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Puppet Pass - Did I take the right route?

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Puppet Pass - Did I take the right route?

Postby ogg » Fri Mar 25, 2011 8:38 pm

In August '09, I spent a very memorable 5 nights solo in Humphreys Basin and French Canyon. On the second day, I descended the north side of Puppet Pass. This was my first exposure to heavy talus and the experience was quite a work out for me with a heavy pack. Since then, looking at various trip reports and photos on the internet, I wonder if I may have chosen the wrong route, one more difficult than it needed to be.

Here is a shot from about midway down the descent, I think:

Image

Here is a shot looking back. I started the descent somewhere around the middle of this photo, then angled more downward to the right.

Image

Should I have started the descent farther to the left in the second photo?



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Re: Puppet Pass - Did I take the right route?

Postby quentinc » Sat Mar 26, 2011 1:45 pm

Yup. There's practically a trail further over to the left, complete with ducks.
Personally, I always take a perverse satisfaction in making passes as hard as possible, so you should feel proud. :)
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Re: Puppet Pass - Did I take the right route?

Postby rlown » Sat Mar 26, 2011 1:52 pm

This is the trail looking up from the approach out of Puppet.
Puppet Lk 2010 109.JPG


We kind of started 50 yds left of there on our way down, and the boulders are very big. We traversed to the wall, and then it was cake..
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Re: Puppet Pass - Did I take the right route?

Postby maverick » Sat Mar 26, 2011 5:32 pm

Yeap, a little more to your left as Q & Rlown said.
With that said, this is cross-country, and their is not right or wrong route, only the
one that is easiest/safest for you.
Some passes or col's have faint trails going over them, which sometimes may not
be the easiest way up or down, but people automatically follow the outlined route or
follow ducks thinking it must be the way to go.
I would rather get on some steep scree and slalom down it than try to follow a
worn out part sand, part scree route.
Also, as you mentioned this was your first such exposure to talus, and with a heavy pack
which makes keeping your balance more difficult.
HST= Wilderness Adventurer who knows no bounds, except for their own imagination.

Have a safer backcountry experience by using the HST ReConn Form 2.0, named after Larry Conn, a HST member: http://reconn.org
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Re: Puppet Pass - Did I take the right route?

Postby windknot » Sat Mar 26, 2011 11:06 pm

Funny, I went up Puppet Pass the same way it looks like you came down. When I returned to the pass at the end of the day, I found the stone ducks and took the trail down. Luckily for me, since the sun had just gone down and I would have had a heck of a time trying to pick my way down that wall in the dark.
A few backcountry fishing pictures: http://wanderswithtrout.wordpress.com/
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Re: Puppet Pass - Did I take the right route?

Postby Mike M. » Wed Mar 30, 2011 2:03 pm

It's a cross-country pass, so there really is no "right" way. There are many safe routes down the pass. I came down Puppet Pass last August with 12 days of food on my back. The route I took involved fairly steep class 2 talus for the first 100 yards, then easy walking. While we were coming down, another party was making their way up the pass, but following a different route. Here are links to two photos that show our route (in yellow) and the other party's route (in red).

http://s32.photobucket.com/albums/d24/m ... 7lines.jpg

http://s32.photobucket.com/albums/d24/m ... 6lines.jpg

And here's another photo that shows the steep upper section of the pass:

http://s32.photobucket.com/albums/d24/m ... G_8842.jpg

Mike
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Re: Puppet Pass - Did I take the right route?

Postby rlown » Wed Mar 30, 2011 2:13 pm

wow.. understood, it's not a trail but those paths are way out there in deep, big talus. the left side is a cake walk. We muffed it by being 50yds west.

Funny.. I looked over the "right" path first, and saw too much air. No air.. I nice gentle walk down w/o the boulder histrionics.

Doing Star col this Sept. figured other lakes to hit before dropping over to puppet.
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Re: Puppet Pass - Did I take the right route?

Postby Mike M. » Wed Mar 30, 2011 4:38 pm

Rlown, just curious -- using the first of the photos I posted above, can you tell me the route you took? Some of the photos I snapped show what appears to be the same granite cliff you walked beside, but it may be just one of many.

I'm itching to get up in the high country and can't keep myself from daydreaming about on route or another!

Mike
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Re: Puppet Pass - Did I take the right route?

Postby rlown » Wed Mar 30, 2011 6:08 pm

ok.. here are two pics we snapped similar to ogg's #1 pic:
SDC12055.JPG


Note how much further we are east in that first pic posted. And the next pic of the entrance to that "wall" i posted earlier, but this time looking down. Wall is to the right out of frame.

Puppet Lk 2010 111.JPG


hope that helps,

Russ
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Re: Puppet Pass - Did I take the right route?

Postby Mike M. » Wed Mar 30, 2011 7:39 pm

Russ, it looks like we traveled down the pass very near to your route.

Here's a photo I took just about where we started down. It is well east of the original poster's photo, very similar to your photo above (attached to your most recent post).

http://s32.photobucket.com/albums/d24/m ... G_8830.jpg

Another photo taken from the same spot:

http://s32.photobucket.com/albums/d24/m ... G_8839.jpg

And a third photo, this one looking NE:

http://s32.photobucket.com/albums/d24/m ... G_8831.jpg

This last photo is looking towards the cliffs and granite shelves, which are mostly out of view here. We saw it was possible to pick a path through the cliffs or above and around them, but chose instead to plunge down the talus field. My guess is that we were no more than 20 to 40 feet from your route. It did not take long at all, but required our full attention.

Mike
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Re: Puppet Pass - Did I take the right route?

Postby rlown » Wed Mar 30, 2011 7:46 pm

i like that phrase: "full attention".. :)

At one point, we had to turn around and downclimb between the truck sized boulders so as to keep the packs from getting stuck in the slot. that was the wrong trail 50 yds from the right one.. Any way you get there is good.. 3 points on the rock at all times..

Russ

PS: Carol Col is well labeled on the maps. It's even in the right spot.
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