TR: Cottonwood Pass to Soldier Lake/Miter Basin with kids

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tim
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TR: Cottonwood Pass to Soldier Lake/Miter Basin with kids

Post by tim » Sun Jul 03, 2011 11:59 pm

We had a spectacular trip this weekend (6/30-7/3) over Cottonwood Pass with my 10 year old twins and a friend with his son. I think we timed it just right for minimal snow (except in Miter Basin) but without the skeeters being a problem. All the stream crossings are trivial and there's not much mud - no need for wet feet at all.

First night we camped at Chicken Spring Lake (~3.5 hours), feeling pretty exhausted by the altitude and the haul up Cottonwood Pass. There is just a tiny bit of snow right at the top to walk across, but well established bootprints to follow. There were a lot of skeeters circling us at the lake, and the clouds of them looked quite fearsome as dusk approached, but they didn't seem to be biting. We met a PCT hiker (Dutch) who had got that far (700 miles) in only 34 days! He was aiming to get to Reds Meadow in another 8 days.

Second day we continued to Lower Soldier Lake (~4 hours), where we camped near the bear box well above the meadow. That definitely helped in terms of reducing the number of skeeters, though they were starting to bite at dusk. The third day we did a day hike to Sky Blue Lake (~6 hours with a long break at the lake), which was still completely frozen except near the exit. However, the ice is definitely starting to break up. The basin was beautiful, with just enough snow to make it fun for the kids, without being tedious. The snow was also pretty solid, even on the way back down after lunch.

Then a fairly long haul back out today (though the promise of pizza in Lone Pine helped and we got to the car in under 5 hours). All in all it was a great trip for the kids, no big climbs and astonishingly few people (apart from the geology class coming out and a few day hikers below Cottonwood Pass, we only saw about 15 people in the whole 4 days). Definitely a lot better than our original plan of Yosemite - we came back over Tioga and its all snow and meltwater.
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maverick
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Re: TR: Cottonwood Pass to Soldier Lake/Miter Basin with kids

Post by maverick » Mon Jul 04, 2011 12:23 am

Thanks Tim for the TR, and pictures.
Snow sure has melted some since Quentinc's TR to Miter Basin, the Siberian Outpost
has done some seriously melting.
Cute kids!
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I don't give out specific route information, my belief is that it takes away from the whole adventure spirit of a trip, if you need every inch planned out, you'll have to get that from someone else.

Have a safer backcountry experience by using the HST ReConn Form 2.0, named after Larry Conn, an HST member: http://reconn.org

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mschnaidt
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Re: TR: Cottonwood Pass to Soldier Lake/Miter Basin with kids

Post by mschnaidt » Mon Jul 04, 2011 3:13 pm

Thanks for the post Tim. I'm heading there in three weeks. It's great to see the snow melting.

Happy 4th!

Michael

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East Side Hiker
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Re: TR: Cottonwood Pass to Soldier Lake/Miter Basin with kids

Post by East Side Hiker » Mon Jul 04, 2011 8:59 pm

Nice report. Great photos. The middle Sierra sure has a lot more snow cover than the southern Sierra.

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windknot
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Re: TR: Cottonwood Pass to Soldier Lake/Miter Basin with kids

Post by windknot » Mon Jul 04, 2011 9:24 pm

Great pictures and thanks for the report! Weather sure looks like it was a lot better there than in the Leavitt Meadows area where I just spent part of the weekend (hot and dusty).
You can read a few backcountry reports here: http://wanderswithtrout.wordpress.com/

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quentinc
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Re: TR: Cottonwood Pass to Soldier Lake/Miter Basin with kids

Post by quentinc » Tue Jul 05, 2011 4:48 pm

As Mav noted, it's amazing how much the snow has melted in the past 2 weeks. Now if only this could get going further north!

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Re: TR: Cottonwood Pass to Soldier Lake/Miter Basin with kids

Post by Flux » Wed Jul 06, 2011 7:36 am

Very awesome getting the kids back there. Sky Blue is a big slushie!! WOW!

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