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Humphrey's Basin TR

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Humphrey's Basin TR

Postby tnewton » Tue Sep 20, 2011 5:51 pm

Susie and I spent Labor Day week exploring the Humphrey's Basin/Glacier Divide area. It was our first time in this part of the range. We had agreed to an aggressive (for us) primary plan with a couple of back up contingency ideas. The original plan was to enter through Piute pass and circumnavigate glacier divide off trail and exit Lamarck Col (using cgundersen's route as a model). We weren't sure if we had enough time, fitness and luck to pull it off, so we pre-agreed to make a go/no go decision at Ramona Lake.

We flew from Hartford CT to Las Vegas on friday and drove to Bishop to pick up our permits on Saturday. All of the camping spots near North Lake were full on the holiday weekend, but there were spots available at Four Jeff's. It was lower than we wanted to sleep - we live at sea level and wanted help aclimating as soon as possible. A nice prime rib dinner and cold beer at the camp store restaurant just up the street from Jeff's helped ease that anxeity though.

Sunday morning we drove up to the trailhead, struggled to find a place to park in the overflow lot and headed up to Piute Pass. We traveled up the trail with a group of 5 guys, including two fellow western MA residents. It was a beautiful day and we lowlanders still felt good at the pass. We camped at a well used sight above Upper Golden Trout Lake. I had a swim in the brook feeding the lake.

On Monday we only made it as far as the ridge above Honeymoon Lakes. We crossed thigh deep Piute Creek at the sign to Lower Honeymoon Lake but couldn't find the use trail up to the Lakes. We chewed up at least an hour and a half searching around for the trail and eventually just bushwacked up the hill next to the brook and only found the trail as we neared the top. We weren't sure the best way up the ridge above the lake, and I think we made it a lot harder and longer than it could have been.
Near the top of the ridge it was just about to thunderstorm, so we sought shelter in a nice flat spot in grove of trees just below the notch over to Ramona Lake. It was late, we were tired and our confidence was low after the bad luck coming up, so we rested there for the night. The skeeters were viscous, but the views were nice.

In the morning we consulted our maps, did some figuring and decided we would need both speed and luck to be able to get over to Lake 11236, contour around to Darwin Bench and get over Lamarck Col in time to catch our flight home. So, we decided to turn around and explore Humphrey's Basin instead. I think it was a good decision, and we had a nice week doing that.

On the return down, we found our error. We should have gone further down stream on Piute Creek where we would have found good tree bridges over the split branches of the creek and maybe had better luck scouting the start of the trail. That one mistake may have changed our whole plan.

We ended up kicking back and spent a more leisurely week around the lakes in the area, swimming, hanging out and traipsing around the beautiful trail less basin.
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Re: Humphrey's Basin TR

Postby Herm » Tue Sep 20, 2011 6:22 pm

Thanks for posting your trip report, your pictures are a nice reminder. You visited one of my favorite places in the Sierra, Humphreys Basin. I visited the area around Mesa Lake last year in September, and it looks like there was still a good deal of snow around that tarn - none there when I visited last year.
I am looking forward to rlown's TR from the same general area.
I am not in a hurry, so don't be hasty.
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Re: Humphrey's Basin TR

Postby windknot » Tue Sep 20, 2011 8:04 pm

Thanks for the report and pictures! Looks like you guys had a nice trip even with the change in itinerary. It's hard to go wrong in this area.
A few backcountry fishing pictures: http://wanderswithtrout.wordpress.com/
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Re: Humphrey's Basin TR

Postby LMBSGV » Tue Sep 20, 2011 8:46 pm

Thanks for posting your wonderful report to also one of my favorite places. I think you made a wise decision in exploring Humphreys Basin versus wiping yourselves out doing your original route. I'm one of those who thinks appreciating and enjoying a beautiful place in the Sierra in solitude is better than trying to accomplish a pre-determined goal and not getting a chance to truly appreciate the wonders of where you are.
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Re: Humphrey's Basin TR

Postby kpeter » Sun Sep 25, 2011 10:11 pm

What a nice trip and beautiful photographs. I spent about a week in Humphries Basin years ago and thoroughly enjoyed it. It seemed to have been made for strolling and exploring.
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