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Suggestion needed for late July 4 day / 3 night trip

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Suggestion needed for late July 4 day / 3 night trip

Postby dmx » Sat Jul 18, 2009 11:26 am

I had planned a 5 day trip for late July to the eastern sierras (north lake to south lake), but due to my pesky job need to shorten my trip by 1 day. Thus, I'm looking for some new suggestions for a 4d/3night trip because we don't want to try squeezing the 50+ mile north-south-lake route into just 4 days.

Here are the details:
- We're both in to big mountain scenery. Passes, peaks, ridge trails... give it to me!
- We're both experienced /altitude acclimated backpackers who tend to stick to trails but can handle some XC too
- Class 2 is fine, and even a little _easy_ class 3 is ok
- We are primarily focusing on the eastern sierras, probably around mammoth or further south
- We've already done the Rae Lakes loop, the first part of the HST, and several trails in Yosemite
- Ideally, 10 miles/day and we can cover up to 15/day here and there if it's needed. But we don't want to spend the whole trip moving at 14-15miles/day so we have some time to relax.
- We don't have a shuttle car, but I could hitch a ride if it's straightforward. so a loop would be ideal if possible.

Thanks in advance for any advice -- I always get great suggestions from you guys!

Tks,

David



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Re: Suggestion needed for late July 4 day / 3 night trip

Postby quentinc » Sat Jul 18, 2009 1:56 pm

North Lake to South Lake could be done in 4 days if you went over Lamarck Col (which you should don in any event for big mountain scenery), but it would be a real haul. I just got back from a 3 day trip over the Col into Darwin Canyon, with a day hike into Evolution Basin on the "layover" day. With an extra day you could try looping over Alpine Col, although that's a pretty rocky route. Moosetracks posted on that route in the Climbing section. The advantage is you could actually do a loop -- back through Piute Pass to North Lake. Two easy peaks along this route are Mt. Lamarck and Mt. Goethe.

Alternatively, you could start over Piute Pass, hike down Humphreys Basin to Hutchinson Meadow, back up through French Canyon and over Puppet Pass (Carol Col) into Humphreys Basin. You won't get up as high this way, and the Hutchinson mosquitoes are legendary,but the scenery is beautiful. You could climb Pilot Knob along the way. -- again, easy Class 2.

I'm sure you'll get dozens of good suggestions.
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Re: Suggestion needed for late July 4 day / 3 night trip

Postby dmx » Sat Jul 18, 2009 8:59 pm

Thanks quentinc for your suggestion -- very helpful.

I'm thinking more and more about the route you suggest from North Lake, up Lamark Col, then probably up the JMT through Evolution Meadow and back through Piute Pass. It looks like 35-40 miles and I found a few suggestions for how to get from Lamark Col down to the JMT so this seems like a fun adventure.

One question: It looks like it might be a bit easier to go up Piute Pass first, then head counter-clockwise down to the JMT, then up to Darwin Bench and finally through Lamark Col and back to North Lake. Do you have any opinion on which direction makes more sense?
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Re: Suggestion needed for late July 4 day / 3 night trip

Postby copeg » Sun Jul 19, 2009 9:09 am

I've done the Evo loop in < 4 days ...it was a haul with not much time to sit back and relax, not something recommended. I thought the region between Evo meadow to Hutchinson Meadow was the least attractive (this being relative to the rest of the loop) - so if you are looking for big mountain scenery you might want to concentrate more on the southern area, say if you did the loop and used Lararck col, cutting off miles making the trip a bit more relaxing in the time you have.

Alternatively the trip quentinc mentioned including French Canyon is nice - a stop to Royce Lakes is definitely recommended if you choose that area - if you are even more ambitious you can also loop from Royce to Granite Basin and back over Pine Creek Pass (can be done as a dayhike if you basecamp somewhere nearby) - there is a relatively easy x-country route between Royce and Honeymoon, and another that goes directly between Granite Basin and Royce (more difficult and easier going from Granite Basin to Royce rather than the alternative).

Some alternative on the east side:
- Horseshoe Meadow -> New Army Pass -> Whitney (need a shuttle, and if you want to do some x-country can use Crabtree Pass).
- Mammoth area: Agnew Meadow -> Lake Ediza -> Iceberg Lake -> Minaret Lake -> Agnew Meadow. Trip can be made more intensive by extending the loop to include 1000 Island Lake. The stretch between Iceberg and Minaret is x-country and can be considered difficult by some.
- If the west side isn't fully out of out of the question: MIneral King -> Columbine Lake -> Big/Little Five Lakes -> Black Rock Pass -> Timber Gap -> Mineral King.
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Re: Suggestion needed for late July 4 day / 3 night trip

Postby quentinc » Mon Jul 20, 2009 6:20 pm

I agree with CoPeg that the area below Hutchinson Meadow through Evolution Lake (or at least McClure Meadow) is relatively uninteresting, compared to all the spectacular scenery this area offers in the higher portions. I particularly disliked the descent on the Piute Trail below Hutchinson, which is very rocky and seemed almost as difficult to go down as to go up. For that reason, if I were going to do that route, I'd rather go over Lamarck and then come back up and over Piute.

Also, I have my personal stupidity to take into account -- for some reason I always go the wrong way at various junctions on the trek from Lamarck Col back to North Lake. I have never have a problem heading from No. Lake up to the Col. Can't explain it.
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