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Trip Report: Taboose->Dumbbells->South Lake

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Trip Report: Taboose->Dumbbells->South Lake

Postby MoonscapeInspector » Wed Aug 26, 2009 6:57 pm

Taboose Creek Trailhead -> Lakes Basin -> Dumbbell Lakes Basin -> Palisade Basin -> South Lake
8 day mostly solo trip.

We decided to drive in to the Taboose Creek trailhead the night before hiking in. One goes right at the fork on the road to the trailhead, passing through the "4-wheel drive only" sign. The unsigned route really is 4-wheel drive only, though in fact it can be managed with some trouble in a low-clearance Chevy compact. Arrived at the trailhead late at night, August 6, 2009. After a late start the next morning, we made it to Taboose Pass in about 6 hours, and pulled in to Bench Lake at around 5pm.
On Day 2 we descended directly from Bench Lake to South Fork Kings River, starting somewhat west of the Bench Lake outlet. We climbed the other side until meeting the trail near the stream draining the lower of the two larger lakes in the basin south of Cartridge Pass. At this point, the sole of my buddy's right Asolo boot decided to rip loose, leaving only the heel attached. After careful deliberation we decided he should exit, and meet me on Day 6 in Palisade Basin. I climbed up to the tiny lake just south of Cartridge Pass, passing south and west of the lake, before climbing northeast to the top. Both sides of Cartridge Pass are very easy. Walked into Lakes Basin, pitching camp at an established spot overlooking Lake 10632, Marion Lake, and the impressive wall of mountains behind them.
On Day 3 I crossed Dumbbell Lakes Pass. The south side is completely trivial, and the north side is easy if one remembers to stay west, to avoid a mighty boulder field. I camped right at Lake 11108, finding few established spots.
On Day 4 (lay day) I toured the basin, walking up to Observation Peak for a spectacular view, then descending to the beautiful lake just to the south, which features islands and a sandy beach.
On Day 5 I hiked over Cataract Pass (class 2). The snow cornice at the top was small enough to allow easy passage, though when viewed from Amphitheater Lake it appears to be impassable. With more snow one might have to find an alternate route to the north, probably class 3. The hike down Cataract Creek was easy, except near the bottom where the temperature climbs, the country gets a bit thick, and then there's a bog. I would like to find an easy route bypassing these problems, from lower Cataract Creek northeast toward PCT. Higher up on the trail I heard an outlandish sound, which turned out to be two coyotes, mating. I tried to be discreet but they heard me, and sprinted up a boulder field on the eastern side. I also visited the Prospect, well worth a quick inspection. In all, I spent three full days without meeting a soul. Then I met a guy named John in Palisade Basin, and he was the first person I talked to since the middle of Day 2. Really appreciated meeting someone of like mind, after the days of solitude.
On Day 6 I hiked from the lake above the outlet to lower Palisade Lake to Cirque Pass, then over Potluck Pass, and camped at one of the Barrett Lakes. There was slightly more snow on Cirque Pass than I encountered last year, and I had to take off my pack and drag it after me through the chute on the western side. A little more snow would raise the difficulty of this crossing from class 2 to 3. I met up with my buddy that night.
On Day 7 we hiked up to Thunderbolt Pass just to see it, and saw four guys who had come in on Scimitar Pass. Nice looking group, though at least one of them appeared to be less than thrilled with the crossing. On Day 8 we exited via Bishop Pass, making it to the parking lot at around 2. A great trip! Many thanks to those who recommended Dumbbell Lakes Basin on the High Sierra Topix website. I'll try to post some of my pictures.



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Re: Trip Report: Taboose->Dumbbells->South Lake

Postby giantbrookie » Wed Aug 26, 2009 8:15 pm

Nice trip and report. You did it the hard direction (opening with Taboose, rather than opening with Barrett). Of course I have to ask...did you do any fishing?
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: Trip Report: Taboose->Dumbbells->South Lake

Postby MoonscapeInspector » Wed Aug 26, 2009 8:42 pm

giantbrookie wrote:Nice trip and report. You did it the hard direction (opening with Taboose, rather than opening with Barrett). Of course I have to ask...did you do any fishing?


No I didn't, but I kept an eye on them. Most of the lakes in Lakes Basin seemed to be jumping like crazy. The lake below Cartridge Pass had a few of pretty decent size (don't know which kind: spotted, yellow with a red stripe). In Dumbbell Lake 11108 there were many swimming in the clear deep water there, but I saw nothing over 8 inches or so. That's all I saw. I used to try to catch them with a spinning reel when I was a lad, but gave it up for some reason, which escaped me when I realized I didn't bring quite enough food.
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Re: Trip Report: Taboose->Dumbbells->South Lake

Postby mokelumnekid » Wed Aug 26, 2009 9:44 pm

Yo- I just returned from a Taboose-Dumbbells in-and-back, and it is a wonder that we did not cross paths. I don't think I saw your name on the Observation Pk. register unless you did it after Sun. Aug. 23 when we were on top (doesn't mean anything- I often don't "sign in"). I have been previously in to D-bell Basin from Cataract (found the lower part of Cataract Creek a dreary, burned over drag). We did not find the north side of Dumbbell Pass trivial, picking our way with large packs over that left (west) side in early morning over large sharp poorly-sorted talus. It takes some care and a higher level of fitness than going over Cartridge or parts of the High Route. I only say this because I have been surprised by the rather poor preparation by folks in parts of the High Route. I found that it had more possibility for problems than most of the other 'off trail' passes I've been over. Just saying.
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Re: Trip Report: Taboose->Dumbbells->South Lake

Postby MoonscapeInspector » Thu Aug 27, 2009 5:51 am

Hey mokelumnekid,
Actually I did sign in on Observation Peak, I guess it was Aug 9, though I think I wrote Aug 10, right below the guy who wrote 8/?/09. Even blew the kazoo. About Dumbbell Pass: I only said the south side of Dumbbell was trivial, not the north! Though I think the north side is easy on the route that stays high on the western side, going down on mostly slabs at the large finger pointing into the middle of the lake. There was about 15 minutes' worth of large talus near the top. I agree the ratings on these passes, or any one person's assessments, should not be relied on, because they reflect somebody's experience in a given year, under who knows what conditions. Any deviation from the "right" route can lead into much more challenging conditions. I guess anyone who attempts the High Route should be aware of this. I had two bad experiences on Wallace Col, and I still wonder if it was just because I missed the route Secor happened to find (he dismisses it in his book). Or maybe the mountain was different when he went up, which seems likely to me. It was changing rapidly when I went over it, that's for sure! Also, Cirque Pass could easily be class 3 if one misses the chute on the western side.
-E
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Re: Trip Report: Taboose->Dumbbells->South Lake

Postby giantbrookie » Thu Aug 27, 2009 7:37 am

mokelumnekid wrote:Yo- I just returned from a Taboose-Dumbbells in-and-back, and it is a wonder that we did not cross paths. I don't think I saw your name on the Observation Pk. register unless you did it after Sun. Aug. 23 when we were on top (doesn't mean anything- I often don't "sign in").

Wow, pretty amazing for two groups to be traversing that territory in the same approximate time frame. Just hearing about it gives me cabin fever. Bummer that (by house rules) I have to wait until I'm about 60 to run this route (from the S Lake side) with the wife and kids--the (by then) teenagers will have to have become rugged brush-fighting warriors by then, for Judy and I are almost certain to drive them down Barrett and up Cataract. But that is a long time from now, so I will focus on enjoying the here and take in other folks' trips as a spectator.

George, what peaks did you hit along this route, other than Observation? I'm betting there were quite a few more summits thrown in. If you are making the short hop down to Portland for GSA perhaps I can hear more details (and perhaps see photos from this trip and your earlier Barrett-Cataract adventure) over some pints of fine Pacific NW IPAs. I'll be there with an unusually large Fresno State contingent.

John
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: Trip Report: Taboose->Dumbbells->South Lake

Postby mokelumnekid » Thu Aug 27, 2009 10:41 pm

Giantbrookie- I'll post a full TR with pics in a few days. But we only scrambled Observation. More later on GSA...In the meantime have a gander at this that I found this year about two miles down the N. Fork Mok from the Hwy 4/Hermit Valley bridge:

http://tinyurl.com/lokyva
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Re: Trip Report: Taboose->Dumbbells->South Lake

Postby MoonscapeInspector » Sat Aug 29, 2009 8:45 am

There are some photos from the trip at http://www.flickr.com/photos/38194475@N ... 176037490/
including a grisly picture of my friend Joe's "fix" of a deep gash wound he received from a rock. When I saw him (Day 7) he was walking around nonchalantly with a piece of duct tape on his shin, and when I asked him about it he peeled it back, and showed me how he had stapled it closed using a staple gun that he happened to have in his med kit (!). There's also a picture of the gun.
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Re: Trip Report: Taboose->Dumbbells->South Lake

Postby giantbrookie » Sat Aug 29, 2009 10:49 am

mokelumnekid wrote:Giantbrookie- In the meantime have a gander at this that I found this year about two miles down the N. Fork Mok from the Hwy 4/Hermit Valley bridge:
http://tinyurl.com/lokyva

Wow, that's nice.
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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