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Llamas over Italy Pass

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Llamas over Italy Pass

Postby homeranch » Sun Jan 18, 2009 3:09 pm

There is a knapsack route over Italy Pass east of Italy Lake. Does anyone know if stock, particularly llamas can be taken over that route, Italy Lake to Honeymoon Lake?



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Re: Llamas over Italy Pass

Postby hikerduane » Sun Jan 18, 2009 5:55 pm

If you can get to Italy, you can make it to Honeymoon. Have you been up the trail to Italy? That's the hard part for stock. I'm guessing you are coming up out of the Bear Creek drainage, either thru the Bear Basin or up the trail from Bear Creek directly, I've only been on each route once on separate trips.
Piece of cake.
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Re: Llamas over Italy Pass

Postby Mike McGuire » Sun Jan 18, 2009 9:43 pm

It might be a pretty rough piece of cake. If it ends up being a heavy snow year, or if you go early, there will be steep snow on the slabs on the south shore of Lake Italy. It can be bypassed by wading some distance in the shallows along the shore--understand llamas don't much like water. Beyond that there is some fairly steep talus towards to top of Italy pass. Take a look at my account of going through there in 2006 http://www.peninsulaflyfishers.org/Fishing_Tales/threepasses06/ThreePasses.html

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Re: Llamas over Italy Pass

Postby homeranch » Mon Jan 19, 2009 7:47 am

Mike your photos were worth a thousand words. The slabs at lake Italy would require water walking, which is doable for the llamas, but, without a trail there could be some "reefs and shoals" that would present a problem.

Your shot of Italy Pass was excellent. It appears to me that unloaded llamas could negotiate those steps, but with a group and gear the logistics start to become a pain.

Llamas can follow a person pretty much anywhere hands aren't required, they can climb class two, but class three becomes a problem.

My plan was to do about the same loop you did, only starting at Florence Lake then heading up the south fork and into Piute Creek

Unless there is a hidden trail over Italy Pass and along the north shore of Italy Lake, I will have to re plan. Is it possible that there is another route over to Mono Creek?

Using llamas, like backpacking involves a series of tradeoffs. Grunting up a hill like your first day out of Pine Creek with a pack on just plain sucks.

Hiking up a grade like that with llamas means the hikers carry water and a camera, if they want to weigh themselves down! But, off trail hiking is limited. and again a conversity, we eat good, and we sit in chairs.
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Re: Llamas over Italy Pass

Postby homeranch » Thu Jan 22, 2009 8:06 pm

Curiouser and curiouser. I got an email from a fellow another llama packer that said years ago he followed a trail over Italy Pass, I found an description in a hiking guide that speaks of a trail leaving the "heel" of Lake Italy, passing to the north of Jumble Lake staying above the scree then crossing Italy Pass, Sure would be nice If I was able to get up there and walk it before I get up there and walk it:)
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Re: Llamas over Italy Pass

Postby TahoeJeff » Fri Jan 23, 2009 9:56 am

Hey homeranch,
If the e-mail you got from a fellow llama packer, was from Ozark Flip, then you are talking to the right guy. If it wasn't, you should PM him here, as he is a very experienced llama packer!
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Re: Llamas over Italy Pass

Postby Ozark Flip » Fri Jan 23, 2009 11:09 am

Nope, it wasn't me. I know nothing about the route in question. I know the concerns homeranch has about taking llamas into areas unknown. Hate to plan a big trip, drive to the trailhead, get half way into the trip and have to abort. Good luck homeranch, I wish I could help. I will say that my llamas will go down to a lake and drink but I wouldn't think about hiking through water (along a lakes edge). Stream crossings are interesting enough.

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Re: Llamas over Italy Pass

Postby homeranch » Fri Jan 23, 2009 9:52 pm

I figure we will do a modified loop, drive to Florence Lake move the truck and trailer to Edison, come back to Florence head in from there, follow the JMT north, to Silver pass, taking a few out and backs like to Piute Creek, Italy lake, might as well scout that for the future, up Mono Creek and check out the recesses.

Setting up point to point hikes with shuttling vehicles is much harder on the west side than on the east. We recently moved from Truckee to the coast, from Truckee we would head down 395 and set our shuttles on the short East Side Spurs. Moving a rig from Cedar Grove to Florence Lake is a major undertaking compared to the East side.
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Re: Llamas over Italy Pass

Postby homeranch » Thu Feb 05, 2009 9:55 am

A further note, my 1964 Starrs Guide states the trail passes Lake Italy on the south, but high up, whether it still requires slab walking or if the trail passes above them, I do not know.
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Re: Llamas over Italy Pass

Postby ndwoods » Tue Mar 10, 2009 10:14 pm

I have been on that trail over that pass. Quite well trod, and once maintained. I am embarrassed to say I don't remember if it would work for stock. I think you would be fine. However....coming out Hilgard Branch there is one section that is soooo narrow with a drop off... has been damaged by weather that I would most definately not take stock on it. Very narrow closed in walls in a place or two as well. If you were just going to Lake Italy and back from Honeymoon...or going over Gabbot Pass then I think it would work....
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Re: Llamas over Italy Pass

Postby paul » Fri Mar 13, 2009 8:41 pm

[quote="ndwoods"] However....coming out Hilgard Branch there is one section that is soooo narrow with a drop off... has been damaged by weather that I would most definately not take stock on it. Very narrow closed in walls in a place or two as well. quote]
I second the motion on that. I went through there last year in early May on a ski trip (had to walk at that point) and that is a pretty funky bit of trail - kind of crawls up and down along the steep side of a narrow gully, wooded and brushy. It's a short section, but there's no way around it if you want to go up or down the Hilgard Branch. Above that, or below it, it's very easy going to Lake Italy, but that one bit would be the only problem.
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Re: Llamas over Italy Pass

Postby Jmma » Wed Apr 01, 2009 3:55 pm

Just saw this post.There are a lot of step ups and ledges on either side of Italy pass.Calling it a trail is a bit of a stretch.There is a trail visable wherever there is dirt but once you get to 11,000ft is all rock and you try to follow ducks and pick the line of least resistance.I wouldnt try it unless you can lift a Lama up a 6ft ledge.
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