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SHORTEST WAY TO KERN HOT SPRING

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SHORTEST WAY TO KERN HOT SPRING

Postby merlynnmann » Mon Jun 21, 2010 7:40 pm

im going to kern hot springs by way of cottonwood pass, thru siberian outpost to funston lake and camping there first night.. The next day i go north west about a mile and slam down the canyon wall.At the bottom of the 4000 ft drop im a mile and a half from the hot spring.I nailed it once and semi-nailed it last year.I made it back to my car in one long day.I HOPE TO NAIL IT NEXT WEEK (6-28-10)



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Re: SHORTEST WAY TO KERN HOT SPRING

Postby atreehugger » Sat Jun 26, 2010 8:48 pm

Hot Springs sound great! I've heard theres a route down over there. Please post a report when you return...interested in your route down/up into the Kern and its difficulty.
Thanks
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Re: SHORTEST WAY TO KERN HOT SPRING

Postby f212 » Fri Jul 02, 2010 6:36 pm

Did you nail it?
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Re: SHORTEST WAY TO KERN HOT SPRING

Postby guycooper » Sat Jul 03, 2010 5:07 pm

You could leave from Mineral King and head over Franklin Pass, camp at Forester Lake first night - 10 mi. You are still almost 10 mi. from the springs but the trail is a nice walk at this point, a lot easier than that descent into the canyon from Funston Lake looks on the map. That is a great route though I have wondered for a long time what the shortest route to these hot springs are. Thanks for sharing!
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Re: SHORTEST WAY TO KERN HOT SPRING

Postby merlynnmann » Sat Jul 24, 2010 6:19 pm

totally nailed it. The fishing is great at funston lake (north shore).I did as i described , following as posted.If you come down too far north of where chagoopa falls hit bottom of canyon you will be cliffed out.Come down about 1/4 to 1/3 mile south of the falls as you spy it across the canyon. It is very steep but not life threatening.Many years ago I came in from mineral king by way of sawtooth pass and belined it down to the big arroyo, cross country up the side of the plateau and hit the trail near sky parlore meave to deal withadow and down to the kern but that way is about 5 miles longer or more and you have marmot damage to the car at the trailhead.
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Re: SHORTEST WAY TO KERN HOT SPRING

Postby skinnyhips » Fri Sep 03, 2010 12:57 pm

From your description sounds like your descent to the Kern was to the north of the unnamed creek canyon just west of Funston Lake, but south of the Rock Creek canyon. Is that right? Thanks.
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Re: SHORTEST WAY TO KERN HOT SPRING

Postby merlynnmann » Fri Oct 29, 2010 11:45 am

if you go down too far north you get cliffed out.After leaving funston lake head north about one hour more or less staying at 10800 as you go.as you drop into canyon, spy chagoopa fall across the canyon and come down 0ne of a couple of loose chutes about a 1/4 mile south of the falls.not easy,
but on the way out the same way you can be at your car in one day.
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Re: SHORTEST WAY TO KERN HOT SPRING

Postby jsbrown14 » Tue Sep 13, 2011 5:57 am

I attempted this route last weekend. It was a very long hike -- we made it to the canyon floor, but not to the hot springs, and we didn't get back to our campsite on Johnson Lake until 2:30am, exhausted.

I highly recommend setting up detailed gps waypoints for the upper portion of the descent. We eyeballed it with a topo map and ended up overshooting in both directions -- we wasted time descending and then climbing back out of both the unnamed creek (that drains Funston Lake) drainage and the Rock Creek drainage. It's tough to do landmark navigation on this upper section because the trees blocked our view of Chagoopa falls until about 9000' (when the canyon walls get steeper), and because there are a lot of small ridges that aren't prominant on the topos.

The lower descent (below about 9000', when it gets steep) was as reported. Cliffs are across from Chagoopa falls and up to a 1/3 mile southward, but loose, hikable gullies further south. I agree with the assessment of "very steep, but not life threatening." If you find yourself turning uphill and backing down the slope, you're too far north. I think we descended from 9000' to the river in about 2 hours.

Once you reach the Kern River, don't cross it. We crossed it, figuring to pick up the trail. But the trail runs along the far western wall, and in between (as of Sep 2011) is a huge mosquito infested swamp. Crossing it requires a circuitous route along fallen logs to stay above the murky water, and several times we stirred up bees that had nested in the logs. It was unpleasant and wasted at least an hour. I recommend staying on the east side of the river.

Due to our late start (8:30ish) and our earlier backtracks, we decided to abandon the hot springs and immediately start our return. Due to the lack of water on our descent (only one small stream as of September) we ascended the unnamed stream that drains Funston Lake, which gave us multiple chances to purify water on the ascent.

The actual ascent along that route was very slow. It took 7+ hours to reach the ridge above Johnson Lake. I don't recommend this route. It requires multiple stream crossings through very thick willow bushes, which is tiring & very slow; nearly impassible when wearing a pack. In a few spots the cliffs protrude all the way to the river, forcing you to scramble up a gully just to descend the other side -- 15 or 20 minutes of work to move 100' upstream. We moved off the river at the tributary that joins from the south and hiked/scrambled ESE to 11k. In retrospect, it's probably better to retrace the descent, even given the lack of water. That way, you get all the steep stuff out of the way at low elevation, and you avoid the difficult topography & vegetation along the creek.

If I were to do it again, I'd start at Funston Lake (not Johnson Lake, which adds 2 hours round-trip). I'd start very early, at first light. I'd have set gps waypoints on the upper section to follow the most direct route to the gullies. Once in the valley, I'd stay on the east side of Kern River to and from the hot springs. When heading back up, I'd pound serveral liters of water in the valley, carry 3 liters of water per person, and I'd retrace my descent. With those precautions, you could probably make it from Funston Lake to the hot springs and back before dark. A previous post mentioned hiking all the way out to Horseshoe Meadow, but that seems unrealistic unless you're fully acclimated, in superb shape, and execute the route perfectly.

I also recommend all the usual off-trail preparedness stuff, especially warm clothes, emergency blanket, headlamp, matches, and redundant water filtration. This route can be hot midafternoon, freezing after dark, there's a good chance you'll be hiking in the dark, and you're unlikely to encounter help in this area.

Despite all these warnings, I should mention that this is a spectacular valley & spectacular hike into one of the most remote rivers in the contiguous states. And if you're intimidated by the ascent and are willing to carry a pack on the descent, you could hike out on one of the long, gradual trails to the north or south.
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Re: SHORTEST WAY TO KERN HOT SPRING

Postby rightstar76 » Wed Sep 14, 2011 12:30 am

Epic. Sounds like you had quite an adventure. Think you could post some pictures of your journey?
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Re: SHORTEST WAY TO KERN HOT SPRING

Postby cgundersen » Fri Sep 16, 2011 10:28 am

js,
Great read and if you did have the energy to take photos, I'll second rightstar. Having hit those hot springs in the midst of long trips, I've wondered about the "quickie" routes, but there's a clear price. Thanks for the report!
cg
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Re: SHORTEST WAY TO KERN HOT SPRING

Postby jsbrown14 » Tue Sep 27, 2011 12:26 pm

Hi guys, sorry for the late reply. I've been working on assembling my photos, and I hope to have them online within a week or two. Will send a link once they're online. There were some magnificent vistas, especially when Chagoopa Falls came into view.
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Re: SHORTEST WAY TO KERN HOT SPRING

Postby richlong8 » Tue Oct 04, 2011 2:51 pm

That is some very impressive hiking, jsbrown, and merlynnman. I was in the Kern Canyon a month ago at the HST junction area looking up at that canyon wall, and wondering what it would be like coming down. Sounds like quite an E ticket ride! From Siberian Outpost, which route do you take into Funston Lake to get there in a day? Do you stay high and follow the ridge line, or follow the water flow, or go up Forgotten Canyon?
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