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Ultimate Sierra Trip?

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Ultimate Sierra Trip?

Postby maverick » Mon Mar 23, 2009 2:17 pm

Is there some place in the Sierra that you have been dreaming about visiting
that you would consider being your Ultimate Sierra Trip?
Some location that is so isolated and far from everything that your either weary
about attempting it because of the rough terrain and climbing involved, or just
do not have enough days off to attempt it without having only 1-2 days left to explore
it by the time you reach this location?
The place that you keep coming back to when scanning that topo for your next big
adventure but for some reason you keep putting it off.
I would like to hear about Your dream destination, that place which beckons Your
adventurous soul.



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Re: Ultimate Sierra Trip?

Postby TahoeJeff » Mon Mar 23, 2009 2:58 pm

I have had a serious hankering to go to French Canyon and Royce lakes for quite a few years now. I know that is lunker Golden Trout country, and it would be my Ultimate Sierra Trip. I've tried to recruit local friends (So. Tahoe area) without much luck. It is a steep climb in from Pine Creek TH, and none of the lakes are under 11k elevation (I'm pretty sure). Furthermore, I do want to spend 4-5 days exploring the area, not counting 1 day in/1 day out. My friends either don't care about the Goldies like I do, or don't want to invest the time/energy, or both.
But this year I have promised myself I WILL make it in there. I've started some training in the field(loading up the pack w/phone books and newspapers and taking a hike), and I'll be hitting the gym as well. I have two USGS 7.5 minute topo maps of the area taped together hanging on my office wall for inspiration. All the posts here on HST regarding the area, have been bookmarked as well. Lastly, I am going to pull the trigger on a date to go and obtain a permit.
Thanks for starting this thread, it gives me a chance to discuss this with like minds, instead of getting questions like: "Why the heck do you want to go up there?" or "Those Golden Trout can't possibly worth all that trouble!"
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Re: Ultimate Sierra Trip?

Postby maverick » Mon Mar 23, 2009 3:46 pm

Hi TJ

I understand about getting someone to join along, so I have just been going
solo for the last several years.
Royce Lakes, Seven Gables, and Bear Lakes area's are really pretty, though I am not
into fishing, but from a backpacker/photographer's view there's a lot to see and
do.
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Re: Ultimate Sierra Trip?

Postby TehipiteTom » Mon Mar 23, 2009 4:21 pm

I've got a few of those:
  • Kaweah Basin (of course!);
  • Laurel Creek Basin in Sequoia NP (south of the Rattlesnake Creek drainage);
  • Lakes west of Observation Peak in KCNP; and
  • Lakes on the east side of the LeConte Divide north of Hell-for-Sure Pass.


I might even do one or two of these eventually.
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Re: Ultimate Sierra Trip?

Postby maverick » Mon Mar 23, 2009 4:31 pm

I've looked at that basin in Laurel too.
I included it as part of a route I put together that goes from the southern border of SEKI
starting at Coyote Lakes and ending in northern SEKI exiting over the Glacier Divide.
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Re: Ultimate Sierra Trip?

Postby copeg » Mon Mar 23, 2009 4:43 pm

A few years ago Kaweah Basin would have easily been my first response. Having been there, I'll probably say that Kaweah Basin is still my first response. Hehe. There are quite a few others though I could list out, none in order of priority, and none really a destination but rather areas I just would like to explore but finding the time for lengthy trips nowadays is tough.
-Great Western Divide from Kern Point in the south to Milestone Basin towards the north.
-Anywhere with the acreage of JMT on the east, Tehipite to the south,Leconte Divide on the west, and Evo Valley to the north.
-Lake Basin
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Re: Ultimate Sierra Trip?

Postby maverick » Mon Mar 23, 2009 5:34 pm

I agree TB that once you visit Kaweah Basin, Red Peak Basin and Lakes of Picket
Creek it is hard to find anything more remote and stunningly beautiful.
I still have to go see the lakes of Red Spur Creek, if they are like the other lakes
on Chagoopa Plateau than I am in for a treat, especially the lakes near 12000 ft and
11000 ft.
The views will definitely not come close to the ones in Red Spur Lakes Basin, but may
have decent views of the southern part of the Great Western Divide.
I had planned to go there last year, and the Blue Canyon area hopefully it will
happen this time around.
Once you have been to Kaweah Basin it never fades away in your memory it really is that
pretty, I am not exaggerating, ask Greg.
Beautiful small tarns set right at the base of the Kaweah's (Mt. Kaweah, Queen Kaweah
Red Kaweah, and Black Kaweah) with beautiful morning alpenglows so intensely red
its brilliance will astonish you as will there reflections in the crystal clear water.
The views from Red Spur towards the Whitney Range is unblocked by any peak and
on can name off several peaks clearly in view, and the alpenglow at sunset is stunning.
Want your own crystal clean watering hole/pool with a great view then sign up
on the waiting list for the last lake before Picket Creek plunges down towards
the Kern -Kaweah River, no life guards on duty!
Kaweah Basin always evokes such great happiness and joyous memories of a place
that has a special place in my soul.
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Re: Ultimate Sierra Trip?

Postby giantbrookie » Mon Mar 23, 2009 6:05 pm

Wow. I have to say the Red Spur-Kaweah basin combination is pretty exotic and it was always high on my list before I visited the place. Probably no. 1 on the remoteness list. I like that Laurel Creek drainage idea. That's one place I've yet to visit and have eyed on the maps. I've never traversed the east side of the Black Divide and have thought of doing it. Most of the remaining to-dos on my list are filling in gaps between other places I've been, so other than the Black Divide traverse I don't have major gaps. There is a lake hanging above Thompson Canyon (or is it Stubblefield) or one of those NE Yosemite canyons that I've wondered about for a very long time (I've even looked at stereo air photos of the place to assess spawning potential) but have yet to visit.

I guess when I think about this question I think about it somewhat historically. In 1993 my wife asked me about the same question in a different context. She asked what was the most remote lake (or lake basin) I could think of that I'd ever wanted to get to. She asked this on the premise that we'd do that trip then work on having kids. The target: Dumbbell Lakes (via Knapsack, Barrett Creek, Cataract Creek, etc), this also included the big unnamed lake with the islands in it to the NW of the Dumbbells. For a number of reasons that trip is still my all time favorite (many difficulties to overcome including a magic log across an otherwise uncrossable Palisade Creek, a jam crack between rock and cornice at Cataract Pass, and a lot of other good stuff) trip. Its success ended up delaying the arrival of our first kid for many more years (did not happen until 2002). The Dumbbells are not the most remote place I've been. The Red Spur stuff is more remote and one might argue that the lakes below Tunemah are also, but there was just something special about that Dumbbells trip to me. Accordingly, my dream trip would be as follows (and this isn't even a death march):
Shuttle Trip: South Lake to Taboose.
Day 1: to 11393 in Dusy, Day 2: to Barrett Lakes (unfinished fishing business), Day 3 to Amphitheater, Day 4 explore lakes around Amphitheater thence to Dumbbells, Day 5 More Dumbbells in morning then into Lakes Basin. Day 6 more Lakes Basin, then exit to south and proceed to special destination (where my wife has some big time unfinished fishing business). Day 7. out or option to enlarge this to 9 days by looking at some pocket basins below Ruskin.
Last edited by giantbrookie on Mon Mar 23, 2009 9:07 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Since my fishing (etc.) website is still down, you can be distracted by geology stuff at: http://www.fresnostate.edu/csm/ees/facu ... ayshi.html
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Re: Ultimate Sierra Trip?

Postby maverick » Mon Mar 23, 2009 6:57 pm

Hi GB

Your probably thinking of Thompson Canyon which has two sets of lakes on either
side in.
I liked both but prefered the northern side one opposed to the larger lakes on the
southern side.
The lake all the way up Stubblfield is pretty and has some glaciers with Ehrnbeck Peak
right behind it, I remember the name because it was the name of a teacher from back
in high school.
The peak has an easy class 2 route up it from the south and afford some great views
into Tower Canyon to the north and the upper parts of Thompson Canyon to the south.
How the fishing in Dumbbell Lake Basin and Amph Lake Basin, I saw a lot of fish
jumping at dusk at some of the lakes in Dumbbell basin but not as much in Amph Basin?
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Re: Ultimate Sierra Trip?

Postby giantbrookie » Mon Mar 23, 2009 9:18 pm

OK, now I have my topo maps with me. The lake I've daydreamed about for awhile is L9680+ in a hanging valley on the west wall of Stubblefield Canyon. Looks real fishy on topo and air photos. I actually planned to reach it from Mary (more unfinished fishing business) via the col btw Tower and Craig Pks. Does the lake at the head of Stubblefield have fish?

As for the fishing in the Dumbbells, it is quite good. As per our visit in 1993, only one of the lakes had better than average fish (all rainbows). The best lake had fish that averaged 12-13 inches. We topped out at 15", caught many in the 14" range and saw some cruisers that went to 18" or so. The other lakes topped out at about 12" with an average size more like 8". This was similar to Amphitheater itself, which had mostly smallish rainbows, but we caught one a bit bigger than 12" and I saw a 15-incher in the outlet. I've wanted to check out some of the lakes around Amphitheater (pretty sure at least one of them has fish, according to reliable reports; and one of them once had lunkers and may be fishless now).
Since my fishing (etc.) website is still down, you can be distracted by geology stuff at: http://www.fresnostate.edu/csm/ees/facu ... ayshi.html
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Re: Ultimate Sierra Trip?

Postby maverick » Tue Mar 24, 2009 11:37 am

I met a guy out there who was doing some fishing and he had said that there
was no fish in Thompson or Stubblefield Creeks.
I do not remember seeing any fish at any of the lakes either, but I was not looking
for any either.
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Re: Ultimate Sierra Trip?

Postby Bad Man From Bodie » Tue Mar 24, 2009 12:26 pm

I was in Stubblefield Canyon last summer. I posted on Mary, Tilden, and Benson Lakes. Although I did not fish Stubblefield creek.....I noticed small fish for sure (brooks or bows)??? I think I know what lake you are referring to. If there are fish in it......they have got to be hogs (looked like a lot of feed). I didn’t fish it because we were in a hurry on the way to Benson from Tilden and just stopped to rest the stock and stretch our legs (short walk). I did not see fish...but you have reason to be curious.

All I have to say about that area is I wish I could be up around Tilden/Mary in June (OMG)!!!! I have unfinished business as well.
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