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SEKI Trip Ideas

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SEKI Trip Ideas

Postby rrivera » Sat Aug 15, 2009 10:11 am

Hi - I'm looking for some 3 day trip ideas for a group of 4 experienced backpackers for early September in SEKI...some considerations below...appreciate your input

- preferably in Sequoia NP
- approx 8 miles a day
- on or off-trail
- have done the HST before so looking for something different
- we are looking at Heather/Moose/Peark Lakes as an option but looking for some other ideas
- West side
- will be driving from the bay area



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Re: SEKI Trip Ideas

Postby adam » Sat Aug 15, 2009 11:14 am

About a month ago I did the Pear lake-Moose Lake-Alta trail loop with my wife-- we had a great time and I was really impressed by the scenery and ease of xc travel-- all slabs and open forest; very little talus or nasty brush. You can see photos and a map at

http://picasaweb.google.com/arsmith2/Em ... eadowLoop#

the drive back to the bay area was a slog, but I guess anything in seki would be. We did more or less a bare-bones version of the loop, but one could explore more in the tablelands to add more distance/challenge. When we did it, it was lush but buggy-- presumably both the water and bugs would be reduced in september. Our last campsite had no water-- we got some from a nearby snowpatch that is probably gone now, but the little lakes downhill from that ridge toward moose lake would be alternatives.
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Re: SEKI Trip Ideas

Postby maverick » Sat Aug 15, 2009 11:39 am

Hi Rrivera

Is that 3 days, 2 nights or 3 nights, makes a lot of difference, especially if your
only interested in a western start, and only in Sequoia NP.
If it is only 2 nights than basecamping at Pear Lake and doing a day hike to Moose Lake
may be a better alternative, especially if your talking about hiking only 8 miles a day.
All the great places from the west takes a little longer to get to so 2 nights is a little
short.
Lost Lake-Seville Lakes is a beautiful area and not difficult to get to and there are
bear boxes at either lakes.
Hiking to Seville Lake and then day hiking to Sheep Camp Lakes and Lost Lake via cross-
country route the next day would be a fun outing.
Mineral King is not an option with such a short time frame.
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Re: SEKI Trip Ideas

Postby rrivera » Sun Aug 16, 2009 8:46 am

Thanks for the ideas. Unfortunately we are looking at 3 days and 2 nights I'm still trying to convince one person to add a day on.
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Re: SEKI Trip Ideas

Postby markorr » Mon Aug 17, 2009 10:47 pm

adam wrote:About a month ago I did the Pear lake-Moose Lake-Alta trail loop with my wife-- we had a great time and I was really impressed by the scenery and ease of xc travel-- all slabs and open forest; very little talus or nasty brush.


Adam, I was thinking about doing a 3 day (possibly camping at the car for the 3rd night and driving home in the morning) trip in this area, possibly extending to Big Bird lake and coming out via Elizabeth Pass/Tamarack Lake/Bearpaw meadow/Panther Gap. How was the route finding between Pear Lake and Moose Lake and from Moose back to Alta Meadows? Does anyone have a good description of this route?

cheers
mark
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Re: SEKI Trip Ideas

Postby rrivera » Tue Aug 18, 2009 10:51 am

Thanks for your question Mark I've been curious as well about the navigation between either Pear or Moose to Alta Meadow.
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Re: SEKI Trip Ideas

Postby adam » Fri Aug 21, 2009 12:07 pm

I've never been anywhere in this area except the emerald-pear-moose-alta loop, so I can only comment on that. My experience was that the route finding was extremely easy. The off-trail stuff between pear and moose was almost all slabs and meadows, as opposed to talus, and very rarely steep. the only really steep part going up was getting out of the valley northeast of pear lake, and then parts of the descent to moose-- but it wasn't technically difficult at all, just strenuous, and over quickly. Following the inlet stream from the lake at ~10,000 feet up to its source just below 10,800 was about as pleasant as xc can be.

There used to be a trail from alta to moose-- we totally screwed up hitting what was left of it. We tried to descend diagonally from the outlet. Better would have been to proceed along about 3/4 of the way along the south shore of moose from east to west, then descend. once I got over the S lip of the moose basin, it was pretty easy to spot where the trail was. On an old topo I have, it drops south from the point I described to hit the ridge separating moose from alta just below the 10,400 ft line, then descends the ridge to 10,280 before dropping down through open forest. At this point, we lost any hint of an old trail, but had no problem contouring through the forests and meadows to alta meadow-- very little nasty brush. From the ridge you can see alta meadow and the alta trail, so it's easy to orient toward your goal.

Here is a description I used, from High Sierra Hiding Guide #20, Triple Divide Peak
by Andrew Selters, published by Wilderness Press, 1980 (when there was apparently still a trail from alta to moose lake). A current wilderness press guide (Sierra South, maybe?) describes the trip from alta to moose as bushwacking and deadfall hell-- this was very much NOT my experience.

Cross country route #2, Pear Lake to Moose Lake
Requiring only basic route-finding experience and easy scrambling skills, this fairly popular jaunt across glaring rock barrens can link main trails 3 and 4 into a dandy loop.
From campsites near the north shore of Pear Lake you diagonal north up and around a blocky, west-facing ridge and then contour east above a delightful glen bottomed with lodegepole pines, grassy parks, glacial polish, and a lively stream. Then you aim southeast and climb near the tumbling south fork of this glen. There shoulg be ducks to follow [I didn't see them] as you come upon steep benches to pick your way up and around; by keeping and eastward course you'll reach a hollow that holds some shallow, grass-lined poools. From there you continue east, almost directly upslope, to a minor saddle and then turn southeast down a wide, exfoliating chute to the north shore of broad, desolate Moose Lake.
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Re: SEKI Trip Ideas

Postby markorr » Tue Aug 25, 2009 4:12 pm

I ended up going Pear -> Moose -> Big Bird -> Ranger Meadows/Deadman Canyon -> Crescent Meadow (due to a small fire burning across the trail to Alta)
From the middle or "waist" of Pear I ascended easy slabs for 2-300 ft, until I was able to traverse right into a grassy area. There was a trail in that that I followed up and around a few small lakes all the way to the weather station. The trail made navigation a non-issue. From the weather station I ascended the ridge to the SE and dropped into Moose Lake. Left Wolverton ~8:00 and arrived at Moose ~2:00 pm. I spent the afternoon scouting out how to get over to Big Bird Lake. I went too far east, trying to stay on ridgetops, thinking I wanted to head towards Pterydactyl Pass, but finally realized I was too far south. Finally I found the correct ridge from which to descend to the lakes above Big Bird (which isn't visible until you're right on top of it). the good think was that from the ridge I could see an easy line back to Moose. The next morning I retraced my steps to the ridge above the lakes above Big Bird, basically traveling NE along the tarns. The travel along the tarns was much easier than staying along the ridges and took about 1 1/2 hours to reach tarn 11,200 due west of Big Bird Lake. From the tarn, which is just NW of the saddle next to Big Bird Peak I took an easy descending left traverse across slabs towards the lake. The key was to aim just left of the big green patch. I stayed ~300 ft above the lakes and headed east towards the treeline ridge. The Pear Lake ranger told me to head towards the north end of BBL, but when I crested the ridge I was about in the middle of the lake. It was any easy decent of 2-300 ft to a treed bench. by traversing north I found a slab and grass ramp that descended north to the shore of BBL. From the lake it looks as if that ramp is the only way down from the treed ridge. Big Bird Lake was a great spot to swim and have an early lunch. From there I followed the outlet 100 yrds or so and then headed straight down slabs. I'd say all of the terrain from Pear Lake to the trail in Deadman Canyon was class I. Finding the ramp down to BBL was the only crux b/c it was sheer granite below the slab down to the lake. The rest of the trip was on trail and other than the small fire burning just above the HST on the Alta trail it was pretty uneventful. I ran across 3 small bears as I neared Crescent Meadows
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Re: SEKI Trip Ideas

Postby maverick » Tue Aug 25, 2009 4:36 pm

Any pic's of the trip, and especially of the bears Markorr?
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Re: SEKI Trip Ideas

Postby markorr » Wed Aug 26, 2009 8:22 am

maverick wrote:Any pic's of the trip, and especially of the bears Markorr?

I haven't sorted through them yet, but I need too. The bear pics won't be that impressive, mostly the south end of north-bound bears. they were all pretty small. Probably the most photogenic section of the trip was the 2 lakes above Big Bird Lake, under the N face of Big Bird Peak. Mostly it was just a good trip to get away and not see too many people
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