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Baddest Trail?

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Postby Skibum » Wed Mar 29, 2006 11:54 am

I'd say Taboose as well. Hot, sandy and steep. Great view from the pass though.



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Postby wingding » Wed Mar 29, 2006 1:08 pm

Having done Shepherd Pass 3 times I think it's time to try Taboose. I'm going to head up it 4th of July weekend, and then check out Bench Lake and head north to give Split Mountain a try - I guess I'll take 5 or 6 days.

I don't like Cottonwood Pass - an easy pass, but soooo boring. I went over Cottonwood Pass last August and headed north to Miter Basin. Once I got to Soldier Lakes I started to enjoy the trip, but south of there it was hot, dry, and sandy. On the way out I went over Old Army Pass - nicer than Cottonwood Pass, but still hot and dry in August.
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Postby SSSdave » Wed Mar 29, 2006 1:52 pm

It wouldn't be fair to include pristene off trail routes as they can be as hard as one is able to cope with. But there are some well used off trail routes like Lamarck Col mentioned above that are in yet another category. Two of those "common routes" I'd add are the route from Glen Aulin up to Mattie Lake. Steep granite slab friction climbs with intervening bushwhacking through dense brush that is often painful manzanita. Then after topping out one needs to avoid the downstream mosquito ridden swamps below Mattie. Another well used route that is a pain would be Alpine Col up past Goethe Lake. Huge huge talus and often steep and unstable as in rock glaciers. Generally I find large talus is the most tedious and dangerous Sierra terrain to navigate through with a large pack.

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Postby Snow Nymph » Thu Mar 30, 2006 12:50 am

Yes, I meant Merriam Lake :o We spent a few hours on that beach. Water was cold! :eek:

I was looking at your photo looking down at the lakes. I guess that's the view we saw from Feather Peak.
Your pass is to the right of this photo from Feather Peak (not in the picture, but we saw it and it was steep!)

Image


http://community.webshots.com/photo/462 ... 6560Bfnhno


Here's a view of the ridge from Julius Ceasar

Image

http://community.webshots.com/photo/467 ... 6560IyjznG
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Postby Trekker » Thu Mar 30, 2006 4:33 am

Well, I'm too smart (chicken) to intentionally try something that's too hard for my meager aerobic conditioning, but for me a few short segments come to mind from various trips, not counting situations where I was dead tired to begin with. My first backcountry trip ever, to Merced Lake; the first half mile or so out of Little Yosemite Valley is like hiking on the beach, compounded of course by a rookie's too heavy a pack. Hiking up to Lamark Col from Lamark Lakes and finding that the snow field ended some 20 ft below the col (NOT what I was expecting based on pictures and reports-a dry year!) having to scramble up talus instead to the top of Mt. Lamarck and then come down at night. And then Dusy Basin to Palisade basin, on my first solo ever, when I decided not to go down to Dusy lakes and then climb up the drainage to Knapsack Pass but instead to cut straight through the brush, and I mean STRAIGHT through, and pick my way through the LARGE talus at the bottom of slopes surrounding Knapsack, almost getting my Kelty Tioga external hung up between two boulders, :eek: which would have left me in a fairly precarious position, an object lesson that the easiest-looking route on a topo doesn't always turn out that way. :D
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Postby Rosabella » Thu Mar 30, 2006 9:01 am

Living in Washington State now I only get down to the Sierra about once a year for backpacking, so I haven't done some of the trails mentioned above, but... when you mentioned "death march" the first thing that came to my mind was my day hike up Mt. Whitney on the Main Trail.

I brought my CD player, and when I got to the switchbacks I started listening to "Phanton of the Opera"... what a high! The music was so beautiful... the mountain was so beautiful... that I got caught up in it and was not as diligent as I should have been about drinking water. By the time I got to the top I was starting to have a bit of an altitude thing going. It was my own fault, and I learned a lesson from that.

The death march was coming down. (Oh, my poor knees! :crybaby: ) After that I got hiking poles.
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Postby SSSdave » Thu Mar 30, 2006 3:40 pm

Snow Nymph wrote:...Your pass is to the right of this photo from Feather Peak (not in the picture, but we saw it and it was steep!)


On our summer 2004 Bear Creek trip, three of us climbed up from camp at the end of the day to the 12k ridge directly opposite the Feather Peak pinnacle ridge. That was to shoot the alpenglow on the ridge which we did. The following is a picture of Buck's pass. Buck can comment on which side of the castle in the center of the notch he descended. I'm guessing the south notch. Not knowing better it looks class 3 on the map and by the photo. Note I have a trip planned back into the EFBC basin but plan to pass through the lower notch from Granite Park to Black Bear Lake.

...David

Image

Image
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Postby Buck Forester » Tue Apr 11, 2006 11:23 am

Yep, that looks like the one! I remember the "castle" like structure in the middle of the 'pass'. Hopefully I can make it over there again this summer. I've been fortunate to be selling lots of images and maybe I can give a shot at doing it full-time in a few months... that would be a dream!
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Postby krudler » Tue Apr 11, 2006 8:36 pm

Go Buck! Your pics are really awesome, I think.
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Postby ndwoods » Wed Apr 12, 2006 2:10 am

Nothing in the Sierra has touched Lake of the Island in the Marbles for my family. That one is still talked about 20 years later!!! :) Dee
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Postby Buck Forester » Wed Apr 12, 2006 2:14 pm

Oh, SSSdave, I forgot to mention, on these photos I went up the slot on the right side of the "castle" thing, not the left. It's amazing how steep it looks in the flat light, but not so bad with the shadows of the lower light. It's really not too bad, but it's a huffer puffer, especially on the sections going up with the loose sandy talus where you don't make much ground with each backsliding step!
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Postby jimqpublic » Fri Apr 14, 2006 9:57 am

As a teenager in Independence I did all the local passes. I think the forementioned ones that start on the valley floor are all about equal.

One miserable slog I remember was Sawmill- we started out over it on a weeklong backpack. It was August and for some logistical reason we didn't start hiking until close to noon- the temperature was already over 100F. I was 16 or 17 and weighed about 130 while my pack was a good 55. That was a long, long afternoon to just get to the lone tree where you transition to the east facing slop and enter the Sawmill creek drainage.

Baxter is pretty nasty too- I seem to recall bruised and battered feet after coming down it.

Now that I get to thinking- my own personal death march was when I hiked from Wright Creek on the JMT (between Whitney and Forester), up to the Shepherd pass trail, over the pass, past the planned camp at Anvil Camp, down to the trailhead. Since my ride wasn't planned until the next day I kept going down across the desert to Independence. It looked so close but that 8 last miles in the dry heat- after I ran out of water- was tough. I made it home at about 9:00. Mileage was somewhere between 20 and 25 miles whereas I was planning on more like 10. I did get to sleep in my own bed, although I was delerius with dreams of walking, walking, walking.

Really though they're all fairly close in misery- The main variants are more the time of year, temperature, conditioning and load.
Jim
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