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Passed out in the High Sierra

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Passed out in the High Sierra

Postby hikerduane » Sat Aug 02, 2008 7:22 pm

I headed up to Bishop Pass on Friday morning, July 25 for an eight day solo trip to numerous high, off trail passes. I lucked out the first morning and met up with a group of 12, of various ages, led by a retired gent, Fitz, from Bishop. I hiked with them to Thunderbolt Pass, then split off and went my way to Barrett Lakes. The second day, I got up early and headed up to their camp and went around it and up and over Potluck Pass down to Cirque Lake I believe, where Glacier Creek flows from. From there, I went up and over Cirque Pass, no name on my map, then down to the Palisade Lakes for my second night. Excellent views of the surrounding peaks, open drainages, where you had to work your way around rocks, ramps etc. My third morning out, I slept in about 45 minutes, so a couple large groups from the University of North Carolina went by, who I caught up to at least one group. On Mather Pass I took a short break. What a view of the Upper Basin. I was to stay at the large, unnamed lake below and to the east of the pass, but it had no trees so I elected to go to Cardinal Lake a seemingly short distance of a mile or so further. Mistake. I made it there, but it took a lot longer then planned. After a short visit there, I headed back down and stayed along the PCT/JMT, where no one saw me as far as I know. In the xc hike down from Cardinal, I discovered the mini canyon the South Fork of the Kings River goes thru, which I fished later and caught some Goldens, which I released. My fourth day, found me going north up the PCT/JMT about a mile and a half, back towards Mather Pass, where I took off west, xc to the pass to the east of Amphitheater Lake. The few contacts I have had, everyone does this in reverse, as after making my way down I can see why, a very dangerous route that I took I love the beauty of these high lakes, but they are lonely and stark to me and I love to camp around trees. I took a break here at Amphitheater Lake and pondered how the inspiration for my journey, maverick, went up and over or around and down to Amphitheater Lake and Dumbbell Lakes the year before. However he went, it looked like I didn’t have the gas in my tank to do it. I think I know how he went but that can wait if ever. I went down the drainage to Deer Meadow, which is along the PCT/JMT, a very nice spot, with an abundance of wild flowers growing to keep you entertained for a bit. I picked up an old trail part way down, but it disappeared in an old burn down lower. I met Liz and her husband here, teachers in SF and Oakland Day five looked like an easy day and was, but by now, I was tired from the passes I guess. I headed down Palisade Creek, headed west and north to the junction below Dusy Basin, to Little Pete Meadow. I thought to try for Big Pete Meadow, not remembering from my South Lake-North Lake trip four years ago that horse packers use the meadow and not much for fishing there. I went back to Little Pete Meadow, took a break and had no motivation, plus I had just had another aura, where my vision is affected for 20 minutes or so. I was in a funk I guess. After 30 minutes or so I got up and packed the few things I had taken out of my pack and headed back to the Ranger Station camping area for some possible company, where I met the Ranger along the creek while I was checking out campsites. Ranger John had just been up to Amphitheater Lake a short while back and may have been the sole tracks I saw in places when I came down the drainage from Amphitheater Lake. He suggested going downstream to a spot along the trail. He also suggested I find a hiking partner, I shouldn’t be out there by myself. I went there and by then I was feeling better mentally too. A doe was hanging around camp and I tried chasing her and throwing rocks at her, but she hung around. My canister had a lick mark and a small dribble on it the next morning where I had stashed it in the rocks. Earlier in the morning, I had been checked for my permit by his supervisor, Debbie, who was on a five day bp trip. From my campsite along the Middle Fork of the Kings River, I had an excellent view of part of the drainage coming down from Ladder Lake, which is one of the lakes maverick visited last summer. Wow! What a climb to get to Ladder Lake. I was going to have enough trouble crossing the river without camp shoes or water shoes or any sorts, without the steep climb up there. As it was, my sixth day was tough getting up to Dusy Basin, I should have cruised up the trail, I headed up the trail to Dusy Basin and camped at the lake close to the trail, high up. Not much of a spot, as I had to move my gear four times to keep it out of the sun. The fish were feeding pretty good, but would not take any fly I threw in the water. Bummer. I didn’t think it got that cold that night, but there was frost on my pack the next morning. Felt good to me. For day seven, I made my way over Bishop Pass to Ruwah Lake, a small lake, with lots of fish and at least one spot with a great view if you keep an open mind. By afternoon, the fish were taking the fly I offered them, so I was able to catch three fish for my evening meal to go with my ramen for the night. That morning, I had talked with a couple people about a rock slide the night before that lasted about a minute. The night I spent at Ruwah, that was nothing. For hours that night, I heard boulders/rocks coming down in the basin there. My last night, I stayed at the Treasure Lakes, a small, hand full of lakes, scattered about South Lake. Windy there, some young gents were catching fish, I hooked a couple later in the day, but was unable to land them, where I would have released them anyway. It was windy all afternoon and into the night there. I was up before the crack of dawn and I was leaving the trailhead at 7:00AM after giving a ride to a guy, back to there car, who was with a bunch who had to leave there car a mile down the South Lake road
Enabled them to have there car at the TH when they ended there trip and to not have to depend on walking down to get the car or catching a ride.

My hardest trip ever I believe and most dangerous, as I left a few things out. Thank you maverick for the trip report and photos from last summer and the mention to be in good physical shape to complete the trip. I had serious doubts that my ankles and/or knees could do this trip as I have had some pain in the past, but they did find. I think it is going down the stair steps on some trails that is hard on the knees.

Disclaimer, this trip is not glamourized and parts should only be hiked with due care and caution.

Now, where is that subscription to AARP, with the free Rocking Chair Guide to Car Camping with a paid year subscription?

Thank you maverick for the inspiration and word of caution.
Piece of cake.



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Re: Passed out in the High Sierra

Postby copeg » Sat Aug 02, 2008 8:31 pm

Awesome TR hikerduane. Enjoyed reading every word. Definitely sounds like an awesome, and tough, trip.
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Re: Passed out in the High Sierra

Postby hikerduane » Sun Aug 03, 2008 8:40 am

Thank you trailblazer for the nice words.

Thinking last night after I went to bed, I should have mentioned a couple more things. The weather was finally like a normal Sierra summer, taking into consideration the altitude also. Warm days, cooling down at night. At the elevation I was at, I was like a dog, out in the sun until I got too warm, then into the shade to cool down. Temps only had to have been in the upper 60's, would have been good without the light breeze or wind. While in camp, I had to find a spot to get partial sun to avoid getting too cool. Breeze felt good while moving. A couple days had cloud build up, I had a couple days where I felt a few light drops of rain, but the activity was east or north of my location. I could have left my DEET home, bugs were just pesky in my opinion.

I used my Montrail, Hardrock trail runners for this trip also, the third season on them. Just like the Timex watch commercials. Not a blister to be seen, the ball of one foot felt like it was getting one of those deep down sore spots, but has been ok. One day, I almost rolled my ankle but caught it in time.

Oh yes, the water temps. As I get older, it gets harder to get in the lakes, rivers to wash the dust and sweat off. Ahh! A couple days, all I could do was find a hole in the river and sit in it to wash the dust off.
Piece of cake.
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Re: Passed out in the High Sierra

Postby cmon4day » Sun Aug 03, 2008 10:12 am

hikerduane wrote: took a break and had no motivation, plus I had just had another aura, where my vision is affected for 20 minutes or so. I was in a funk I guess.


Hey HD,

Sounds like a excellent trip. I've BP'd many years, but I don't know if I would go that long alone. I'm impressed. But hey, I'm worried about this quote from you. Has this happened to you before? You may want to explore these symptoms further. Don't want to freak you out but vision problems can sometimes be stroke related. Look into it.

Take Care.
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Re: Passed out in the High Sierra

Postby cgundersen » Sun Aug 03, 2008 12:07 pm

Hi HD,
Ah, the perils of keeping up with the Jonses; or in this case, the Maverick. I'm a big fan of his trip reports, too, but for ordinary mortals, you need to multiply by 2 (at least) the amount of time it will take to get to the places he does. But, from my experience, those places are worth the struggle. I think it was Giantbrookie in an earlier thread who extolled the virtues of Amphitheather Lake so hopefully it was worth the effort to get there. And, I know from experience that that entire high route from Knapsack/Thunderbolt over to the Palisades Lakes is great (my wife and I really appreciated the fact that the ledges on the south side of Potluck pass were a big crap shoot, and we felt lucky that very few of them ended in major drops; like you, we don't bounce as well as we used to). Anyway, I've not seen them, but we were told by a ranger in Dusy basin that there are pictographs (Indian) on some of the rocks above the unnamed lake on the south side of Mather pass. Did you see anything like that?
CG
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Re: Passed out in the High Sierra

Postby hikerduane » Sun Aug 03, 2008 1:32 pm

My auras, I asked an Optometrist about them this Spring. He thought I should see a Ear, Nose and Throat specialist when I mentioned that I have been having more the last 18 months. I had an MRI done over a year ago, I was too impatient to see the Dr. who reads the images later so I never found out the results. I did get the images from the hospital though. Small world, I met a guy in Dusy Basin who knew exactly what I was having knew someone having some auras also. I may see a Neurologist when I go back to work this coming week. Hardest thing to do is to get guys to see a doctor. I have good insurance, so I better use it before they expectation me out of work.

I by-passed the lake SE of Mather Pass as there weren't any trees around it, to go visit Cardinal Lake instead, so I missed any pictographs. Going over the pass down to Amphitheater the next day, I could easily have left my own pictograph all over the rocks. Coming down from that pass, you could see the shape of the rock above Amphitheater as having given the lake its name. The high lakes like that don't turn me on like lakes lower down with trees, flowers ect. growing, but they still are very pretty. Just stark, too quiet for me on solo trips.
Piece of cake.
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Re: Passed out in the High Sierra

Postby Poopah » Mon Aug 04, 2008 12:16 pm

Auras can come with Migraines. They can also be the only symptom. Still, good idea to follow up on it.
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Re: Passed out in the High Sierra

Postby maverick » Mon Aug 04, 2008 12:44 pm

Hi Hikerduane

Thanks for the TR sounds like you had a great adventure and I am glad that I could contribute.
Im surprised your Hardrocks last that long mine are dead after one trip, went
thru 2 of them and a pair of Comp's in just one year.
Not sure from your TR whether you made it up to Ladder or not?
Did you check out the upper lakes in Amph Basin?
Yes its a lonely place out there, but it allows oneself to mend with nature at
levels not obtainable with others.
The higher level of awareness and senses that one experiences is intriguing to
me and I have come enjoy it.
If you keep meeting people its harder to adjust, its much easier if you do not see
anyone and then just visit more frequented areas the last two days so you can
shoot the breeze with fellow backpackers, at least this works for me.
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Re: Passed out in the High Sierra

Postby hikerduane » Mon Aug 04, 2008 6:55 pm

Hi maverick, no, I didn't make it up to Ladder Lake. That is pretty steep, wow! If you went out of Amphitheater Lake over the pass, eastbound, on the Mather Pass side, you did like the Ranger and were able to view your route, I just got lucky coming from the Mather Pass side west bound and getting down off the pass into the basin. I think I get some of your meaning about the high lakes and having no one around for days. You can think about other things. Surprisingly, on my summer trip two years ago around Silver Pass area, I saw no one three out of six days and I wove in and out of popular bp areas and the PCT/JMT. I took a few photos, but I don't currrently subscribe to a photo hosting site, I don't like Webshots.

My Hardrocks show some slight sign of sole separation on one shoe, where you might scratch the dirt to bury your toothpaste etc. My poor Golite, Gust pack. It got dragged and rubbed on rocks all morning coming down from Cirque Pass. I didn't realize it had suffered damage where the Garcia Machine canister touches the pack material around the ends of the canister until I took it off at the north end of Palisade Lakes for a break. I have some nice holes in my pack now.:(

I took Gookinaid about three days in the afternoon to replenish my salts, not sure if that was a help for the next day.
Piece of cake.
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Re: Passed out in the High Sierra

Postby maverick » Tue Aug 05, 2008 11:29 am

You entered Amph Basin over the pass above Lake 11309, right?
I came down from Dusy then up to Ladder, then went south on the JMT
to the creek coming out of the lake west of Mt. Shakspere(class 2) and followed that
up and over the ridge to the two small lakes southwest of Shakespere Lake and climbed
around to Observation Lake Basin (lakes under Observation Peak).
From there I climbed over a ridge (class 3) into the most western end of Dumbbell Basin,
then climbed over Cataract Pass into Amph Basin down Cataract Creek to JMT and climbed
up the creek coming out from Barrett Lakes(class 2) and over Isosceles Pass into Dusy.
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Re: Passed out in the High Sierra

Postby giantbrookie » Tue Aug 05, 2008 3:28 pm

A nice epic indeed. That area is simply enthralling. Of the uncountable trips I've done, the 1993 trip I did with my wife to the Dumbbells (via Knapsack, Barrett Creek, Amphitheater, and Cataract Pass) remains my all time favorite trip. Interesting note about the UNC groups. I ran into one in 2003 on the High Sierra trail. They made me feel like a California wimp. We were on day 7 of 7 consecutive days of all day thunderstorms (not afternoon/evening only) and we were griping about it all trip long (had forced us to cancel about 3 peak climbs). We ran into this UNC group and they were so incredibly cheery, even though they had endured constant rain for something like 3 consecutive weeks.
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: Passed out in the High Sierra

Postby SSSdave » Tue Aug 05, 2008 4:00 pm

Quite the lengthy maverick-like ramble Duane! Didn't know we old guys were allowed permits to undertake such adventures. ;) And you dropped down out of the high country into such a deep hole down there about the middle fork. Painful price to pay climbing out. I share your aversion for camping in the treeless alpine zones that tend to be popular with usual High Sierra peak baggers. Probably felt that way ever since visiting sterile Ionian Basin in 1980, disliking the treeless, nearly wildflower less, expanses of rock, snow, water, and turf. Give me at least a few stunted whitebark or foxtail pines, their tree spirits, and I'm happy. I may be going over Bishop Pass late August with a friend. But we would just be base camping there in an obscure scenic spot below the famous peaks 4 nights.
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