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Question about "base camping" in Sequioa NP.

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Question about "base camping" in Sequioa NP.

Postby marvinartist » Thu Jul 21, 2011 8:43 pm

I have a permit for the Alta/Wolverton trailhead for 7-31 through 8-5. I am a pretty fit hiker and I'm in good shape. I regularly do 15 to 20 mile day hikes with lots of elevation gain, but I do them at basically sea level.

My concern is that I have really bulky gear and a small pack, so I'm not really equipped for a lengthy backpacking trip. What I'd like to do is set up a base camp over the course of a day or two that I can day hike from.

What would be your suggestions as far as the best place to set up the base camp from that trailhead? The ideal spot would be somewhere with a nearby water source, great views, and access to several different trails that I could do as out-and-backs over two or three days.


Alta meadow maybe? paradise valley? mehrton meadow? What would you recommend?

This board has been a great help to me so far, thanks!



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Re: Question about "base camping" in Sequioa NP.

Postby quentinc » Thu Jul 21, 2011 9:04 pm

Get a bigger pack. :)
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Re: Question about "base camping" in Sequioa NP.

Postby cgundersen » Fri Jul 22, 2011 8:16 am

Sure, bigger pack; but in the meantime, Moose Lake would probably be a great "base". Views from Moose are much better than the other spots (though, the recent SEKI posting said that Moose was still frozen, which seems a bit hard to believe). From there, you can do good day hikes to Big Bird and Lonely Lakes, or even as far as Tamarack/Hamilton if you're feeling energetic. Without a pack, you'll be able to cover a lot of ground.
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Re: Question about "base camping" in Sequioa NP.

Postby maverick » Fri Jul 22, 2011 10:48 am

Hi Marvinartist

Please read viewtopic.php?f=1&t=4205
this will give us more info on you experience level so we can recommend a trip
accordingly. Thanks
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Re: Question about "base camping" in Sequioa NP.

Postby marvinartist » Fri Jul 22, 2011 11:47 am

Okay, i'm a level 3, comfortable with most terrain except glaciers, technical climbing, and class 3 scrambling on snow. Main interests are big mountains and forests.

My trip is 6 days. I prefer loops but realize there aren't a lot of loops starting at that trailhead without cross country travel.
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Re: Question about "base camping" in Sequioa NP.

Postby copeg » Fri Jul 22, 2011 12:40 pm

I'd second the Moose Lake proposal. It would be a good exploratory location where you could hike the Tablelands, down to Big Bird (or even Deadman depending upon conditions and ambition). If your permit allows you to go in via Pear Lake this would be a good entry point and/or stopover before heading up to Moose.
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Re: Question about "base camping" in Sequioa NP.

Postby maverick » Fri Jul 22, 2011 4:15 pm

Pear Lake>Moose Lake>Lonely Lake>Over Elizabeth Pass to Tamarack Lake>Mehrten
Meadow>Wolverton
This is a loop, but Elizabeth Pass would require ice axe, and crampons unless you do
it later in the day when the snow has softened, and hiking poles would be a must.
If the steeper snow on Elizabeth sounds uncomfortable, than stick with Moose Lake
which is a great place to do day hikes from, and if your are not that comfy with cross
country travel, which I kinda of hear from your last statement "I prefer loops but realize
there aren't a lot of loops starting at that trailhead without cross country travel.", than
basecamp at Pear Lake, do day hikes to Moose Lake, Tablelands, and to the overlook
above Big Bird Lake.

Quentic wrote:
Get a bigger pack. :)

Wiseguy :lol:
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Watchtower snow conditions?

Postby marvinartist » Sat Jul 23, 2011 6:55 pm

Has anyone done the watchtower trail yet this year? Wonder how icy it is right now. The nps.gov website says its open but nothing about the ice and snow on it.
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Re: Question about "base camping" in Sequioa NP.

Postby maverick » Sat Jul 23, 2011 7:16 pm

Posted earlier in the week on the 7/19 SEKI NPS Update post.
Scroll down to the Pear Lake section: http://www.nps.gov/seki/planyourvisit/trailcond.htm
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Re: Question about "base camping" in Sequioa NP.

Postby marvinartist » Sat Jul 23, 2011 9:21 pm

Maverick, I saw that update but it doesn't mention snow. I assume that isn't because there isn't any.
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Re: Question about "base camping" in Sequioa NP.

Postby maverick » Sat Jul 23, 2011 9:28 pm

May be some in the forested, shaded area's.
It also say's Moose Lake is frozen so that means Tablelands may still have a lot of snow.
The report points to snow levels being at about 10000 ft.
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Re: Watchtower snow conditions?

Postby rallison » Wed Jul 27, 2011 12:50 am

marvinartist wrote:Has anyone done the watchtower trail yet this year? Wonder how icy it is right now. The nps.gov website says its open but nothing about the ice and snow on it.


From Wolverton, I hiked both the Alta Peak Trail and the Lakes Trail to Pear Lake on 7/24 and the only real snow was on the last 1/2 mile of Alta Peak. The Lakes Trail to Pear Lake is basically 100% snow free. Nothing on the Lakes Trail to Watchtower, nothing on the Watchtower section, and only a couple of small drifts in a couple of the shaded sections around the lakes.

I *think* the rangers said there was still some snow beyond Pear Lake, but I don't really remember. Also, there is a large chunk of rock that is covering one part of the Watchtower stretch, but can easily be ducked under - basically the only obstacle on the Lakes Trail.
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