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Obelisk Lake Route Questions

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Re: Obelisk Lake Route Questions

Postby DoyleWDonehoo » Mon Jan 09, 2012 12:23 pm

oldranger wrote:The high route in for me involved taking the Red Peak Pass trail down past the first couple of tarns and then beginning a traverse to the north....

Thanks for the description! I have attached below a map with the route drawn in that is a combination of what I thought was the best way, and your description. The only question was on which side did you turn the little tarn NE of 11371 (red cone), to the left (blue line) or to the right (black line)? Whichever way, I bet you had a good reason to go that way. Thanks!
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RedCone.jpg
The route to Adair Lake seen from Red Peak Pass:
AdairRoute.jpg
Map route to Adair Lake:
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http://www.doylewdonehoo.com" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;



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Re: Obelisk Lake Route Questions

Postby oldranger » Mon Jan 09, 2012 2:19 pm

Doyle

I began the traverse n from the Red Peak Pass trail at around 10500. We took (roughly) the blue line. That little lake is in a nasty little cirque so you will stay above it. Honestly the terrain will tell you where to go. I would pretty much stay out of that gully just over the hill from the last tarn you pass dropping down to Adair. It is not bad at the top but gets progressively more nasty as you drop down.

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Re: Obelisk Lake Route Questions

Postby DoyleWDonehoo » Mon Jan 09, 2012 9:01 pm

Thanks! It is about what I expected. Hopefully conditions at that lake are as good as it looks.
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Re: Obelisk Lake Route Questions

Postby mcdermtj » Sat Sep 08, 2012 1:57 pm

Has anybody got up to Adair Lake by following the Gray Peak Fork? Im looking to save some time on my way up from the valley, thought I could avoid the Triple Peak Fork altogether. I know the water will be low in the coming month and I am really only concerned about how thick the Manzanita crowd the creek and whether the falls at the beginning will be too steep to climb with forty pound pack. Any info would be appreciated.
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Re: Obelisk Lake Route Questions

Postby markskor » Sat Sep 08, 2012 3:44 pm

Adair holds fish, is 5 miles off trail, and is a b-itch to get to. Obelisk (nearby - also some tricky x-country work is required) is fishless. Both are spectacular and seldom visited.

A few years back, tried Adair solo by the route you suggest (Merced Lake - SSE up to GPF and hopefully Adair) - just about 500 feet above Merced Lake encountered solid 10-foot Manzanita walls...got cliffed out, pissed off, frustrated, and turned back.
Next year Mike, Tom, and I came over to Adair via Red Peak Pass...x-country down the Red Devil drainage - up and over the ridge to Adair, eventually visiting Obelisk too and coming down the Gray Peak Fork drainage to the Merced. I had read somewhere that there was once (supposedly) an old-time Buffalo Soldier trail that linked Mt Starr King to Obelisk/Adair to Merced Lake but we saw little evidence.

BTW, from Adair down (going north) the route following the exit stream was initially easy/thick forest, but when you reached the ridge crest and had to drop that 1800 feet down to the Merced, once again it sucked big-time with solid Manzanita walls and steep going.
FYI, I tripped here and broke a pole on this section...mad as hell at myself...(I blamed OldRanger though.)
This year Mike and I hit Adair again (see Yosemite 5 Slam thread), instead of using the GPF all the way down and swearing at life, after Adair we initially followed the GPF but soon (see Topo) we went east, (popping over the crest) into the Red Peak Fork drainage and came down that way...The RPF proved a lot easier even with a bit of tricky route finding required.
IMHO. the route to Adair is best attempted going over from Red Peak Pass and coming down RPF.
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Re: Obelisk Lake Route Questions

Postby mcdermtj » Sat Sep 08, 2012 11:59 pm

Hmmm...I am really at a crossroads, I think I will give the GPF a shot. If I can't get up there I will only lose a day and if it works I can save two. I'll let you know if I can break through.
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Re: Obelisk Lake Route Questions

Postby switchback_simms » Thu Oct 09, 2014 8:55 am

I just got back from Adair Lake, and after reading the comments from Mike and others about the optimal route from Red Peak Pass, I'd like to add my own.

On the way there, I spent nearly four long, frustrating hours trying to descend 700 feet to Adair Lake from the ridge to the North (waypoints 5131 to 5401 on the map shown below). While planning the trip, this looked like the most gradual route down, and I like gradual. But what I found was that this section is littered with narrow chutes that lead to 15-20 foot sheer, impassable drop-offs. So my day basically consisted of descending 50 feet or so, getting to a ledge, cursing out loud, backtracking 75 feet up, and trying another route. Then repeating. It was not fun or efficient.

While making the descent, it looked like the slope just to the east of Lake 9705 would have been much easier. So on my way up, I took this route (waypoints 5401 to 5601). And it was much, much easier. I had the benefit that the water level was so low that I could cut across a land bridge in the middle of Lake 9705. However, one could easily circle around the north shore of the lake and start the climb from the northeast shore of Lake 9705 (see picture). In fact, it looked like this approach would be less steep than the one I took up. It's basically a bunch of zig-zagging up boulders for the first 300 feet of elevation gain, and then a steady 400-foot climb straight south across slabs, rocks, and grass.

I plan to make it to Obelisk Lake sometime next year, and I will definitely be taking the latter route. On the contour maps I have, it looks like far steeper than the one to the west. But in reality, it's not nearly as bad. Once you get to about waypoint 5541, you should be able to see the path of least resistance.

I plan to write up a trip report on my website (http://lancesimms.com/Hikes/), so once it's done I'll post a link.

TwoRoutesToAdairLake.png
Two Routes to Adair Lake from Red Peak Pass

Lake9705FromRidge.jpg
Lake 9705 From Ridge to Southeast
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Re: Obelisk Lake Route Questions

Postby markskor » Thu Oct 09, 2014 9:42 am

Just a suggestion for next time -
When coming down from Red Devil Lake (Red Peak Fork) follow the RPF canyon down another ~1 mile before heading WNW over into the GPF...follow the trees - obvious slot canyon.
A little more north of your return loop route, we crested the ridge just east of the northern half of lake 9705, followed the talus fall-line down, skirted the 9705 north shore (trees in your 9705 picture), and then west up to Adair... this way...maybe 4 hours from just below Edna to fishing Adair.

Nice trip post - thanks!
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Re: Obelisk Lake Route Questions

Postby switchback_simms » Thu Oct 09, 2014 1:11 pm

That sounds like a better route, indeed. It will be nice to avoid all the ups and downs involved in skirting around the east side of that red notch. :thumbsup:
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Re: Obelisk Lake Route Questions

Postby switchback_simms » Thu Nov 26, 2015 4:16 pm

I finally finished a report of the trip I took up to Obelisk a few months ago:

http://lancesimms.com/Hikes/ObeliskLake ... ngGPS.html

I basically took the same route to get there that I used to get up from Adair the previous year. I had contemplated using the route suggested by markskor, but I was too lazy to descend the additional few hundred feet past Red Devil. Plus, I had confidence that I could make it using the route I already knew. markskor, I could definitely see the slot canyon you were talking about, though. Looks like it would indeed be easily doable.

The thing that really messed with my head was the descent from Obelisk down to the Merced via the Grey Peak Fork. I had read this whole thread and every other one I could find before I left for the trip, but when I started the descent, I couldn't remember which side of the GPF the old cavalry trail was on. And now that I've gone through the thread again, I don't think anyone explicitly states which side to follow.

I ended up sticking to the east side of the GPF. At first it seemed like I was following a steady trail of footprints whenever there were patches of dirt, but as I progressed they seemed to get more sparse. I eventually came upon a very gnarly section with a sizable cliff and no other obvious way to go. I had just enough rope (about 25 feet total) to get down the cliff, but I don't think there is any way I could have made it up that same cliff with a heavy pack on. I'm guessing this is the same place where others have been turned back.

Bottom line, I would recommend following the west side of the GPF, although I can't say for certain if that's really where the old cavalry trail is. Also, getting across the Merced was a piece of cake, but I had the benefit of very, very dry conditions.
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Re: Obelisk Lake Route Questions

Postby Wandering Daisy » Thu Nov 26, 2015 5:36 pm

I have done the slabs from the Merced up the creek that flows from Red Devil Lake (your arrowed line on the right). The slabs were not bad- steep but I am OK with steep slabs- a bit mossy in a few places. Just a route-finding puzzle. I continued up the drainage to Red Devil Lake- did not try to get to Obelisk Lake. I thought the "bushwhacking" was worse with quite a bit of deadfall. I recall Red Devil Lake being quite nice; I camped there. I think there also was a big jumble of deadfall at the outlet of Red Devil Lake that I used to cross.
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Re: Obelisk Lake Route Questions

Postby oldranger » Fri Nov 27, 2015 10:46 am

Switchback

Nice report. Sorry we didn't make it clear that you should keep to the n of Gray Peak fork for the last drop into the canyon. If you hit it right you can find the old built up trail, now covered with 4 ft. high brush. Here is a map of the old Cavalry Trail I found in the Yosemite Research Library the summer of 2014.

map.jpg
Mt. Clark Trail


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