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Doyle - Graveyard Lakes Pass?

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Doyle - Graveyard Lakes Pass?

Postby krudler » Fri May 26, 2006 11:18 am

Hi Doyle -

I'd be very interested to hear your opinion on the "Graveyard Lakes Pass" (aka "Silver Fox Pass") from Graveyard Lakes to the Anne Lake/Peter Pande Lake area. I'm planning a trip to this area in late August and am very interested in using that shortcut. I've done x-c travel before but nothing quite like a "class 2" Sierra pass yet and I'm hoping it will be possible. I'd be going from Anne/Peter over to Graveyard (north->south direction).

I'm also hoping to do the short part of the High Route from Laurel Lake to Izaak Walton Lake (Roper's "parkland") via I think it's "Bighorn" and then Shout-of-Relief passes, above Mott and Rosy Finch lakes. I know in your Silver Divide story from 2001 you had mentioned wanting to do that, I was curious if you had the chance yet. I'd like to be able to pull that one off to as I really really really want to see Hortense Lake and that would the perfect route as I am going from Devil's Postpile to VVR (via PeterPande/Graveyard) and back on the 2-week trip in August. If the x-c passes are sketchy it's going to add some significant mileage to my trip if I intend to get to all these destinations.

Thanks for any input!!!
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Postby Buck Forester » Fri May 26, 2006 5:01 pm

I'm not Doyle, but as a fan of Doyle's site, I do know he has a trip on his site that speaks of what you're asking. Here it is, after he's already to Graveyard Lakes and going toward the pass you're asking about:

http://www.accesscom.com/~ddonehoo/sliver/silver09.htm
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Postby krudler » Fri May 26, 2006 6:56 pm

Thanks Buck! I read that whole thing before, which is kind of what inspired me to ask about the pass. I'm not a wuss but I'm not sure how the getting up and over that (or actually, coming down from the direction I want to do) with a full pack is going to be, and in that story he went around and took Goodale Pass to get over.

Sure can't wait to visit all those lakes though!

Buck, I'm supposed to finally go to Tehipite the first week of October...I am so excited!
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Postby DoyleWDonehoo » Fri May 26, 2006 8:10 pm

Yeah, I never intended to go over Gaveyard Lakes Pass on that trip, though if I went back with anybody I think I would take it. Just to do something different.
As trail-less passes go, I believe it is a fairly easy one, even a "real" class 2 pass. Lots of loose but not particularly dangerous stuff on the north side to slog through I am told. I would probably be comfortable doing it alone.
Naturally, going that way you would miss some for the fine features on the way to Panda, like the outstanding Wilber May Lake. Ah well, get it on the return leg. :)
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Postby krudler » Fri May 26, 2006 8:53 pm

Cool beans - thanks Doyle!
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Postby Buck Forester » Fri May 26, 2006 9:41 pm

Ha! I forgot that he didn't drop down the other side, that he only climbed up one side... sorry, my bad! As for Tehipite, I may see you in October! But I'll be going up from the confluence of the MF/SF and walking up the canyon. The fishing should be sweet! It'll also be nice to walk around the valley and cross the river at will, with low flows.
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Postby DoyleWDonehoo » Fri May 26, 2006 9:50 pm

Buck Forester wrote:... But I'll be going up from the confluence of the MF/SF and walking up the canyon. The fishing should be sweet! It'll also be nice to walk around the valley and cross the river at will, with low flows.


John Muir did it with a mule, on his way out of Tahipite, also late season. Ended up at Converse Basin and his first meal in over three days. He loved Tahipite as well.
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Postby krudler » Fri May 26, 2006 10:04 pm

Buck, at that time of year (with the lower flows) would you consider that "easier" than coming in the 15 or so miles via Rancheria/Crown Valley? Or is it crazy in its own right? Naturally there is some apprehension about the idea of going back up that trail on the canyon wall, so I'm always looking for options. I had figured that in a heavy snow year like this, even in October, going up the canyon would be tough as the M.Kings might still have a lot of water? It looks like an interesting route but it seems you would have to hit it at just the right time?
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Postby Buck Forester » Fri May 26, 2006 10:25 pm

krudler, I guess it depends on what kind of adventure you're looking for. Going up the M.F. is challenging and slow-going and there's always the possibility the flows might be too high. The hike in from Rancheria is a sure bet, although it is uneventful until you hit the canyon rim. You can do the trail in a day, as I once hiked out of Tehipite Valley back to the trailhead in one long day, but if you have more time it's best to break it up a bit. But going up the canyon, although it's only a fraction of the mileage, will probably take a little more than a day. It sounds like lots of boulder hopping, wading, and occasional cliff climbing. I read a report on it once, I'll try and find it. It was in the fall sometime, I think September. The guy said he didn't see much trout but he wasn't a fisherman. Slogging up a creek mid-day isn't really the best way to spot trout, ha!

Okay, here's his report, from climber.org

http://www.climber.org/TripReports/1999/477.html
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Postby DoyleWDonehoo » Fri May 26, 2006 10:37 pm

My turn. :cool: Heh...
Going up the river for someone who is not a fisherman is a little nutz I think. Rocks rocks rocks, pools, scrambling, snakes, poisen oak...lotsa work and a long way.
Going up the trail out of Tahipite is not so bad. Get up early if you think it's going to be hot. Just slog away. Right at the top of the switchbacks is an ideal place to drop packs and sit down to enjoy the views. Going down was worse: the front of the upper legs, ow! Going out we got back to the camps at Rodgers Creek just before Crown Valley. Tired? Yup.
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Postby krudler » Sat May 27, 2006 10:14 am

Well, we are fishermen, but perhaps we'll just stick to the trail route. Less iffy.
Thanks for the input guys!
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Postby Take-a-Hike » Sat May 27, 2006 2:35 pm

Krudler:
My wife and I took that very same pass last year, inspired by Doyle's article mentioned above. We did it on a less than desirable day in early August. We're both over 50, wife was recovering from a partially torn ACL and was a bit on the slow side, but we had very little problems. The side that is pictured in the article above is a piece of cake, and mind you, it was our very first attempt at anything cross country.
We had spent the nite before at one of the Graveyard Lakes and then a bit of weather moved in. We had gone up to the upper lake to check out the way the previous afternoon and then that evening 5 guys came clomping down the trail and it was obvious they'd come over the top, so I asked how it was. They said coming down was easy, (the south side), but they had a bit of a problem on the north side finding the right spot to get over. Actually, 2 had gone one way, 3 another, the 2 had picked a harder way. So, anyway, next morning we took off despite a cloudy, drizzly morning. It's very obvious to see the route as you reach the upper Graveyard Lake, pass it on the left, going up, and then just pick your path going up. Once in a while you'll come across a duck, but, for the most part, it's a no brainer...just head for the trees. The only difficult thing about the whole trip is coming down on the Peter Panda side of the pass. There's a talus field up there, the big, stable stuff of jagged proportions. For most folks of good footing and stable balance it should take maybe 30 minutes to traverse the stuff and be on your way. But since my wife had problems bending one knee all the way and had a 30 lb pack on, it was one slow painful step after another. I think it took us darn near 2 hours to get across, diagonally, that thing. But once we got across, the rest was easy cross country around the small lake that's there to the trail that leads down to Peter Panda. When we got on top, the wind was pretty brisk, the drizzle got harder, and it was a bit slippery in spots, but not bad. We made it to PP about 1:00 and set up camp, just in time, as the drizzle turned into an all afternoon downpour. Went away about 6 and then was a nice Sierra evening.
A couple of days later when we left, we went down the trail way, and for the record, we would NEVER have made it up from Graveyard Lakes to Peter Panda Lake in one day going up over Goodale Pass via the trail. The Silver FOx, Graveyard Lakes Pass or whatever it's called is a definate short cut, I'd say of about 5-7 hours of hiking. There actually is a broken wooden sign, not too old, that pays tribute to someone at the top. Evidently it was someone who passed away at a too early of an age who was fond of that area.
We really liked that area and will probably end up there again someday. If you have the time, there's a couple of lakes up behind PP that are nice and our goal someday is to go around and try to get down to Olive lake from that way rather than the trail depicted on the maps.
This trip made us realize we could do cross country stuff with out my wife nagging all the way about getting lost, and it also made us aware of the need to carry adequate light weight clothing good for all types of weather. If we'd delayed a couple of hours and had to go over that pass in the rain that showed up later in the day, things might have not been so peachy.
We had sent Doyle a message last summer thanking him for his report and story..I had printed it out and used it as a guide most of the way. So, thanks again, Doyle, and for anyone who visits that area, it's a most desireable area.
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