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Need help planning trip

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Need help planning trip

Postby mpdillon » Sun Feb 22, 2009 9:06 pm

Hi everyone. I am a new poster. I need some help planning a trip.
My son and I are going for a backpacking trip to the High Sierras for his HS graduation present. I hiked the Sheppard’s Pass trail in 1979. I really enjoyed the isolation, long vista and small lakes. I would like to visit a similar area(read less elevation gain) and I am looking for suggestions.
This time I would like to spend a day or two at a high elevation campground to acclimate to the altitude(I had problems last time) before beginning the backpacking trip. The backpacking trip will be 4 or 5 days. I like loops but I am not opposed to and in and out like I did last time.
I would like to keep the vertical gain to around 3000 or 4000 per day. And mileage to less than 10. I hope to be in good enough shape to attain those goals by then.
We are thinking of going either the last two weeks in June or the last two weeks in July(your preferences?).
I have a copy of Sierra South and Sierra North(Kathy Morey/Mike White). It seems like there is a campground at Kearsarge Pass trailhead that is about 9000’. Would this be a good place to acclimate and/or leave from.
That is all my research so far. Please feel free to share you ideas.
.
Thanks,
pat
PS Everyone likes pics. Below is the address to my Flickr account which contain some shots from our last trip to the Canadian Rockies.
http://flickr.com/photos/mpdillon/sets/ ... 270519375/



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Re: Need help planning trip

Postby hikerduane » Mon Feb 23, 2009 3:37 am

Rae Lakes Loop or a trip over Kearsage Pass. Stay a night or two at Onion Valley CG first, out of Independence.
Piece of cake.
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Re: Need help planning trip

Postby maverick » Mon Feb 23, 2009 12:54 pm

Hi Pat and welcome.
1. South Lake-Saddlerock Lake-Bishop Pass-Dusy Basin
2. North Lake- Piute Pass-Humphrey's Basin
3. North Lake-Upper Lamarck-Lamarck Col to Darwin Bench-Evolution Basin-
LeConte Canyon-Dusy Basin-South Lake(hitch a ride back to North lake, easy)
The third is a classic but you need 5 nights and maybe a sixth night would better
but it would be an unforgettable experience.
The first two are out and back trips with Dusy Basin being better IMO.
Rae Lakes trip is pretty too but Glenn Pass will definitely be a problem in June and
depending on how much more snow we get this winter July may still be though
I doubt it.
Lamarck Col should be doable in July.
Nice pic's.
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Re: Need help planning trip

Postby markorr » Mon Feb 23, 2009 3:18 pm

I agree w/ Maverick except that I would do his 3rd trip in reverse i.e. south lake to north lake via Lamarck Col. That way you're going up Bishop pass on good trail w/ a full pack as opposed to up Lamarck Col w/ a full pack and a very long day.

Another option from the west side is Crescent Meadow to Bearpaw Meadow or Hamilton Lake to Nine Lakes Basin where you can do a day trip to Little and/or Big 5 lakes
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Re: Need help planning trip

Postby maverick » Mon Feb 23, 2009 4:52 pm

I agree with Markorr that going over Bishop will be easier but for some reason I have
had better luck getting a ride from South to North Lake than the other away around.
On the trip from the west recommendation I would add an alternate route going from
Nine Lakes Basin climb the class 2 pass over to Upper Lion Lake and then down
to Tamarack Lake which is quite beautiful, and then down to the HST back to
Crescent Meadow.
Again this route needs some cross-country navigation experience and comfort
with class 2 x-country passes.
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Re: Need help planning trip

Postby mpdillon » Mon Feb 23, 2009 5:26 pm

Thanks hikerduane, maverick and markorr. I will need a couple of days to look into your suggestions. They sound great. I've got a couple of busy days of work but I should get to this by Thurs. I'll let you know my thoughts.
Thanks again,
pat

My 1979 trip scanned from 30 year old slides stored in a musty basement.
http://flickr.com/photos/mpdillon/colle ... 997685832/
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Re: Need help planning trip

Postby Timberline » Mon Feb 23, 2009 6:14 pm

Hey, mpdillon, welcome!
Loved viewing your slides, especially that last one. How'd you end up on a western movie set? :D

Don't know if you're committed to an eastside trailhead access, but this thread seems to follow that assumption so far. You've already gotten some expert advice, but if I may, let me offer another option for ya: From Mammoth Lakes, easily accessed from Reno (airport, rental car) via Hwy 395 south, several loop possibilities present themselves if you start from Agnew Meadows or Reds Meadow and venture into Ansel Adams Wilderness. One of my best, favorite, hikes was to 1,000 Island Lake from Agnew Meadows, along the high trail. Doable first day destination (the lake) with fantastic scenic views of the Middle Fork San Joaquin headwaters drainage and the lakes that feed it, to inspire and motivate you to keep hiking, 'cause you know it just gets better. A base camp at/near 1,000 island (itself a superlative feature, especially at dawn) gives day hike access to Donohue Pass/Upper Tuolumne, Rush Creek, Glacier Pass and Catherine Lake (and the extremely remote North Fork SJ River country), Garnet Lake, plus second, third, or fourth day layovers in the Shadow Creek country: Shadow Lake, the fabulous Minarets, Iceberg, Cecile and Minaret Lakes, plus much more. In the drainage between Shadow and Ediza Lakes (you MUST see Ediza!),there is a stand of primo, mature western white pines that is just gorgeous in all its forest patriarch glory and so inviting of at least an overnight stay . All kinds of loop and excursion possibilities from either jump off point. Can't advise you on the fishing in this country, but others here can. On my solo journey through this paradise, I exited via the Shadow Lake trail back to the car at Agnew Meadows, completing the loop.

Yeah, I know - - so much beautiful country to explore, and so little time! Keep at it! Darn, now I've got to go pull out my own slides of that trip so I can look at them again! :righton:
Let 'er Buck! Back in Oregon again!
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Re: Need help planning trip

Postby paul » Mon Feb 23, 2009 11:25 pm

If you like a little off-trail stuff, then I would add to the North Lake - Piute Pass - Humphreys Basin idea. You can wander around Humphreys Basin, or cross over into French canyon and explore the little lakes at its head, or if you want somplace really special, go to Merriam Lakeon the west side of French canyon. I've only been there on skis, but it looks like it would be marvelous in the summer as well. To get back to Piute Pass from French Canyon, you can cross over the ridge that separates French Canyon from Humphreys basin by way of several moderate class 2 passes.
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Re: Need help planning trip

Postby oldranger » Tue Feb 24, 2009 9:57 am

Pat
I kinda like hikerduane's suggestion about Rae Lakes. I know air travel is an issue but a flight into Fresno and rental car into Cedar Grove allows you to start the next morning with virtually no concerns about altitude issues. Rae lakes loop is kind of special for me since hiking the loop was the first date for my wife and I, almost 28 years ago. I had met her just a couple of days earlier.

Cheers

mike
Mike

Who can't do everything he used to and what he can do takes a hell of a lot longer!
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Re: Need help planning trip

Postby maverick » Tue Feb 24, 2009 12:59 pm

I forgot about Timberlines suggested route which would be a beautiful
route.
The only suggestion I would add is to do it in July and be warned
there is a class 2-3 portion on the Minaret to Ediza section at Cecile Lake.
An ice axe may be a good idea for the Iceburg Lake section unless you cross
the snow field later in the day , this is not a place you want to slip and slid
right into Iceburg Lake.
Phil Arnot's book "Range of Light" has a good description of this and many other
route's in the Sierra including the route to Darwin Canyon via Lamarck Col.
I would recommend this book if you plan any future Sierra excursions.
Oldranger's Rae Lake trip from the west is the easiest since you start from
Roads End and can spend the first night in Paradise Valley and then at
Woods Creek Crossing the next night if need be, making Rae Lakes
the next day.
I would recommend checking with the PCTA(Pacific Crest Trail Assoc.) site for
updates on Glenn Pass, or any trip reports to the area.
Glenn can be icy in June and sometimes in July so check and be prepared.
After going over Glenn you can stay at Vidette Meadow or Junction Meadow and
then back to the car.
All the places mention have bear boxes so you will not need bear canisters.
Be fore warned bear are ruthless in Paradise Valley and Rae Lakes so make
sure you keep a clean campsite.
This route kicks the elevation issue right out the window since you only go
up moderately each day, therefore by the time you get to Rae Lakes and Glenn
Pass elevation will not be any problem.
From Rae Lake you can do a day hike into Sixty Lakes Basin which is quite a
treat.
One more thing be prepared for an onslaught of skeetrz especially in July
otherwise you'll have a very stressed trip.
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Re: Need help planning trip

Postby mpdillon » Thu Feb 26, 2009 7:23 pm

First, thank you to everyone who contributed. I have spent a lot of time over the last few days reading trail descriptions for your suggestions.

I think we have settled on the Agnes Meadows starting point. I like the gradual altitude increases and it sounds like we have options for getting some very remote areas. We will fly from Philly to Reno and rent a car($325 for 2 weeks) for the 4 hr ride south. I have ordered High Sierra John Muir’s Range of Light.

I have downloaded the following 7.5 min topos to study. Does anyone know if these are the right ones?
Mammoth Mtn, Old Mammoth, Crystal Crag and Bloody Mtn.

This leads me to my next set of questions which are a bit more specific.

Snow cover vs. skeeters. We are thinking of the end of June or it could be beginning of August. In the area around Mammoth Lakes what is the worst time for skeeters? If there is still snow in the passes, can it be crossed with snow shoes or would we need crampons, ice axes and rope? Does more snow = less skeeters?

Supplies: Since we are flying in I am planning on buying fuel once we have landed. Are there any good outdoor supply stores between Reno and Mammoth Lakes?

Permits: I assume permits are required this time of year. Are they hard to get? How early can I apply? Who do I contact to procure them?

Accommodations: We will probably want to spend the first night not on the trail. Any suggestions for Motels, B&B or other in the vicinity of Mammoth Lakes?

Finally, stay tuned. I will have one more post regarding Yosemite. The other item on our “must do” list is to ascend the back side of Half Dome. Eddie saw a pic and declared, “we have to do that”. But I will start a separate thread for those questions.


Thanks again to everyone,

Pat

FYI

Here is a breakdown of air fare, air time and Drive time to Bishop for any other East coasters who might stumble by.
From Philadelphia
Destination Rate Flight time Drive to Bishop
San Francisco 225 8 Hrs 7 hrs
Reno 248 8 hrs 4 hrs(Mammoth lakes less)
Fresno 347 8 hrs 5.75
Sacramento 245 8.5 hrs 5.5 hrs
Las Vegas 240 6.5 hrs 5.25

Couldn't figure out how to tabularize the above data. Sorry.
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Re: Need help planning trip

Postby maverick » Fri Feb 27, 2009 1:02 pm

Here is the web site that will give you the all official information for you trip.
http://www.fs.fed.us/r5/inyo/passes/
The whole time period between the end of June to Aug is skeeter season
so just come prepared.
Which route were you planning on doing so I can better help you, though you'll
find info on ranger stations, trailheads, and routes in the book you ordered.
If your interested in climbing Ritter(class 2) from Catherine Lake than a ice axe maybe
a good idea, but if your surefooted than hiking poles will be just fine, just
ascend later in the day.
You'll have a lot more people in Aug though less off-trail.
This is also a bear problem area so carry a bear canister.
There are people who live in Mammoth on this site who can chime in on the lodging
and resupply options much better than I can.
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