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mono pass-pioneer Basin-jmt-Italy pass trail

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mono pass-pioneer Basin-jmt-Italy pass trail

Postby HikerDee » Sun Jun 14, 2009 10:56 am

Hi!
This is my first post, although I have thoroughly enjoyed perusing your site. My husband and I are planning a trip the last week of Aug., first week of September and were thinking of a loop leaving Mosquito flat, over Mono pass, exploring Pioneer Basin, going s. along the JMT and out the Italy pass trail, and back to our car via Morgan lakes and Little lakes trail. We have 10 days and it looks like 55-60 miles with the side trip into Pioneer Basin. Does anyone have an opinion about which direction is best? What is the Italy pass trail like? It looks like it's not maintained...how much unmaintained? We are strong hikers, have been to the High Sierra many times (JMTx2, High Sierra Trail, N.lake, South Lake, etc.) but have little off trail experience (but are good with map and compass). On steep trails we tend to like to go up----saves the knees. Any thoughts/advice would be more than welcome!

Hikerdee



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Re: mono pass-pioneer Basin-jmt-Italy pass trail

Postby hikerduane » Sun Jun 14, 2009 6:50 pm

No issues going up to Italy Lake, going counter clock wise, the trail isn't the best to follow, take your time finding the trail to the pass also, after leaving Italy Lake. Little boring heading up to Lower Morgan Lake from the tungsten mine. Ask if the trail is ok above the mine, heading to lower Morgan Lake. Get an early start when you do this section as it takes longer than you think and is out in the open. I was thru there with Pooch maybe eight years ago or so and there was one spot that was about to be washed out and it would be very tough getting around it as the hillside is very steep with scree, the small stuff. When you get up a ways to an open area, stay on the road to the left, the one to the right goes up to no where. Pooch and I did the trip in seven nights I believe and we even looped thru Bear Basin. On another trip, we made Italy Lake the first night out of Pine Creek TH.
Piece of cake.
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Re: mono pass-pioneer Basin-jmt-Italy pass trail

Postby Charles2 » Mon Jun 15, 2009 7:47 am

At Italy Lake, there can be a steep, hard, snow bank near the outlet on the south shore. At least this was the case in early September of an average snow year (2006). The snow bank can be a real obstacle without an ice axe or crampons. I was able to get around it by wading in the lake right where the snow and lake came together; the water was never more than knee deep. Failing that, it looked to me as though one could bypass the snow bank by going around the lake on the north side and then crossing the outlet.
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Re: mono pass-pioneer Basin-jmt-Italy pass trail

Postby Jmma » Mon Jun 22, 2009 9:40 pm

Italy lake from Pine creek trailhead in one day is a studdly hike!Major elevation per square mile.Im good for Honeymoon lake,but I also carry too much stff,lol.Bear lakes basin is a must,very nice area.Ive hiked in via Dancing Bear pass and also coming up from Brown Bear lake.The Italy pass trail is not maintained but its not too bad.Its easy to follow and in a lot of spots you basically go cross country paying attention to your map and looking for trail ducs marking the general route.Absolute bitchen area.Killer fishing if your an angler.
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Re: mono pass-pioneer Basin-jmt-Italy pass trail

Postby SSSdave » Mon Jun 22, 2009 11:13 pm

Your route has a lot of major ups and down vertical. My rough estimate off the top of my head without checking a topo is about 11k to 12k feet. If you folks are into hiking trails all day as some are including major uphills that may be fine. Two sections of your route are not appealing to this person. After leaving Pioneer Basin down Mono Creek trail nearly to Edison way up on the JMT over Bear Ridge and down to Bear creek, then way up to imo boring Lake Italy is a lot of modest mostly in trees scenery followed by a rather boring alpine section. Then from Pine Lake way down the mining road to the Tungsten Mine and way back up that metamorphic scree to the Pass is simply unpleasant. A 4 or 5 day trip from Rock Creek to Pioneer Basin where you spend a layover visiting all the different lakes, then a 4 day trip from Pine Creek to Granite Park at 11.3k that includes Royce Lakes cc would be far more efficient and to this person interesting. Of course driving your car between those two trailheads saves time and effort.

David Senesac
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Re: mono pass-pioneer Basin-jmt-Italy pass trail

Postby Hiker Steve » Tue Jun 23, 2009 12:24 pm

As a more scenic alternative, you might consider going up second recess and over gabbot pass. Although this means cross country travel, it's not very challenging. Lower Mills Lake is a nice spot and I remember some beautiful alpenglow. I would also concur that lake Italy is kind of drab. Someone else posted about Granite Park and I agree that's a nice spot.
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