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Dreaming of Tulainyo

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Dreaming of Tulainyo

Postby sirlight » Sun Feb 06, 2011 5:23 pm

Ever since a few years ago when I took an attempt at mt.Russell, I have been dreaming about a visit Tulainyo lake. I never made the summit of mt. russell during that trip, and to be honest, I am not sure if I ever will in the future. When I was within perhaps 300’ elevation from the summit, the exposure got to me and I decided to turn back. The fact that a that a major thunderstorm wash bearing down on us was certainly another factor.

I went with a friend 2 years ago from horseshoe over new army with plans to reach the lake. We were 3 days in when he got sick and we had to bail out. it’s becoming one of those “itches you can’t seem to scratch” types of things now. I am thinking this year, I would like to take another shot at it. I am not really a “mountaineer”, just a strong trail hiker with some off trail experience. Due to the number of other trips that I have planned to various areas in the sierra, I would like to make this trip a “quick and dirty” one.

Have any of you been to Tulainyo by way of the saddle between russell and Carillon? It looked pretty much like a cliff when I was there. From the research I have done, it seems doable, but I am unclear on the technical details. My hope is to just hit the visitors center in lone pine on some weekend, grab a permit and visit the lake over perhaps 2 or 3 days.



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Re: Dreaming of Tulainyo

Postby Wandering Daisy » Sun Feb 06, 2011 6:03 pm

The saddle is class 2-3 on the Tulainyo side according to Secor's guidebook. It looks harder, but looks are deceiving. I have not been up the saddle. I have been to Lake Tulainyo from Wales Lake (climbed Mt Tulainyo) and I recall it was rather unpleasant. The lake is surrounded by talus with swarms of black flies. Some of the worst I have been in. You may really get an "itch" if you camp near the lake! Wallace and Wales are worth a trip both with beautiful camping. Tulainyo is worth a day-hike but you would not catch me camping there. Easiest way logistically to get there is from Shepherd Pass (2-3 days). Slightly shorter from Whitney Portal but you have to get a permit. There is a use-trail from the PCT to Wallace Lake. I personally would rather take a longer trail route than go via Corrilian-Russel Col.
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Re: Dreaming of Tulainyo

Postby maverick » Sun Feb 06, 2011 6:21 pm

Hi Sirlight

The pass is not easy on its western side, and you need to pick your right correctly.
Our member Snowy has some great pic's of the lake, and especially important to you
the correct route up pass.
I did not have any problems with the flies, but I was up there in late Sept.
If you are not to confident with route finding, and steep drop offs than maybe you
will be better off using either Whitney or Shephard Pass which is no cake walk to some
folks either, especially earlier in the season (snow).

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Re: Dreaming of Tulainyo

Postby sirlight » Sun Feb 06, 2011 6:35 pm

Yes, it did not look like there was anywhere good to camp by the lake, but I was planning on doing it anyway. The idea was to start at the portal. From there, head up the creek and over to the saddle. I went that route to the saddle last time, it was not difficult. I was hoping to scoot up over the saddle and down to the lake for the night. Up and over, then back out the following day. Shepherd was my second choice, but I was hoping to not take that many days. Permits would certainly be easier by that direction.

Do you think the black flies are as seasonal thing?
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Re: Dreaming of Tulainyo

Postby sirlight » Sun Feb 06, 2011 6:40 pm

One thing I sould have mentioned. I am just "dreaming" right now. I expect this trip will be august or september sometime. Snow should not be a problem.
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Re: Dreaming of Tulainyo

Postby Ikan Mas » Sun Feb 06, 2011 7:41 pm

I too have seen Tulainyo from the top of Tunnabora, having come up from Wallace with a bud on a lark (some lark!). Here are a couple of shots:

Image

Image

Doesn't look too hospitable to me. I recall it being quite a trudge from Wallace via Wales, but it was my first trip to the high Sierra with my son's scout troop. These were taken July 30, 2003.
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Re: Dreaming of Tulainyo

Postby sirlight » Sun Feb 06, 2011 8:02 pm

Nice pictures.

The lake never did look too “inviting” to me. It’s just one of those places I have seen from a distance. I am sure you know what I mean. You just see it and say to yourself “I have to go there some day”. That is what it has been for me.

Who knows, maybe some day I gather the courage to make it to the summit of Russell. It did not seem like a very good idea at the time when I was there. The remainder of my party made it. When you are hanging on to the rocks with your rear end hanging off a 2000’ drop with lighting striking all around, it’s easy to back out. It might be a casual little side trip next time.

This might be the highlight of next seasons hiking. No fishing there though!
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Re: Dreaming of Tulainyo

Postby Ikan Mas » Sun Feb 06, 2011 8:10 pm

If its fishing you want, Wallace is the place. Don't bother with Wales, its dead.
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Re: Dreaming of Tulainyo

Postby Mike M. » Mon Feb 07, 2011 2:12 pm

Tulainyo is a dramatic, barren landscape. I camped near the lake in 1980 and fortunately was not bothered by flies -- didn't notice any at all.

Russell-Carillon Col is not any harder than Thunderbolt Pass -- class two scrambling. The boulder field near the top of the pass is steep but I do not remember any exposure. The biggest challenge is further down, as you make your way down to Lone Pine Creek, either negotiating ledges or bushwhacking near the creek. The views from the pass are gorgeous and from there it is a quick boulder hop up to Mt. Carillon. Or, if you are up for the challenge, a longer scramble up to Mt. Russell (too steep for my blood).

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Re: Dreaming of Tulainyo

Postby sirlight » Mon Feb 07, 2011 2:24 pm

I have already been up lone pine creek and past the ledges. On the way to Russell, we did this section in the dark. Can't really be afraid when you can't see the bottom! On the way back out the exposure of that section was nothing that bothered me. Russell was another story entirely. Way too much for me without some rock climbing experience or ropes.

So you are saying once you hit the saddle by Carillon it's a relatively straight forward scramble down to the lake?
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Re: Dreaming of Tulainyo

Postby Mike M. » Mon Feb 07, 2011 5:36 pm

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Re: Dreaming of Tulainyo

Postby sirlight » Mon Feb 07, 2011 6:44 pm

Thanks Mike,

These pictures really minimize my concerns. It does not appear nearly as steep looking up from the lake. The route finding seems straightforward. Just take it slow and watch my step.

Now just to pick a weekend later this summer and see if I can land the permit. The entry is the same one used for the MR to Whitney, and they really limit the number per day. Wonder if I should try and get a reserved one, or just show up at the crack of dawn and see about a walk in.

Tack on another day and hit Wallace for some fishing? Hmmmm....
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