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Miter, Langley and Lots of Snow -- TR

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Miter, Langley and Lots of Snow -- TR

Postby quentinc » Tue Jun 14, 2011 6:53 pm

The world is always a better place once the Horseshoe Meadow Road opens, and it did that last Tuesday. I had no idea what to expect snow-wise and half-expected to end up going over Trail Pass down into the low meadows. However, mosquitoes in the parking lot made me reconsider -- if they were starting at 10,000, they'd probably be hell at 9,000.

Anyway, Cottonwood Pass was a little bit dicey only because I insisted on my usual route -- straight up the middle. The very top was pretty steep and snow-covered, and perhaps I should have dropped down before traversing. But I got to use my Microspikes for the first time, and they did help. Over the pass, I was surprised by how many PCT thru-hikers had already gone through (last weekend I saw scads of them not far from Mt. Baldy -- at least 3 weeks away). First up was Frozen Chicken (Spring) Lake:

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The snow was nice to walk on in the morning and post-hole hell in late afternoon.

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When I got towards the Rock Creek trail turn-off from the PCT, I'd completely lost whatever trail of footprints there was, and ended up wandering and falling into soft snow everywhere. It was always worse where there were trees than where there was a clearing. I guess the melting in the sun and then re-freezing at night toughens the surface?

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Anyway, I got back on track, but darkness stopped my path to Miter Basin (I've been making it up there on the first day lately). The morning revived me, and I quickly found the half-buried sign to Cold Soldier Lake:

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Miter Basin was a winter wonderland. Except for a few rocky outcroppings, it was completely covered:

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Sky Blue Ice Lake:

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By afternoon I was tuckered out and ominous clouds threatened. But I managed to get myself up to Iridescent Lake (no pun for that one). This is the view from near the lake:

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The next day, I thought I'd check out Langley. This was sure helpful:

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And this sight wasn't very encouraging, especially since I had to hike out the same day back over Cottonwood:

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But it takes an awful lot to keep me off the top of Langley. Looking towards the Kaweahs:

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I knew I would pay for this, and pay I did. By late afternoon I was post-holing like crazy and at one point crashed through to a stream (which I was sure I was at least 10 feet away from -- go figure). But I made it out, and there were some sights along the way even lovelier than the blood oozing from my knees (yeah, what kind of idiot wears shorts while hiking in soft snow?). Like Siberia, or its outpost:

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I got back to my car at 9:30 and I'm already itching to go back up there.
Last edited by quentinc on Fri Jul 15, 2011 2:15 pm, edited 2 times in total.



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Re: Miter, Langley and Lots of Snow -- TR

Postby maverick » Tue Jun 14, 2011 7:05 pm

Love all that snow Q, real nice photo's, especially liked the last two!
Thanks for posting it so quickly.
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Re: Miter, Langley and Lots of Snow -- TR

Postby maverick » Thu Jun 16, 2011 5:50 pm

First backpacking trip to the high country, beautiful Miter Basin, and only one
comment, interesting/dumbfounding or lame.
Some folks take the time to post relevant information, especially in this snowy year
that is helpful to us at HST, and no one has anything to say, just look. :confused:
A little appreciation or thanks sure goes a long way, otherwise some folks will just
not bother to post TR's as much or at all in the future.
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: Miter, Langley and Lots of Snow -- TR

Postby GunnyJC » Thu Jun 16, 2011 6:25 pm

Exactly the kind of info I was hoping/looking for!!! Thanks a lot Q and loved the pics! \:D/
Semper Fi!
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Re: Miter, Langley and Lots of Snow -- TR

Postby AlmostThere » Thu Jun 16, 2011 7:09 pm

I see pictures like this and wish I were a winter sort of hiker. But I'm just not, so keep posting the pics. :nod:

I might have some pics next week - but we'll see how it goes.
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Re: Miter, Langley and Lots of Snow -- TR

Postby richlong8 » Fri Jun 17, 2011 5:38 am

What a great trip report! Thank you- awesome accomplishment in these conditions. That area sure looks different than it normally does! Great photos.

First backpacking trip to the high country, beautiful Miter Basin, and only one
comment, interesting/dumbfounding or lame.
Some folks take the time to post relevant information, especially in this snowy year
that is helpful to us at HST, and no one has anything to say, just look. :confused:
A little appreciation or thanks sure goes a long way, otherwise some folks will just
not bother to post TR's as much or at all in the future.


I agree- it is a lot of work to post a TR, we need to encourage people to keep making the effort by acknowledging the trip reports. or HST might become a site for the few, instead of expanding its base.
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Re: Miter, Langley and Lots of Snow -- TR

Postby 87TT » Fri Jun 17, 2011 6:21 am

I have nothing to say but WOW!! That is freaking awsome.
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Re: Miter, Langley and Lots of Snow -- TR

Postby Jimr » Fri Jun 17, 2011 8:52 am

Thanks Quentinc. I'll be heading to that area in early August. It's awesome covered in snow.
What?!
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Re: Miter, Langley and Lots of Snow -- TR

Postby quentinc » Fri Jun 17, 2011 10:41 am

Thanks everyone. It was an interesting experience because I've never done a trip before that was mostly on snow. One nice thing I learned is that even when there is almost 100% snow cover, there are often snow-free wells around the base of trees that you can pitch a tent in.
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Re: Miter, Langley and Lots of Snow -- TR

Postby markskor » Fri Jun 17, 2011 10:47 am

Nice TR...nicer trip!
Been up there in the Basin twice now and somehow, everything looks so much different when all draped in white.
Envious and impressed with everything offered here.
Thanks...
Mountainman who swims with trout
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Re: Miter, Langley and Lots of Snow -- TR

Postby windknot » Fri Jun 17, 2011 9:34 pm

Great trip! I love the pictures, especially the one of the Siberian Outpost looking like, well, Siberia.

And I can't speak for everyone else, but I haven't been visiting HST as frequently due to the high snow winter. I do try to make it a point to leave a comment when I do read a report though, even if I'm a little late in the game.
A few backcountry fishing pictures: http://wanderswithtrout.wordpress.com/
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Re: Miter, Langley and Lots of Snow -- TR

Postby bluefintu » Fri Jun 17, 2011 11:17 pm

Hi Quentinc,

Thank you for your trail report !!! I'm trying to plan a trip at the end of July or August to the Mitre Basin with my son. I'm planning on buying a raft to take, but I may have to take an ice drill instead. The snow should be gone by the time I go and the skeeters will be out inforce. Thanks again for you trail report.
Don
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