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Obelisk Lake Route Questions

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Obelisk Lake Route Questions

Postby TehipiteTom » Mon Jan 26, 2009 2:25 pm

Okay, I've read through the Obelisk Lake thread and the follow-up trip report from Markskor, and I have a few route questions of my own.

I'm planning to do a Clark Range loop in late July. Standard up to a point--Glacier Point up Illilouette Creek, over Red Peak Pass to Red Devil Lake--but I figure I'll make it more interesting with an off-trail segment over to Lake 9705 (near Adair), Obelisk Lake, and down to the Merced (and out to GP via LYV). The part I'm wondering about is the descent from Obelisk to the Merced.

Here's a map (click through for full size):
Image

Questions:

1) I've tried to mark the slab and cavalry trail routes (red arrows) based on my reading of that thread, but I'm sure I've got them wrong. Any corrections would be greatly appreciated.

2) Instead of going up, I'll be looking for the route on the descent, and I don't want to get hung up on cliffs. Any good tips? Any landmarks that would help to pin down either route? Anything I should try to avoid?

3) And a wild card: an entirely different route (solid red line). Looks to me like if I traverse west at the right elevation and then descend to below Echo Valley, I can a) descend a less-steep route on which b) I don't have to cross the river at all. Any opinions on this? Better still, any beta?

Thanks in advance,
Tom



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Re: Obelisk Lake Route Questions

Postby oldranger » Mon Jan 26, 2009 4:05 pm

I hate it when somebody does what I'm about to do--not answer your question. But you might consider not dropping all the way down to Red Devil Lake and instead starting a northward traverse about 1/2 way down. With some carefull route finding you can easily get to Adair. I led my 35 and 25 year old daughters over that route two summers ago. I thought it was a piece of cake but they revolted at the mention of returning that way. Kind of rushed right now and the only map near the computer is my National geographic topog of the entire park. Is lake 9705 the lake about 3/4 mile e. of Adair? Do you fish? I didn't get the opportunity to fish that lake and have never found it mentioned in anyone's fishing exploits but it looked fishy (no large population of insects in the lake plus a combination large shallow area plus lots of deep water) when we walked by it (another revolt. When I asked them if they minded if I fished a few minutes, the younger daughter blurted out, "yes I mind, we're trapped here and I want to get out." It was all I could do to stop laughing, but I didn't dare break out my rod for fear that she would litterally break it.)

Cheers

mike
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Re: Obelisk Lake Route Questions

Postby markskor » Mon Jan 26, 2009 4:54 pm

Tom, You are where I was last year...dreaming of possible forgotten lunkers.
My route up was almost exactly the slab route you pictured (west broken arrows), where I found myself a bit too high and too west to make the lake - visible down below but cliffs stopped me...recommend heading more for the knob - which was distinct and visible from about 800 - 1000 feet above Merced...and traveling accordingly - directly over knob - 9482 ( east of or close to.). As to where to cross to mighty Merced, entrance pool to Merced (at HSC) was easiest...wading stomach-deep across sandy bottom, little current...maybe 25 feet of wet but no problem.
You also might come down east of knob and backtrack south a bit, then north again - traverse slabs there, but expect a thick Manzanita wall/barrier everywhere once close to river. Once down, you could stay south and follow river (a sketchy trail is there) until you get close to HSC again - but more Manzanita all close to river... Crossing 1/4 mile east (other broken arrow route) looked kinda hairy to me with heavy river flow.
From talking with HSC crew, good fishing at Adair...Obelisk not so much.
Good luck...I am also going to try it again too this year, so if you go before I do, keep me posted.
When are you going?
Taut lines-
mark
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Re: Obelisk Lake Route Questions

Postby TehipiteTom » Mon Jan 26, 2009 5:25 pm

oldranger wrote:I hate it when somebody does what I'm about to do--not answer your question. But you might consider not dropping all the way down to Red Devil Lake and instead starting a northward traverse about 1/2 way down. With some carefull route finding you can easily get to Adair.

Mike, I did look at that as a possibility. My current thinking is that a) Red Devil looks like a lovely spot in its own right, b) looks like a pretty walk down the valley below Red Devil, and c) I'm guessing there are some spectacular views out on the ridgeline. But of course on the other side of the ledger is the extra couple of miles of travel. So your route is definitely worth keeping as an option.

And yes, 9705 is the lake near Adair--I've heard it's prettier than Adair itself. I don't fish, so that's not really a factor; I'm just in it for the aesthetic experience. ;) LOL at your daughters' reactions.

Mark, thanks for the beta. I'm still up in the air as to which route I'll take, but I have to say the third option is still looking like it has potential. I'm tentatively planning on going out from July 20-25; if that's before you, I'll definitely let you know what I find, and if you go first, thanks in advance for your report.
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Re: Obelisk Lake Route Questions

Postby markskor » Mon Jan 26, 2009 5:35 pm

Tom,
I agree, route (solid red line) that comes out going west, once below Obelisk and re-joining trail, following small creek, above Bunnell Cascades might be the best idea of all...especially if going down. Some wet slabs and marsh up there though...stay alert. Keep me posted...leaving around July 1...maybe see you up there...that would be a great surprise.
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Re: Obelisk Lake Route Questions

Postby SSSdave » Sun Feb 01, 2009 3:18 pm

I've had topos for that area about Mount Clark penciled up for a trip for a few years and sooner or later am likely to actually do the trip. The route I drew up from the Merced River is identical to your solid line route. After reading about the Calvery Route a few years ago, I viewed what they did as simply the result of routefinding ignorance of going about such by sight only during days before maps. Actually if I do my trip, my main focus would be Mount Clark in the edgewise orientation it appears like a needle-like spire versus the side view from Obelisk. However Obelisk has interesting spires on the erete just west of the lake worthy in their own right so I plan to visit that also. I'm likely to come in from the Glacier Point Road via what appears to be a straightforward offtrail ramble with less milage and less than 4000 feet of vertical to reach a campspot at pond 9235 that would otherwise be about 5.5k from Happy Isles.
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Re: Obelisk Lake Route Questions

Postby TehipiteTom » Mon Feb 02, 2009 10:35 am

Dave, thanks--that's helpful and reassuring (at the very least, someone else is reading the topo the way I did ;)).

Mark, I just mailed my application for a permit--going in July 20. If you're still in the area then, maybe I'll see you.

Mike, on further reflection there's actually a pretty fair likelihood that I'll do the high route to Lake 9705 instead of swinging around the ridge. I have a pretty ambitious first day (13 miles, more or less) and if I stop a few miles short of my goal, I might spend the second night at Lower Ottoway instead of Red Devil--then over the high route to 9705. Looks like a solid backup plan, anyway.
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Re: Obelisk Lake Route Questions

Postby oldranger » Tue Feb 03, 2009 10:42 am

Tom,

Don't get me wrong. Red Devil is nice. And the trip down Red Peak Fork is interesting with some great old junipers on the slabs upslope w. of the creek. And while nothing is bad in the sierra Neither Adair or 9705 are mega outstandingly beautiful though views of the s. Cathedral Range are outstanding from near the outlet of Adair. Somewhere on my trip I got a view of the pinnacles to the s. of Oblisk but I didn't know what they were because my map ended. But they were pretty spectacular and dark red as I remember--almost e.side like. Anyhow it looks like you and mark have interesting trips planned. What trailhead are you planning on using?

Mike
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Re: Obelisk Lake Route Questions

Postby TehipiteTom » Wed Feb 04, 2009 10:35 am

Mike, thanks for the tips. I'm doing the Glacier Point trailhead. (Mono Meadow might shave a couple miles off the first day, but it'd add them back to the last.)
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Re: Obelisk Lake Route Questions

Postby SSSdave » Wed Feb 04, 2009 9:56 pm

Mono Meadows is the obvious start for less mileage and vertical though that requires a ford of Illouette Creek. I posted a question about that ford over in summitpost a few years ago and unless it is an El Nino year, it sounded ho hum by late July. Although there is quite a lot of offtrail beyond that ford, making a route through the inclined glaciated exfoliating granitoid zones and not the flat lodgepole swamps like behind Starr King is all too obvious on the topo. Likely similar to fast offtrail hiking to Mount Watkins from SR-120.
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Re: Obelisk Lake Route Questions

Postby TehipiteTom » Thu Feb 05, 2009 5:33 pm

Dave, I've considered that high traverse for the return, but I'm leaning toward heading down to the Merced because a) water availability looks dicey in a drought year (I'm not the superman some of y'all are--I would need to camp somewhere along the way); and b) I've never done any of the Merced above Nevada Fall, and it looks spectacular enough to see once (I don't plan on camping in the main part of LYV, though).
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Re: Obelisk Lake Route Questions

Postby oldranger » Tue Feb 10, 2009 2:32 pm

TT and Mark,
Here are some photos from Red Peak Pass to Adair,only 5 more months! As you can see the route is a piece of cake I have no idea why they didn't like it. (especially #2) click on photos for a little more detail.
P1000418.JPG
N. from Red Peak Pass, note red cone to left of #1
P1000428.JPG
Start of traverse from below tarns below Red Peak Pass
P1000436.JPG
now n. of Red Cone, looking across Adair Drainage toward obelisk country
P1000443.JPG
Looking back at #1 and #2 working their way down to the NW below the red cone
P1000450.JPG
Working way N. down ridge toward Adair, will soon move to right into shallow valley
P1000453.JPG
Sunrise from nw Corner of Adair
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