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dumbell lakes and amphitheatre lake

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Re: dumbell lakes and amphitheatre lake

Postby CI_Seawolf » Mon Jul 19, 2010 7:19 pm

I was there in July of 1981, Recollections of that year were that it was a heavy late snow year. That was the year that Alpine Meadows was almost destroyed in March by an avalanche. We went in over Bishop Pass, spending the first night at Dusy Basin. Dropped down to the King's River and back up the JMT to Deer Meadow for the second night. I hadn't even got my pack off when my hiking buddies already had three goldens out of the creek. We hiked up and forded the next morning, was a bit tricky to cross the swift moving creek. Cross countried up to Ampitheater lake after the old trail petered out about half way there. I broke my nice Fenwick rod on the way up. We arrived at mid day and I was bushed! My partners scouted the Dumbell pass and decided that I'd mutiny if we tried it . It was a very solid Ice Wall that year. We ended up backtracking to the JMT and up the "Golden Staircase". We ended up crossing Mather and Pinchot passes, exiting finally at Sawmill pass. I still have great memories of that trip!



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Re: dumbell lakes and amphitheatre lake

Postby quentinc » Tue Jul 20, 2010 9:06 pm

Mokulmnekid, that Dumbell Lakes trip is exactly one I was toying with doing this September. Great pictures!
Is that garbage below Dumbell Pass loose, or just incredibly steep? After doing Lucy's Foot, I promised myself I wouldn't risk my life on another pass that comes apart when you touch it. Steep I don't mind.
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Re: dumbell lakes and amphitheatre lake

Postby Cross Country » Tue Jul 20, 2010 9:51 pm

Hiking from DB to Lake Basin is talus and boulders. It didn't seem too tough to me. I did it with my 16 and 11 year old sons. The tough pass was going from Amp. to DB. There was one place that seemed almost dangerous to me. I can't imagine doing it in reverse. That would be dangerous, at least reeeeally scary.
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Re: dumbell lakes and amphitheatre lake

Postby mokelumnekid » Wed Jul 21, 2010 10:19 pm

quentinc wrote:Mokulmnekid, that Dumbell Lakes trip is exactly one I was toying with doing this September. Great pictures!
Is that garbage below Dumbell Pass loose, or just incredibly steep? After doing Lucy's Foot, I promised myself I wouldn't risk my life on another pass that comes apart when you touch it. Steep I don't mind.


quentinc:

If going FROM Lake Basin to Dumbbell, it is obvious how to get to the top of the pass. However once at the top, one needs to resist the urge to descend to the right (east) side tho it looks like the most natural and easy way. Instead go almost straight, with a very slight up, onto a loose looking debris ridge that is just above the small ponds (to the left looking north) and parallels the long snow finger (early season). In my pic titled, "Looking north, ugly start of descent of trail-less Dumbbell Pass" the start of the debris ramp (a bump) is directly in front, in the shade. One of my pics shows me descending the snow finger going down, with the debris ridge to my immediate right. On the way back we went on the debris ridge. Descending that debris ridge, tho funky, will eventually end on a bench of solid rock (I hate walking on snow and most of my near-death experiences have come from steep snow, mostly in the Pacific Northwest). That bench goes straight, northish, and before it ends, you will see a steep gully heading north westerly down to the upper Dumbbell Lake. In my pic set that very view is titled, "Descending Dumbbell Pass" and is the one looking down into the lake. Nothing especially hard, but it requires attention to footing as it is steep and with a pack one needs to be cautious. It isn't really obvious at first unless someone has flagged the route, and there are many minor variations when descending that gully.

But having said all that it isn't especially dangerous if one takes care. We can follow-up outside the forum if you want more detailed info.
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Re: dumbell lakes and amphitheatre lake

Postby quentinc » Thu Jul 22, 2010 9:15 am

Mokulemnekid, thanks for the detailed description. That will be very helpful when I do this trip.

By the way, how is the route over Cartridge Pass? I see that Secor uses the word "difficult" not once, but twice, in describing it. And back then, Secor was generally too macho to readily concede that something was difficult.

As for Amp, I would probably do that as a day hike from Dumbbell Basin. Hopefully in September the cornice won't be too difficult (maybe gone altogether?).
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Re: dumbell lakes and amphitheatre lake

Postby maverick » Thu Jul 22, 2010 9:55 am

Cartridge (old JMT) Pass is just long from the Kings River, but nothing difficult
as Dumbbell Pass isn't if your experienced with passes, and route finding.
The lake on the way up gives you a great view towards Bench Lake, and makes
for a good lunch spot.
Cataract should be fine by Sept, or at least the cornice will be easy to by pass by then.
If you can, spend a night at Amph Lake, it is well worth it.
I have found quite a few of Secor's pass ratings inconsistent.
Last edited by maverick on Thu Jul 22, 2010 12:02 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: dumbell lakes and amphitheatre lake

Postby mokelumnekid » Thu Jul 22, 2010 11:00 am

Maverick (as always) is right- Cartridge is steep at the bottom half, but if you find the trail it is no biggie. It is in woods with a dirt trail. Before getting to where the trail goes up away from the river, there are three landslides on the north side one has to cross if you are going west along the S. Fk. Kings. The first has a use-trail along the toe, the second has one about half way, then boulder hopping. The third requires a decision on your part- either rock-hop along the entire bottom, or cross it higher up (the third slide crosses the river). We do the latter, It is a bit bush-wacky but that is the route we take as it will at some point, intersect the (old and scruffy) Cartridge Pass trail somewhere on the hillside. I've gone in and out this way twice now and it works for us. You can see the three landslides in these views from Arrow Pk.:

http://www.flickr.com/photos/mokelumnek ... 269066305/

http://www.flickr.com/photos/mokelumnek ... 269066305/


Going down Cartridge Pass into Lake Basin is again no biggie, helps to have poles but not necessary at all. It is short and steep, and there are many small variations but nothing especially vexing.

On our first day we went from Taboose trailhead to between the first two slides, which was a pretty big day. I had hoped to get into Dumbbell Lk's. the next day, but while getting into Lake Basin and contouring along the north side it got really hot, and that wasted us, so we camped just below the south side of Dumbbell Pass at that gorgeous lake. Great camp spot btw!
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Re: dumbell lakes and amphitheatre lake

Postby maverick » Thu Jul 22, 2010 2:19 pm

I like the shot from Arrow Peak MK.
That Arrow Lakes Basin is nice place for solitude, with several lakes all
to yourself!
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Re: dumbell lakes and amphitheatre lake

Postby quentinc » Thu Jul 22, 2010 3:36 pm

Thanks guys. (BTW, Buzzy's hair looks just fine to me.)
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Re: dumbell lakes and amphitheatre lake

Postby Mike M. » Thu Jul 22, 2010 4:57 pm

By the way, how is the route over Cartridge Pass? I see that Secor uses the word "difficult" not once, but twice, in describing it. And back then, Secor was generally too macho to readily concede that something was difficult.


The hard part of Cartridge Pass is the classic bushwhack up to Lakes Basin from the middle fork of the King's River. Looping into Lakes Basin from Dumbbell Pass avoids this slog.

By the way, finding the trail up to Cartridge Pass from the south fork of the King's River is fairly easy. The switchbacks are in pretty good shape and the trail is very direct. I happened to camp at a flat spot near the river, close to where I thought the trail would be. Exploring that evening, I found the trail not more than a few hundred yards from my camp. About 150 yeards north of the river, rocks have been laid out like a portal to mark the beginning of the ascent up the trail. Once up to the bench just below the pass, I managed to lose the trail again; no matter, it was easy cross-country to the pass.

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