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TR Pioneer Basin, Aug 21-24

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TR Pioneer Basin, Aug 21-24

Postby Stevehymon » Fri Aug 26, 2011 6:31 pm

Hi folks. I'm a relative newbie here and wanted to contribute -- this is the single best resource on all things Sierra I've found.

After many years of visiting the Little Lakes Valley, my partner and I made our first trip over Mono Pass to Pioneer Basin. It was well worth the considerable effort/slog: we thought the Basin was among the most stunning places we'd visited in the Sierra.

After spending our first night at Upper Trail Lake, we camped next two nights at the first Pioneer Lake, which we had completely to ourselves from this past Monday through Wednesday. We also were treated to a 4.4-magnitude earthquake at 5 a.m. Wednesday (we heard it before feeling it), followed 30 minutes later by a rockslide that sounded like it was coming from the direction of Mt. Huntington. The quake was a first.

A few tips for folks who have never made the trip over Mono Pass. There's still considerable snow across the pass. But if you're coming in from Mosquito Flat, look to your left just when the snow starts and you'll see a way to walk across a boulder field to a path up to the pass that avoids the snow. We DID NOT see it on the way up and it was a snowy slog the last quarter mile to the pass. Ten steps, stop, breathe, consider yakking, another 10 steps, etc.

There are also a couple of small snowfields near Summit Lake on the backside of the pass -- both can be easily walked around. The Golden Creek crossing is easy peasy. We also hopped across the creek to visit Fourth Recess Lake. Stunning and, much to our surprise, no one camping there on Monday. We continued to the basin.

Mosquitos at First Pioneer Lake were annoying but tolerable with Ultrathon and head netting at dusk. A lot of shooting stars Monday and Tuesday night. Fishing was good at first and second Pioneer Lakes; we didn't have much luck up at fourth lake. But great day hike.

Here's a pic of my partner climbing Mono Pass in the snow. GO LEFT PEOPLE!!

Climbing Mono Pass fixed by JulieAndSteve, on Flickr
Last edited by Stevehymon on Fri Jul 27, 2012 4:16 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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Re: TR Pioneer Basin, Aug 21-24

Postby freestone » Fri Aug 26, 2011 8:44 pm

A enjoyed your photo essay of Pioneer basin. A very nice touch. Thanks for sharing. I'm glad that the fly fishing was good for you in some of the lakes you visited and I bet it will not be your last!
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Re: TR Pioneer Basin, Aug 21-24

Postby windknot » Sat Aug 27, 2011 9:48 am

Thanks for the report!
A few backcountry fishing pictures: http://wanderswithtrout.wordpress.com/
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Re: TR Pioneer Basin, Aug 21-24

Postby bluefintu » Sat Aug 27, 2011 11:42 am

Wow !!! Lots of snow up there. Thanks for your trail report. I know what you mean by hearing the earthquake before feeling it. I was skiing in Mammoth (chair 3) next to go up the lift, when we heard this loud rumble coming toward us. It was unreal, seemed like everything stopped and then a 6.0 shook the ground pretty good. This was back in 1981? Free skiing the next day, most people went home after the quake, we went fishing at Crowley Lake, we heard another quake coming our way, another 6. something, this brought me to the ground. It was something to see the ground rolling then hit us. Now days I'm very cautious of where I'm at in the mountains, like "can you move alittle faster", if below some rocks.
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