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TR: Taboose Playground

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TR: Taboose Playground

Postby calipidder » Thu Sep 08, 2011 6:42 pm

(sorry might take a sec to load - embedded more pics than I thought I would and they're kinda big...)

Spent the second week of August playing around over Taboose Pass. We didn't get started until later in the morning on the first day (had to pick up permits) and made it to the campsite at about 10,400ft (the last one I knew of before the pass). It was my first time up Taboose and lets just say it's way over-hyped. I found it kind of enjoyable. The next day we went over to Bench where the fishing was terrific and the mosquitoes were deadly. Climbed Arrow Peak, and then the next day followed the Old JMT up to Cartridge Pass.

Our original plan was to go into Lake Basin but the snow on the north side of Cartridge forced a turn around (we decided against carrying crampons). It was marginal - we probably would have been okay but it was late in the day, the snow was shadowed and freezing up for the night, so we erred on the side of caution. We backtracked and camped that night at the big lake below the pass, deciding to head into Upper Basin the next day and climb Split. That we did - and it was nice to knock another 14er off the list.

Climbed split on an absolutely perfect day and had an excellent time fishing as well - one of those perfect Sierra days. Hiked out all the way from Lake 3535 to Taboose TH the next day (that was a slog....). Here are some pretty pictures and the full trip report is on my site.

Taboose TH to Bench
Arrow Peak
Old JMT to Cartridge Pass
Split Mtn

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Arrow Pass
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Climbing Arrow Peak
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View from Arrow - one of my favorites. Check out that blue Bench Lake!
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Arrow Summit reg
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Rockslides along old JMT
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Old trail to cartridge pass
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Lake Basin. And Snow on the north side of cartridge. booo.
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Lake 3535
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The Polemonium on Split was awesome!
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This definitely doesn't suck (Split summit)
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Palisade crest
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Stock train on taboose
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Snow melt on taboose
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Re: TR: Taboose Playground

Postby copeg » Thu Sep 08, 2011 7:24 pm

Thanks so much for the report. Great photos (the photo of the the summit register gave me chills).
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Re: TR: Taboose Playground

Postby windknot » Thu Sep 08, 2011 9:30 pm

Wonderful report and photos. Thanks for sharing this with us!
A few backcountry fishing pictures: http://wanderswithtrout.wordpress.com/
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Re: TR: Taboose Playground

Postby cgundersen » Fri Sep 09, 2011 10:28 am

Between this report and Maverick's earlier this summer, i think you guys may start a Taboose rush. I've always liked the fact you can see the pass pretty much from the moment you start climbing and the trail avoids any unnecessary switchbacks. It just goes! But, the last time I drove the approach road (6,7 years ago) it was horribly corrugated. Has it improved (been graded)? Also, I was surprised to see stock; since there's no pack station at the trailhead, where did they come from?
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Re: TR: Taboose Playground

Postby maverick » Fri Sep 09, 2011 11:51 am

Cool TR Cali, really enjoyed it, thanks for posting it!

CGunderson wrote:
Between this report and Maverick's earlier this summer, i think you guys may start a Taboose rush.


Some how really doubt this will happen with a 8 mile, almost 6000 ft ascent, a pretty
intense creek crossing(early season), snow/ice issues in early season, the requirement
of an early start because of the heat, and the very low trail quota.
None of the 4 eastern treadmills will every be in danger of being over run. :D



But, the last time I drove the approach road (6,7 years ago) it was horribly
corrugated. Has it improved (been graded)?


Nope.
Had to take my time in my Honda Civic especially the upper half, it seemed to take a lot
longer than I remember from the last time driving it, though that was in a Jeep.
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: Taboose Playground

Postby calipidder » Sat Sep 10, 2011 8:41 am

Lets just say that I had a choice of taking my Prius or a 4WD truck. I drove the truck all the way from San Jose just for that last 5 miles (frustrating).

As far as the stock goes - they had Pine Creek pack station on their panniers and we drove by their trailer parked down by the campground at the start of the dirt road to the trailhead. Those poor horses had walked all the way up that road and *then* up the pass.

Didn't see too many people going in over Taboose. Don't think that will ever be a popular entry point, even though it does spit you out into some great terrain.
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Re: TR: Taboose Playground

Postby cgundersen » Sat Sep 10, 2011 4:10 pm

thanks for the heads up on the road; it was awful way back when and sounds like it's no better. Still, I do like the no-nonsense trail and those shots are great. Plus, I've got a hankering to get back to Window Peak lake.....But, hey, if I get rich, I can get mules to do the hard stuff!
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Re: TR: Taboose Playground

Postby mokelumnekid » Sat Sep 10, 2011 9:51 pm

Hey Calipidder- great TR. You may recall meeting my wife and I last year as you were heading W-to-E just below Feather Pass, I think you were with the same hiking partner and a gent named Gorden. We were out day-tripping from our camp at Vee Lake, and ran across you all. We crossed Feather the next day in a thunderstorm and passed your tents on the bench above Merriam Lake. That day we continued down into French Canyon (via Merriam Lake), then climbing back up crossing over Pine Ck. Pass and camped at a small lake just south of Honeymoon.

We are Taboose regulars. I like it- early start is essential. Too bad you didn't get into Lake Basin- hard to believe there was so much snow on the north side of Cartridge Pass, but what a crazy snow year. Lake Basin is a kind of Shangri La, simply *amazing*. It is clear now that no way I will ever make it to Lake Basin in a day from Taboose, but I think I can come out from Lake Basin to Taboose TH in a day. We have hiked from the lake just south of Cartridge to Taboose TH in a day, where you camped and that is the Lion's share of it. We have hiked from Taboose TH to the start of the climb up to Cartridge in a day, but I was pretty wasted by that time.

Cheers
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Re: TR: Taboose Playground

Postby bikebones » Tue Sep 13, 2011 2:23 pm

Great report, especially the photos! Your eye is much better than mine at composition.

I was up there at Bench Lake the same time as you, the single guy. It was amazing to me how few people were at the lake, just a short jaunt from the JMT. I climbed Arrow Peak the day after you and agree totally about the mosquitos. Nasty stuff. I saw the same deer as well. What the heck was she doing up there?? It seemed like there was no browse for her at all. A fellow climber, I suppose...

Thanks for posting!

Jim
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Re: TR: Taboose Playground

Postby maverick » Tue Sep 13, 2011 4:03 pm

Bikebones wrote:

I was up there at Bench Lake the same time as you, the single guy. It was amazing to me how few people were at the lake, just a short jaunt from the JMT.


There was no one else there when I visited the last week of July, and was quite happy
about that, but near the JMT before crossing over to the Bench Lake Trail there
were several tents in the trees.
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: Taboose Playground

Postby justm » Tue Sep 13, 2011 7:21 pm

GREAT PHOTOS !!! Thanks for the trip report!
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Re: TR: Taboose Playground

Postby giantbrookie » Tue Sep 13, 2011 9:29 pm

Great report and photos. That view of Bench L./Taboose/Split from Arrow is as classic as the usual view of Arrow from Bench. I was there in 1997 and the photos from there look as if taken from a plane. Of course the views are great from Split, too.
Since my fishing (etc.) website is still down, you can be distracted by geology stuff at: http://www.fresnostate.edu/csm/ees/facu ... ayshi.html
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