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Advice for alternative routes into West Walker drainage area

Posted: Thu Jun 09, 2011 3:12 pm
by acvdmlac
Hi, we are a group of hikers with vary abilities, some experienced backpackers, some relatively new but generally fit, capable of 8-12 mile average days. We're thinking of exploring the West and Little Walker drainages in the Hoover Wilderness on a trip from August 14-21, and we're interested if anyone has any suggestions or experience regarding the pros & cons of the three entry routes we're looking at: Pickel Meadow/Poore Lake vs. Leavitt Meadow vs. Burt Canyon with cross-country route to West Walker River...we like scenery and physical challenges, don't care for heavily-used packer trails and camps.

The topos make it look like one could head west from Burt Canyon up Piute Canyon, over Piute Pass and down to Yparraquire Canyon, or from Anna Lake to Long Canyon, and avoid the pack station entry of at Leavitt Meadow...anyone have any experience regarding the difficulty of such cross-country routes? Some of us have good map-reading ability and have done some class 2-3 cross-country routes (Longley Pass, North Glacier Pass), but none of us have climbing or rope/ax/crampon skills or compass skills where landmarks are confusing or not apparent. Thank you for any advice! :nod:

Re: Advice for alternative routes into West Walker drainage area

Posted: Fri Jun 10, 2011 10:25 am
by paul
I have not been up the Little walker, but did partly plan a trip in that area that never happened. I have a couple thoughts:
First, Leavitt meadows and Pickel Meadows are packer country. If I wanted to get into the upper reaches of the West Walker, I'd start at either Leavitt Lake (going over into Kennedy canyon and down it to the valley of the west walker) or Twin Lakes or Buckeye Creek. Less horse traffic and fewer people and very nice. As for navigating, no problems with hard to see landmarks in that area- it's very easy to find your way around there. And by august I doubt you'll have much trouble with the snow - there will still be patches but they'll be soft by mid-morning and mostly avoidable if you want to stay off them.
Starting From Leavitt Lake would be my first choice - you get to start with great views as you go over the ridge to Kennedy canyon, and once you get down to the west walker the are is really nice, bunch of nice little lakes and meadows. If you go across to the trail in Long Canyon, it looks easy to get from there into the head of Yparraquire canyon and up to Anna Lake and then there's a trail down into the little walker. Or you can stay in the west walker drainage and ther's lots to do. The girly lakes (Helen, Bonnie, Dorothy, etc. Are really nice, and yo can go over into the Emigrant Basin for more fun. If you fish, you might want to make a stop at High Emigrant Lake: it's been good in the past. And you can come out by going back over Big Sam (not named as such on all maps; it's the 10825 peak just north of High Emigrant Lake with the trail going right over the top) for fabulous views.

Re: Advice for alternative routes into West Walker drainage area

Posted: Sun Jun 12, 2011 12:05 pm
by acvdmlac
Thanks for your thoughts! Pretty much what I had figured--Leavitt and Pickel Meadows have looked like packer entrances when we've driven by before. Good to hear the lakes further in are so nice! We'll post some photos if/when we go.