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Cottonwood lakes, Miter basin, Wright lakes , Shepherds Pass

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Cottonwood lakes, Miter basin, Wright lakes , Shepherds Pass

Postby fly fisher » Thu Aug 27, 2009 11:29 am

Hi everyone!

New to the forum, but I've been a "lurker" for some time. :D Planning a solo trip in mid-Sept (9-16) starting at Cottonwood lakes, Old Army Pass ( side trip to summit Langley), Miter basin and Sky Blue Lake, Crabtree Pass to Crabtree lakes, JMT to Bighorn Plateau and Wright lakes Basin, out over Shepherds Pass. Planning 8 days with a layover in Wright Lakes basin area to explore and fish. I have a couple of questions and would really appreciate any input from those of you who have done this one (or a similar trip) in the past.
First, any input on the fishing would be great. Also concerned about Old Army pass, is there a decent use trail up? Mt. langley looks pretty straight forward, but any tips would be appreciated. Curious about Crabtree pass as well(i.e. the saddle between Mt. Newcomb and Mt. McAdie coming up from Sky Blue, tips?) and the route around the Upper Crabtree lakes Basin. Also will I find water at Anvil Camp this late in the season?

I have been over New Army Pass and into Miter Basin before, so i am familiar with some of the area. I've also been in the area of Lake South America and Milestone Basin at the head of the Kern River, however I've not been to Crabtree Lakes, Bighorn Plateau and Shepherd's Pass.

Thanks in advance for any info! :)



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Re: Cottonwood lakes, Miter basin, Wright lakes , Shepherds Pass

Postby giantbrookie » Thu Aug 27, 2009 11:51 am

Welcome aboard. The trip you've dreamed up is pretty similar to one of the best trips my wife and I did. We did our trip as a 9-day Cottonwood to Shepherd shuttle: d1 to High L. d2 over New Army then into Miter Basin (tried to make it over Crabtree pass but camped at highest lakelet below pass). d3 over Crabtree Pass through the Crabtrees, then to S. Fork Wallace Creek unnamed lakes. d4 to Wallace L. and climb Mt. Barnard, d5 to Wright Lakes, d6 to L11440 Upper Kern and exploration of lakes beneath Forester Pass, d7 layover and circuit of many lakes in the upper Kern including S. America. d8 over Shepherd Pass, stopping to venture into some other basins en route, camped somewhere in Pothole area. d9 out. This trip was done in early July 1996. If I had to do it again. d2 would be at Sky Blue Lake. d3 would be at Crabtree No. 3 d4 would cut straight to Wallace. Not camping at Sky Blue and Crabtree was a big mistake. The big goldens at those lakes taunted us with a few follows and a precious few strikes, but we struck out. I am certain that would not have occurred if we had camped there and spent more time. Crabtree Pass is pretty easy class 2 with granite benches on the Miter side and some moderate talus (snow in early season) on the north side. At the beginning of July in a fairly high snow fall year (as was 1996) we had some moderately steep snow to traverse on the north side of Crabtree Pass. That won't be an issue this year. I've never done Old Army, but others have (they may chime in). Note that you can still do Langley easily from New Army, for a use trail goes from New Army toward Langley then heads down to Upper Soldier L. Langley is basically a class 1 walk up with only one moderately steep band of talus to be crossed. From Upper Soldier you just "round the corner" into Miter Basin without dropping all the way down to the lower lake. Anvil Camp will certainly have water, but I wouldn't necessarily camp there because that is where everyone seems to pile up on the that stretch of trail. Depending on what's still flowing you have other options higher up that you can camp at with a bit more elbow room. You will have ample fishing opportunities on the trip; Sky Blue, Crabtree No.3, several of the lakes of Wright Lakes and several of the upper Kern Lakes have some pretty nice (ie good sized) fish (as well as Wallace, which isn't mentioned on your itinerary).
Last edited by giantbrookie on Thu Aug 27, 2009 9:29 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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: Cottonwood lakes, Miter basin, Wright lakes , Shepherds Pass

Postby Ozark Flip » Thu Aug 27, 2009 4:58 pm

Welcome to the board! Your trip is a good one. Giantbrookie provided a good low down that I will add a little to:

First off, I have made it out from WLB to the Shepherd's Pass TH in one easy day (leaving at a leisurely time in the morning and making it to the TH by 2:00-2:30pm). So if you are a strong downhill hiker no need to camp at Anvil, and yes it will have water and other people.

Next, if you are coming north on the JMT the best access to WLB is before you reach Big Horn Plateau....going up Wright's Creek. Otherwise you will have to pass Big Horn to Tyndall and then over Rockwell Pass into WLB. The views from Big Horn are superb though. :unibrow:

Wallace is the premiere fishing locale in that particular area IMO. WLB has rainbows and goldens-a-plenty but all on the smaller side. After several visits to this location my fish topped out at about 12".....wading through many in the 6-7" range. An easy hike from WLB to Versteg for some rainbow action is always worthy as these fish are bigger than the WLB goldens. But if staying in WLB, try the lake closest to Tawny Point. :wink:

Good luck and give us a report,

Flip
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Re: Cottonwood lakes, Miter basin, Wright lakes , Shepherds Pass

Postby TriHard » Thu Aug 27, 2009 7:24 pm

Welcome!!
Sounds like a great trip you've planned. I can chime in about old army pass; yes, there is an established path to follow. I've been to the Cottonwood Lakes area a half dozen times this summer and the trail up Old Army Pass is clear of snow. Through June and into July, there is a lingering snowfield near the top that can make the last couple of hundred yards "exciting". The view of Cottonwood from Old Army Pass is great! The photo below is about half way up the pass. Enjoy your trip.

Ken

Image
Starting over, half way through!
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Re: Cottonwood lakes, Miter basin, Wright lakes , Shepherds Pass

Postby quentinc » Tue Sep 01, 2009 1:25 pm

I'll second Ozark Flip's recommendations. Wright Creek into the WLB is definitely the way to go -- it's very beautiful as is the basin itself. On my recent trip to the Kaweah Basin, I made it from Wallace Creek out to the Shepard Pass TH in one day, so coming down from WLB shouldn't be too bad.
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Re: Cottonwood lakes, Miter basin, Wright lakes , Shepherds Pass

Postby fly fisher » Mon Sep 07, 2009 10:08 am

Hi everyone!

Thanks a bunch for the replies! The information was very helpful. I actually modified my trip slightly to head up to Wallace lake and fish on day 6 instead of spending a layover day in Wrights Lakes Basin. How is the camping at Wallace? It looks like its pretty level around the West-Northwest end, at least on the topo. The only issue right now is getting to the trailhead, Highway 120 over Tioga pass is still closed due to the fire in Yosemite (at least as of this morning at 8am, Sept 7). As a result I will probably hit the trail on Thursday the 10th.

Again, thanks to everyone who replied. I really appreciated the input.
I'll post a trip report when i get back with pics!

Be stoked!

Fly fisher :D
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Re: Cottonwood lakes, Miter basin, Wright lakes , Shepherds Pass

Postby vaughnm » Mon Sep 07, 2009 5:44 pm

Fly Fisher,
Looks like they've opened 120 through the park. You just can't get from Crane Flat into the Valley.
Hope you enjoy your trip.

Mike
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Re: Cottonwood lakes, Miter basin, Wright lakes , Shepherds Pass

Postby hikerduane » Mon Sep 14, 2009 6:51 pm

Thanks for the lake and fishing info, I think I will modify my early plans for a trip in a few weeks.
Piece of cake.
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