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Sawmill or Kearsarge

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Sawmill or Kearsarge

Postby dharter » Mon Mar 30, 2009 7:03 am

So, hopefully the 3rd times the charm, as they say. The first year we got to Red’s from LYV. Last year I went over Bishop, but ran out of gas at Road’s End due to a nearly total lack of appetite the entire time. Will this year be the year I finally get to Whitney? I would like to pick up sorta where I left off last year so I can see the Rae Lakes area, but not have to pick up from Road’s End. The question is … should I go in over Sawmill so as not to have to do Glen Pass twice or over Kearsarge and just figure Glen pass twice is better than Sawmill once. Opinions? Thanks.
Doug



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Re: Sawmill or Kearsarge

Postby maverick » Mon Mar 30, 2009 11:27 am

You can also do Baxter Pass or from Onion Valley you can do Gould Pass (class 2)
to Dragon Lake.
You also have North Dragon Pass but that is a class 3 and not the best pass to do
with a full pack.
Gould has two variations one is from the top of Kearsarge Pass which is easier
since the other variation involves climbing a gully full of talus to the top of the
ridge.
Using Gould you end up at Rae Lakes and have to do Glen once and get to check
out the upper lakes of the Rae Lakes chain too.
Last edited by maverick on Mon Mar 30, 2009 5:18 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Sawmill or Kearsarge

Postby gdurkee » Mon Mar 30, 2009 4:57 pm

Doug:

Hi. If you want to do a gnarly pass, then Baxter is probably the way to go rather than Sawmill -- comes out just below Rae Lakes and would save probably a day and a half over going Sawmill. I don't know what kind of shape the trail is in, though. With luck, someone here's been on it last summer. It got overrun by a fire 2 years ago, then flooded badly in a flash flood. It's never been a good trail and might now be toast. I wouldn't recommend Gould or Dragon unless you've got really good cross country skills. Lots of loose rock and some route finding problems. So, that leaves Kearsarge, which is among the easier passes. If your goal is connecting close to your last dot, you could camp on the south side of Glen, hike over to Rae and return in a day.

George
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Re: Sawmill or Kearsarge

Postby giantbrookie » Tue Mar 31, 2009 12:01 pm

From the sound of it, you are not really looking for a hardcore pass, which both Baxter and Sawmill are. Since your desire is to "pick up where you left off" and make Whitney while still seeing Rae Lakes, I'd recommend going over Kearsarge even though it means going in and out over Glen Pass. Baxter and Sawmill are both so much harder than Kearsarge plus 2x Glen. Plus, you have the option of camping in the Charlotte Lake area and dayhiking into Rae Lakes (as noted by George) so that you aren't carrying the big load over Glen Pass. Should you decide to do one of the biggies (Sawmill or Baxter), my recommendation would depend on whether fishing is a major priority on your trip. If it is, then Sawmill is the obvious choice.
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: Sawmill or Kearsarge

Postby dharter » Thu Apr 02, 2009 6:04 pm

Thanks for the input everyone. Seems Kearsarge is the best choice for me and probably easiest logistically.

George,
Would there be a problem to cache some food in the bear boxes at Charlotte Lake if I wanted to lighten my load and overnight in the Rae Lakes area rather than day hiking over?

Anyone,
Is it safest to leave a rental car at the portal or onion valley - or just park it in Lone Pine somewhere? Is it easier to get a ride from/to one or the other of those two locations from Lone Pine?
Doug
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Re: Sawmill or Kearsarge

Postby gdurkee » Thu Apr 02, 2009 7:09 pm

Doug:

Yes, for a night or two, the kindly old ranger will graciously allow you to leave some food at Charlotte. For anyone else reading, this is literally only for a night or two. This kind of thing just gets out of hand and I end up hauling out a couple of hundred pounds of "caches" every year.

As far as parking, I haven't heard of any "car clouts" -- vehicles being broken into at Onion Valley -- happening in a few years. Always a possibility, but just don't leave your camera and wallet on the dash... . Whitney Portal is probably OK also, though maybe a few break ins every year. If you can find somewhere in Lone Pine, that might be better. Can't think of anywhere, though.

Have a great trip.

g.
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