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Mono Pass and Pioneer Basin

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Mono Pass and Pioneer Basin

Postby jweverka » Thu Aug 07, 2008 10:53 am

I've got a permit to hike out of Rock Creek for 4 nights starting next week - going with my wife and 2 kids (girl 13, boy 15). The kids have backpacked a few times, but not for a few years. We're coming from sea level and spending the night in Mammoth the night before. Will we be miserable trying to get over Mono Pass into the Pioneer Basin the first day? Are there any alternatives? Any decent places to stop for the night along the way? It seems too easy and quick to go down toward Chickenfoot Lake. Any advice is appreciated.



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Re: Mono Pass and Pioneer Basin

Postby Timberline » Thu Aug 07, 2008 5:12 pm

HOWDY, jweverka - -
I took my 12 year old son to Pioneer Basin for our first Sierra backpack trip and had a great trip to remember together. We started from sea level (in Oregon) and spent an afternoon at Bodie (8,000') and then a night at Mosquito Flat and another at Ruby Lake to get acclimatized. It helped, although my son had minor altitude sickness at Ruby; he was fine every day after. We just took it slow and easy up the ridge to Mono Pass. After that, it was a piece of cake.
If you go all the way in on first day from M Flat, just do the same; there's time and you'll get there.

If you want to try an easy but rewarding climb, try Mono Rock with your family. Kids might enjoy bagging a peak, and there's (there was) a register at the top so they can sign off on summitting. "Course, you guys might be ready for Stanford or Huntington, so go for it!

Enjoy! :nod: :thumbsup:
Let 'er Buck! Back in Oregon again!
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Re: Mono Pass and Pioneer Basin

Postby Buck Forester » Thu Aug 07, 2008 9:27 pm

It depends on how good of shape you guys are in. If you slept the previous night at Mammoth and got an early start from Mosquito Flat you should have no problem going over Mono Pass, you'll have plenty of time for rest stops if you're feeling winded from the elevation. Ruby Lake is a place I camp sometimes if I get a late afternoon start, which is not too far up the trail from Mosquito Flat, so you can always bail there if someone isn't feeling up to doing the pass. Once you're over Mono Pass you can camp at Trail Lakes (the trail goes right by it as it descends the pass), but it's all down hill from there. Fourth Recess Lake is gorgeous http://www.flickr.com/photos/buckforester/68322077/ and if the skeeters aren't too bad, the first small lake in Pioneer Basin is very pretty (good campsite behind the lake up on a knoll, or along the small ridge on the east side) http://www.flickr.com/photos/buckforester/60135108/ (view from the knoll campsite) http://www.flickr.com/photos/buckforester/53595439/ fishing at this lake is very good for small brookies if any of you are bringing your fishing rods. Then there's obviously the other Pioneer Basin lakes above to explore... you'll have a great time!
It's all about the WILDERNESS!!!

http://www.flickr.com/photos/buckforester/page9/
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Re: Mono Pass and Pioneer Basin

Postby jweverka » Fri Aug 08, 2008 3:32 pm

Thanks for the advice! I think we may take a short morning hike toward Chickenfoot (but maybe only a mile or so in) then return and get our gear and hike to Ruby Lake. The second night and third night we'll go to Fourth Recess and day hike out of there. Then maybe start back toward the pass and stay at the Trail Lakes on night fourth night and back to the car the next day. Let me know if I've missed something. And thanks again!
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Re: Mono Pass and Pioneer Basin

Postby Timberline » Fri Aug 08, 2008 5:08 pm

Excellent decision, jweverka!
(But, hey, I'm biased, and proud of it :smirk: ) You'll love 4th Recess Lake - - Buck's photo captures it perfectly, but its even better for real.
Hope you'll post here and let us all know how it turns out.
Let 'er Buck! Back in Oregon again!
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Re: Mono Pass and Pioneer Basin

Postby jweverka » Wed Sep 03, 2008 12:49 pm

I'm a little late with this, but heres our report:

I had a great time, but my wife and daughter found the hike from Ruby Lake to Fourth Recess to be a bit longer than they liked. Everyone was pretty grumpy by the time we got to camp. That night (8/13) at about 8:30 there was a huge landslide coming down about 2,000 feet from the eastern slope over Fourth Recess that caused most all the campers at the lake to come out to take a look. It was definitely the biggest landslide I've seen in the Sierras. Dust completely enveloped the rocky side of the lake. Funny thing was that by morning you would never have know that it had happened. Throughout the next day, though, there were several minor landslides kicking up dust. It was hard to get a good picture because it was getting dark, but I tried anyway: http://www.flickr.com/photos/29331784@N03/2785588483/?edited=1
On our hike out everyone felt much better and we were able to get from Trail Lakes back to Mosquito Flat in about 3 hours. The thought of hitting Mono Cone in Lee Vining was enough to keep everyone going.
Thanks everyone for your help with planning this hike!
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Re: Mono Pass and Pioneer Basin

Postby cgundersen » Wed Sep 03, 2008 1:11 pm

Hi jweverka,
Wow, that definitely surpasses any slide that I've witnessed. The darkness even makes it seem more ominous. Cool experience to remember that trip!
CG
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Re: Mono Pass and Pioneer Basin

Postby maverick » Wed Sep 03, 2008 1:20 pm

Does make you think for a moment, especially if it happens near or on your intended
route latter that morning.
I had a pretty large landslide last year come down exactly on the route I was planning
to use 5 hrs later and believe me I moved thru that section really fast, though the chances
of it happening again in the exact same spot is almost zero it still was on my mind.
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Re: Mono Pass and Pioneer Basin

Postby copeg » Wed Sep 03, 2008 2:03 pm

Pretty scary...a landslide that close and of that magnitude. Yikes :eek:
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