Have you been to the Pinnacles area in the JM Wilderness? | High Sierra Topix  

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

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Postby Snow Nymph » Fri Feb 03, 2006 12:44 am

We did a section of the SHR in Sept '05 and it was cold. (Piute Pass-French Canyon-Meriam Lake-Bear Lakes Basin-Italy Pass-Chalfant Lakes-Pine Creek Roadend

Hiked one day in a snowstorm, and wondered if we would be able to get over Italy Pass.

Sept '05, Day 9 - Brown Bear Lake to Italy Pass, Mt Julius Ceasar to Chalfant Lakes:
http://community.webshots.com/album/467006807zSrdOd


In Sept '04 we bailed when temps got down to single digits. We had been out 8 days and it dumped on us.

Sept '04, Day 9 - Muriel Lake, after our resupply:
http://community.webshots.com/album/214693066OtkKlj
We finally bailed on day 11. It was too cold with only glove liners.

This year we're taking our long trip earlier. Two years in a row we got snowed on in Sept.
Last edited by Snow Nymph on Fri Feb 03, 2006 1:08 am, edited 1 time in total.
Expose yourself to your deepest fear; after that, fear has no power, and the fear of freedom shrinks and vanishes. You are free . . . . Jim Morrison


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Postby SSSdave » Fri Feb 03, 2006 12:50 am

Well Duane, you've just given us a second clue to your itinerary, Lake Italy. You also mentioned it being three days to get to the Pinnacles and going by Honeymoon Lake. If you were to go from the Florence reservoir ferry trailhead you could definitely get there in just dos dios. The Piute Creek confluence at 8000 feet is about 8 miles and less than 1000 foot vertical. You mentioned going to Lake Italy in uno dios which requires a 5000 footer. So your obviously going ultrateeneeweight. If that be so, you ought to be able to hike beyond that 8 mile point and up Piute Creek 3 more miles and another 1k to the West Pinnacles Creek confluence. From there, either of those upper basins would be an easy early morning crosscountry climb up the steep canyon slope. On the other hand going right over Pine Creek Pass and down French Canyon would be way more efficient than coming around via Italy. So there be more places in between on your list.

So what other places make you prefer to enter from Pine Crick? Lake Italy by the way is a place I and a couple backpacker friends always make jokes about because it is such a boring destination. On trips up Pine Creek I always am focused in on Granite Park because it is so scenic. And each day late morning the horse customers and others predictably camped all on top of each other down in that hole named Honeymoon Lake start passing by us in Granite Park on their long slog up over Italy Pass and then down towards famous "Lake Italy"!!! Most have just day packs on but of course some have their backpacks. The hike up to Granite Park is moderately steep so by time they get that far they are mostly just looking at the persons boots in front of them and breathing hard. Then later late afternoon like clockwork weary dayhikers pass by once again on their way back to camp.

...David
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Postby giantbrookie » Fri Feb 03, 2006 9:48 am

SSSdave wrote:Well Duane, you've just given us a second clue to your itinerary, Lake Italy. You also mentioned it being three days to get to the Pinnacles and going by Honeymoon Lake. If you were to go from the Florence reservoir ferry trailhead you could definitely get there in just dos dios. The Piute Creek confluence at 8000 feet is about 8 miles and less than 1000 foot vertical. You mentioned going to Lake Italy in uno dios which requires a 5000 footer. So your obviously going ultrateeneeweight. If that be so, you ought to be able to hike beyond that 8 mile point and up Piute Creek 3 more miles and another 1k to the West Pinnacles Creek confluence. From there, either of those upper basins would be an easy early morning crosscountry climb up the steep canyon slope. On the other hand going right over Pine Creek Pass and down French Canyon would be way more efficient than coming around via Italy. So there be more places in between on your list.So what other places make you prefer to enter from Pine Crick?
...David

I agree with Dave that Pine Creek may not be the most efficient, nor the most fun way to get to where you'd like to go. Clearly the Florence route is most the most direct approach to the Pinnacles region. If you want to pair Bear Basin with the Pinnacles area, a more efficient way to get to L. Italy and Bear Basin, is to go over the class 2 pass north of Bear Creek Spire. This is no more difficult than the other cross country segments of the route and it is much more direct than Pine Creek. Given that I have relatively short legs, I find the Pine Creek trail rather annoying because of the innumerable high water bars although the scenery is nice. If you really want to go out of Pine Creek you can also make Bear Basin directly from Pine Creek using an easy class 2 notch from Granite Park--you can make Bear Basin directly in actually less hiking than it takes to go to L. Italy over Italy Pass (my wife and I did this on day 1 of a 3 day Bear Basin trip in 1992). The Little Lakes Valley approach also can get you to Bear Basin in one day and is hands down the more interesting route. I guess you can see that I'm not overly impressed with L. Italy either unless you want to do some serious peak bagging,in which case it is a good base (Gabb, Hilgard, and Julius Caesar are good class 2 targets).
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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Postby Snow Nymph » Fri Feb 03, 2006 1:35 pm

I have never hiked up Pine Creek RE, and never had the desire to. Instead we went over Piute Pass, into French Canyon, then xctry into Bear Lakes Basin. We went down to Brown Bear Lake so we could bag Hilgard, but took another xctry route which took us down to Jumble Lake, avoiding Lake Italy. Bagged Mt Julius Ceasar, then dropped into Chalfant Lakes was worth going to. Now sure how the fishing is, and it didn't seem to be visited much.
Expose yourself to your deepest fear; after that, fear has no power, and the fear of freedom shrinks and vanishes. You are free . . . . Jim Morrison


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Postby giantbrookie » Fri Feb 03, 2006 4:47 pm

Snow Nymph wrote:I have never hiked up Pine Creek RE, and never had the desire to.

I suspect the water bar issue might bother you, too. My wife and I did Pine Creek twice in '92--once for the Royces and once for Bear Basin, after which, my wife, who at 5'1" is nine inches shorter than me, vowed never to go out of the trailhead again. I mean she literally had to use her hands to surmount quite a few of the water bars. One acquaintance of mine who was a superb death marcher (once as a part of his job he used to do regular round trip day hikes to Shepherd Pass), lost all chances of backpacking with us (he had asked me couple of times) when he said his favorite trailhead was Pine Creek. When my wife heard that, she said anybody who liked that trail so much would be too crazy and hard core for us (and, mind you, this is the same woman who lugged a full pack from Amphitheater Lake to South Lake in one day).

Yes, I think the Piute Pass approach is a fine alternative. Piute is a low elevation gain pass. There are plenty of excellent lakes just off that route that offer stellar fishing, too, so I would pick that route in a heartbeat over Pine Creek to get to the Pinnacles area.

Speaking of fishing, Sierra South gives the impression all of the lakes in the Pinnacles area are serious duds (have fish, but really small). I have a suspicion, however, that there are some lakes in that region not mentioned in Sierra South that might be worth a snoop.
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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Postby hikerduane » Fri Feb 03, 2006 7:43 pm

Thanks Snow Nymph, I read your reports and viewed some of your photos on your post at Backpacker.com. I'll take another read.

SSSDave, sorry to be vague on my trip, I thought everyone could read my mind. West side entry is too far away, I access the Sierra on the East side. The only trip where I made a run thru hostile territory was Sept. of '04, when I met up with Sequoia and a few others and bped in the Tablelands. It isn't that I want to go up Pine Creek yet again, (I have been in the area about four times now), it seemed the only option. From what I have read here, I'll have to see about the Little Lakes Valley area or even cut across the Bear Basin once Italy Pass is gained or cut up Granite Park. I had considered Granite Park a few years ago on another trip. Up Pine Creek Pass looked like it would be too steep Southwest of the Royce Lakes once past the southerly one. I don't know if the ridges in some of the area I am headed to, can be gone over is my biggest concern. Time to study my maps. I must be getting old, when planning trips in the past, I studied my maps for weeks.

Thanks for the input.
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Postby hikerduane » Fri Feb 03, 2006 7:44 pm

Yes, I know, Lake Italy sucks. A way to the means or whatever.
Piece of cake.
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Postby Snow Nymph » Fri Feb 03, 2006 8:09 pm

I was looking at one of our maps on the SHR. http://image07.webshots.com/7/2/33/99/1 ... HOz_fs.jpg
Now I see the Pinnacles! We were looking at that, and wondering if we could get over the west ridge from Merriam Lake.

We originally started at South Lake 9/04. We bailed at Mesa Lk/Piute Pass because of a storm after our resupply.

We tried again 7/05 from Piute Pass - Puppet Pass - French Canyon - bailed at Pine Creek Roadend. Too much snow and high water crossings made it slow going.

9/05 Over Piute Pass, Hutchinson Mdw, French Canyon, Merriam Lake and into Bear Lakes Basin, out Pine Creek Roadend. We had alredy hiked down to the Merriam Lake trail in July, but couldn't cross the raging creek.

giantbrookie, I've hiked 'down' Pine Creek Roadend a few times, but never 'up'. Its a long dry trail, but last year they had done a lot of work, so it wasn't as bad.
Expose yourself to your deepest fear; after that, fear has no power, and the fear of freedom shrinks and vanishes. You are free . . . . Jim Morrison


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Postby SSSdave » Fri Feb 03, 2006 11:26 pm

So there aren't any other destinations over in those other areas of interest? So gee then the obvious route must be out of North Lake and up over Piute Pass. Any of those other routes are way way more vertical by thousands of feet. Besides its right on a way easy trail most of the way. And the 1600 foot crosscountry climb up from 9400 to Little Mocassin Lake looks easy on the topo.

...David
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Postby JM21760 » Sat Feb 04, 2006 10:51 pm

We must all remember not to offend Dave SSS, as he is the expert on all routes, photography, cartography, geologic formations, flora and fauna. Even while living in the City. It's not a contest, or an Ego seeking endeavor. But, if you need unsolicited advice, ................
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Postby hikerduane » Sun Feb 05, 2006 5:23 pm

The last time (Sept. '04) I looked up to Little Mocassin Lake from Piute Creek, it looked pretty rocky. Gonna be hot there in August.

JM21670, thanks for the support. Yes, just asking to see what others have done, not asking how to do it. I was taking things for the best.

Just back from a trip to an area just south of the Lassen Park entrance, close to Mineral.
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Postby SSSdave » Mon Feb 06, 2006 12:34 am

JM, you seem to be taking a perceived shot at me that goes quite a ways beyond this thread, else your exaggerated sarcasm would be more focused. I attempt to choose my words with a degree of measured caution when I post on the internet especially when it comes to advice. And at times in the terseness of the medium I can see how some will tend to inject a level of Dave" that know it all" into my statements. As a successful peon in the electronic engineering world I long have dealt with a great many individuals that technically both know considerable less and some that know considerable more than I.on a broad range of subjects. Around such brainy individuals, in order to be successful in groups and teams one must culture humilty and tact. Thus I've learned how to put forth information in a relative way that does not tend to imply anything more than I know. In a sense that means adding adjectives of relative limitation when appropriate. However for the sake of succinctness so as not to bore one's audience, one must also balance giving information with brevity. That is particularly true on the internet where one cannot read anothers facial expressions, tone of voice, or manners. Thus sometimes what I write will come across terse and I would hope others do not read in more than what is stated particularly in regard to having some kind of attitude. Most of us would refrain from the type of critism you gave me but apparently this has reached a threshold where you felt a need to communicate.

Please take another read of what I've posted. I would suggest you email or PM me directly if you wish to criticize anything specifically including anything you might find I've posted in the past that is giving you this perception.. However my skin is thick and I tend to be analytical and calm so go ahead and scold me in the future if you think I'm stepping over the line. Like everyone else I've managed to stick my foot in my mouth from time to time. I learn and just try to do better.

I'm on this forum because like many here I enjoy relaxed pleasant intelligent conversation on the many areas of the outdoors. ...David
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