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Father/Daughter Hikers Looking for Trip Advice

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Re: Father/Daughter Hikers Looking for Trip Advice

Postby giantbrookie » Sat Mar 05, 2011 10:51 am

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!
Jean

Jean,
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.

Cheers,

John
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Re: Father/Daughter Hikers Looking for Trip Advice

Postby frediver » Mon Mar 07, 2011 2:48 am

IMO for your first trip don't plan to much on climbing, be happy with the walk and see how
dads hip's adjust to the new strain.
Emigrant wilderness would be a make a great 1st trip IMHO.
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Re: Father/Daughter Hikers Looking for Trip Advice

Postby mafkdcio » Mon Mar 07, 2011 7:54 am

Hi Everyone,

Thanks again for all of your advice. Maverick, I should have mentioned that we wouldn't attempt to do what the person in that trip report I posted did in 3 days; we would take at least twice as long to do it. I was mostly interested in getting your opinions on the route that he took, rather than the time he took to do it. We are in no hurry to rush through the trip, and hopefully we can get 5 or 6 days out there (although that depends on how much time we can get off from work).

It seems I continue to do my dad injustice! As I mentioned before, his fake hips are not a hindrance and he rarely feels pain in that part of his body. He does a lot of skiing (he went on a ski trip only a couple of months after getting the second hip replaced!) and hiking and does not feel like his hips hold him back in any way. His knee is the only real concern, but even that isn't much of a limiting factor. We actually went backpacking back home (Alaska) for three days this past August and, although it wasn't a long trip, it was very strenuous and he was carrying a lot of weight. The second day we did a lot of very steep climbing for most of the day before hiking out on day 3. So no, it wasn't long, but he tells me he feels about as strong as he did when he used to go on long backpacking trips. I wouldn't be too concerned about what he can and can't do.

I was able to find a map of this area and follow the route that hiker took. It certainly is roundabout! But my dad seems like he's leaning towards that route. He really wants to see the Evolution basin area. I think he's been there before and is dying to go back. This hiker took a similar route to the one I posted before but got to Evolution via Lamarck Col (http://www.ljhelms.com/albums/0608Evolution/index.htm.) What are your thoughts on that route? Would it save much/any time? Would it be more/less strenuous? Ionian Basin seems like it might be a nice day trip, as this person suggested.

You're right, Wandering Daisy, that route is a lot of walking and not much climbing. I think my dad would prefer that, though, and maybe I should be content with a day trip somewhere along the route. I mostly want to be above tree line (I've been on the east coast for much of the past four years, and have rarely been able to go above tree line! Having the view while hiking is what makes it all worth it to me).

As always, thanks again for your thoughtful comments. I'd appreciate any feedback on the link I posted, and if you have links to any other North Lake-South Lake routes, I'd sure like to see them! Now that I have a map I can get a better sense of our different options.

Thanks,
Jean
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Re: Father/Daughter Hikers Looking for Trip Advice

Postby mafkdcio » Mon Mar 07, 2011 8:22 am

Someone made this comment about Lamarck Col:

"There is one challenging permanent snowfield to cross at Lamarck Col, and only a vague suggestion of a trail down from the Col to Darwin Lakes."

Would this still be the case in late August? Would it be difficult for someone who hasn't been here before to navigate?

Thanks,
Jean
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Re: Father/Daughter Hikers Looking for Trip Advice

Postby maverick » Mon Mar 07, 2011 10:10 am

Yes, there is a small snow field beneath the col on the eastern side which should not
be a big deal, especially if you go over after the snow has softened a bit.
The western side is a long way down with a lot of scree and takes time, but again, if
you have dealt with this before than it is no big deal.
Darwin Canyon and especially Darwin Bench is beautiful, and well worth visiting.
Doing this version can be done in 6 nights though you will need to stay at Lower Lamarck
Lake to acclumate.
Phil Arnot's book "High Sierra" describes the route over Lamarck Col very well, as into
Ionian Basin, and other great backcountry Sierra destionations.
You will not be able to visit Ionian Basin with the time you have available since you want
spend some time in Evolution Basin, then you have to go over Muir Pass, then the
long hike down LeConte Canyon, and then a long up into Dusy Basin, which is gorgeous
in itself, and then over Bishop Pass.
There should be some trip report about Lamarck Col here, check the search feature, and
there are several trip reports you can google that have pictures.
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Re: Father/Daughter Hikers Looking for Trip Advice

Postby Wandering Daisy » Mon Mar 07, 2011 10:33 am

As a climber, I do not count Emigrant Wilderness as big mountains. It has great backpacking and fishing and is beautiful, but no comparison to Evolution Valley, Dusy Basin or Barrett Basin. If you can somehow at least do a day-hike into Barrett Basin (via Knapsack Col or Thunderblot Pass from Dusy Basin) you will not regret it. It is a very reasonable day trip. Darwin Canyon down from Lamark Col is spectacular. A great 2-hour side trip is to Lake 11640 is recommended. I like to camp on Darwin Bench. I think the best camping in Evolution is off the trail on the southeast side of Saphire Lake. I personally do not think Wanda Lake is a good place to camp - too many bugs. Others probably have different opinions!

Lamark Col is not bad. I think there will still be snow on it this year in late August. So many climbers use this route that huge footprints will already be there. The only problem is ice. Try to do it in the afternoon. If you plan on going over in the early AM you may need crampons. You may want to think about going only to Lower Lamark Lake in the late afternoon. Then you can easily make it all the way to Darwin Bench the next day and hit Lamark Col when the snow is softer. Lots of people make it to Darwin Bench in one day. I tried it once and unfortunately got hit by altitude and had to camp at the little tarn just NE of the col. There is a good use-trail all the way up, although it is not shown on the map. There is also a little creek along the upper part so you could really stop and camp a lot of places if you bonk. The stream is shown as an intermitten stream on the map, but with the high snowpack this year it should be OK. The descent to Darwin Canyon is very steep and you do not need to find all the little trails. The traverse along the north side of the lakes has more talus. There is a good use-trail althoug it goes in and out of talus so is easily lost. But there is nothing you cannot just walk over even if you loose the trail. You just have to plan on fairly slow travel for this mile. For anyone who has done mountaineering, Lamark Col is not difficult. Those who have never been off-trail find it difficult.
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Re: Father/Daughter Hikers Looking for Trip Advice

Postby mafkdcio » Mon Mar 07, 2011 10:56 am

So my dad nixed the Lamarck Col idea because of his knees. Too bad! I was really excited about that. He would prefer to stay mostly on-trail (even though all the hiking we do in Alaska is off-trail). He is now suggesting possibly going right after Labor Day. How are the mosquitoes/temperature that time of year?
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Re: Father/Daughter Hikers Looking for Trip Advice

Postby AlmostThere » Mon Mar 07, 2011 2:44 pm

September? Mosquitoes are negligible, not real problematic.

I go with the same gear late spring - early fall, expecting a chance of any amount of rain or snow, and temps well below freezing (usually prepared for 20 degrees F, if the forecast is for 20F I prepare for 10 degrees lower than that). Never had a reason to regret being prepared for 20F. Often glad that I did.
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Re: Father/Daughter Hikers Looking for Trip Advice

Postby giantbrookie » Mon Mar 07, 2011 9:05 pm

mafkdcio wrote:So my dad nixed the Lamarck Col idea because of his knees. Too bad! I was really excited about that. He would prefer to stay mostly on-trail (even though all the hiking we do in Alaska is off-trail). He is now suggesting possibly going right after Labor Day. How are the mosquitoes/temperature that time of year?

Oooh, too bad--Lamarck Col is, in my estimation, the premier gateway to the very best part of the High Sierra. Now, if the knees are more of the barrier instead of the hips and your dad is obviously a pretty good athlete, does he do strength (weights) and flexibility exercises to firm up his knees? I mention this because as a really battered ex-basketball player I wouldn't have my off trail mobility were it not for my weight training routine--originally formulated to keep me on the basketball court for more punishment, of course--I have been seriously re-habbing my knees for 33 years now.

In any case, if your dad doesn't like off trail with a full pack, it sounds as if he still likes peak bagging, which is off trail without a full pack, and something like the Bishop Creek options noted above with trailed backpacking access, good scenery, and lots of easy peak bagging options, might be the ticket.

Mosquitoes are a non factor by Labor Day. Note Labor Day is THE peak weekend in the backcountry after which usage falls off very rapidly, so you idea to go after Labor Day weekend is a good idea to avoid crowds and potential wilderness permit quota issues.
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: Father/Daughter Hikers Looking for Trip Advice

Postby East Side Hiker » Fri Mar 11, 2011 10:27 am

Another great hike is out of Saddlebag Lake. The Lundy Pass loop.
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