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Probably last trip of the season- Goddard Divide?

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Probably last trip of the season- Goddard Divide?

Postby trav867 » Wed Sep 17, 2008 10:06 pm

I've found a way to take 5 days off next week, wed-sun, and so it looks like I'll be able to get out for a much needed trip! I'm not sure whether I want to visit an area I'm familiar with and just wander around, or have an adventure exploring a new area. Looking at the map and photos on the web, the Goddard Divide and Ionian Basin look very enticing. Is 5 days (solo) enough time to visit this area? If so, what entry point would you guys recommend? Sabrina? South Lake? Maybe you've got a better trip idea for me?
My whole goal is just to have a memorable trip to the high country that will get me through the long winter!



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Re: Probably last trip of the season- Goddard Divide?

Postby quentinc » Thu Sep 18, 2008 1:51 pm

The Ionian Basin is one of my favorite spots, although I skipped it on my 7 day trip (just back) since I've done it so often. It can certainly be done in 5 days if you're in good shape. I went in over Lamarck Col and camped the first night in Darwin Canyon. The second day I went to Sapphire Lake, getting there around lunch time. I could easily have made it to the Ionian Basin from there by evening, so it's quite possible to get there in 2 days. You could have a layover day to explore, climb Mt. Scylla (Class 2), etc.

(Instead, I climbed Mt. Spencer and then curled off into the McGee Lakes area, then conducted a grand tour through Marie Lake, Bear Lakes Basin, Feather Pass...eventually coming out Piute Pass.)
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Re: Probably last trip of the season- Goddard Divide?

Postby cgundersen » Sun Sep 21, 2008 12:12 pm

Hi Trav,
Five days to get into and out from Ionian basin is feasible, but it's pushing the envelope a bit. The trail up and over Lamarck col is fairly ragged, and unless you're in sensational shape, it'll take you 5-6 hours to get from North lake to the ridge. Then, even though Darwin canyon looks like a cruise, I have always found myself getting side-tracked at least once going through there (and wondering how I missed such an obvious route...). With the shorter days of autumn, you could certainly get to Darwin Bench, but not without feeling it the next day. Nevertheless, from there, it's not a huge deal to cross the Evolution plateau and get up and over Wanda Pass into Ionian Basin. But ,it'll still be a solid day of trucking. One day to explore the basin is certainly better than none (I posted a link to some Ionian basin photos from the trip my wife & I did earlier this year, and like Quentinc, I love the area). Reversing course is certainly the easiest way to get back out. I've done Echo col (but it puts you in Sabrina basin rather than North Lake and Echo is much more challenging that Lamarck col). And, I've thought about Wallace & Haeckel cols, but have been discouraged from doing them by other folks on HST. The only other consideration is that you'll be much closer to the smoke from the Tehipite fire, and my wife and I saw a lot more smoke than we wanted to on a recent loop up by the Minarets (much further north!). So, I'd factor that in (especially, if you're sensitive to smoke).
CG
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Re: Probably last trip of the season- Goddard Divide?

Postby quentinc » Sun Sep 21, 2008 5:20 pm

That's an excellent point about the smoke. I know it got to me last week, as I was gasping my way up to Gemini Pass. You'd think living in Los Angeles would be sufficient preparation, but 3 miles from the ocean, I miss most of the smog.
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Re: Probably last trip of the season- Goddard Divide?

Postby trav867 » Mon Sep 22, 2008 8:27 am

I hadn't even considered the smoke- is there anywhere in SEKI that will be clear?
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Re: Probably last trip of the season- Goddard Divide?

Postby cgundersen » Mon Sep 22, 2008 1:55 pm

Hi Trav,
I'd either opt to go far South (Mineral King or Cottonwood Lakes) or far North (the Minarets area was not bad, but we still got diffuse smoke last week).Here's the link to the webcams that I check for smoke. Lookout Peak looks right at the Tehipite fire!
CG

http://sierrafire.cr.usgs.gov/swfrs/Pages/WebCam.html
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Re: Probably last trip of the season- Goddard Divide?

Postby trav867 » Mon Sep 22, 2008 5:04 pm

Ok, so here is what I'm thinking. Starting at Cottonwood Lakes TH, go over New Army Pass, summit Mt. Langley. Head through Miter Basin and over the pass below Mt. McAdie, follow Crabtree Creek to the PCT, and take the PCT back to Cottonwood Pass, and down to the car.

I've got 5 days so I think I'll have time to explore a bit if I want. Does anyone know about the pass I'm talking about? On GoogleEarth it looks fine. Any other suggestions?
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Re: Probably last trip of the season- Goddard Divide?

Postby cgundersen » Tue Sep 23, 2008 9:28 am

Hi Trav,
Relative to jamming into Ionian Basin, this will be an easier trip, but given the smoke situation, I definitely think it'll work out better. The ridge you're aiming at to get out of Miter basin is no problem (I think it's referred to as Crabtree pass; it gets steady use during the summer and it'll be obvious where you need to go). Interestingly, the first time I went up that way, as I reached the last big (un-named) lake above Sky Blue (which is very pretty, as are Primrose and Iridescent, in the same basin), there was a bit of an optical illusion which made the ridge on the far side of Crabtree basin look like the "pass" when in fact it was just a small hop at the far end of that upper lake. Regardless, the granite walls in Miter Basin catch some great alpenglow, and there are enough "side adventures" that you can do there and in Crabtree that you should have no trouble keeping busy for 5 days.
CG
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