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Ultimate Sierra Trip?

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Re: Ultimate Sierra Trip?

Postby bookpacker » Fri May 01, 2009 10:28 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 6:51 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 7:33 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 7:54 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 9:27 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 4:13 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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Re: Ultimate Sierra Trip?

Postby cgundersen » Mon May 25, 2009 12:48 pm

Maverick/Mike,
So, Mav, is Edith at the top of your "ultimate" list? I've not been anywhere close to Edith, but that's because my wife and I have been slowly working our way north in the Sierras (living in LA, I'd rather start hiking than drive all day), but with the kudos I've heard from you and Giantbrookie, it looks and sounds like a must do. Someday.
Second, the trip Mike took in 1980 sounds incredible. My first time ever in the Ionian basin was that summer, too, and though I don't have the dates handy right now, I'm guessing I was about a week behind Mike in the basin itself (and, lake 10212). I'm a big fan of that area!
Third, with the backside of the Kaweahs only about a week away, I'm heading in there with high expectations. My wife was pleasantly relieved to find a trip report on the internet by some lads who left Whitney portal early one morning, camped shy of Pants Pass the first night and jammed over it and out to Crescent meadow the next day. I've been on planes that move slower than that.
Fourth, Blue Canyon/Tunemah Peak are high on my list, but probably not till next year.

What's the Summer got in store for you?
CG
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Re: Ultimate Sierra Trip?

Postby TehipiteTom » Wed May 27, 2009 8:37 am

cgundersen wrote:Maverick/Mike,
So, Mav, is Edith at the top of your "ultimate" list? I've not been anywhere close to Edith, but that's because my wife and I have been slowly working our way north in the Sierras (living in LA, I'd rather start hiking than drive all day), but with the kudos I've heard from you and Giantbrookie, it looks and sounds like a must do. Someday.

I'll add my voice to the pro-Edyth Lake faction. Here's a pic--judge for yourself:
Image
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Re: Ultimate Sierra Trip?

Postby maverick » Wed May 27, 2009 10:55 am

Hi CG

Ultimate, no.
The rough terrain in the area is one of the most nastiest in the Sierra, which is
why it is considered a classic bushwacking trip, and a real test of ones will and
experience.
On the other hand the chain of lakes on the western side of Kendrick Creek are
real gems.
To be honest the big granite is missing from the scenery in this area which is
what I prefer.
Kibbie Lake can be had with much less trouble, and it also is a good access point
to Bartlett Lakes, which are one of my favorite lake basin's in this area.
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Re: Ultimate Sierra Trip?

Postby Mike M. » Wed May 27, 2009 12:46 pm

CG:

I was in the Kaweahs last year and really enjoyed it. Moving much slower than I did in 1980, we did a shuttle trip, beginning at the Horseshoe Meadow trailhead, over New Army Pass, then into Miter Basin and over Crabtree Pass, down to Crabtree Lakes and Crabtree Meadow, then to Wallace Creek, down into the Kern Canyon, then up Milestone Creek to just beyond Rockslide Lake, where we left the trail again and headed up to "Picket Guard" Lake. From there, we made our way into the Kaweah Basin, camping at one of the lower lakes and exploring the upper basin on a dayhike. We then backtracked, and headed for Colby Pass, completing our semi loop via Longley Pass, Lake Reflection, and exiting at Kearsarge Pass. Picket Guard Lake was especially memorable. It is a beautiful place, with a nice level campsite. The water was just right for swimming. The lake is unusual in that both the inlet and the outlet are at one end of the lake, not more than 40 feet apart.

One of my favorite routes into the Kaweah area is via Triple Divide Pass. I prefer the upper basin just below Triple Divide Pass to the basin below Kaweah Pass. If you are adventurous, you can do a nice loop back into the Nine Lakes Basin via Pants Pass, but the route finding can be difficult for the uninitiated. Pants Pass is right at my comfort limit -- you work your way up a safe chute and then onto some (for me) steep but firm rock just before the top of the pass. The other side is a steep scree slope down to the lakes -- easy "skiing" in good boots.

This year, in late August, we're doing a 14 day loop from North Lake, going in at Lamarck Col. We'll work our way down Darwin Basin to the Muir trail, then cut over to Davis Lakes Basin, around to Martha Lake, then up and into the Ionian Basin. We'll scramble up Goddard, then exit the basin at Black Giant Pass, work our way down to the Muir Trail and then up to Palisades Basin, then over Cirque Pass, Potluck Pass, Thunderbolt Pass, and out via Bishop Pass. I will have my 16 year old son with me, along with his friend and another adult friend, who is eager to try a little climbing in the storied Sierras (he's used to the Cascades). I can't wait!

Mike \:D/
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