hikerduane wrote: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. ...
That slope is certainly steep and one ought not just start hiking up without a careful look at the topo. Excuse me for elaborating but for the sake of JM's comment I will expand a bit below since I already looked at this at the beginning of the thread. I've never been there so cannot do more than give an educated guess from what the map shows. I drew a couple routes I would likely look at if I were to do it myself.
http://www.davidsenesac.com/_a-z_evad/B ... _route.jpg
To get a sense of how steep this is, one might take a look at the North Palisade 7.5m topo and consider the gradient of the west facing slopes of Mt. Agassiz that a great many including myself have climbed. A slope with considerable talus. One will see this slope is not nearly as steep as that or the class 2 route over the crest in Rock Creek greatbrookie mentioned. Having negotiated quite a lot of such slopes, I would not hesitate to plan on climbing that myself even though I have a huge pack. Generally I back away from anything class 3 unless it is brief and certain. Glacially smoothed glacial rock needs to be approached more cautiously of course. Until actually visiting such places it is just an educated guess and therefore somewhat of a gamble. The route over from Three Island Lake per Sierra South is on the other hand known to be viable though that always requires taking the judicious route.
I immediately had a problem with the orange route despite the obvious lower incremental gradients along that route. That is because the topo shows steep cliffs above that area. That often means talus and scree below. And indeed when I brought up the orthophotoquad aerial image scree and talus shows up. The slope is of course monolithic glacial slabs with a number of joint cracks criss crossing the smooth face. At a certain gradient that smoothness makes climbing more difficult versus a more irregular face that might have ledges, ramps, and footholds. At the left edge of the talus, one can see how the talus has overflowed the bedrock across the steep step at elevation 10200 and created a lower gradient. That area is also darkish likely because of turf, moss, and some scrubby trees since outflow seepage from the talus appears to drain down that section. It is there that I'm guessing one might surmount that one steepish band most easily.
http://www.davidsenesac.com/_a-z_evad/B ... _scree.jpg
The red route looks more probable because there is often some amount of vegetation going over the bedrock in such areas so as to provide less a friction climb, step ladders of soil, and things to grab onto if necessary. Deer tend to follow such routes so I would expect some sign of their tracks going up that stream. However the topo shows the top of the creek to be steeper than the slope off to its right. There are also two joints one might follow. I like the one on the right which looks more the ramp. Note below that area the map shows a more steepish area to avoid. There is also a small lens of talus showing left of the creek as there is a small steep face above that spot. ...David
http://www.davidsenesac.com/_a-z_evad/B ... _creek.jpg