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Onion Valley - Horshoe Meadow. Is that the wrong direction?

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Onion Valley - Horshoe Meadow. Is that the wrong direction?

Postby Pavla » Mon Aug 15, 2011 10:11 pm

I am researching a trip from Onion valley over Kearsarge Pass, Forester, Crabtree Meadows, Rock Creek, Army Pass to Cottonwood Lakes and Horseshoe Meadow. It seems that everybody is posting reports and pictures going in the oposite direction (South to North). Do they all know something that I don't, but will be very sorry to discover? Are the views better? Is the wind blowing north? Or is it just a coincidence?

On another note, I was intriqued by pictures of Sixty Lakes basin and would like to incorporate it to the trip. Is it enterily crazy to climb over Glenn Pass just to get there, and then climb back to continue on to Horseshow Meadow?

Thanks for any suggestions.

Pavla



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Re: Onion Valley - Horshoe Meadow. Is that the wrong direction?

Postby quentinc » Mon Aug 15, 2011 10:20 pm

I can't think of any reason why -- I've done that trip myself from north to south. It's a big climb out of Vidette Meadow to Forester, but that's a beautiful stretch of trail.
Sixty Lakes Basin is definitely worth a side trip -- depends on how much time you have. You could make it a loop by going over Gardiner Pass to Charlotte Lake if so inclined, but that does involve a lot of Class 2 talus.
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Re: Onion Valley - Horshoe Meadow. Is that the wrong direction?

Postby ManOfTooManySports » Mon Aug 15, 2011 11:01 pm

The general stated preference for the JMT is S to N to keep the sun out of the eyes. That's what I've heard, anyway.

We did Kearsarge to Whitney Portal a few years ago and enjoyed it very much. That trip was OV to the upper reaches of Vidette Meadows, over Forester then cross-country/trails to Lake South America (2 nights), back to the JMT to a lake off the trail that everyone already knew about, from that lake to the Hitchcock Lakes, up Whitney down to the Outpost, then out.

We also did Sixty Lakes Basin on a different trip. I'd recommend it, too, but that's a non-trivial detour. You could do our trip but start by going to Sixty Lakes Basin and bypass Lake South America. But OV to Sixty lakes is a long haul with a lot of climbing and descending.
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Re: Onion Valley - Horshoe Meadow. Is that the wrong direction?

Postby Turtleggjp » Tue Aug 16, 2011 8:21 am

We did Onion Valley to Whitney back in August 2008. We met up with my sister and her husband who were doing the entire JMT, and basically finished it with them. Afterwards, they went out to Whitney Portal, but we took another couple days and went out over Army Pass to Horseshoe Meadows. The main reason people might be going the other direction would be to do Whitney first. Cottonwood Lakes/Pass trails are probably the quickest access to Mt. Whitney outside of Whitney Portal and all the permit mess that comes with it. If you have the time though, I would suggest starting at Onion Valley to do Whitney.

If you get a really early start, you might be able to make it over Kearsarge and Glen Passes in one day. I did that once, although I cheated and hiked in to Gilbert Lake in the dark, then made Rae Lakes the next day followed by a layover day into Sixty Lakes Basin. This might be harder though carrying enough food for a trip down to Whitney. Perhaps you could stash a bear canister with most of your food on the South side of Glen Pass (take only enough food with you for your side trip to Sixty Lakes Basin). I agree that it is worth the side trip if you have the time.

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Re: Onion Valley - Horshoe Meadow. Is that the wrong direction?

Postby Pavla » Tue Aug 16, 2011 10:52 pm

Thanks for the replies - very helpful!

ManOfTooManySports, how did you do Lake South America? That was an alternative I was considering if my buddies refuse to climb over Glenn Pass twice. It looks from the map that there is about 1 mile cross country "shortcut" between PCT south of Forester and the Lake South America trail, but I couldnt' find anyone mentioning doing it. It may be totally impossible in reality. Is the area around that lake worth the trip? It looks like a nice loop off the main trail.

Turtlejjgp, where did you camp between Crabtree Meadows and Horshoe Meadow? I want to come out over Army Pass as well and was looking at Soldier's Lake and then Long Lake, or maybe somewhere next to the Rock Creek?

I don't think we will be up to Gardiner Pass with pretty full packs and probably bunch of snow on the ground. But I looked it up and it looks great - next year!

Thanks again guys.
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Re: Onion Valley - Horshoe Meadow. Is that the wrong direction?

Postby Turtleggjp » Wed Aug 17, 2011 6:31 am

Pavla wrote:Turtlejjgp, where did you camp between Crabtree Meadows and Horshoe Meadow? I want to come out over Army Pass as well and was looking at Soldier's Lake and then Long Lake, or maybe somewhere next to the Rock Creek?


We camped at Soldier Lake. It was kind of a long day to get there, but just a lot of miles, no real big uphill slogs. It's uphill all the way from Rock Creek crossing to Soldier Lake, but a pretty gentle grade. i just looked at my GPS elevation profile for that day, and the steepest uphills I see that day are just after leaving Crabtree Meadows, just before Guyot Pass, and then right before Soldier Lake. All of them climb 300ft or less. The total climb from Rock Creek crossing to Soldier Lake gains about 1200ft in 5.5 miles.

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Re: Onion Valley - Horshoe Meadow. Is that the wrong direction?

Postby quentinc » Wed Aug 17, 2011 11:12 am

Pavla, there is indeed a shortcut between the JMT and the trail heading up to Lake SA. Just follow the terrain where the contour lines aren't too steep. You can always feel your way along as you start heading up the ridge -- you can just avoid anything that climbs up too much or too fast. You'll probably encounter ducks, but after enough years of hiking cross-country, I'm convinced you could probably find ducks on the moon. :)
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Re: Onion Valley - Horshoe Meadow. Is that the wrong direction?

Postby ManOfTooManySports » Thu Aug 18, 2011 6:02 pm

What quentinc said. From what I recall, there are a few rocky sections, but nothing that can't be avoided with some reasonable routefinding. If I were to do it again I would try to stay a bit high, and I certainly would take the xc shortcut rather than the trail.
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