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Best 5-night backpacking trip?

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Re: Best 5-night backpacking trip?

Postby adornowest » Thu Jul 29, 2010 4:27 pm

maverick, how is it that you are so knowledgeable about all of these trails?! I'm impressed (and jealous!). Thank you so much for sharing all of your expertise with us. We unfortunately don't get to the mountains often, so we are trying our best to make sure we get the right route.

I have one more comparison for you: your MK route or White's Kings-Kaweah Divide Loop?



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Re: Best 5-night backpacking trip?

Postby maverick » Thu Jul 29, 2010 4:48 pm

Sorry, but I do not really follow routes from books, except Phil Arnot's 'High Sierra"
book, which I did a few routes from way back.
I have an idea, but please describe the route.
I have been going to the Sierra since the 70's and have covered quite a few thousand
miles in that time, a lot of it cross country.
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Re: Best 5-night backpacking trip?

Postby adornowest » Thu Jul 29, 2010 4:54 pm

wow - you must find those of us with our 50 mile journeys pretty laughable!

the loop is lodgepole, cahoon meadow, twin lakes, beville lakes, ranger lake, comanche meadow, sugarloaf meadow, roaring river ranger station, gravesite, upper ranger meadow camp, elizabeth psas, tamarack lake, bearpaw meadow, panther gap. (http://books.google.com/books?id=x9w0TE ... ah&f=false, pg 177)
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Re: Best 5-night backpacking trip?

Postby maverick » Thu Jul 29, 2010 5:10 pm

No, I find your inquires refreshing, it is good to see people wanting to experience
the wild!
Mineral King!
Lost Lake, Deadman Canyon, Tamarack Lake, would be some of the highlights of that
trip to me, of coarse the scenery, and even though I tout Lost Lake being one of
the prettiest lakes in the Sierra with a trail to it, Mineral King just has to much to offer
in comparison.
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Re: Best 5-night backpacking trip?

Postby cmlamber » Fri Jul 30, 2010 7:56 am

This route looks great. Thanks for referring me here Maverick.

Does anyone know how commonly the permit quota is met for the mineral king area?
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Re: Best 5-night backpacking trip?

Postby adornowest » Fri Jul 30, 2010 10:12 am

maverick - we voted to go with your route, which means no more questions comparing some other trail to this one. thanks much for your all your help so far.

I have a few more questions about the route:

1. do you have a rough sense of the mileage? I'm guessing it is some where around 40 miles via the timber gap exit? (incidentally, how does one figure out such mileage besides ballparking it from a physical map)?

2. how difficult is the Spring - Cyclamen - Columbine portion? I know you say to keep above Cyclamen on the eastern side. would you say this route is preferable scenically to pinto lake / timber gap?

3. are there any side trips besides those you listed (Amphitheater, Spring) that are worth doing if we have more time?

Thanks again! This has been a tremendous help.
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Re: Best 5-night backpacking trip?

Postby maverick » Fri Jul 30, 2010 11:23 am

1. About 37 miles, but who's counting? By adding up the listed milage on the trail map.
The Spring to Columbine Lake route will cut off at least 7 miles.
Timber Gap can have great wildflowers if visited at the right time and year.

2. Not difficult just a little route finding, and yes, the views from the Columbine area
towards the Kaweah's, especially from the small lake north of Columbine are great
and make for a good campsite.

3. Make sure to visit Big Five Lakes, and the lakes near Lake 10410 in the Little Five
Lakes chain.
Also the lakes east of Amphitheater Lake up on the bench make for some good hikes
to explore.
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Re: Best 5-night backpacking trip?

Postby adornowest » Sat Jul 31, 2010 9:24 pm

We probably would have missed laked 10410 and surroundings. Thanks for the tip.

Is Spring to Columbine class 2? You prefer that route to Glacier Pass?

Thanks again! I think all the details are almost finalized for now.
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Re: Best 5-night backpacking trip?

Postby maverick » Mon Aug 02, 2010 11:14 am

Spring to Columbine is easy class 2, Glacier is more involved, and you would miss out
out on the Columbine Lake area.
Please make sure to write up a TR when you get back!
Have fun, and be safe!
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Re: Best 5-night backpacking trip?

Postby quentinc » Mon Aug 02, 2010 12:10 pm

I would also strongly endorse going out over either Sawtooth or Glacier (which is relatively easy if no snow, but probably not a good choice for this year) rather than Timber Gap. I really enjoyed this trip but as the trail heads towards Pinto Lake it becomes appallingly full of scree/small rock, and the part from Pinto Lake to Timber Gap involves a large amount of elevation loss and gain through relatively boring country. Pinto Lake is a nice swimming hole though -- one of the few lakes in the entire Sierra I actually found warm enough to swim in. If you're up for a little more x-country, I'd recommend going over the ridge between Big 5 Lakes and the upper Little 5 Lakes area. You can just eyeball the low point and you don't have to backtrack down to the trail that way.

The best thing about the Benson Lake Loop is the view from the top of the Matterhorn. But if you weren't planning on climbing it, I'd stick with Mineral King.
Last edited by quentinc on Mon Aug 02, 2010 5:00 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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