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Snow-Tongue Pass

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Re: Snow-Tongue Pass

Postby maverick » Wed Sep 03, 2008 11:57 am

I purchased the 1Ds Mark3 which I really like and can hardly wait to use in the Sierra.
Finally got Photoshop CS3 and Lightroom 2.0 which will keep me busy for a while.



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Re: Snow-Tongue Pass

Postby peninsula » Wed Sep 03, 2008 4:56 pm

maverick wrote:I purchased the 1Ds Mark3 which I really like and can hardly wait to use in the Sierra.
Finally got Photoshop CS3 and Lightroom 2.0 which will keep me busy for a while.


Wow... nice camera.
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Re: Snow-Tongue Pass

Postby quentinc » Fri Sep 05, 2008 1:38 pm

I'm also considering a trip to that area. It would be as part of a North Lake - South Lake loop, which I've done numerous times, so I was looking for some new side trips. I usually do the Ionian Basin. Has anyone been to the McGee Lakes area? Any other recommendations?
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Re: Snow-Tongue Pass

Postby maverick » Fri Sep 05, 2008 3:46 pm

Follow the stream up thru McGee Canyon to McGee Lakes, stay on northern side of
McGee Lakes and the small lake under the pass, and go over McGee Lakes Pass
(class 2) descending right down to the JMT across from Sapphire Lake.
Its an easy route and McGee Lakes is worth the visit.
Hester or Ladder Lake would be a fun detour, Ladder is definitely a worth while
destination with great scenery and further side trips possible from it.
You could climb up to Ladder and continue on to Hester via the pass and then
go down to the JMT and then up to Dusy, however the descent from Hester must
be done with care since its over smooth steep granite (smearing technique comes
in handy).
Last edited by maverick on Fri Sep 05, 2008 11:16 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Snow-Tongue Pass

Postby quentinc » Fri Sep 05, 2008 10:17 pm

Maverick, thanks for the suggestions! (I'll probably pass on Hester though. I'm afraid that my smearing technique might end up with me being smeared all over the rock.)
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Re: Snow-Tongue Pass

Postby peninsula » Fri Sep 12, 2008 1:47 pm

Just got back. Great trip. Snow-Tongue Pass was frightening as I descended the east face.

Did McGee Lakes basin back in the 80's... very pretty and quiet. Well worth the side trip. Darwin Bench is spectacular! The view from the Bench into McGee Lakes Basin is spectacular. Lake 11,092 below Snow-Tongue is another spot with expansive and awesome views over McClure Meadow.

I'll provide a link to my TR once finished.
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Re: Snow-Tongue Pass

Postby maverick » Fri Sep 12, 2008 4:04 pm

So did you need your other battery?
You mentioned using Ray filters do you have the Vari-ND and if yes, how do you like it?
Is it the thin or regular filter?
Did you make it up to the two sets of lakes discussed earlier?
Get a good rush looking down from Snow-Tongue?
I'm looking forward to your TR and pic's so I can see these areas after 20+yrs.
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Re: Snow-Tongue Pass

Postby peninsula » Fri Sep 12, 2008 5:40 pm

maverick wrote:So did you need your other battery?
You mentioned using Ray filters do you have the Vari-ND and if yes, how do you like it?
Is it the thin or regular filter?
Did you make it up to the two sets of lakes discussed earlier?
Get a good rush looking down from Snow-Tongue?
I'm looking forward to your TR and pic's so I can see these areas after 20+yrs.


Hey maverick,

I did some night exposures, one up to 10 minutes. I ended up going through half of my second battery. My D80 is a battery hog and fortunately the D700 uses the same batteries. The CMOS sensor uses less juice, but the really nifty deal with the D700 is the low noise at ISO settings up to 1600. My D80 was very noisy at ISO 800.

I use the rectangular Singh-Ray soft step ND filters... I have a 2G and a 1G. I only needed to pull them out on two occasions based on histogram feedback. I will use them in combination with a circular polarizer. My polarizer is a Helipan ES, regular thickness.

I did not make it up to the lakes west of Goethe, but only those to the east. My legs appreciated the edit in plans!

Snow-Tongue was challenging! Very doable, but given my acrophobic nature, I'd give it a solid class 2 rating. Going down the west side definitely gave me a rush and with my bulky backpack, there was one spot of climbing that had me uncomfortably teetering for balance. At another section down the steep couloir, a large slab of granite let loose just behind me as I took a heavy step to gain a foothold across to one side. The back of my calf was cut and bruised, nothing serious at all, but far too close for comfort. The subsequent rockfall this slab generated produced clouds of dust that momentarily blinded me and had me choking! I found the boulder hopping down and around Whahoo Lakes a cakewalk as compared to that couloir.

I'll have a TR in a couple of days.
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Re: Snow-Tongue Pass

Postby peninsula » Sun Sep 14, 2008 4:36 pm

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Re: Snow-Tongue Pass

Postby Codester » Sun Sep 14, 2008 8:05 pm

Hey man, that report was one great read! I enjoyed your descriptive writing and beautiful pictures.
I love seeing pictures of that area. I never get to see or explore it because my main hiking companion is my dog, but that area is definitely on my list of places to go. That sure was a fatty rainbow you caught too. I bet she tasted good. Did the lake have scuds in it or just a healthy population of bugs? Good trip man, that's my kind of adventure :partyman:
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Re: Snow-Tongue Pass

Postby peninsula » Mon Sep 15, 2008 5:03 am

Thanks Codester,

I did not see any scuds but I could have missed them, too. I almost put a scud on just to see if I'd get any action. Looking under the rocks, I found mostly tiny black larvae and one emerging stone fly. I normally would have opened the stomach of the one I ate, but it was dark and my headlamp was on the fritz.
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Re: Snow-Tongue Pass

Postby maverick » Mon Sep 15, 2008 12:17 pm

Thanks for the TR Peninsula.
Sounds like you had a lot of close calls all thru your trip.
The prospect of either an acl or mcl injury would be scary enough back home but in the
backcountry its much more dangerous.
If it had been an acl at least your where in a pretty well traveled corridor unlike Dumbbell
Lakes which rarely get visited.
That chute coming down ST Pass can be tricky luckly you stopped before it got worse.
I enjoyed seeing those tarns again they are pretty as is the view to the west.
Read about the fire in the Tehipite area but didn't expect to see so much smoke!
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