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Harrison Pass

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Harrison Pass

Postby towerrock » Thu Jul 22, 2010 2:03 pm

In early August I'm considering a 4-day route from Kearsarge to East Lake to Harrison Pass and out over Shepherd's Pass. I'm looking for any 1st hand information on Harrison Pass from hikers that have climbed it this year. Is it open? What equipment is needed? Thanks for any and all advice and info.



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Re: Harrison Pass

Postby maverick » Thu Jul 22, 2010 2:15 pm

Hi Towerrock,

Welcome to HST!
Please refer to the "Rules For Requesting Trip Advise" section above. Thanks
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Re: Harrison Pass

Postby SPeacock » Sat Jul 24, 2010 7:38 am

Don't know how that trip is going to fit if you are coming in from Kearsarge Pass (Onion Valley). It is a nice trip from Onion Valley over Shepherd in 3-4 days. You have an option of Tyndall to get up as well. I very much liked the high camp just before getting to the lake from the west side. There is a nice flat ledge that gives you an unparalleled view of the entire basin.

If you are coming in from roads end of Kings Canyon, and up stream to East/Reflection Lakes area then Harrison is an option. It is mostly a scramble and you will need no special equipment except good judgment to stay away from the obvious gravel covered rock near the top. It should be mostly snow free by August, even this year.

http://www.topo.com/explore?lat=36.7010 ... &type=topo

Shows the approximate abandoned trail. You might will see bits and pieces of it just as you start up it. Consider it a cross country pass.
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Re: Harrison Pass

Postby towerrock » Sat Jul 24, 2010 11:38 am

Thanks for the info on Harrison Pass. I was very concerned that we'd get to the ascent and find it impassable due to snow. All on the trip are experienced backpackers but not adept at steep snow ascents. Sorry about not following the rules.
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Re: Harrison Pass

Postby Wandering Daisy » Sat Jul 24, 2010 1:45 pm

I did Harrison Pass the summer after the high snow year of 1997-8. I cannot recall exact dates but it was at least late July, if not August. I had an ice axe and used it. I wore light trail running shoes. The snow was melting and the "dirt" slope was very steep and soggy as silly putty. I had to stuff my ice axe in the dirt past the soggy part to solid ground and haul myself up each step. It was slow going, but not dangerous. Also, when I did this, the trail from East Lake was covered by a rockslide in many places. Overall, getting from East Lake to Lake South America was tedious.
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Re: Harrison Pass

Postby quentinc » Sat Jul 24, 2010 8:13 pm

I was at Lake SA last Sunday. The south side of Harrison Pass didn't look too bad snow-wise, but it's the north side that can be problematic. It was no problem at all when I did it one August, but I don't think that was a particularly high snow year. It was a picnic compared to Lucy's Foot.
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Re: Harrison Pass

Postby towerrock » Sat Jul 24, 2010 8:58 pm

Thanks for the great information. Lucy's foot path does look steeper and narrower than Harrison although it's quite a bit lower at the summit than Harrison Pass. I wish we could get current satellite photos of the area. It would make the decision to go much easier. I hope someone who has been over Harrison Pass or Lucy's this summer sees this post.
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Re: Harrison Pass

Postby towerrock » Sat Jul 24, 2010 9:26 pm

quentinc,
Did you take the trail from the south to Lake SA when you were there last weekend? Any snow at the top of the pass?

I was there in early July '09 and we had to cross a small patch of snow at the top of the pass. I climbed back up to the rim the next morning to wait for my brother and some friends coming in from Sheperd's Pass. What a great view from the pass. You can see Mt. Tyndall, Mt. Williamson, and the back of Mt. Whitney. Looking south, you can see the Kern River Canyon forming a seam through the Sierras. I waited up there for over a hour taking in the sights. The pass forms a perfect horseshoe and to my surprise created great acoustics. There were three backpackers approaching the small pond/lake at the foot of the pass and they were carrying on a normal conversation that I could hear while sitting on some rocks on the rim of the pass. I had to be at least 3/4 of a mile from them. I thought it was my brother's group so I started yelling and waving my arms. When they were about 1/2 way up the grade I realized it was a young lady and two young guys, not my brother's group. I'm sure they thought that they were going to encounter a crazy person at the top of the pass. The girl left the guys in her dust on the climb. I met her at the pass and to my surprise she was hiking in a short dress with spaghetti straps. We had a huge number of mosquitoes at Lake SA so I was concerned for her well being. They had come over Sheperd's Pass the day before and were hiking past Lake SA, over Lucy's to East Lake the day I saw them. The following day they were planning on exiting over Kearsarge Pass. Now that's a tough three day hike...
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Re: Harrison Pass

Postby quentinc » Sun Jul 25, 2010 6:32 am

Tower, yes, I did. I had day-hiked over Forester, and then cut across the ridge south of CalTech, to get to the lake just south of that pass. That lake was the worst mosquito junction of the whole trip, so I feel bad for the spaghetti-strapped girl. There was some snow at the top of the pass you mention (though nowhere near as much as the north side of Forester), and a great view.
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Re: Harrison Pass

Postby norcalhiker » Sun Jun 30, 2013 6:57 pm

I'm aiming to do Harrison this summer, and as this thread is on the first page of the google search results, I thought I'd update it.

There are photos of the north side of Harrison Pass here: http://www.pbase.com/smbloom/seki03_4 :unibrow:

Any guess as to whether Harrison still has snow in this dry year? Snow that makes it easy or snow that makes it crazy? :tear:
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Re: Harrison Pass

Postby millertime » Sun Jun 30, 2013 7:57 pm

Thanks for this. I found that album a while back but couldn't find it recently and all the links for Harrison in the Cross Country Passes section are dead, though there is plenty of info scattered around this forum and backpackinglight. I'll be ascending from the north side of the pass myself early August.

From what I gather I doubt there will be much snow on it this year, especially come august, and if there is I would expect it to be avoidable. If it has too much snow my backup plan is to use Ericsson.
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Re: Harrison Pass

Postby norcalhiker » Mon Jul 08, 2013 10:50 am

I was at the top of Harrison on July 6th and decided not to descend it. While snow free, it looks sketchy and was beyond my tolerance for risk. A fall in the top 30 feet seemed possible, if not probable. Visualize your typical avalanche chute. Scoured with no foot prints or hint of a trail on the face. Steep with barely a loose hold for purchase. No thanks. I diverted over Forester.

I wonder if winter avalanches haven't made this pass more dangerous.
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