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Center Basin, University Peak

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Center Basin, University Peak

Postby quentinc » Thu Oct 23, 2008 3:25 pm

Desperate after being shut out by the weather the first 2 weekends of October, I was determined to get one last trip in. I decided to go over Kearsarge Pass and then head up to Center Basin. It was beautiful from the start, with snow left over from the past weeks, on the northern slopes.

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The weather forecast looked good, so naturally it started snowing on me before I even got to Gilbert Lake. Although it was a Saturday, there was a mass exodus of people coming down the trail. When I reached Kearsarge Pass, I could see why, since the wind made for near blizzard conditions. But the snow wasn't sticking, so I figured that even if I was desperate, I wasn't crazy to continue. Once the snow stopped, it was quite beautiful, with intriguing views through the clouds and mist.

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It was actually sunny for my lunch at Bullfrog Lake:

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I was able to make it to Center Basin with only a few flurries. The weather turned out to be a blessing in disguise, since it suppressed the smoke (has there ever been a summer in the Sierra so full of smoke?), and it also resulted in my seeing not a soul for 2-1/2 days, which is absolutely remarkable for the Kearsarge area. Center Basin is really lovely -- I can't believe I've never visited it before, on my many treks up to Forester Pass. Center Peak is particularly nice:

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The next morning, I set off to climb University Peak (here's a view from the basin, at sunset):

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Secor describes the "easy Class 1 south slope," which I am still searching for.

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Oh, maybe he meant this?

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Still, it wasn't bad (class 2, with some class 3 given my inevitable ability to find the hardest route possible, as well as my climbing two false summits along the way), just strenuous. It was remarkably clear, leading to great views from the peak.

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The 3rd and last day, I hiked mainly cross-country out of Vidette meadow. This is slightly insane given how steep the slope is, but I was rewarded with a sight of two young bucks, with pretty nice racks (one was camera shy):

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Before heading back over Kearsarge Pass, I took a detour to go up Mt. Gould. It was much hazier today. Here's University Peak, from halfway up (University is so much more impressive from the north):

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Gould has at least 3 possible summits, and I couldn't find a register on any of them. Still, it led to some fun class 3 climbing (almost the entire climb is easy Class 1 -- maybe Secor thought this was University Peak) There was a nice view of Gardiner, Cotter and Clarence King:

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And a nice zoom of Tyndall:

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It was a superb way to end the summer.

[Oops, forgot to post the link to the rest of the pictures! http://good-times.webshots.com/album/568221960kYgdqU]
Last edited by quentinc on Thu Oct 23, 2008 8:31 pm, edited 1 time in total.



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Re: Center Basin, University Peak

Postby copeg » Thu Oct 23, 2008 5:24 pm

Sweet trip report! Nice narative and some beautiful pictures. Looks like you had some fun climbing as well! You've got me dying even more to get out...seems like its been an eternity.
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Re: Center Basin, University Peak

Postby maverick » Thu Oct 23, 2008 6:49 pm

I am envious, glad somebody can get out. One darn trip the whole season, luckily I
can survive(life support) on everyone's TR's till the next season, which will be make
up time, big time!
Love the views from University Peak! Thanks
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Re: Center Basin, University Peak

Postby hikerduane » Thu Oct 23, 2008 7:01 pm

When I go bping, I rarely bag any peaks. Thanks for the pics and report.

I should add, on my Yosemite trip a couple weeks ago, a guy who was going to do the JMT, quit after a couple days due to the forecast of up to a foot of snow higher up. I met him close to where the Lyell Canyon trail meets the JMT. I think he quit too soon.
Piece of cake.
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Re: Center Basin, University Peak

Postby Snow Nymph » Fri Oct 24, 2008 12:01 am

Quentinc, Nice view of the Pinnacles! This is the Mt Gould summit block. You have to climb up to get to the register
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Looking back towards University from Gould. From the summit you can see the pointy rock from your photo, looking back at the summit. Go past that point and you'll see the summit block. Easy hand and foot holds.
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I've only been to the junction of Center Basin. Great views from Uni!
Expose yourself to your deepest fear; after that, fear has no power, and the fear of freedom shrinks and vanishes. You are free . . . . Jim Morrison


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Re: Center Basin, University Peak

Postby Codester » Fri Oct 24, 2008 7:23 am

Wow! great pics Quentinc! This has to be my favorite time of year because of the reasons you stated. I love the mystical feeling of the misty, snow covered mountains. The views from the tops of the mountains are incredible as well. I'd say you had a damn good trip to end the season! Thanks for sharing :thumbsup: :thumbsup:
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Re: Center Basin, University Peak

Postby quentinc » Fri Oct 24, 2008 1:24 pm

Thanks all! And thanks, Snowy, for the info on Gould. That pointy rock tower was the first one I went up (it looked hard from a distance, but wasn't). I was in kind of a rush (trying to get home at a decent hour), but I still can't understand how I missed the register. #-o
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Re: Center Basin, University Peak

Postby AnnieB » Fri Oct 24, 2008 2:30 pm

I spent a day in Center Basin a few years ago. It is amazing that a place so close to the hoards of people on the JMT and PCT can be so solitary. We ran into a couple who had been there for a day or so and the man was one of few words and the woman was STARVING for conversation. We could tell that the man really would rather we weren't there but the woman kept talking and talking... It was pretty funny.
Center Basin was incredibly beautiful. Reminded me of Miter Basin. Thanks for taking me back.
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