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Cross Country Route

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Re: Cross Country Route

Postby sirlight » Wed Apr 20, 2011 12:48 pm

quentinc wrote:I think SAR should charge (and be able to charge) people.
I agree with charging for SAR.

I would think the embarrassment of having to be rescued would far outweigh what you might have to pay for the SAR. But if it's a choice between dying and rescue, I think almost every would choose rescue. Nobody wants to become a discovery channel special. There is nothing wrong with dying doing what you love, just try not to look stupid in the process.

I too am looking forward to seeing the trip report!



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Re: Cross Country Route

Postby quentinc » Wed Apr 20, 2011 1:56 pm

Sirlight, it's funny that you say that. I too was thinking that it wouldn't be the cost that would make me hesitate asking for a rescue, it would be the embarrassment. But then I thought it sounded too stupid to consider putting pride ahead of saving one's life. Still, I've certainly been in situations (generally not life-threatening) where I've struggled with that dilemma.
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Re: Cross Country Route

Postby East Side Hiker » Sat Apr 23, 2011 12:56 am

A "ford" is actually a vehicle "found on road dead."

A dictionary will not help people have fun while safely exploring the magnificent and beautiful, but sometimes dangerous, High Sierra. Long-time experience is what helps one safely explore the magnificent and beautiful High Sierra; and allows one to recognize and avoid dangers.

A dictionary also won't help one "ford" - if you have to use a dictionary definition - a trail where it crosses a river when the water is high and rushing, and you have to hike up or down the drainage to find a log or strategicly spaced boulders to attempt to cross the river; a log or boulder that one could fall off of and get swept down the river with your backpack holding you under the water.

Embarressment would of course be moot if one was caught in that sort of situation. Maybe some people will breeze through this summer's run-off and potentially dangerous snow and rock conditions. And they may laugh it all off by their success. I'm old and look at things very carefully. There's nothing like taking it easy and building experience. This could potentially be a bad summer. Cross "fords" as early in the morning as possibe, and have a good pole or stick to make a 3-point connection.

Who knows, it could even continue snowing/raining into June this year.

I've been planning a trip since September for a May hike that I've aborted. The potential for mishaps this summer is higher than they have been for many years. Snow, run-off, and rock slide conditions could be very bad.

SAR participants will not be in a good mood this summer. And SARs should absolutely be charged for, especially in cases where negligence can be established.
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Re: Cross Country Route

Postby LMBSGV » Wed Apr 27, 2011 10:20 pm

I haven’t put my two cents worth on this thread. Though I suspect what I say will be ignored just as the comments by all the real experts, here’s my two cents.

In 1998, the last heavy snow year, I did a 38 day solo trip. I left on August 4. Every pass and the approaches to the passes were under deep snow. These were passes with trails. Below is a link to a photo from Muir Pass taken on August 13. The snow began below Wanda Lake. Cross-country routes that year were a lot worse. There was a nasty cornice at Shout of Relief Pass; I’d already decided not to do it by that point. I ran into one guy on Pinchot Pass who had gone over the Potluck, Cirque Pass route. He had an ice axe and said it had been an experience he didn’t wish to repeat. I was considering going through Ionian Basin. I checked in at the LeConte ranger station with George Durkee (thanks for the great help and advice, George). Rob Hayden, the Evolution Valley ranger, was there after having gone through Ionian Basin the day before. He said the snow coverage was at least 60%. This was on August 24. This year the conditions will probably be similar. You say you are still planning to leave on June 26? I wish you the best, but as George Durkee said, this year may not be the year for doing the trip you've outlined.

http://www.sonic.net/~words/Images/Muir ... wnorth.jpg

Yes, that's ice on Wanda Lake.
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Re: Cross Country Route

Postby RoguePhotonic » Wed Apr 27, 2011 11:02 pm

That's certainly a good amount of snow on Muir for that time of year. I think it's very likely I will keep my June 26th depart time even if it requires significant detours or delays of my schedule. Regardless of my route I want to stay out for 3 months or more.
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Re: Cross Country Route

Postby RoguePhotonic » Sat May 07, 2011 11:44 pm

I've made a few minor adjustments to my route. Since my dad is planning to join me for the Gardiner Basin loop I thought i'd make it easier for him and instead of crossing Gardiner Pass in 2 days which would be a 4000 foot gain on day 2 I will break it up into 3 days such as stay further down Bubbs Creek than Junction Meadow. Then go to Charlotte Lake and then over Gardiner back onto route on day 3. I have changed my layover and path to go to Dragon Lake and then layover there. Then return to 60 Lakes Basin and scrap the random cross country route there and instead go straight North through the basin until the end and drop back down to the JMT.

I have decided after crossing Frozen Lake Pass to go over Upper Basin Crossing to Amphitheater Lake and down to the JMT, back up the Golden Stair Case and onto route. Because of the change in camping locations and miles I will scrap the climb of Mt. Sill. I'd rather have the chance for a cross country hike through an extremely remote area over a summit I can climb another day.

When I close in on the upper trail in Yosemite I had planned to follow the Sierra High Route path exactly but I have wanted to visit Harriet Lake so I have rerouted and picked a more efficient route to the trail heading South then I had before.

I have put together a pass list in the order I will cross them. A quite intimidating number at 58 passes!

Coyote
Farewell
Timber
Horn Col
Copper Mine
Colby
Harrison
Gardiner
Sixty Lake Col
Granite
Kennedy
Grouse Lake
Goat Crest Saddle
Gray S
Gray N
White
Red
Frozen Lake
Upper Basin Crossing
Cirque
Potluck
Thunderbolt
Bishop x2
Muir
Alpine Col
Puppet
Feather
White Bear
Gabbott
Rohn
Nancy
Whitebark
Garnet
Glacier Lake
Blue Lake
Red Peak
Mine Shaft
Sky Pilot Col
Stanton
Horse Canyon
Seavey
Benson
Cathedral
Tuolumne
Donohue
Island
Goodale
Selden
Reinstein
Kennedy
Avalanche
Elizabeth
Kaweah Gap
Sawtooth
Timber Gap
Franklin
Black Rock

I think I will have bitten off more then I can physically chew.
Last edited by RoguePhotonic on Sun May 08, 2011 10:59 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Cross Country Route

Postby markskor » Sun May 08, 2011 5:05 am

"I think I have bitten off more then I can physically chew."

Ya think?
BTW, First sane realization made...better here than up there though. Will be impressed if all this planning comes to fruition. Good luck!
Mountainman who swims with trout
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Re: Cross Country Route

Postby slade » Sun May 08, 2011 6:56 am

While this thread suffers in some of its content and tone, overall I find it extremely informative and useful. A big "thank you" to RoguePhotonic, and all his critics. slade
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Re: Cross Country Route

Postby RoguePhotonic » Sun May 08, 2011 11:15 am

Yeah the physical element is what has always intimidated me before I would leave on these super long hikes. I am no hiking machine and generally am not in the best of shape. The 40 pounds of weight I lost last year hiking I put back on. And while others begin physical training 6 months in advance and work out like crazy I go hike 10 miles once or twice a week at best.

It makes for a very difficult start to the trip which is one reason why I planned less weight to begin with since I will resupply on day 4. But then some of my altitude gains are a bit intimidating to say the least. On day 2 I have a 4000 foot gain. Day 6 I have 5000 to gain. And although I will have been on the trail at least 25 days on day 25 I have a 6000 foot gain with 8 days worth of food on my back! I have my doubts about making that climb in one day.

Last year my largest single day gain was 4500 feet.

My plan will be to do what I have always done in the start and just take it easy with my pace. Don't pound down hill and take breaks allot to work myself up to the more extremes.
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Re: Cross Country Route

Postby Mike M. » Sun May 08, 2011 6:52 pm

Rogue, are you still planning to start your trip on June 26th?

If so, I'm concerned about pieces of your early route. Colby Pass will be a snow slog. Where will you go from here? Down to the Kern? How will you get across the Kern? Water will undoubtedly be high, possibly dangerously high. Might be better to head up and over Milestone Pass instead. If you do that, expect lots of snow -- not unsafe, but hard trudging through snow fields high up the pass. Harrison Pass is guaranteed to have snow on the steep north side, and this snowfield is known for its icy conditions. I would carry an ice axe. (I have been up to Harrison Pass twice from the Lake South America side, and each time have balked at going down the steep north side; I'd feel better going up than down.) From Harrison Pass, where do you go? Down to Bubbs Creek, which you will have to cross without aid of a bridge. This water crossing can be treacherous in early July. Beware!! If it were me, I would forego Harrison Pass entirely and cross over the divide at Forester Pass, then head down to Bubbs Creek. This avoids the potentially difficult Bubbs Creek crossing (not to mention an iced-in Harrison Pass). There will be lots of snow on Forester Pass still, but the route should be well defined by PCT hikers by then.

One final note on your early route: snowy conditions mean it is much more difficult to make miles. I can't help but think some of the days in your early itinerary are overly ambitious.

Mike
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Re: Cross Country Route

Postby RoguePhotonic » Sun May 08, 2011 9:05 pm

Rogue, are you still planning to start your trip on June 26th?


So far yes.

Colby Pass will be a snow slog.


Yes I fully expect Colby to either be as bad or way more snow then it was in 2009 when I had to turn around on it. But at least this time I know where the pass is which I didn't before and I will have an ice axe.

Yes I do plan to go down to the Kern. Crossing will be one of those things I will have to deal with as I get there.

The suggestion to do Milestone pass might be a nice idea though. I have never done the trail from Colby Pass down to the Kern but then I haven't done the other route either. It probably has a trail on a good portion of it also because I took one by mistake last year that was heading up Milestone Creek in that direction.

From Harrison Pass, where do you go? Down to Bubbs Creek


Yeah that is the plan. I was warned about this crossing earlier in this thread. I'll just have to try and find a place to cross even if I have to head miles down stream.

The trouble with taking Forester is it is much further and I wanted to visit Lake Reflection. I have been over Forester North and South.

I do agree some of the miles in this section most especially have been making me consider how likely it is to fall behind schedule. What makes it worse is my dad planning to meet me at the end of this section to come along. I can give an update by calling at Lodgepole but then there is no more communication until Cedar Grove. To make it worse normally a layover day can be used to catch back up when you fall behind but I have it planned at Lonely Lake which is before I start any of the difficult sections. From Lonely Lake to Colby Lake I am 100% expecting 90% snow travel which like you said is slow moving. Then the issues with Colby Pass. Then the possibility there may be allot of snow coverage in the Upper Kern Basin. The possibility of crazy water crossings which could result in miles of bushwhacking to cross. None of it is a problem alone as I am ok if I fall behind but meeting someone just complicates things.

I considered doing a layover at Lodgepole but that is just a bad idea because I am supposed to arrive on Sunday July 3rd!


The Milestone Pass idea could solve some of this problem because it's only 5.5 miles from Colby Pass to the trail leading up the Kern vs about 14.6 by going down and up the Kern. I made the mistake though of looking up what I am missing on the other trail and this shot of Gallats Lake does not help!

Image
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Re: Cross Country Route

Postby Mike M. » Sun May 08, 2011 9:41 pm

Rogue, if you get to Bubb's Creek and find the water too high to cross, it would be best to look for crossings upstream, not downstream, as the water flow will only increase as you move downstream.

There is a good trail all the way down from Colby Pass to the Kern. Across the Kern is a substantial trail and just upstream is a junction with the Wallace Creek trail. Continuing up the Kern takes you to Milestone Basin. But getting across the Kern River to meet these trails might be a chore. If it is too high for your comfort, you might have to stay on the west side of the river and work your way up the canyon (quite a bushwhack) until you can find a safe place to cross. It's anybody's guess what kind of conditions you might encounter.

Gallat's Lake is not really a lake; it is a meadow with a lovely, winding stream that flows through it. It only looks like a lake when it's in flood!

Milestone Pass would be the quicker and safer route if you are worried about high water.

Regarding your worry about making your rendezvous with your dad: if you find yourself behind schedule, alter your route and take Forester rather than Harrison. It is a "known known" that avoids high water and a steep, icy snowfield.

Mike
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