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Suggestions for HSR?

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Suggestions for HSR?

Postby giovanni » Thu Mar 31, 2011 1:13 pm

Hey WD, I'm also somewhat new to planning x-country routes. I was thinking of taking a stab at a section of the SHR with a couple friends. Or doing some sort of loop trip that incorporates part of the SHR. I've done a bit of reading so far, but wondering about your perspective. Was there any section you found particularly easier to handle than others?



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Re: Suggestions for for first time backpacking cross country?

Postby Mike M. » Thu Mar 31, 2011 1:54 pm

Giovanni, what I like to do is spread out my trusty old U.S. Geological Survey topo maps (15 minute series) and devise my own routes. If you are looking for a loop trip, 5 to 7 days is a little short, but so be it. Would you be willing to hitch-hike back to your car?

For example, you might be interested in the the area around Mt. Tyndal (Williamson Bowl, Wright Lakes Basin, Diamond Mesa). You can get there a number of ways. The most direct way is via Shepherd's Pass (a legendary, ball-busting class 1 trail). Or you could enter the high country over Kearsarge Pass, drop down to Vidette Meadow, hike up Bubb's Creek, then cut up to Center Basin and over Junction Pass, then over Shepherd Pass to the Tyndal area. Or you could get there via Russell-Carillon Col. Or New Army Pass.

Good cross-country playgrounds can be found in the vicinity of Mono Pass (Mosquito Flat); Cottonwood Lakes (Horseshoe Meadows); North Lake; South Lake; and Tom's Place. There are many others if you like a west side approach.

I think the best thing is to just pick an area you want to explore, then take to your maps and try to figure out a route. The biggest challenge is to be realistic about the days you will need to complete your itinerary. It's easy to bite off more than you can chew.

Mike
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Re: Suggestions for for first time backpacking cross country?

Postby Wandering Daisy » Thu Mar 31, 2011 2:21 pm

The easier sections of the High Route are those with lots of trail miles. This does not mean that there is not hard off-trail travel in these sections. The High Route does not tend to lend itself to loops.

One loop that is not technically hard would be from Roads End in Kings Canyon to go up Woods Creek, take PCT north, leave it after crossing South Fork of Kings River, take old Cartridge trail to Lakes Basin, then follow the High Route back to Kings Canyon trailhead. The route finding is quite tricky but you do not have any really difficult passes. You avoid Frozen Lake Pass by going up the old Cartridge trail into Lake Basin. Route finding between Marion Lake and Horseshoe lake is tough and there is no alternate route or bail-out. And if you miss the route near Horseshoe Lake you can end up in a heap of trouble with no water sources. If behind schedule, from Horseshoe Lake, you can alternately stay on trails and go via Granite Basin instead of the off-trail route to Grouse Lake. There is nothing "hard" with respect to terrain but you better be able to read a map. The reason to do this loop counter-clockwise is to be on trails when your pack is heavy. I would say 8-10 days is needed to do this route.

The other easier section, however not easy to put into a loop, is from North Lake via Piute Pass to Golden Lake, then follow the High Route north to Devils Postpile. The nice thing about this one-way is that there is good bus service, except you would have to hitch a ride up to North Lake from Bishop. There are some hard passes on this section- White Bear Pass is particulary hard. The section between Laurel Lake and Isaak Walton Lake is also tricky. Italy Lake to Mono Creek has a few sections where you can get really messed up in brush if you miss the use-trail. Gabot Pass can be difficult if you get off route. You really cannot get "lost" but you certainly can end of cliffed out and have to do a lot of back-tracking. Read the post in this forum on Puppet Pass - I have missed it twice!

On the positive side, the High Route has a lot of detailed information. Be sure to dig up as much as you can. I would not do ANY of the High Route until you get pretty good at navigating. A GPS helps but will not solve all the micro-route finding. When I say that a section is not hard, I mean it is not hard AS LONG AS YOU ARE ON ROUTE!
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Re: Suggestions for for first time backpacking cross country?

Postby maverick » Thu Mar 31, 2011 2:26 pm

Hi Giovanni

You posted a while back in the Alta Peak thread in 2010 "Thanks for the pictures and
information about both of your trips- Very helpful. this would be my first attempt
at a cross country descent".
Maybe you should try getting some mild x-country experience that is easier like
what Diesel is asking about, before attempting to hit the bigger more rugged stuff.
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: Suggestions for HSR?

Postby rlown » Thu Mar 31, 2011 3:16 pm

Ok.. So unless you take a class which no one here offers as far as i know, you plan a trip, even if it's off-trail, and then do it and experiment. As long as it's not stupid for your skill-set. SHR.. pick a leg.

I drag out the maps (mine are now electronic with a google earth flyover, because it tells me stuff)..

Never be afraid to turn around on your first X-C adventure, at least to your last known good point.. Then look around, and make an informed decision. X-C will never be a trail, so expect, look, and adjust as you go. Expect slower than a trail, and plan as such.

No one taught me; I just said, "hey, lets go here". Not saying that's a good choice, but If you look around, and you know where you want to go, you can pick your way to the first of what will be many short-term goals.

Russ
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Re: Suggestions for HSR?

Postby maverick » Thu Mar 31, 2011 3:51 pm

If you want to do an easy part of the SHT, which involves an easy class 2, and a
pass 1, then from Roads End go up the Copper Creek Trail to Grouse Lake then over
the class 2 pass, and then over Goat Crest Saddle to Glacier Lakes.
The route is explained in Steve Roper's book.
The view from GCS is great, and Glacier Lakes area is pretty.
If you have the time and want to do some easy exploring then get on the trail after
descending from Glacier Lakes, and head over to the Volcanic Lake Basin area which
is really nice, and not very visited.
Just follow the stream from the trail that heads down to Lake 9702, and then head
east towards the smaller lake and use this as a basecamp to explore the rest of
the lower lakes.
Make sure you visit Granite Lake on the way out, it is quite pretty.
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: Suggestions for HSR?

Postby JWreno » Fri Apr 22, 2011 6:23 pm

Back in 2005 I took my wife on a 7 day trip with spent 2.5 days on the Sierra
High route. We started and finished in Toulomne Meadows. We took the JMT
south to Thousand Isle lakes. On the 3rd day we headed up to Catherine Lake
and then down to Twin Lakes. The next night we spent at Blue Lake. The next
morning we went over Blue Lake Pass and rejoined the trail back in Yosemite.
We used the Rooper book for guidance. It can be a bit tricky to follow. Expect
to have to retrace your tracks a few times if you run into impassible terrain. I
wonder if anyone has ever created a GPS track of the complete SHR.

Here is a link to my 2005 trip.

http://wolfweb.unr.edu/homepage/jeffw/o ... 005p1.html
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Re: Suggestions for HSR?

Postby East Side Hiker » Sat Apr 23, 2011 1:08 am

Mike M's suggestion's about the "trusty old U.S. Geological Survey topo maps (15 minute series)" is good. Those maps are the best, though can be hard to find now if you don't already have them. Check out a trip over Taboose Pass. Maybe consider waiting one more year, and design another trip. Permits are not easy to get at this date. And Maverick's and Wd's comments are hard to ignore.
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