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Onion Valley or Horseshoe Meadow

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Onion Valley or Horseshoe Meadow

Postby jgc » Wed Jul 20, 2011 11:37 am

Hello, Which do you think is the most scenic and varied hike: Onion Valley to Kearsage Pass (and maybe on to the Kearsage Meadows) or Horseshoe Meadow to the South Fork Lakes area and New Army Pass? This would be for a day trip in early August.

FYI I've done one other day hike in this area, to the Big Pine Lakes and Palisade Glacier.

Thank you

John



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Re: Onion Valley or Horseshoe Meadow

Postby maverick » Wed Jul 20, 2011 12:03 pm

Hi JGC

Welcome to HST!
Both are fun hikes, and any day spent in the Sierra is a great day!
With that said, Kearsarge Pass, unless of coarse it was a longer trip included Miter Basin.
HST= Wilderness Adventurer who knows no bounds, except for their own imagination.

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Re: Onion Valley or Horseshoe Meadow

Postby quentinc » Wed Jul 20, 2011 3:50 pm

The hike to New Army Pass is longer than to Kearsarge Pass, so it's probably not a fair comparison. If you did Kearsarge, then you could hike down to and around the Kearsarge Lakes, which are really nice. In that case I'd vote for Kearsarge too, although I hate coming down on those pointless switchbacks that tangle up the trail below Gilbert Lake (the switchbacks closer to the pass at least make some sense).
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Re: Onion Valley or Horseshoe Meadow

Postby Ikan Mas » Wed Jul 20, 2011 9:27 pm

Kearsarge Pass for sure! Much more dramatic. Great view down to Kearsarge Lakes and Bullfrog. Here's a few shots from both, 2003 Kearsarge first;
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Bullfrog Lake
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2004 New Army Pass:
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Re: Onion Valley or Horseshoe Meadow

Postby jgc » Thu Jul 21, 2011 1:38 am

Thanks for the replies. Kearsage Pass it is then. How easy would it be to head north from the pass to Mt Gould then descend to Golden Trout Lake, and hence return along the path to that lake?
John
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Re: Onion Valley or Horseshoe Meadow

Postby cgundersen » Thu Jul 21, 2011 8:29 am

John,
If you check in the peak bagging section, I believe there was a report on climbing Mt Gould a couple years ago ( from Moosetracks). But, if I recall, it did not include a return via Golden Trout. Certainly, getting up to Kearsarge pass (especially, sans a loaded pack) should be straightforward if you're in decent shape. Climbing Gould also is reasonably straigthforward. But, you'll want to keep track of time, energy levels and especially the appearance of the descent toward Golden Trout. I've only day hiked up to Golden Trout and from my recollection, you'll be in for strenuous class 2 and perhaps some class 3 getting down to the lake from Gould. Then, the trail itself is appreciably more ratty than the very well traveled Kearsarge trail, but it's serviceable. Keep in mind that this year's snow may add twists. My guess is it'll be wiser to backtrack from Gould rather than trying a loop, but that's just being conservative.
cg
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Re: Onion Valley or Horseshoe Meadow

Postby jgc » Thu Jul 21, 2011 10:25 am

I found this link with plenty of photos, and the slopes above Golden Trout Lake don't look too bad:

http://piotrowski.smugmug.com/Californi ... 7923_K6NoB

FYI I've done a fair amount of off trail hiking, this being my website: http://www.americansouthwest.net/

But what are the snow conditions at present, or in 2 weeks - are there still deep drifts in this part of the Sierras?
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Re: Onion Valley or Horseshoe Meadow

Postby quentinc » Thu Jul 21, 2011 11:30 am

Heading up to Kearsarge Pass and Gould, snow will be a non-issue. I don't know about the descent to Golden Trout, but I suspect it won't be a problem either.
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Re: Onion Valley or Horseshoe Meadow

Postby MountainGlory » Thu Jul 21, 2011 8:54 pm

I hiked Onion Valley to Kearsarge Pass last Saturday 7/16 - gorgeous! A few lingering snowfields, but easily navigable with good boots - the snow did start icing up by 6 pm just below the pass - no snow on the west side of the pass.. Pothole Lake was still mostly frozen, but given the warmer weather this week, who knows. All of the lakes on the west side of the pass are thawed. From Onion Valley to Golden Trout Lakes, on Friday 7/15, several steep snowfields to cross - we went around one on the way up - scrambling boulders, but crossed the snow on the way down which was much easier and took less time, Golden Trout Lake still thawing, crossed paths with only two backpackers on our way out. Onion Valley to Robinson Lake Sunday 7/17, also required several snow crossings, we crossed only one other hiker and had the cirque to ourselves.
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Re: Onion Valley or Horseshoe Meadow

Postby jgc » Fri Jul 22, 2011 7:45 am

MountainGlory, Thanks for that updated information. Looks as though I shouldn't have too many problems in 2 weeks.
John
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Re: Onion Valley or Horseshoe Meadow

Postby MountainGlory » Fri Jul 22, 2011 9:16 pm

Mosquitoes perhaps along Gilbert and Flower Lakes. If you have the opportunity, head over to Matlock Lakes Basin too! (south across the log "bridge" at Flower Lake).
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Re: Onion Valley or Horseshoe Meadow

Postby richlong8 » Wed Jul 27, 2011 6:04 am

I have done Gould via Kearsage, then back down via Golden Trout Lake. It was a long dayhike for me. more of a talus-scree descent, nothing technical about it. It would be a lot easier to go back down the ridge to Kearsage, but you would miss the fishing at the lakes- if you had the energy!
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