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Ultimate Sierra Trip?

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Re: Ultimate Sierra Trip?

Postby mokelumnekid » Tue Mar 31, 2009 9:21 pm

Hey G-brookie- gotta toss in a friendly 'back at ya,' recall that my wife and I did your dream route a couple of years ago, after you and I had talked about it during our geology trip to the Sonora Pass area a just prior to that, and despite our in-shape and very experienced outlook, the leg from Barrett to Amp. Lake was a total ****. I still can't mention your name in front of the wife without her crying and she climbs 5.12 and has a black-belt! Part of the rub may be that we descended the hanging canyon part- east side going down from Barrett to Palisade Ck. (NOT recommended) AND the bugs were fierce AND the freakin' Palisade Creek fire (post your trip) had left the place a huge scar of burnt-over trick logs, down-fall and loose rocks, all covered in vertical ferns so you couldn't see your footing. It was like a controlled fall making that descent. Crossing Palisade Ck. was a piece of cake, but then crashing back up through the burn on the other side to Amp. Lake was another nightmare until about half-way up, when we passed out of the burn and just the usual torments were at play. We liked Amp. Lake and getting into Dumbbell Basin was a fun little puzzle.

Pics from that trip here:

http://tinyurl.com/dz7k43

We are going to Dumbbells again this year, but this time via Lake Basin. I want to see if I can get to Lake Basin in a day coming in over Taboose (I know the route so that is not an issue). Not likely, but last year I got from North Lake to Merriam in a day with a full start-of-trip pack and I feel stronger this year...



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Re: Ultimate Sierra Trip?

Postby giantbrookie » Wed Apr 01, 2009 8:55 pm

Yes, perhaps that fire really buggered that route up. In '93 the Barrett descent (west side) was a riot of wildflowers and spray. The trickiest part was the at the waterfall at the bottom where we had to move further west from the stream to side step the cliffs. That part may be nastier post fire. The lower part of Cataract Creek was bad in 1993, for it was a maze of deadfalls then. Lots of getting wet in 1993 too including multiple wet crossings of Cataract. The condition of the Barrett descent would be a key factor in deciding whether or not this will truly be the dream trip when the kids are strong enough (at which time Judy and I will be in our early 60s).

Merriam L. from North Lake on day 1? Wow, that's pretty amazing. Why North Lake and not Pine Creek to go to Merriam on d1? Lakes Basin on d1 is in another league, though, and would be worth many style points (that would make my upper Blue Canyon d1 goal look positively pedestrian) . I did Upper Basin easily on d1 in 1980 w/o cutting the corner (losing lots of unnecessary elevation; figured this out coming back), but Lakes Basin would be worthy of Muir to be sure.

On a related note, I asked Judy the "what would be her dream trip" question and she devised almost the same itinerary. I have advised her about the possible adverse changes to the Barrett segment, however. Unfortunately, we'll have to wait awhile before the rules of the house allow this one. In the meantime, I get one 5 day death march per year (forfeited for 2009).
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 mokelumnekid » Wed Apr 01, 2009 10:16 pm

Yeah- our mistake was staying on the east side of Barrett Ck. We followed old ducks part way down, (and I came across an old round compass, situated nicely on a rock right at the edge of the creek)and then came to some smallish falls about 1/4 way down, and the east side looked better there- bad call on our part because we shortly were stuck on that side. But no doubt the fire debris really contributed to the hazard and freak-out factor as the whole upper surface had been 'cut loose' by the fire (fire was in 2002). Your comments on the amount of deadfall on Cataract Ck. are interesting, becasue take that and then burn it, and it makes it even more of a big mess. And we only crossed the creek once, about 3/5 of the way up! But Amp. Lake is a dandy!!

I don't seriously expect to make it to Lake Basin in one day coming in Taboose (but you never know!), but we might make it to that big lake that is about 3/4 of the way up to Cartridge Pass. I am confident that we can easily make it across the three rock slides along the South Fork Kings at a minimum (like you getting to Upper Basin on d1, or folks that have made it to Bench Lake in a day). In fact it probably isn't wise to descend Cartridge Pass into Lake Basin at the end of a long day with full packs, because it is loose and steep and when the ligaments are tired...

Last year we went in over Piute Pass because I didn't expect to make it to Merriam in a day (not a big fan of French Canyon)- but we got to Hutchison Meadow before lunch time (we were flying!) and thought what the hell, let's go for it. I am glad we did because that gave us an extra day and we went up Royce Peak and screwed around exploring that wonderful basin above Merriam Lk.
Last edited by mokelumnekid on Thu Apr 02, 2009 6:23 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Ultimate Sierra Trip?

Postby maverick » Thu Apr 02, 2009 12:22 pm

On my Observation Lake Loop in 2007 I descended rather high on the eastern side of
Cataract Creek which worked out fine though I would probably drop down a little
lower next time.
I did not encounter any problems getting down to Palisade Creek and on to Deer
Meadow, where I followed Barrett Creek to Barrett Lakes.
I stayed in the drainage as long as I could sometimes leaving it because of downed
trees and once in the forested area I stayed on the western side of the creek.
The route up to the Mt Shakspere was slower going especially from Shakspere
to the Observation Lake area which was extremely rocky.
Here is a shot looking back at the first lake in Observation Lake Basin and
then one from an unnamed pass going over to lower Dumbbell Basin and looking
back at another lake in OLB.
As you can see especially from the shot at the pass the terrain is very rocky.
http://maverick.zenfolio.com/img/v7/p948333577-5.jpg
http://maverick.zenfolio.com/img/v7/p970166206-5.jpg
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Re: Ultimate Sierra Trip?

Postby mokelumnekid » Thu Apr 02, 2009 8:51 pm

Thanks maverick- good to know that there are decent ways- sounds like you found the best way- EAST side Cataract and WEST side Barrett. We did just the opposite, I guess I was hoping that the trail shown on the old maps up Cataract would be there. We did find scraps of it in upper Cataract on the west side, above the burn. But I still probaly wouldn't go that way again since I'm guessing I can get to the Dumbbell's from the car in two days coming in from Taboose (I'm kind of sick of Bishop-Knapsack Pass to be honest). Is it possible to get into the Dumbbell's in less than two days from any approach?

Great pics thanks for those (the colors seem wild, kinda like black-lite- are they scanned slides or?). We didn't get over to Observation area when we went in 2006, but will this year.
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Re: Ultimate Sierra Trip?

Postby maverick » Fri Apr 03, 2009 11:30 am

Yeah Dumbbell is doable coming over Taboose by spend the night at the parking lot
and shooting over early in the morning.
You should be able to make Lakes Basin, or like you mentioned the lake under
Cartridge Pass if you run out of daylight, and then into Dumbbell the next day.
Dumbbell Pass from Dumbbell Basin
http://maverick.zenfolio.com/img/v6/p540556341-5.jpg
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Re: Ultimate Sierra Trip?

Postby bookpacker » Fri May 01, 2009 11:28 am

I think this is the year Karen and I are finally gonna try to get to Edith Lake. The plan is to follow the drainage from Inferno Lakes, and bring an 8mm rope to rapell, if necessary, the last (what look like) steep slabs on the east end of the lake. We often bring a rope to toperope anyway.

Kendrick Creek, right above Edith, is probably a obstacle too. I wonder how many of you, to cross a stream, have simply picked a good spot and swam for it--with your pack floating in two or three garbage bags. What's wrong with this, really? I got stopped a few seasons ago at an early season shoulder-high crossing because I didn't have the garbage bags, and I was on my own.

I also daydream about that continuous notch/groove up the face of Nance Peak from Edith, and wonder how hard it is. Class 3? 4? 5? Has anyone thought the same thing? Tried it? Got to the 250' waterfall that people talk about?

Last year Karen and I got to Letora Lake, and climbed some of the domes nearby. I guess I'm stuck on Emigrant/Northwestern Yosemite because of the zillions of lakes and granite, the ease of getting a permit, the lack of aggressive bears, and the more open, moderate terrain which makes crosscountry easier. Anywhere else with similar virtues?

Hope you all have a great season!
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Re: Ultimate Sierra Trip?

Postby SSSdave » Fri May 01, 2009 7:51 pm

The Sierra has vastly more terrain, especially off trails, than any one person in a lifetime regardless of how much time they have can hope to visit. Even within zones I've extensively explored, there are many minor parts of those areas that I have been wanting to explore but simply haven't made the time. Despite being a hard core base camper. And there are many relatively easy to reach places I'm aware of and interested in, that I haven't yet made time to visit. Thus the wiser strategy is to make the best use of one's time visiting most worthy areas to one's personal interests.

One can easily make a case that remoteness of areas has little to do with their aesthetic, climbing, fishing, or whatever value to we hikers, climbers, and backpackers. Some of the best destinations are quite easy to reach. There are in fact disgustingly superb places simply a bit off trails like the top of Table Mountain that are easy to reach but are visited rarely. Although each area is unique, I've seen enough that I don't feel like I've missed out by not going to every potentially superb location that exists. In other words, I am satisfied enough with those many areas I have visited to not feel much wishful envy. Thus these days in my olde age unlike days of my twenties, I am not one that dreams much about some of the interesting areas I have heard about but not yet seen although I might bother to map explore and analyze ways I might visit those areas.

I like the idea that there will always be terrific new places I can choose to explore. And that there are some areas that are simply too strenuous to reach with with the kind of loads I carry that I don't expect to ever visit them. More power to those that can and do. For instance Taboose Pass. Yeah I could get up there even lugging 70 pounds in 2 1/2 days but there are many other worthy easier to reach places with more pleasantness. For instance I'd rather go to some place like Dusy Basin and base camp there for 4 or 5 days in order to get to know those special locations at greater depth. than continually hike to different zones where one is always on the go barely touching the surface.
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Re: Ultimate Sierra Trip?

Postby giantbrookie » Fri May 01, 2009 8:33 pm

bookpacker wrote:I think this is the year Karen and I are finally gonna try to get to Edith Lake. The plan is to follow the drainage from Inferno Lakes, and bring an 8mm rope to rapell, if necessary, the last (what look like) steep slabs on the east end of the lake. We often bring a rope to toperope anyway.

Kendrick Creek, right above Edith, is probably a obstacle too. I wonder how many of you, to cross a stream, have simply picked a good spot and swam for it--with your pack floating in two or three garbage bags. What's wrong with this, really? I got stopped a few seasons ago at an early season shoulder-high crossing because I didn't have the garbage bags, and I was on my own.

I also daydream about that continuous notch/groove up the face of Nance Peak from Edith, and wonder how hard it is. Class 3? 4? 5? Has anyone thought the same thing? Tried it? Got to the 250' waterfall that people talk about?

Last year Karen and I got to Letora Lake, and climbed some of the domes nearby. I guess I'm stuck on Emigrant/Northwestern Yosemite because of the zillions of lakes and granite, the ease of getting a permit, the lack of aggressive bears, and the more open, moderate terrain which makes crosscountry easier. Anywhere else with similar virtues?

Hope you all have a great season!

I believe I've corresponded with one fellow who did in fact drop into Kendrick above Edith from the vicinity of Inferno. You should keep in mind that in addition to the possibility of getting cliffed out, descents down that wall can land you in some very thick and tenacious brush. The most epic bushwhacking I've ever done has been in Kendrick Creek canyon reaching Edith by following the N side of the creek from Cherry Lake (most intense bushwhack I've ever done) once and the S side from dropping in from beyond Laurel the other time (much easier). I do not have the technical climbing ambition to do the savage gash on the s. side of Nance, but I can guarantee you it is well beyond 3rd class, and I suspect there will be multiple class 5 pitches somewhere along that route (ie I doubt if it will go at 4th class max). I would bet that very few people have put up routes on that face, given its inaccessibility. I've always thought about getting to the base of that waterfall, too, and I recall the fellow who wrote me about dropping in from Inferno is the one who journeyed to the base of that spectacular waterfall. I like that area---I think it receives fewer visitors than any area I've been to with the possible exception of the Red Spur area--but I don't know if I have the fortitude to do battle with those ferocious thickets of brush.
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 bookpacker » Sat May 02, 2009 8:54 am

Thanks for sharing your long experience, both of you!

I do know about the bushwhacking involved to get in or out from Edith, though I'm sure it's one thing to know about it and quite another to actually do it. My hesitation last year, about the trip, was that I wasn't sure if Karen was up for the hardship of it. One has to be really obsessed, I think, and I didn't want to put her in a situation that would test her patience with my monomania. This year, I think I will--she's been proved pretty tough, and not much less obsessed once she's on the trail.

As for the notch up Nance Peak, yeah, in my heart, and judging from google-earthing it, I guess I knew it had class 5 sections, which makes it not entirely out of the question, but of course, that far from help, I'm not very bold. It makes a nice daydream. Someone's done it, though, I bet--it begs to be climbed.

Thanks also for the consoling words about my limitations. I know there's this amazing Sierra out there with a million more secret corners than I could explore in a lifetime--and just knowing it, somehow, is a source of pleasure and comfort to me everyday. Though I'm not an uncultured man, I have only a faint desire to go to Europe, compared with the burning I feel every Spring to get to the mountains. Though I can look at the map of Emigrant Wilderness, and say, yes, I've been to Red Can Lake, and somehow feel a little disappointed that I've already "done it", I also know that what I carry away with me each season, what i remember, are not places on a map, but the feeling of having that curtain whisked away each time I come to new vista after a bend in the trail.

Another litte trip I have planned for this season is a three-day assault on Mount Clark, which I know will involve permits, bears, crowds. Nevertheless, the magic curve of that beautiful rising ridgeline of Mount Clark, in spite of all, beckons, and I'd be a fool not to heed it.
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Re: Ultimate Sierra Trip?

Postby maverick » Sat May 02, 2009 10:27 am

The lakes and falls are all beautiful, but the terrain may make Karen curse you for
an eternity or make her stronger,either way just make sure your prepare her mentally
and physically as much as possibly.
Kendrick Creek cannot be crossed in early season only by taking a swim as you
mentioned and that is exactly what I did.
The three lakes on the western side on the way up to Edith are beautiful
and are well worth visiting as a destination trip, though I do not remember seeing
any fish in the lakes if that is important to you.
I could spend days at these lakes and I hope I'll have a chance to visit them again.
I climbed up through the nasty bush from the southern end of Edith to the ridge just
south of Nance Peak, and it was the worst bush I have ever encountered.
I barely moved a 100 feet in an hour with green pollen covering my entire clothes
and pack, breathing was difficult because of it.
There were some class 5 cracks that I climbed attempting to circumvent the bush, but
I could not get around a rock especially with my pack so it was back down into the bush.
There were some small shallow caves in the cliff in some areas which could have been
a den for a mountain lion or bear which I was very glad were empty at the time.
There was no water on the way up so I was quite dehydrated after several hours of
battling the brush.
Once at the top the views of Spotted Fawn Basin to the west, and Edith to the east made
my grueling endeavor worth while.
After all that would I do it again, hell yeah, but that is just me.



















T
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Re: Ultimate Sierra Trip?

Postby Mike M. » Tue May 05, 2009 5:13 pm

This was my "ultimate" itinerary in 1980, on a 37 day solo hike:

7/17 Mosquito Flat to Ruby Lake
7/18 Mono Creek
7/19 Pioneer Basin
7/20 Grinnel Lake area
7/21 Hopkins Pass to McGee pass to Red and White Lake
7/22 Tully Hole
7/23 Lake of the Lone Indian
7/24 Layover
7/25 Quail Meadows
7/26 Second Recess
7/27 Upper Mills Creek Lake
7/28 Lake Italy via Gabbott Pass
7/29 Honeymoon Lake via Italy Pass
7/30 Pine Creek Pass to French Lake – rendezvous with Paul Marti
7/31 Hutchinson Meadow
8/1 Piute Creek JMT Junction
8/2 Goddard Canyon
8/3 Martha Lake
8/4 Ionian Basin
8/5 Enchanted Gorge
8/6 Goddard Creek (Lake 10212)
8/7 Wanda Lake
8/8 Little Pete Meadow
8/9 Rendezvous with Van at South Lake; resupply
8/10 Above South Lake
8/11 Palisade Basin via Thunderbolt Pass
8/12 Upper Palisades Lake via Potluck and Cirque Passes; climb Banner Peak
8/13 Mather Pass
8/14 Pinchot Pass
8/15 Woods Creek
8/16 Rae Lakes
8/17 Glen Pass to Vidette Meadows
8/18 Forester Pass
8/19 Lake Helen of Troy; Trojan Peak
8/20 Over Mt. Barnard to Wallace Lake
8/21 Tulainyo Lake
8/22 Out via Russell-Carillion Col and Whitney Portal

I motored back to San Francisco after this adventure (old Toyota Corona Deluxe started on first crank!), worked for a few weeks to earn some spending money, then left town for a six-week trip to Europe via England and Eurorail. Oh to be young again!!

Mike
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