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I wanna run this route by some experts

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Re: I wanna run this route by some experts

Postby maverick » Sun May 08, 2011 6:05 pm

Rlown wrote "If you look left or right from any trail and think "i can't go there", then don't.
But most of us here just do, and had to learn somehow. Just learn carefully."

I guess my cautious approach stems from the numerous times I have run into folks who
were attempting to do an off trail route, but were so far off the correct route it wasn't
even funny.
I remember a group of 5 attempting to hike to Moose Lake from Pear Lake, but instead
were heading down towards Big Bird Lake, luckily I went over, talked to them, and
we hiked toghether to Moose Lake, then back to Pear Lake.
I do not even have to go to the Sierra for examples, there have been numerous times in
local county parks that I have found a person or group wondering around with a trail map
in hand, and lost, totally oblivious to were they were.
Some folks can drive from A to B, but cannot find there way back to A again, not sense
of direction what so ever.
So yes, I believe caution should be taken when giving an unqualified person an off trail
recommendation.
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: I wanna run this route by some experts

Postby rlown » Sun May 08, 2011 8:38 pm

I applaud your caution. However, those that ask get Plenty of advice here. Those that don't, really are on their own. At least here, they asked.

Personally, while "learning" in my teens and 20's, I've been lost or misplaced or cliffed out LOTS. Didn't die; had to spend a few nights where I didn't really expect to be, but still alive.

Per the trip request at hand, most is on trail, if one desires. The only thing that is different this year is the potential snow on the passes. I was into travel for the sake of travel in the beginning, but now it's about fishing and layover days. I ALWAYS stay at the trail head the night before if I'm going to be up high. It's really unpleasant to come from sea level and then hike at 8900' plus without a day up there.

Edit: before the Internet, no one would have asked for help.
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Re: I wanna run this route by some experts

Postby East Side Hiker » Mon May 09, 2011 9:27 pm

This is a most interesting string. The idea of going from Agnew Mdw. to 1000 Island Lake is a good one. My idea is to take you're time, don't have a concrete plan, and get to the areas you're interested in. You can always exit and get to your car somehow if your time runs out.

This is just only one tiny part of the Sierra.

I have to say that WD's comments are very interesting and educational. Maverick, rlown, and the others are just as intersting and educational. It amazes me how much knowledge there is out there. You're out there in the High Sierra and pass all kinds of people, and many of them could be these folks, and you'd never know it unless you stop and make conversation with them. I know some some people who stop everyone to talk, but others just walk on by.

If you do xcountry routes, you may not see anyone, but more likely to stop and discuss where you've been and where you're going.
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Re: I wanna run this route by some experts

Postby manbartz » Tue May 10, 2011 11:24 pm

Thanks for all the replies everybody. I've learned alot. Although I haven't thrown this idea away yet(1000 is. lake area to the valley), but me and a few buddies have recently taken and liking to the idea of this route: North Lake, Lamarck Col, Darwin Canyon, Alpine Col, Goethe Lake, Piute Pass Trail, Desolation Lake..... haven't really figured out where I might go after that, may just head back to Piute Pass trail and back down into the the lowlands. May go further pass Desolation to Puppet pass. I recently saw a thread about Lamarck col and could not resist the epicness of this area. I have never been in the backcountry below Mammoth so this would be a fresh new area for me and my buddies to visit.

I have been doing research on this area and I am confident with my x-country navigating to find these landmarks.

If anybody has any suggestions on this particular route please feel free to chime in!

Thanks for all the help!

Edit:
[qoute]Steve Fisher above Sixty Lakes Basin.[/quote]

Is that the Steve Fisher SDSU basketball coach? Hahaha
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Re: I wanna run this route by some experts

Postby Wandering Daisy » Wed May 11, 2011 8:20 am

You have jumped from an all-trail route to a significant off-trail route. Navigation is not the only issue here. Alpine Col is not something I would recommend unless you and your buddies have had LOTS of experience on large talus jumping with full packs. Snow Tongue Pass is even worse, in my opinion. Lamark Col is well used and not a real problem. I suggest you continue down Darwin Bench (easy to follow use-trail) to the PCT. Although the trail route back to French Canyon is longer, I suspect it would not take much longer and it really is a spectacular route too. You have not convinced me that you and your group are experienced enough for Alpine Col. The difficulty of this off-trail travel is orders of magnitude harder than the little off-trail section I described previously between Ireland Lake and Townsley Lake.
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Re: I wanna run this route by some experts

Postby maverick » Wed May 11, 2011 9:44 am

No offense, but jumping from an all out trail trip, to an extremely difficult route,
especially after the Clouds Rest trip you posted, is not something I would recommend.
I understand reading great trip reports, and seeing photo's of beautiful mountain scenery
is very luring.
I also understand the call of the wild, because all of us experience it, but Alpine Col or
Snow Tongue Pass are not passes you should take lightly, and especially without some
solid cross-country experience!
As WD mentions, you have not shown any evidence of prior x-country experience, I hope
the Clouds Rest trip wasn't meant to be show as such, and you also have to bear the
responsibility of getting your friends involved in such a dangerous trip if something bad
should happen!
Keep that trip in the back of your mind, and then when you get some experience under
your belt, than you, and your buddies can give it a try.
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: I wanna run this route by some experts

Postby manbartz » Wed May 11, 2011 2:00 pm

I understand your concerns and will most likely just skip alpine col and head down darwin bench to the jmt.

Just for clarity.... there was about 90%-95% snow coverage in those sections of yosemite. So are you questioning my judgement or strictly my navigational skills? Not offended at all just wonderig what you would have done in my position so I don't make the same mistake again. :)
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Re: I wanna run this route by some experts

Postby maverick » Wed May 11, 2011 2:35 pm

Manbartz wrote "So are you questioning my judgement or strictly my navigational skills?".

Both.
You did not listen to your instincts, as you put it, but listened to your egos, which could
be a major reason for getting yourselves into trouble down the line if you don't check it
at the trailhead.
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: I wanna run this route by some experts

Postby Wandering Daisy » Wed May 11, 2011 6:19 pm

Navigational skills take years to perfect and you are young. You made a typical mistake that those with only a few years experience make, particularly if you have not traveled over snow a lot. Prior to last year, the Sierra was dry and given when you started backpacking, you just have not had much of a chance to learn snow skills. Navigating in snow also involves "reading" snow and micro-route finding. I have been over that same country in very similar conditions, but going the other direction. You can easily get a bit off route but not really lost - after all the terrain is quite distinct- huge canyons on either side of a ridge. And we also slogged through thigh deep snow! There are points on the route, deep in the forest, that are very difficut to navigate with the trail burried in snow. You simply lacked enough expeierence in various snow conditions to realize the toll that type of travel takes on your travel time.

Judgement is also a skill that gets better with age and more years of backpacking. I would not say your judgement was anything I would not expect given your age, experience and ego factors of two young men! You made a mistake, suffered the consequences, and now know better not to do that again. You at least realized it was a mistake - and freely admited it. That is how you learn.

SOooo... now you ask us for advise. That is good! I have read a lot of internet trip reports and even ones from Backpacker Magazine. A lot of them sandbag the routes and do not say enough about the potential dangers. "Epics" sell in the media. I personally want a well planned trip with 99% enjoyment and awe and 1% "epic". You can have plenty of "awe" without "epic". Beware of what you read in the media about any route. Save Alpine Col for later. Either the Yosemite trip or the North Lake loop (not using Apline Col, but the trail) would be fine mountain experiences. Have fun and stay safe. I suggest also, that if this is your trip , let it be known that YOU are the leader. If it is time to stop or there are disagreements on route of whatever, exert your leadership. WHen the going gets tough, it is good to have a designated leader. That does not mean you do not listen to others, but the buck stops at you.

Also, I will be waiting for a trip report, with pictures!
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Re: I wanna run this route by some experts

Postby Wandering Daisy » Wed May 11, 2011 6:23 pm

By the way, the question is not what I would have done, but what would YOU do now that you have been through that experience. I do not give 20/20 hindsight advise on what I would have done- I was not there and am now tainted by facts that you did not know at the time.
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Re: I wanna run this route by some experts

Postby manbartz » Wed May 11, 2011 9:34 pm

Definitely will bring back a grip of photos.
In all honesty, I saw the idea for this hike in a backpacker magazine(titled better than national parks) recognized the name lamarck col, and realized I saw that name on a thread on hst.com. figured that because it was featured in backpacker, it was geared towards someone like me. Was I ever wrong?
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Re: I wanna run this route by some experts

Postby rlown » Wed May 11, 2011 9:52 pm

um, just Hike your own Hike. It's really nice to bounce ideas off of people here, but If you plan your route, as thousands do every year who are not HST members, then do it, and do it carefully. You know it's a high snow year. You probably know your groups limitations. And you probably have a plan B, and an exit strategy. Go with it.
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