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Ultimate Sierra Trip?

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Re: Ultimate Sierra Trip?

Postby markskor » Tue Mar 24, 2009 7:18 pm

Almost every winter, the trip planning part is always to some (hopefully) “ultimate” location. We shall see. For me, this winter is no exception as Yosemite backcountry always calls out for new lakes to explore. I suppose it is no secret that come this July, I plan finally to explore thoroughly the Upper Merced drainage – (Southeast part of the park) - an area I have never spent much time in, but, the more I look at the Topos, and the literature, the more excited I get…(see Hank Johnston’s pamphlet, and Beck’s fishing books.) Funny that Hank Johnston omits certain lakes in his book...wonder why.

I get 4 weeks straight (thanks to the wife) and the plan is not to hurry my way through the entire region. Camping there for the evening rise means not doing the long miles, but through careful preparation, (and sheer laziness), I figure to hit a different lake each night without ultimately killing myself.

Lower Merced Pass Lake, Lower Ottoway, Upper Ottoway, Etna…then Red Devil, Adair, Obelisk, and down to Washburn…maybe the Harriet’s too. Already having permits in hand, I figure 10 – 12 days out here before heading down to the Valley. Before that, another 10 – 12 days: Lyell Canyon, the Marie’s (Upper and Lower), Thousand Island, Catherine and perhaps the back Banner Lakes too – all fishing. I always allow a few days too for “Serendipity Hiking” along the way…realizing that opportunity always comes knocking… (Better to listen to the knock than to miss something.)

Finally, the Saddlebag area needs some time too…always wanted to see Gardinsky (spelling?) and spend a few nights along the 20 Lakes Basin, (Conness Lakes?) before heading home.
Total: 28 days, 20+ lakes, and no rush, at least, that’s the ultimate plan for right now.
Mountainman who swims with trout



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Re: Ultimate Sierra Trip?

Postby Timberline » Tue Mar 24, 2009 7:56 pm

Hey Markskor,
Sounds like 28 days in heaven. And then you get to come back and plan another one for next year! :)
Let 'er Buck! Back in Oregon again!
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Re: Ultimate Sierra Trip?

Postby Take-a-Hike » Tue Mar 24, 2009 10:29 pm

Well, since I was 52 or so, and wife was 50, or so, when we did our first backpack trip and this year I'll be 58 every summer has the opportunity for the "ultimate Sierra trip". This year proves no exception....I have permits and lodge reservations in hand for a mid Aug trip from Roads End counterclockwise up Paradise Valley to Bench Lake, over Cartridge Pass to Lake Basin for two nites, then out via Windy Ridge to State, Glacier and Kid Lakes, back to the lodge and some pain pills chased down by a few brewskies. Where I really hope this summer deviates from previous trip plans is that we'll actually get to complete the loop. I have this huge problem of planning things and it seems that I bite off a lot more than I can chew in the time I plan for. I'm hoping Lake Basin is all that I've read it is...I'm sure it will be, and I hope we can spend two nites there cause based upon what I've read above I plan on a day hike up to Dumbell area. I've planned the loop for seven nites out so I'm hoping that for once I've planned correctly.
I really appreciate posts such as this and experience and wisdom of those of you who are the vets on this thing (includes all the above previous to me), cause you've all been instrumental in guiding us through previous trips...or failures..like Blue Canyon (failed)via the B Cap Basin trip listed below, N to S lake loop (failed), High Sierra Trail to 9 Lakes Basin, out via Tablelands and Pear Lake (failed), and last years two debacles of Black Cap Basin via NFKR out via Bench Valley and Red Lake Basin (failed) then the Bear Diversion Dam to Lake Italy up 'n over to MIlls Creek,(GB I still have this photo of a huge erratic that looks like it has acne that I want to send to you so you can explain how it got that way taken up above Lower Mills Creek Lake, but I can't figure out how to load it on this forum or PM to you), Laurel Creek, to Mott Lake out to Edison and VVR (failed). Although all trips were spectacular in one form or another, they all left something in the bag and a taste that needs visiting again...w/better results.
So the questions at hand for the upcoming trip that I can't seem to answer are 1: Is it possible to drop down off the bench of Bench Lake going NNW more or less straight to Cartridge Pass w/out going back to the JMT? It sure looks like it should be possible if not downright easy to do. And finally, I have to believe it is possible to go from Marion Lake up 'n over to either Horseshoe, State or Glacier Lakes in one day..isn't it?? I"m going over Roper's book and the part of doing the trip in reverse and he gives pointers in finding the appropriate passes going in that direction, but if you haven't figured it out by now...we're a far cry from Roper and his wife.
With our schedule being dictated by "so much Sierra's so little time", taking stock of destinations listed in posts such as this..I think that one trip I'll get to real soon is the trans Sierra trek which will include a visit to the Kaweah Basin. I think that's the only way I'll get there and it'll kill two birds w/one trip...the Kaweah Basin/Pickett Creek area and climbing Whitney from the west.
So...keep the ideas coming...and not to worry, you can share secrets w/me..I don't fish, hate it actually, just take pictures and sit and soak in scenery..and rest aching bones.
Walking on Fairways til I can
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Re: Ultimate Sierra Trip?

Postby AldeFarte » Tue Mar 24, 2009 11:25 pm

Can't get much time to go for an "ultimate" trip, though many have been thought of. I guess any trip with the chance to coffee can plant where fish need to be would fit my bill these days. Even if that is just a little help to get over the falls. I have more than one spot in mind at this point. jls
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Re: Ultimate Sierra Trip?

Postby giantbrookie » Wed Mar 25, 2009 7:50 am

I forgot one oddball place I haven't been to that doesn't constitute an "ultimate trip" by itself but it is seldom reached and a place I'd like to visit as a part of a bigger trip. That place is the unnamed lake in the George Creek drainage (unnamed on maps called "George Lake" by DFG) below Vacation Pass. I would go over Vacation Pass from Wallace to get there. Obviously there are reasons other than remoteness for going there. I once had Lake 11482 below Kern Point on my to-do list but that one suffered from the "too much information" curse when I succumbed to temptation and asked one of my sources about what was in it (aquatic residents are said to top out at 11"). A bit better top end and I would have kept it on my list.

I was thinking of another dream trip in addition to the one I posted above (which is still my no 1 choice). Here's my no. 2,which, unlike no 1 has to be done while still in death marching condition:
day 1 repeats day 1 of Tunechuck w/o severely upset stomach: Hoffman Mtn. to Hummingbird or Blue Canyon (it would make for good style points to get all the way to upper Blue Canyon on day 1-that's what I was trying to do this past year).
day 2 to Tunemah. day 3 to relax in basin below Tunemah. day 4 (very interesting day) descend to Goddard Creek then up Goddard Creek to 10232. day 5 to Martha, day 6 dayhike to Davis (stay at Martha), day 7 over Reinstein Col bypass through Blackcap to Bench Valley and McGuire Lakes w some dayhiking exploration of Bench Valley. day 8 to Crown and Woodchuck (must finish this trip well). day 9. out to Hoffman Mtn.

Take a Hike: About the big erratic with "acne". Might the 'acne' be big crystals (phenocrysts) of feldspar standing out from the surface of the boulder?
Last edited by giantbrookie on Wed Mar 25, 2009 1:44 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 » Wed Mar 25, 2009 11:29 am

Hi Take-a Hike

Yes you can drop straight down to the South Fork, but it is pretty steep,
also keep in mind you will have to get across the river.
It is a long way up to the lake near Cartridge Pass so make sure you get
water at the river before starting up (start in the morning if you can, I would
not recommend starting up in the middle of the day, wifey may not like it much).
Definitely visit Dumbbell Lakes if you can it may be the highlight of your trip.
Marion Lake is pretty and deserves its reputation.
Roper's route from Marion to Horseshoe or States Lakes is easy to follow
and is easily doable in 1 day.
Don't rush thru this area like a lot of people do just to finish the SHR or to
get to Marion Lake.
The South Fork of Cartridge Creek is pretty as are the views from the Windy Ridge
area up into Goddard Canyon and the Devils Crags area.
Triple Falls is definitely worth checking out as is exploring the entire area, including
the lakes east of Cirque Crest, which have great views of the Muro Blanco and
the Arrow Ridge area.
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Re: Ultimate Sierra Trip?

Postby caddis » Wed Mar 25, 2009 2:51 pm

TahoeJeff wrote: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.


This is the trip I'd like to do also. I doubt my brothers want to make the drive to the east side though
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Re: Ultimate Sierra Trip?

Postby TehipiteTom » Wed Mar 25, 2009 3:09 pm

GB and Maverick, now y'all have got me thinking about a Thompson Canyon trip. Fiddling around with the Topo maps this morning, I have the rudiments of a maybe 5-day trip that would visit Thompson Canyon and both sets of lakes (north side and south side). Could be nice...
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Re: Ultimate Sierra Trip?

Postby maverick » Wed Mar 25, 2009 4:31 pm

Hi TT

Saw your post on Backpacker about the flowers in Edgewood, we go out there all
the time on the weekends, saw a very nice sized coyote the last time(2 weekends ago).
Flowers were really pretty there several years ago.
We have seen bobcats, rattlers, and I have seen a mountain lion there once about
8 yrs ago.
We do not go as often since we moved to Fremont, but we used to live right
up the street from the park on Brittan Ave.
Did you have a chance to check out the Bootjack Trail, or Cataract Falls in the Tam
area?
Alamere Falls is pretty nice and some nice flowers on the trail in the Point Reyes
area.
the Ohlone Trail has some good areas for flowers out of Del Valle and the Diablo
Range should be great in 2 weeks, and of coarse Henry Coe.
The Grass Valley Loop in Anthony Chabot Park should be looking great pretty soon.
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Re: flowers in the CR

Postby giantbrookie » Wed Mar 25, 2009 5:26 pm

Flowers are already very nice in the Diablo Range. I just went through Panoche Pass (little country road south of Pacheco--east end is Mercy Hot Springs) with a geology class field trip this past weekend. The flowers were very nice. We stayed at Anthony Chabot campground but it was dark by the time we were there and we bailed pretty early the next morning so I don't know how nice things looked there. I'm going to be up hiking all over Sunol Regional Wilderness in a couple of weeks with a field geology class (8 day field mapping exercise). It should be pretty nice by then.
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 TehipiteTom » Thu Mar 26, 2009 3:05 pm

Haven't done the Bootjack trail; did the upper part of the Cataract trail a few weeks ago, along with Matt Davis & the Coastal trail. Haven't hit the Diablo Range at all yet, but my buddy and I have a long-standing plan to hit Morgan Territory (west of the road) some weekend. Also Mitchell Canyon.
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Re: Ultimate Sierra Trip?

Postby paul » Tue Mar 31, 2009 9:18 pm

TahoeJeff wrote:I have had a serious hankering to go to French Canyon and Royce lakes for quite a few years now.


Royce lakes is pretty cool. I skiied through there last spring, coming over the saddle from Granite Park to the highest Royce Lake, then crossing the series of lakes and over towards Pine creek pass. It looked like it would be nice walking in the summer - the areas that were bare of snow were sandy/rocky. Take the time to get over to Merriam Lake while you're up there - spectacular spot.

My ultimate Sierra trip is not so much about one remote spot as a big sampling of them.The idea would be to cover the longest stretch of the crest without a highway crossing. So you'd start from Hwy 120 in tuolumne, going off-trail right away to walk along the Kuna Crest, and end up down near Kennedy Meadows. Some on trail, some off, something like 30 or 40 days. I'd arrange the resupply by hook or by crook so that it would come to me, thus avoiding even seeing a road the whole trip.
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