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TR: Kaiser Peak from the north

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TR: Kaiser Peak from the north

Postby windknot » Tue Aug 09, 2011 7:32 pm

I did a quick overnight backpack in the Kaiser Wilderness this past weekend, aiming to check out a little-visited corner of this small wilderness area and then loop back over Kaiser Peak and back down to the trailhead. We headed up to Potter Pass, then took a shortcut to Lower Twin via the little lake at 8880+ northwest of peak 9559.

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The Twins had lots of people and even more mosquitoes, so we continued up along the trail to George Lake. This pretty lake had several people as well, but we stopped for about an hour to eat lunch and fish a bit. Some decent fish, but most of them wouldn't bite.

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With solitude and unknown fisheries beckoning, we continued on up a pretty well-defined use trail and hopped up to College, Campfire, and then Jewel.

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The fishing in these lakes isn't especially noteworthy (small brookies in each one), but they do offer a respite from the crowds and all are pretty little lakes. Jewel especially is set in a very scenic bowl nestled beneath Kaiser Peak with great sight lines to the east. This lake was actually still half-frozen.

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There's a nice, straightforward route up to the pass due north of Jewel, and soon we were on top of the rounded pass and soaking in the views to the east.

Jewel Lake from above:
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Looking east:
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The route down the other side was pretty steep in places, but we picked our way down and reached Bobby by 4:30pm, making camp in a nice little sheltered spot east of the lake.

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There was still a lot of snow at Bobby, with about 15% of the lake covered in ice. Amazing that a lake at 9320 feet in the central Sierra is still partly frozen a week into August. I sampled the local fishery and found some feisty brookies on dry flies.

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Back at camp, we had fun using the electric fly swatter we had brought to mount an energetic attack on the hordes of mosquitoes. Picture a badminton racquet with strings that deliver electric charges at the push of a button. The battery-operated zapper even made a satisfying popping sound when a hapless mosquito touched live wire. I think I've found my new favorite backpacking toy for those early summer trips. We spent the rest of the evening consuming a pound of angel hair with pesto and salmon between the three of us and drinking hot chocolate laced with a generous dose of Irish cream.

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On Sunday morning I headed up the hill to go check out Bonnie, where I fished a bit in this shallow and mostly lifeless lake. I saw a few old campsites, but it's obvious that not too many people visit this lake.

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From Bonnie, I scrambled down to Bill, nestled in a very deep hole to the northwest.

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As I got closer I saw dozens of small rises dimpling the surface of this little lake, and once I arrived at the lake's edge I saw that there were tons of small brookies everywhere. The mosquitoes were also everywhere, so I stayed only long enough to catch a few fish and then I high-tailed it out of there. Another pretty little hideaway.

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Once back at Bobby, we packed up and headed back out the way we came. We had a challenging but fun climb back up to the ridge, and then from there we followed the ridgeline southwest until we reached Kaiser Peak.

Link to a panorama: http://image83.webshots.com/183/4/97/41 ... mAd_fs.jpg

The hike back down to the trailhead via the Kaiser Loop Trail was uneventful except for the realization that my second pair of high-end Asolos (bought used online a few weeks ago) didn't fit properly (too narrow and too long), impacting several spots on both feet and making for a teeth-gritting trot at every step. Time to go shopping again, I guess.
A few backcountry fishing pictures: http://wanderswithtrout.wordpress.com/



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Re: TR: Kaiser Peak from the north

Postby rlown » Tue Aug 09, 2011 7:49 pm

nice report and some nice fish! The impact of the late cold storms still amazes me this year.
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Re: TR: Kaiser Peak from the north

Postby Shawn » Tue Aug 09, 2011 7:56 pm

Great stuff, thanks for sharing.....
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Re: TR: Kaiser Peak from the north

Postby Carne_DelMuerto » Tue Aug 09, 2011 10:54 pm

Great report. Thank you. In my time living up at Huntington Lake I never hiked back to these lakes. I'll now have to make it a point to visit them one day.
Wonder is rock and water and the life that lives in-between.
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Re: TR: Kaiser Peak from the north

Postby maverick » Wed Aug 10, 2011 10:20 am

Thanks Windknot for the TR and pictures.
The Jewel Lake shot kind of reminds me of the shot I have of the smaller Iron
Lake (Ansel Adams Wilderness) which was also mostly frozen back several years
ago, but in June.
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: TR: Kaiser Peak from the north

Postby windknot » Thu Aug 11, 2011 10:29 am

Thanks everyone. This is definitely a hidden "jewel" tucked away on the western slope, and every time I've visited the off-trail area north of Kaiser Peak I haven't seen another soul (even on impacted dates like Labor Day weekend).
A few backcountry fishing pictures: http://wanderswithtrout.wordpress.com/
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Re: TR: Kaiser Peak from the north

Postby Troutdog 59 » Thu Aug 11, 2011 11:34 am

Very nice TR and pics as always windknot!!! Thanks for sharing!!! The snow pack and its ability to hang around this year is flat out amazing. I worked in the Sierras in 83, but I dont recall the snow pack and ice lingering as long. Ice on lakes below 9500 in August??? Whod a thunk it!! And your spot on about finding solitude in these areas and many other higher use areas. I dayhiked a few weeks back with my brother into the Kaiser to a little "jewel" that I gleaned from a members blog (some guy named Matt :-k , oh yeah :p ). A nearby lake had about 20 to 30 folk around it, but a short hop over a nearby ridge and we had the lake to ourselves for about 2.5 hours. Didnt see a soul until we hiked out. We werent the 1st up there as we saw some tracks, but it appeared only a few had ventured over the ridge. Ive had similar experiences around the Sierra. Just a little exploration off the main trail and one finds much more solitude.

Again, thanks for the TR and pics. Always appreciated.
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In your mind you can hear, a voice so sweet and clear, and the music that plays in your head......
As it flows up from the ground, taking all that hear the sound, close your eyes, it’s about to begin.

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