year ago that one of her photos that turned out real good was from a disposable. We laughed about it.
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Postby JM21760 » Sat Jan 07, 2006 5:10 pm

Has anyone made the traverse, for lack of a better word, around the south end of the Pinnacles above Piute Canyon, between East Pinnacles Creek, and West Pinnacles Creek? I recall reading about this route in a very old guide book.
After looking at the topo for the first time in years, a trip down the West Fork into Piute Canyon, would be an epic! Wonder if anyone has tried that route?
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Postby SSSdave » Sun Jan 08, 2006 2:30 pm

JM21760 wrote:Has anyone made the traverse, for lack of a better word, around the south end of the Pinnacles above Piute Canyon, between East Pinnacles Creek, and West Pinnacles Creek? I recall reading about this route in a very old guide book.
After looking at the topo for the first time in years, a trip down the West Fork into Piute Canyon, would be an epic! Wonder if anyone has tried that route?


Not me but in my old Sierra South it doesn't make a big deal about that traverse except to say "this traverse swings around the south end of The Pinnacles in a long talus and boulder traverse...". From the topo lines it looks quite doable if indeed it is talus versus smooth slabs.

...David
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Postby hikerduane » Thu Feb 02, 2006 9:21 pm

Looks like I will go over Italy Pass again, leaving Pine Creek, groan, and spend my first night at Lake Italy. That is a butt buster, Pooch and I did it a few years ago and I sure wanted to stop many times before reaching the pass, but once we made it, it was easy. Duh! I don't think I could get over the ridge to the west of Merriam. I still can't make the area before the third day. My second night will be past Bear Creek I hope, where I camped last time on 9/11. Not going to be an easy trip. I printed out my reservation app tonight, just need to see when I put in for vacation in August to get the days correct. Might be a good idea to wait to go in Oct. when the temps will be cooler, since shade may be scarce a day or two. I don't like the high elevations without shade in the Summer. Miserable.
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