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Little Five or Big Five?

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Re: Little Five or Big Five?

Postby windknot » Tue Aug 17, 2010 9:46 pm

Calipidder,

Thanks for the recap and nice job on the fishing! Can't wait for the report and pictures.

Rockyroad,

Welcome to the board! I don't know much about marmot-proofing vehicles, except that Mineral King is definitely a place where people do it. I guess the tarp just dissuades the marmots from getting to your car, especially if it's a new tarp and doesn't have any salt or oil on it.

Matt
A few backcountry fishing pictures: http://wanderswithtrout.wordpress.com/



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Re: Little Five or Big Five?

Postby oleander » Wed Aug 18, 2010 10:33 am

Hi,

I'm a new member too.

We just finished the Timber Gap - Blackrock Pass - Little 5 - Big 5 - Sawtooth loop ourselves, this past Monday.

Rockyroad: We too were concerned about marmots, but the rangers at Mineral King Ranger Station assured us that there have been no "marmot incidents" for 3.5 weeks (now 4.5 weeks). I guess it's more of an early-season problem.

Interesting, we (my friend and I) had different impressions/conclusions than some others stated here. Here's what we thought:

1. Cliff Creek (leading ultimately to Blackrock Pass) was by far our favorite part of the hike. You have to go up & down very tedious Timber Gap to get to Cliff Creek. But once you're there, Cliff Creek is a most gorgeous valley filled with spectacular reds & greens & waterfalls just like the Monarch Lakes basin, but with a lot more wildflowers and a lot more solitude. Lost Valley was our second-favorite spot; and a night at Columbine Lake (camping above the outlet) was spectacular.

2. Mosquitoes were very mild compared to some of our recent trips to more northerly destinations. We didn't put on the mosquito juice every day.

3. We liked Little Five Lakes basin better than Big Five Lakes basin. The uppermost Little Five Lakes (right under Blackrock Pass) would have been our preferred camping spot, had it not been kind of windy/exposed that day.

4. The only unpleasant parts of the trip, in our opinion, were the *trailed* sections between Little Five Lakes & Big Five Lakes, continuing to the bottom/start of Lost Valley. Those sections are just hot, mostly viewless slogs through the forest. Next time we will skip the first of those slogs (Little 5 to Big 5) by hopping over the very easy-looking Class 2 col from the upper Little 5 lake to the upper Big 5 basin.

5. Sawtooth Peak looks like an easy climb from Sawtooth Pass - next time we will make time to climb it.

6. I'm sure no one will disagree with me on *this* point: The entire area is Up and Down, All the Time. Even the maintained trails are steeper and more rugged than your usual, gentler Sierra switchbacks. You might want to pack lighter than usual; we saw a startling number of people with massive packs, and of course they all looked miserable going up those thousands and thousands of feet. Also, do not plan for your usual mileage...the steepness of the trails will affect your speed. We did more like 1-1.5 mph (!), and +6000 feet -4000 feet in the first 1.5 days meant we only made ~13 miles or so in that time.

Have fun!
Oleander
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Re: Little Five or Big Five?

Postby calipidder » Wed Aug 18, 2010 12:25 pm

Oleander, so you were at Columbine Lake on Sunday night too? I think there were only two other groups there that night - one was a father and son (I think) who we chatted with at the lake, and then again at Sawtooth pass and at the trailhead. I think I recall seeing another two people camped above them too - maybe that was you? We were in the first set of campsites that you come to when getting to the lake from Lost Canyon - there were four of us and we spent most of the afternoon fishing. :) I also wandered down towards Cyclamen lake. One of my favorite places I think!

I agree about Big Five/Little Five, and the scenery. I didn't enjoy cliff creek as much though - we got a late start that day and were trying to make it to Pinto before dark. Didn't like the pinto area at all -buggy and smelly and crowded. If I'd had more time to explore I'm sure it would have been more enjoyable but we were pretty much done for the day when we rolled into camp. I actually enjoyed the climb up to Black Rock. I know it's a slog, but most of it was well graded and the views were incredible. The hike up Lost Canyon (once above tree line) is great as well.

I wanted to do Sawtooth Peak but was outvoted by my hiking partners who wanted to get home before dark. Turns out we would have had plenty of time to do it. Booo. Guess I'll have to go back!
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Re: Little Five or Big Five?

Postby calipidder » Wed Aug 18, 2010 12:33 pm

P.S. Pics aren't posted yet, but here's a panorama video I took of the campsite at Columbine Lake.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p65gTxQedeg
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Re: Little Five or Big Five?

Postby Rockyroad » Wed Aug 18, 2010 9:53 pm

Calipidder, great video! Looking forward to your pics. I can't wait to get out there this weekend.

Oleander, thanks for your impressions and advice. I'll try to reduce my usually hefty pack. I had also planned on heading towards Sawtooth Peak but will re-assess based on time and difficulty once I get there.

Matt, I appreciate your reply as well.

What a great community!
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Re: Little Five or Big Five?

Postby oleander » Thu Aug 19, 2010 11:16 am

Actually, we were at Columbine Lake on Saturday night...on Sunday night, we stayed at the upper Crystal Lake (also recommended! - very pristine and untrammeled).

Earlier in the week we had the entire Pinto Lake area all to ourselves. Surprised to hear that it gets crowded!

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