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Taboose-JMT-Upper Basin

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Taboose-JMT-Upper Basin

Postby ToddC » Wed Jul 28, 2010 4:11 pm

I'd like to know if anyone would offer up advice on this trek. I'd like to attempt Split Mtn and see this part of the backcountry. How is Taboose compared to Shepherd Pass? (which I have done) I'm wondering if going over Taboose and making to the JMT the first day is way too much. I'm thinking camp somewhere near the JMT/Taboose junction the first night. Camp in Upper Basin the next. Attempt Split the next day and head back. Thoughts? Thanks.



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Re: Taboose-JMT-Upper Basin

Postby maverick » Wed Jul 28, 2010 4:57 pm

Hi ToddC

Taboose, as Sawmill is a long hike, but can be crossed with an early start.
You can do the Split North Slope (class 2)route and then head down to Red Lake
via Red Lake Pass, this is a class 2-3 route, but you would not have to go back
over Taboose again, and Red Lake is worth the visit.
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Re: Taboose-JMT-Upper Basin

Postby mokelumnekid » Wed Jul 28, 2010 9:10 pm

Maverick has it right- Taboose to JMT should be no biggie: 6.5-7 hours to Taboose if you are slow like me and then whiz down to JMT. I suggest camping at Taboose trailhead the night before. Take right fork below down to JMT.
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Re: Taboose-JMT-Upper Basin

Postby giantbrookie » Wed Jul 28, 2010 9:15 pm

Taboose compared to Shepherd is a bit shorter in distance, the trail is rockier for a longer distance than Shepherd, but none of the parts of the Taboose trail are as rough as the uppermost part of the Shepherd Pass trail which sort of shifts from year to year owing to the constant rockfall that keeps covering the track. Overall I consider Taboose a bit easier than Shepherd, owing to its shorter length (by about 2 or 3 miles), slightly less elevation gain (by about 300 feet gross--net is higher for Taboose, but you have that elevation loss on Shepherd), and the lack of the demoralizing elevation loss that you get on Shepherd after that first crest out--Taboose has no elevation loss until you go over the pass. I did Shepherd in 1978 (to climb Williamson) and Taboose in 1980 to climb Split. On the latter trip I went all the way into the lower part of Upper Basin on day 1. We climbed both Split and Prater on day 2 and hiked all the way out and drove home. The last few miles to the car were in near total darkness (this was mid or possibly late September and the days were not all that long) aided by a skinny sliver moon that was conveniently situated in the sky to shine down the canyon. Split in two days via Taboose is a lot of hiking. I agree with Maverick that Red Lake is an attractive alternative, so as long as class 3 is not an issue. If I were doing this as an alternative for a 2 day (to the Taboose route) I wouldn't loop it, though. I'd just backpack to Red Lake (much less distance and gain with pack), then climb Split with the day pack from there and return. This would be most efficient way to climb Split on a two day trip.
Since my fishing (etc.) website is still down, you can be distracted by geology stuff at: http://www.fresnostate.edu/csm/ees/facu ... ayshi.html
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Re: Taboose-JMT-Upper Basin

Postby Wandering Daisy » Thu Jul 29, 2010 9:03 am

The key to Taboose Pass is to get a very early start (dawn). I like Taboose Pass because it has plenty of water sources along the way so you do not have to carry lots of water. The lower part, however, is very hot. There is water and limited camping at the trailhead. I would not try to find the trailhead in the dark, if you have not driven the road before.

I climbed Split Mountain from Taboose. The climb was a part of a loop trip. If I were only to climb Split Mountain, I would do it from Red Lake. I have traveled cross-country from the 3400 elevation at Taboose Pass to Upper Basin and I doubt I saved much time over simply taking the trail and dropping to the river because the terrain forces you downward anyway.

If you have extra time there are lots of really nice places to visit along the way if you go in Taboose Pass. The lakes just west of Striped Mountain are really beautiful and worth a side trip. I went to Cardinal Lake but did not think it was really worth the effort. Cardinal Lake sits in a talus hollow so camps with views are absent. I also traversed through the little cirques east of Vennacher Needle and Mt. Ruskin and found this area very pristine and lovely. The off-trail travel in the Upper Basin is a bit more complex than appears on the map - nothing difficult but lots of little cliffs and such. It is a very nice area - worth a few extra days.
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Re: Taboose-JMT-Upper Basin

Postby ToddC » Thu Jul 29, 2010 9:56 am

I've considered the Red Lake trailhead. My only concern about climbing Split from Red Lake is that I don't have 4 wheel drive. I always hear how bad the road gets to on way to the trailhead. Otherwise I would start from there.
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Re: Taboose-JMT-Upper Basin

Postby giantbrookie » Thu Jul 29, 2010 12:18 pm

The Red Lake trailhead can be reached in 2WD (have done this) but what you will need is reasonably high ground clearance (ie pickup or SUV). This road is a bit too rough for a passenger car.
Since my fishing (etc.) website is still down, you can be distracted by geology stuff at: http://www.fresnostate.edu/csm/ees/facu ... ayshi.html
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Re: Taboose-JMT-Upper Basin

Postby sierramel » Mon Aug 02, 2010 10:14 am

Taboose is a quick, steep, and dirty way to get into Upper Basin.
The Taboose road is a mess, but you don't need 4WD - I've pulled a horse trailer up it with a couple of llamas in it. You just have to go real slow
Hit the trail early. There is H20 available about 3 miles up from the creek, then again further up where you cross the creek.
Just above the creek crossing is a small bench in the brush with a dry clearing next to the trail where you can camp if you get too beat to get farther the first day.
A mile or two above that are a couple of real small spots to pitch a tent next to the creek before the next crossing below the waterfall.
Above the waterfall you have to switchback through a big section full of chest high nettles. Fun. about 50 yards or less above that are few, nice camp sites near the creek in a limited stand of real tall, ancient foxtail pines. After that you are comitted to the pass. From that point the trail goes straight up. You know that trail gains nearly 900 feet of elevation a mile (on average) from the trailhead to the pass?
Taboose meadows has nice camping once you are down and over into the "flats". The meadow is huge and the camping is mostly on the south east margin away from the small water courses through the grasses there.
Visit fantastic Bench Lake west across the canyon. Super fishing for browns, rainbows and goldens. Arrow Peak to the west is gorgeous. Go a little south on the JMT from the meadows at Taboose, and visit "Lake Spam" (that's what the Seki dept. of archeology calls it). That's the shallow lake just north of Majorie Lake.
Have fun up there. It's a REALLY beautiful place.
"Some places remain unknown because no one has ventured forth. Others remain so because no one has ever come back."
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Re: Taboose-JMT-Upper Basin

Postby ToddC » Tue Aug 03, 2010 8:52 am

Good insight. Thanks. I am rethinking my plan to save Upper Basin and an attempt on Split Mtn for later and explore the immediate Taboose area. I am now thinking of an attempt on Striped Mtn and a visit to Bench Lake in the three days there.
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