mafkdcio wrote:Giantbrookie, do you have any specific route suggestions for the Bishop Creek area? My dad sent me this link (http://www.backpackinglight.com/cgi-bin ... d_id=23926) about a trip that included "Bishop Pass," which I assume is in the area but can't be sure (sorry, my knowledge of this part of the country is painfully lacking!). A route suggestion would be most welcome, or your thoughts on the route that hiker did (and links to maps would be great! Google has been pretty helpful, but I couldn't find a good one for this area). Mt. Sill looks amazing!
I think you have a number of options. Bishop Pass is indeed part of this area. Mt Sill requires the most work to reach. With the parameters you give above I'd recommend day 1 South Lake trailhead to Bishop Lake, day 2 over Bishop Pass and through Dusy Basin, the over Thunderbolt Pass to Barrett Lakes. This is the one problematic part of the this game plan, given that off trail backpacking (Thunderbolt Pass) with a bad hip might not be in the cards., day 3 for climbing Mt. Sill, day 4 reverse out to Bishop Lake, dropping the pack and climbing Agassiz from Bishop Pass if there is time, and, if you plan to stay on longer, climbing Mt. Goode from Bishop Lake.
For other options you can sort of mix or match with easy backpacking segments. For example, you can backpack to Bishop Lake and use it as a base camp to dayhike to Mt Agassiz and Mt Goode. You may either go around Mt Hurd via trail to Treasure Lakes or cross the pretty easy cross country pass over to Treasure Lakes then climb Mt. Johnson on a dayhike. Mt Gilbert is class 2 and easily reachable from Treasure Lakes, too, but the couloir you climb to the crest requires an ice axe and is quite steep. You can also do the Bishop Lake-Mt Agassiz and Mt Goode combo, hike back to the trailhead, hike back in to Green Lake and camp there to dayhike to the Cloudripper. Or, you can go back out to the car, move it to the Horton Lake trailhead (I recommend a high clearance vehicle for this road, though). From lower Horton one can make the dayclimb to Mt Tom, which is truly one of the most distinctive landmarks of the eastern Sierra skyline.
In any case all of the backpacking segments mentioned above are short (5 miles or less) and all on trail with the exception of going over Thunderbolt Pass (class 2 talus) and/or the little pass that goes to the Treasure Lakes (easy class 2). Certainly trips can be designed (see above) that don't require off trail backpacking at all, although the peak bagging is all off trail, of course.