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Planning Help - Florence, Ionian Basin, McGee Basin, etc...

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Planning Help - Florence, Ionian Basin, McGee Basin, etc...

Postby Packtofish » Tue Aug 11, 2009 4:50 pm

Hey all, I've been pouring over maps, trip reports, Secors books, and everything I can get my hands on the past few weeks planning a eight day, seven night, trip. I seem to have a route fairly laid out, but I need some real world insight into whether its realistic or not, and if it fits my goals.

Goals are lots of x-country travel, solitude, trying to stay in alpine/sub-alpine environment, class 2 max passes, and of course some fishing. I love a good death march, but it would be nice to have a few sub 10 mile days somewhere in the middle.

Due to permit issues it looks like I will be needing to go out of the westside, so I have narrowed it down to Courtwright or Florence for the entry.

Route is looking like this:
1. Florence to Goddard Canyon (camp on creek) or Courtwright to the base of Hell for Sure Pass.
2. Martha Lake
3. Loop around Mt. Goddard through either Ionaian Basin or to the North around Davis.
4. Muir Pass (I want to see the hut.) and x-cntry into McGee Basin. or if the north route is more scenic and appealing, Davis into McGee Basin.
5. McGee over to Evolution and then to Darwin Bench
6. Darwin bench to Alpine Col and then over to a lake west of Muriel on the Glacier Divide
7&8. Down Paiute Canyon and out to Florence.

Sound Reasonable? I haven't been in this area and sometimes I plan a little too ambitiously :retard: . The part of the route from Darwin Bench can be scrapped if I get behind schedule or just find I want to hang out somewhere and relax for a day, so that's my contingency plan.

What's your favorite way to get to Martha? Florence or Courtwright? The most scenic route around Goddard? North or South? Alpine Col....Listed as class 2. Is it gnarly or not too bad?

Sorry for so many questions, I've searched and just can't find the answers I'm looking for exactly.

Thanks so much.
Dave

Edit...I had Martha and Wanda lake swapped in the route.



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Re: Planning Help - Florence, Ionian Basin, McGee Basin, etc...

Postby Packtofish » Wed Aug 12, 2009 9:56 am

How about just one question. Whats preferable to get into Goddard Canyon, Florence or Courtwright?
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Re: Planning Help - Florence, Ionian Basin, McGee Basin, etc...

Postby maverick » Wed Aug 12, 2009 1:15 pm

How about North Lake-Over Lamarck Col(class 2) to Darwin Bench-Muir Hut-Black Giant
Pass(class 2) into Ionion Basin-Descend down to Martha Lake (Class 1-2)-Ascend up
to Davis Lake Pass (class 2) to Davis Lake, and go over Pass 11720 (class 2) to McGee
Lakes-Exit thru McGee Canyon and go over Paddlesack Pass (class 2) and up to
Muriel Lake-Over Piute Pass to North Lake instead.
This way you get your eastern and western side covered in one trip.
This is not a trip that most people could do, there are 5 class 2, and a class 1-2 passes
involved, so you better be in tip top shape, and be experienced in x-country travel before
you even consider attempting this trip.
Travel is tough in a lot of these areas and you will be far enough from the JMT
once passed the Muir Hut section that if your injured or lost your survival will be up to you.
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Re: Planning Help - Florence, Ionian Basin, McGee Basin, etc...

Postby Packtofish » Wed Aug 12, 2009 7:26 pm

maverick wrote:How about North Lake-Over Lamarck Col(class 2) to Darwin Bench-Muir Hut-Black Giant
Pass(class 2) into Ionion Basin-Descend down to Martha Lake (Class 1-2)-Ascend up
to Davis Lake Pass (class 2) to Davis Lake, and go over Pass 11720 (class 2) to McGee
Lakes-Exit thru McGee Canyon and go over Paddlesack Pass (class 2) and up to
Muriel Lake-Over Piute Pass to North Lake instead.
This way you get your eastern and western side covered in one trip.
This is not a trip that most people could do, there are 5 class 2, and a class 1-2 passes
involved, so you better be in tip top shape, and be experienced in x-country travel before
you even consider attempting this trip.
Travel is tough in a lot of these areas and you will be far enough from the JMT
once passed the Muir Hut section that if your injured or lost your survival will be up to you.


That route is very similar to my original plan, but when I called a while back, the reserved permits were already taken. I have never gone out of the east side and this was going to be the first year. I just don't have an extra day to spare if I can't get one of the 14 walk up permits. It sure looks like a better way to get into the area though since the trailheads are so high. I'm still open too the idea though, I'm just not familiar with how many of the walk up permits "sell out" midweek. I'll be going in on a Thursday.....

Thanks for the reply..
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Re: Planning Help - Florence, Ionian Basin, McGee Basin, etc...

Postby giantbrookie » Wed Aug 12, 2009 9:23 pm

I agree with Maverick that Lamarck Col is the best way in: it's quickest and most scenic, plus it has the best fishing en route. Coming in via Florence is OK. Note that Ionian Basin is very scenic, but the class 2 is very rough and splintery (with lots of little detours to avoid small cliffs) and none of the lakes in Ionian Basin have fish.

I'm not sure I'd do Courtright as an option to get in. Wishon offers more interesting approaches with some very serious fishing. The problem with either Wishon or Courtright (I think you can actually get to the target area just as fast from Wishon as Courtright and with more interesting stuff on the way) is that you won't get to Martha as fast as you get there from either Lamarck Col or Florence. For example I figure one could get to Martha on day 2 out of Wishon, but the sacrifice would be to blow by Woodchuck/Crown on day 1 and get as close to Blackcap Basin as possible by the end of day 1 then blow through Blackcap over Valor Pass and down to Martha on day 2. To pass up such places en route seems wrong. On the other hand if one built a trip around getting in that way then one wouldn't get to Martha until day 3 and one wouldn't have much time left to explore the Martha-Davis-Mc Gee heart of the trip. Of course sacrificing time in the target area means very much enjoying the to-and-from in return.
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: Planning Help - Florence, Ionian Basin, McGee Basin, etc...

Postby Packtofish » Wed Aug 12, 2009 10:43 pm

giantbrookie wrote:I agree with Maverick that Lamarck Col is the best way in: it's quickest and most scenic, plus it has the best fishing en route. Coming in via Florence is OK. Note that Ionian Basin is very scenic, but the class 2 is very rough and splintery (with lots of little detours to avoid small cliffs) and none of the lakes in Ionian Basin have fish.

I'm not sure I'd do Courtright as an option to get in. Wishon offers more interesting approaches with some very serious fishing. The problem with either Wishon or Courtright (I think you can actually get to the target area just as fast from Wishon as Courtright and with more interesting stuff on the way) is that you won't get to Martha as fast as you get there from either Lamarck Col or Florence. For example I figure one could get to Martha on day 2 out of Wishon, but the sacrifice would be to blow by Woodchuck/Crown on day 1 and get as close to Blackcap Basin as possible by the end of day 1 then blow through Blackcap over Valor Pass and down to Martha on day 2. To pass up such places en route seems wrong. On the other hand if one built a trip around getting in that way then one wouldn't get to Martha until day 3 and one wouldn't have much time left to explore the Martha-Davis-Mc Gee heart of the trip. Of course sacrificing time in the target area means very much enjoying the to-and-from in return.


You have nailed my personal issue with the routing I've been looking at out of these two trail heads. I hate to bypass Blackcap basin on the way in from Courtwright, it looks like a beautiful area, but I would like to save that for an early season trip. I think the elevation in that area is better suited for a June trip one of these years to try to score a good bite at the lakes.

If I leave out of Florence, I spend approx. four of my eight just making miles towards the Goddard/Evolution region, which is the goal. I suppose the solution is to just risk the walk up permit issue. I was thinking of doing a North Lake(piute pass), alpine col, darwin bench, Evo Lake, Mc Gee Basin, Davis, Wanda, Le Conte Canyon, Dusy Basin, and exit via South Lake trip. I think those are permitted separately so maybe if I were flexible on doing the route either way that would double my odds of scoring a permit. Maybe that's the way to go? I don't really think I can go wrong with this route from the pics and trip reports I've seen. I'm sure it's fairly heavily traveled but, it's high on my list of areas to visit.

How do think that route would be?

GB, thanks for the input, your reports and pics have given me lots of inspiration over the years.
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Re: Planning Help - Florence, Ionian Basin, McGee Basin, etc...

Postby giantbrookie » Thu Aug 13, 2009 9:27 pm

Packtofish wrote:You have nailed my personal issue with the routing I've been looking at out of these two trail heads. I hate to bypass Blackcap basin on the way in from Courtwright, it looks like a beautiful area, but I would like to save that for an early season trip. I think the elevation in that area is better suited for a June trip one of these years to try to score a good bite at the lakes.
If I leave out of Florence, I spend approx. four of my eight just making miles towards the Goddard/Evolution region, which is the goal. I suppose the solution is to just risk the walk up permit issue. I was thinking of doing a North Lake(piute pass), alpine col, darwin bench, Evo Lake, Mc Gee Basin, Davis, Wanda, Le Conte Canyon, Dusy Basin, and exit via South Lake trip. I think those are permitted separately so maybe if I were flexible on doing the route either way that would double my odds of scoring a permit. Maybe that's the way to go? I don't really think I can go wrong with this route from the pics and trip reports I've seen. I'm sure it's fairly heavily traveled but, it's high on my list of areas to visit.
How do think that route would be?

One thing to keep in mind is that the quota is on entry point, not exit point, so even if you're doing a shuttle such as this you still have to get under the quota on whatever entry point you choose. Here are the options I'd consider.
1. Go for the North Lake entry. Lamarck Col puts you so far ahead of the Florence entry in terms of getting into good country sooner that the "risk" of losing a day isn't so severe. If in the event you fail to get under the wire after standing in line early in the morning, your wait day is still not wasted. You're in Bishop and there are some mighty fine dayhike targets that you can hike to and battle with some nice fish. Plus the dayhike day will serve to acclimatize you anyway.

2. Wishon (Hoffman Mtn) express option with Blackcap. Lots easy cross country here takes lots of time and mileage off. This requires pin point route finding but if your plans already included Ionian basin I'd imagine that off trail stuff is not an issue. This is the way I'd do it if I didn't have an advanced North Lake entry permit (again Lamarck Col would be my preferred entry here).
2 variant a (not the way I'd do it because of the small fish lakes and fishless lakes on part of this loop): day 1 out of Hoffman Mtn (this is basically the road end--gated--if one just keeps on going and drives by the Rancheria trailhead) thru Chuck pass then over gap E of Scepter Pass. This is a truly unique opening as you are going cross country right out of the car. One can get very close to, if not all the way to Blackcap Basin on Day 1 with this highly efficient route. day 2. One has time to take a few casts on the way thru Blackcap and over the Valor Pass to Martha. Didn't get far enough on day 1 so that you have to rush through Blackcap to get to Martha? No worries (see the latter part of the trip below). day 3. To Davis with dayhiking into McGees day 4 Into upper Evolution (L. below Wanda, Wanda etc, McDermand)--Muir Pass if desired then into Ionian Basin. day 5 Ionian Basin into Goddard Creek 10232; explore a bit downstream (dayhiking) if you wish. Note that Ionian Basin has no fish and Goddard Creek lakes have lots of tiny fish but it is very exotic territory. day 6 Goddard Creek 10232 via Reinstein Col and Valor Pass to Blackcap Basin. day 7 Blackcap Basin to Woodchuck Country and vicinity (choice of several lakes) day 8 to trailhead. My route (2b) would cover less ground and probably double up on Davis and Martha or (most likely) spend some time looking at some of the unnamed lakes N and W of the McGees that I've never been to--in other words it would be more of an in-and-out route instead of looping around Goddard (Ring Around the Goddard is what my wife and I called a similar scheme we executed in 1994 out of Lamarck).
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: Planning Help - Florence, Ionian Basin, McGee Basin, etc...

Postby desertdawg » Fri Aug 14, 2009 8:46 am

I went in on a Saturday(August 1) from the east side. I had called Bishop a few days previously and was told that Piute Pass had not sold out all season. I relayed that info to my buddy so he felt we could show up mid morning and snag a permit, I wanted to be there at 8:AM. We were coming from Reno, a 2.5 hour drive to the permit place we were going to.

No availability at Piute, one permit for Lamarck, and none for Bishop @ 10:30 AM. We waited until 11 and got some Piute permits for Sunday, August 2. We lost a day but still had a great time.

We looked seriously at going over Packsaddle Pass or Alpine Col from the east but because we had 50 pound packs and were unfamiliar with either we decided against it. The Piute Creek, JMT-Goddard Cyn route was tedious and not that exciting. We could have saved a day traipsing had we done either.

I'd say if your there when they open you should get a permit for the day you enter. There are 3 options for east side entry for the area you want so the odds are in your favor.
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Re: Planning Help - Florence, Ionian Basin, McGee Basin, etc...

Postby Packtofish » Sat Aug 15, 2009 1:38 am

[quote="giantbrookie"
2. Wishon (Hoffman Mtn) express option with Blackcap. Lots easy cross country here takes lots of time and mileage off. This requires pin point route finding but if your plans already included Ionian basin I'd imagine that off trail stuff is not an issue. This is the way I'd do it if I didn't have an advanced North Lake entry permit (again Lamarck Col would be my preferred entry here).
2 variant a (not the way I'd do it because of the small fish lakes and fishless lakes on part of this loop): day 1 out of Hoffman Mtn (this is basically the road end--gated--if one just keeps on going and drives by the Rancheria trailhead) thru Chuck pass then over gap E of Scepter Pass. This is a truly unique opening as you are going cross country right out of the car. One can get very close to, if not all the way to Blackcap Basin on Day 1 with this highly efficient route. day 2. One has time to take a few casts on the way thru Blackcap and over the Valor Pass to Martha. Didn't get far enough on day 1 so that you have to rush through Blackcap to get to Martha? No worries (see the latter part of the trip below). day 3. To Davis with dayhiking into McGees day 4 Into upper Evolution (L. below Wanda, Wanda etc, McDermand)--Muir Pass if desired then into Ionian Basin. day 5 Ionian Basin into Goddard Creek 10232; explore a bit downstream (dayhiking) if you wish. Note that Ionian Basin has no fish and Goddard Creek lakes have lots of tiny fish but it is very exotic territory. day 6 Goddard Creek 10232 via Reinstein Col and Valor Pass to Blackcap Basin. day 7 Blackcap Basin to Woodchuck Country and vicinity (choice of several lakes) day 8 to trailhead. My route (2b) would cover less ground and probably double up on Davis and Martha or (most likely) spend some time looking at some of the unnamed lakes N and W of the McGees that I've never been to--in other words it would be more of an in-and-out route instead of looping around Goddard (Ring Around the Goddard is what my wife and I called a similar scheme we executed in 1994 out of Lamarck).[/quote]

That's excellent info, thank you. I've set my route out of Lamark Col for Wednesday of next week. I'm going to risk the walk up permit process. I may or may not try to do the complete loop around Goddard, I think I'm just going to play it by ear and not set a strict itinerary since I have a couple extra days to play with going in from the east.

I was looking at the trailheads out of wishon and noticed the dead end up at Hoffman Mtn. I'm 100% comfortable with routefinding off trail so I think I'm going to try and hit Blackcap the week after I get back from the Evo region. I've got 15 days of sierra therapy scheduled this month, shoud be epic.

I'm going to need it after this long week of working out of hotels in NYC and NJ. Garden State my ass.... :D

Thanks GB!
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Re: Planning Help - Florence, Ionian Basin, McGee Basin, etc...

Postby Packtofish » Sat Aug 15, 2009 1:45 am

desertdawg wrote:I went in on a Saturday(August 1) from the east side. I had called Bishop a few days previously and was told that Piute Pass had not sold out all season. I relayed that info to my buddy so he felt we could show up mid morning and snag a permit, I wanted to be there at 8:AM. We were coming from Reno, a 2.5 hour drive to the permit place we were going to.

No availability at Piute, one permit for Lamarck, and none for Bishop @ 10:30 AM. We waited until 11 and got some Piute permits for Sunday, August 2. We lost a day but still had a great time.

We looked seriously at going over Packsaddle Pass or Alpine Col from the east but because we had 50 pound packs and were unfamiliar with either we decided against it. The Piute Creek, JMT-Goddard Cyn route was tedious and not that exciting. We could have saved a day traipsing had we done either.

I'd say if your there when they open you should get a permit for the day you enter. There are 3 options for east side entry for the area you want so the odds are in your favor.


I'm in the same boat with the passes. I haven't been able to get much beta on Alpine Col other than it's "class 2". I'm not going to risk a turn around on alpine col or packsaddle, with a full pack at the beginning of a trip. Too long to backtrack to Lamark if it's sketchy. I think I'm going to stick to Lamark for the entry, even though your pics of Humphreys Basin look beautiful. Tough call, I want to do it all!

Hopefully the permits will be more readily available midweek. Heading up Wed. the 19th so wish me luck....

Thanks,
Dave
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Re: Planning Help - Florence, Ionian Basin, McGee Basin, etc...

Postby SSSdave » Mon Aug 17, 2009 10:48 pm

The usual criticm I level at many trip itineraries is they are all about the journey and ironically not the destinations they are so excited about. Each of those zones you are going to be visiting has so much in the way of interesting features that many experienced backcountry users might spend a whole week in just one or two. Basins with several lakes that at best you might visit sections of shoreline of just a couple lakes on a given morning. So with that itinerary you'd hardly get to know those places and mostly be spending your days coping on the strenuous routes.
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