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Trip Report: White Divide out of Rancheria

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Trip Report: White Divide out of Rancheria

Postby pez_leon » Thu Sep 09, 2010 8:22 am

Last month some friends and I backpacked across the White Divide and back from Woodchuck country. Scenery, isolation, and perfect cross country travel all made this trip a rollicking five-star experience. I gained a good deal of beta information on our route by lurking on this board and so I thought I'd post a report and pictures.
Over six days and five nights we walked: Rancheria TH -> Crown Basin -> Blue Canyon -> Goddard Creek & Lake 10,232 -> Ambition Lake -> Blackcap Basin -> Halfmoon Lake -> Rancheria TH. Everything from five miles before Crown Basin to a few miles after Blackcap was off-trail, as was much of the other travel. As others have reported, the trails in this region make compelling arguments for cross-country routefinding. With six days the trip was physically demanding but not all that bad. I think that a very fit party could easily make time for the lazy afternoons and layover day we hoped for. Unfortunately, poor conditioning and mild altitude sickness slowed one of us down such that we spent most of every day hiking. We still had a great time.

Pictures (click to enlarge):
En route to Crown Basin & overlooking crown creek below Crown Basin
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Hummingbird Lake:
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The north side of Blue Canyon pass. Steep! I've read that it's class II, but our route felt like solid III to me, and I didn't see anything better. It was much trickier than class II/III valor pass. Those colorful dots in the upper picture are us.
We had an unintended adventure on the south side of this pass when I got overconfident and wrongly lead us to the next saddle east. That would have put us 1500' further down into Goddard creek than we needed to be! Luckily someone fired up their GPS. Shamed (and very relieved) I spent the rest of the trip carefully shooting compass bearings and not making big mistakes.
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Goddard Canyon:
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Ambition. Would you believe that the lake in the background is actually lower than the one in the foreground? I didn't, at least not until I walked it myself.
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Sunset at Ambition:
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Out via Blackcap Basin, just in time for threatening weather.
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I'd do it all again in a heartbeat.

Have fun out there,

James



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Re: Trip Report: White Divide out of Rancheria

Postby TehipiteTom » Thu Sep 09, 2010 9:31 am

Excellent report, great pics! That is a spectacular and isolated area, with some of my favorite places: the basin of the west fork of Goddard Creek; the meadowy stretch of Goddard Creek up to and including Lake 10232; and of course the lakes of Blue Canyon.

I do remember the north side of Blue Canyon Pass being difficult. IIRC, we veered (downclimber's) left as we descended, and wound up in the little valley to the northwest (easy hiking from there). How did you descend from the pass?
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Re: Trip Report: White Divide out of Rancheria

Postby maverick » Thu Sep 09, 2010 9:47 am

Thank you for the TR to a rarely visited area.
I enjoyed the pic's of Goddard area, which is one of my favorite places, and the
Ambition Lake area is also pretty.
I do no recall BCP being more than a solid 2 pass, and not being as difficult
like say Milly's Foot Pass or Lucy's Foot Pass for example.
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Re: Trip Report: White Divide out of Rancheria

Postby TehipiteTom » Thu Sep 09, 2010 10:04 am

maverick wrote:Thank you for the TR to a rarely visited area.
I enjoyed the pic's of Goddard area, which is one of my favorite places, and the
Ambition Lake area is also pretty.
I do no recall BCP being more than a solid 2 pass, and not being as difficult
like say Milly's Foot Pass or Lucy's Foot Pass for example.

It's been 8 years, but I do remember a steep loose section at the top, and then lots of tedious big block talus. The other thing I recall is that after the initial descent we did some scouting to find a decent route, and it seemed like if you go wrong you can end up is some much steeper, scarier stuff.
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Re: Trip Report: White Divide out of Rancheria

Postby maverick » Thu Sep 09, 2010 11:31 am

Yes, it was steep Tom, but I guess we all have different comfort levels, which may
make the same situation seem more difficult than they may be for another.
That is why the rating system is only a guide, and does not take this into consideration.
One's solid class 2 may feel like another's class 3.
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Re: Trip Report: White Divide out of Rancheria

Postby paul » Fri Sep 10, 2010 10:26 am

Nice. Would love to see more photos if possible.
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Re: Trip Report: White Divide out of Rancheria

Postby copeg » Fri Sep 10, 2010 6:41 pm

Nice! I love those sunset photos :thumbsup:
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Re: Trip Report: White Divide out of Rancheria

Postby giantbrookie » Fri Sep 10, 2010 10:29 pm

Nice report and photos from some of my very favorite spots in the Sierra. I can return them vicariously through your report. Thanks so much.
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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