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Help me plan - Tuolumne to Reds

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Help me plan - Tuolumne to Reds

Postby calipidder » Mon Jul 20, 2009 9:18 am

Hi All -

One of my trip themes this summer is to go back and visit some of the favorite places I've passed through on the JMT. On July 30th I'm planning on going back to do the Tuolumne to Reds stretch, but instead of flying through in 48 hours like I did on the JMT, I want to take some time to explore, get off the JMT, fish, and relax. Therefore I am planning on a 5 day/4 night outing.

Can't really fuss with the time frame/dates on this one since I'm leaving for the HST after returning from this trip (who will I see on whitney on the 15th?), and other people on this trip have work restrictions. I also already have the permit reservation for entering at Lyell Canyon on the 30th.

Now, I have a couple of tentative itineraries planned (campsites/daily mileages/side trips), but they are based on what I remember from passing through, and I don't really know anything about the areas that are more than a couple of steps off the JMT. I'd love to pick the brains here and see what other people would suggest - you helped me finalize my plans for another JMT-revisit I'm doing in September and I really appreciated it!

So, if you had 5days/4nights to get from Tuolumne to Reds, what would you do?

The trip criteria/questions I've been working with:

1) I don't want to camp in Lyell canyon - been there, done that a million times. Rather I'd like to get up to the lakes below Donohue Pass for the first night. Any suggestions for a great campsites and fishing in this basin would be appreciated.

2) I'm going with experienced and strong backpackers, but this is intended to be more of the relaxing kind of trip - we're comfortable with far more than we're planning on doing - but for this trip we're not looking for anything technical, or requiring extra equipment (one of these days I'll do Mt Lyell, just not on this trip...).

3) Is it worth the side trip to head up Rush Creek to Maria lakes? What about Davis Lakes?

4) I don't mind staying in the same campsite for more than one night if there is just a great spot where I have access to fishing and good day hikes.

5) I don't have to stay on the JMT - been there done that too - I just need to get from Tuolumne to Reds in 5 days. :)

6) We like to eat the fish that we catch, and our favorite prep method is in foil on coals, so campfire-legal campsites are preferred but not required. If a place is just so awesome (like the lakes below Donohue...) we'll stove-cook the fishies.

Thanks so much!
Rebecca



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Re: Help me plan - Tuolumne to Reds

Postby The Other Tom » Mon Jul 20, 2009 9:31 am

Can't help with the fishing, but when we did that stretch a few years ago, I noticed there was a beautiful lake (un named) below Mt Lyel. It looked like it would be a great place to camp and just soak in the views.
Also, Island Pass (before Thousand Island Lake) looked like it would be a great place to camp. I haven't looked at the map, but I believe there are a few samll lakes in the area.
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Re: Help me plan - Tuolumne to Reds

Postby copeg » Mon Jul 20, 2009 9:35 am

If you and your group are up for it, I'd definitely recommend veering away from the JMT near 1000 Island Lake, sticking to the western sides to 1000 Island, Garnet and visiting Nydiver, Ediza, Iceberg, Cecile, and Minaret Lakes. All of this is x-country and you don't meet up with a trail again until Minaret, but at each point you are relatively close to trail access back to the JMT should you feel it too difficult. Might be too high for fires to cook fish, but the fishing is good along the way, and since you are just below Banner and the Minarets the views are jaw dropping.
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Re: Help me plan - Tuolumne to Reds

Postby cvr » Mon Jul 20, 2009 11:18 am

Copeg hit the nail right on the head. His suggested route is fantastic, especially if your group is strong and experienced. The going is straightforward, and right at the base of the Ritter range and the Minarets. The best lake fishing on the South side of Island Pass will be found at the inlets (West sides) of 1000 Island and Garnet. The entire distance between 1000 Island and Minaret will be above fire elevation, so you will have to forego coal-cooked fish, but the scenery and relative solitude will more than make up for it. You will still se people as this is a very heavily used area, but it should be far less than the JMT through the same stretch.
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Re: Help me plan - Tuolumne to Reds

Postby gregw822 » Mon Jul 20, 2009 3:14 pm

Get this book:

"Trout Fishing the John Muir Trail" by Steve Beck

http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/ ... lleypac-20
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Re: Help me plan - Tuolumne to Reds

Postby AlmostThere » Mon Jul 20, 2009 9:50 pm

I have been planning this section for months. We leave on 8/2 and 8/3 (couldn't get enough permits on one day so have two groups) and will likely do the route copeg suggests. For a while we were thinking of doing Banner or Ritter but none of us has sufficient mountaineering experience to make that comfortable. :tear:

We'll probably see you out there. :nod: I'll be the weird chick with the hammock hiking with a bunch of other people's husbands. (well, there's also an older chick, and a much younger chick, but the rest are guys.)
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Re: Help me plan - Tuolumne to Reds

Postby cvr » Tue Jul 21, 2009 10:35 am

If desired, Banner can be approached from Lake Catherine on the west side (Class 2). The west side of the Ritter-Banner saddle is a permanent, not too terribly steep snow chute. In early season (through July) it may be a simple manner of kicking steps when the snow is soft. Later in the season (Sept-Oct) it probably can get icy and a bit more imposing. From the saddle, Banner is a simple rock scamble. I have done Banner and Ritter twice from the west (both times in mid June), once with an ice axe and once with a single walking stick. While I was glad to have some sort of support to ensure I did not slip (staff, hiking poles), but the snow was soft enough and suncupped so I did not feel that an ice axe was absolutley neccessary.

A different, absolutley non-techincal option for a great dayhike in the area is Volcanic Ridge from either Ediza or Minaret L. It is easy class 2 from either side and provides fantastic, close-up views of the Minarets and the entire Ritter Range. From Minaret L, the hike can be done in an hour or so each way; I can't remember exactly how long it took. I recommend it highly.
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Re: Help me plan - Tuolumne to Reds

Postby calipidder » Tue Jul 21, 2009 11:00 am

Thanks for the suggestions, all. Scenery will beat campfires any time for me, so I like the cross country route through the high lakes. I'm a bit concerned about the conditions though - having not been up there and seen it for myself, I'm not sure what to make of the various trip reports I've read. Some make it sound super difficult and technical, others make it sound like nothing. It depends on the snow conditions too - and at this time of year it could go either way. I told my friends that this would be an 'easy' trip so I don't want to do anything more than class 2 or be worried about hitting snow field crossings at the appropriate time of day - if I did some of them might not come on trips with me again. :) I'm thinking maybe a two night stay at Ediza with dayhiking into the other lakes might be a good compromise.
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Re: Help me plan - Tuolumne to Reds

Postby Shawn » Tue Jul 21, 2009 1:06 pm

I don't think it would be of much use to you, but a buddy of mine wanted to see Ediza and the snowfield below the Ritter-banner notch so we trudged up there on 7/11. The conditions have likely melted a fair amount of snow in the past ten days but I'd think most of the streams are running about the same. Here's a brief TR:

http://www.theradioroom.org/Mountains/T ... lacier.htm

Shawn

PS. Have a great time, it's a beautiful area as everyone says.
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Re: Help me plan - Tuolumne to Reds

Postby maverick » Tue Jul 21, 2009 1:25 pm

Hi Capi

Just got back from a 5 day trip from Red's to Agnew.
I went from AshleyLake-Nancy Pass(class 2)-Deadhorse Pass (1)-Minaret Lake-
Un-named col(2)-Volcanic Pass(2)-Lake Ediza-Whitebark Pass(2)-Garnet Lake
Thousand Is Lake-Agnew via High Trail(PCT).
Stay away from 1000 Is Lake unless you stay up under the North Glacier Pass area
the bear situation is bad.
Iceberg Lake is still frozen, and you will need an ice axe or crampons with trekking
poles to do the snow field traverse class 2-3.
Ediza Lake, Minaret Lake, and Ashley Lake are probably the cream of the crop in
the area and not many people know about Ashley, their loss.
Any question or details feel free to pm me.
Last edited by maverick on Tue Jul 21, 2009 3:10 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Help me plan - Tuolumne to Reds

Postby calipidder » Tue Jul 21, 2009 2:25 pm

Ah, thanks very much for the recent info (esp. on the 1000IL bears - I'd like my new Bearikade to stay out of their hands as long as possible, thankyouverymuch). I'll pour over the maps once again tonight and try to come up with a final plan. I'll definitely be in touch if I have any questions.
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Re: Help me plan - Tuolumne to Reds

Postby calipidder » Tue Jul 21, 2009 7:05 pm

Ok, one more question -

Cabin Lake (near Ediza/Shadow) - supposed to be good fishing for Goldens, and the hubby wants to spend a night there and fish fish fish. Is it a good lake for camping, or should he just do it as a hike from a camp at Ediza? Looks like it could be a potentially nice spot just a short distance from the restrictions and masses of the Ediza/Shadow area.

Thanks - I think I'm finally figuring out a plan that will keep everyone, fishermen/women and dayhikers/scenery gawkers happy. :)
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