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Tablelands to Cloud Canyon Info Needed

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Re: Tablelands to Cloud Canyon Info Needed

Postby rcymbala » Tue Aug 17, 2010 6:37 pm

DrWho wrote:Does the route: Silliman Creek --> Silliman Lake --> Notch directly south of Mt. Silliman --> Crescent Lake area work for a route to eventually make it to Tablelands?


Last weekend, I went from Lodgepole up the 1.7 mile trail to Tokopah Falls, then climbed up the left side of the falls while it was getting dark, and scrambled up the right side of the falls in the dark to a beautiful little camping spot on a ledge overlooking Marble Fork of Kaweah River, above the falls. There wasn't much water flowing (in Tableland most of the snow patches were gone, August 14). In the morning the walk up the river towards Table Meadows was amazing, really amazing. It was like walking through a coffee table photography book. The river flows over wide swaths granite, either over flat rock or inbetween the cracks, with trees growing in clumps for effect. Amazing, lots of flowers this year, too. So that is a route to Tableland towards the end of summer. While coming back from lake WL 10559T in the lower right corner of Mt. Silliman 7.5" Quadrangle (the one with the weather station), I thought about going a bit up in elevation towards the two lakes at the headwaters of Horse Creek, then down that creek to the Tokopah Falls trail. Instead I curved down the south-facing slope (the one with the large black streaks) back to Marble Fork over lots of bare granite. There were tons of wildflowers. It was very easy and scenic, although looking back from the river I probably would not have tried going up the slope to 10559. Then came the Falls. I descended about 200 feet to the north of Tokopah Falls and upon retrospect it was way too steep. Maybe going back down the falls (towards the end of a 12 hour day) would have been easier, but probably harder than going up in the dark. ... The Silliman Creek --> Silliman Lake you mentioned would be less direct than Horse Creek, however, it avoids that really steep portion of Horse Creek through the thick forest in Tokopah Valley. Three weekends ago I went from Alta Peak to Tableland which was probably risky going solo because the ridge between Alta and Moose Lake is strewn with large rocks. Plus I got altitude sickness my first time in SEKI because I left work in Venice, CA in the morning at sea level and camped below Alta around 11,000 feet. I'd like to know if Horse Creek to Tableland is viable, and exactly how to find it from the Tokopah Falls trail?
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Re: Tablelands to Cloud Canyon Info Needed

Postby DrWho » Wed Aug 18, 2010 4:59 pm

Thanks for the detailed information. I have thought about a route quite similar to the one you took and please to hear that it worked for you. Next year I may give it a try after Labor Day. I still may first try a day hike or an overnighter exploratory hike up Silliman Creek --> Silliman Lake --> Notch directly south of Mt. Silliman --> Crescent Lake area to see if will work for a route to Tablelands. I just do not like class 3-4 surprises, not at my age (70)!
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Re: Tablelands to Cloud Canyon Info Needed

Postby rcymbala » Mon Sep 13, 2010 12:29 pm

Over Labor Day 2010 weekend, I got to see one of my goals, Cloud Canyon, on Saturday evening via Tamarack Lk and Lion Lk. On Sunday I got to enjoy Nine Lake Basin !!! Incredible.

This seems like one of the best ways to Nine Lake Basin from the Lodgepole / Wolverton side under the assumption that hiking UP the High Sierra Trail from Valhalla to Kaweah Gap is NOT so fun because it's all uphill. I recommend saving the HST after visiting 9 Lakes -- it's all downhill from Kaweah Gap down past Precipice, Upper Hamilton, and Hamilton Lakes !!! On the way in, from Bearpaw to Tamarack to Lion Lake is nice and gradual upslope. No sweat, although there are two tricky sections off trail, (1) from Tamarack to Lion Lake, and (2) from Lion Lake to Nine Lake Basin over the pass a bit east of Lion Rock. This is the first year I've tried cross-country in the southern Sierras. I'm finding it easier than it seems. Friday night, left Wolverton at 6:05. By 10:55 PM was at Bearpaw Camp.

Saturday morning, left around 8:15 and got to Tamarack Lk around 2 PM. Talked with Alfonso, who was living in the area for 4 months doing trail maintenance. He said the blue in the Hamilton lakes was amazing. Then I walked across the "swamp" just up from Tamarack, and scrambled up to Lion Lake at 5:00 PM. At that point I was pondering hiking down Cloud Cyn the next day on a big loop back to Wolverton. By going diagonally uphill I saw a very smoke-filled Cloud Canyon around 6:20 PM. I could see Whaleback and Glacier Ridge, but through the haze from a Sheep something fire that started July 16 -- it was magical with great views all around. I slept in the trees south of Lion Lake. Coming down from the pass was much easier. I headed straight down to Lion Lake over nice orange granite with black flecks that didn't shift much at all compared with the gray rocks. Note to self: go around the edge of Lion Lake until it's a straight uphill hike over the orange granite.

Sunday morning left around 8:05 AM to go clockwise around Lion Rock. Again, the same mistake: started going uphill and across steep terrain. I was climbing between the glacier and rock and had to cross the glacier after cutting footholds with a rock. Note to self: go around the edge of Lion Lake until there's no glaciers in the way of a straight uphill climb. It took 2 hours 20 minutes. Heading down to Nine Lake Basin was very easy with that orange granite stuff once again. By 12:25 PM was at the two lakes at 11,400 feet. I retreated from the two uppermost lakes around Black Kaweah because it was total rocks and steep. From there down to the gorgeous stand of pines was fantastic. The rock formations are out of this world. I remember big black rocks scattered over light tableland-like plateau for no apparent reason. Was at the pines at 1:45 and at Kaweah Gap at 3:20 PM. Got to Hamilton Lake at 5:50 on the HST. At 7:45 heard a deer scurry off the wooden bridge before Bearpaw. Got to Bearpaw between 8 and 9 very, very exhausted, and very, very happy. One of the best parts of the trip was stopping to TALK with so many different folks !!! Saw little fish, hikers, chipmunks, birds, grasshoppers, black ants, scorpions on the trail, centipedes, grouse, many tame dear, and a hawk in Lone Pine Meadow (around Tamarack) that was white with black specks, just like a piece of granite.

Monday morning, left Bearpaw around 8:50 after nicking a cup of coffee in the dining area of the Camp. Rather than go back up the switchbacks directly to Wolverton, I stayed on the HST, choosing Crescent Meadow 6.3 miles instead of Wolverton 6.0 miles at 11:30 AM. Got onto the "Wolverton Cutoff" and got awesome, awesome views of the Great Western Divide a bit SE of the hump marked 7610T on the 7.5" Lodgepole topo. Got back to Wolverton parking lot at 3:55 PM. I actually enjoyed the end of the day, Monday, because the scenery was so good. Besides the breath taking views of GWD, Wolverton Cutoff goes through the Congress Group of Sequoias and the trail along the west side of Long Meadow (just south of Wolverton) was totally beautiful in the late afternoon. Bon voyage !!!
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Re: Tablelands to Cloud Canyon Info Needed

Postby rcymbala » Mon Sep 13, 2010 12:33 pm

Oh -- forgot to add that although the uphill slant from Lion Lake to the pass at the southern end of Cloud Canyon was trickier than going directly up from the lake to the pass over that orange granite stuff, the VIEWS of Lion Lake were unreal -- the shades of BLUE in Lion Lake were mesmerizing. It's a fairly shallow lake, except for a deep blue spot at one end. The rest of the lake is a really wide range of blues -- great for photography !!! It's truly amazing to see this kind of stuff for the first time. Where else but the Sierras?
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Re: Tablelands to Cloud Canyon Info Needed

Postby mightymagpie » Sat May 28, 2011 4:25 pm

PS mosquitoes in Deadman Canyon were some of the worst I had ever been in.
[/quote]

Amen to that. I'm convinced that's how the dead man died.
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Re: Tablelands to Cloud Canyon Info Needed

Postby creekfeet » Sun Sep 13, 2015 1:04 pm

rcymbala wrote:
DrWho wrote:Does the route: Silliman Creek --> Silliman Lake --> Notch directly south of Mt. Silliman --> Crescent Lake area work for a route to eventually make it to Tablelands?


Last weekend, I went from Lodgepole up the 1.7 mile trail to Tokopah Falls, then climbed up the left side of the falls while it was getting dark, and scrambled up the right side of the falls in the dark to a beautiful little camping spot on a ledge overlooking Marble Fork of Kaweah River, above the falls. There wasn't much water flowing (in Tableland most of the snow patches were gone, August 14). In the morning the walk up the river towards Table Meadows was amazing, really amazing. It was like walking through a coffee table photography book. The river flows over wide swaths granite, either over flat rock or inbetween the cracks, with trees growing in clumps for effect. Amazing, lots of flowers this year, too. So that is a route to Tableland towards the end of summer. While coming back from lake WL 10559T in the lower right corner of Mt. Silliman 7.5" Quadrangle (the one with the weather station), I thought about going a bit up in elevation towards the two lakes at the headwaters of Horse Creek, then down that creek to the Tokopah Falls trail. Instead I curved down the south-facing slope (the one with the large black streaks) back to Marble Fork over lots of bare granite. There were tons of wildflowers. It was very easy and scenic, although looking back from the river I probably would not have tried going up the slope to 10559. Then came the Falls. I descended about 200 feet to the north of Tokopah Falls and upon retrospect it was way too steep. Maybe going back down the falls (towards the end of a 12 hour day) would have been easier, but probably harder than going up in the dark. ... The Silliman Creek --> Silliman Lake you mentioned would be less direct than Horse Creek, however, it avoids that really steep portion of Horse Creek through the thick forest in Tokopah Valley. Three weekends ago I went from Alta Peak to Tableland which was probably risky going solo because the ridge between Alta and Moose Lake is strewn with large rocks. Plus I got altitude sickness my first time in SEKI because I left work in Venice, CA in the morning at sea level and camped below Alta around 11,000 feet. I'd like to know if Horse Creek to Tableland is viable, and exactly how to find it from the Tokopah Falls trail?


I wouldn't recommend going up or down Tokopah. I descended it with a pack on, and it was sketchy and very time-consuming. Horse Creek's no picnic either. It's very steep at both it's headwaters and termination. There are definitely better ways to get into the Tablelands. That being said, the headwaters of Horse Creek are about as scenic as it gets. The lakes up there are nothing special, but the nearby meadow is pretty incredible. There's also an impressive dome out there if you go down the creek about a quarter mile.
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