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TR- A stroll over the Kings-Kern Divide

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TR- A stroll over the Kings-Kern Divide

Postby desertdawg » Wed Sep 21, 2011 10:15 am

Had 5 days of vacation left so we concocted a plan to cross the Kings-Kern Divide starting at Onion Valley then heading southbound over Forester Pass , northbound over Harrison Pass and Deerhorn Saddle down the Vidette Lakes Basin and back over Keasrge. Dates were Sep. 15 - Sep. 19.

We left Onion Valley at around 3:30 PM heading fro the Keasarge Lakes. I had not been to Keasarge in over 30 years. It was a little damp and cloudy but beautiful nonetheless. We had camp set up by 7:PM.

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The next day we headed down to Vidette Meadow then east-southeast on the JMT to the treeline about 1.5 miles north of Forester Pass. The view was too good and the clouds were building on Forester so we decided to camp for the night.

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Looking SE up Bubbs Creek twds Mt Stanford and Forester Pass.

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Sunrise from the tent.

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Morning View to west. I think this is Gregorys Monument?

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A panorama of Greogory's Monument and Mt Stanford?

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Random hiker going up the north side of Forester.

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Looking north up Bubbs Creek. We spent the night at the upper right lake .

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The Great Western Divide from Forester Pass. While going up the pass we ran into 10 British Navy personnel who were on their final days of a 21 day JMT through hike. We could see them for miles as the were all in dark clothes and hike in unison. We called them the caterpillar.

From Forester we walked the JMT for a mile or two then headed west cross country for the Lake South America trail

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Tyndal from the JMT.

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Coming west over the ridge between the JMT and Lake South America trail.

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We set up camp on a knoll just NW of Lake South America.

The next morning we packed up for our adventure consisting of crossing Harrison Pass and Deerhorn Saddle.

On the hike up to Harrison are some incredible views.

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The Great Western Divide

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Milestone Peak

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Mt Genevra

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Looking north up the easy side of Harrison Pass.

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On top of Harrison looking down the canyon that leads twds Lake Reflection and East Lake.

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Looking north at Deerhorn Saddle.

Now the fun begins. Down the steep north slope of Harrison.

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My buddy down-climbing the east side of one of the chutes in Harrison Pass.

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I did not have the confidence to down climb with my pack on so I lowered my pack 50 feet then we resumed the down climb.

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The crap we down climbed. It gets much easier after this section.

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Harrison Pass from Deerhorn Saddle. We came down the chute with the snow at the top, close to the center of the photo.

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Looking down the Vidette Lakes basin from Deerhorn. We worked our way down to the Vidette Lakes for the evening.

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The view up to the Deerhorn Saddle.

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The Magic Hour!

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View up the canyon to Deerhorn Saddle from Vidette Lake.

After spending the night at Vidette Lake we wandered down to the JMT then headed back up and over Keasarge. This took about 8 hours.

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East Vidette and the Vidette Lakes basin up to the Kings Kern Divide from the trail to Rae lakes.

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University Peak on the way down to Onion Valley.

The first couple of nights were cloudy and frosty. The last 3 days were typical, perfect Sierra sunshine and mild temps.

Is there a better place to hike than the Sierra Nevada?



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Re: TR- A stroll over the Kings-Kern Divide

Postby copeg » Wed Sep 21, 2011 10:42 am

Outstanding trip report and photos. That's some amazing country. Especially love those photos of looking down and up Harrison Pass.
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Re: TR- A stroll over the Kings-Kern Divide

Postby Wandering Daisy » Wed Sep 21, 2011 11:16 am

I ran into the same British navy group just below Arrowhead Lake. I did not ask if they were doing the entire JMT. I talked to them briefly- interesting guys. They sure stood out because that kind of group cohesion is not commen for Sierra hikers.

I remember doing Harrison Pass (going up) years ago, in tennis shoes and a heavy pack with 14 days food! I had an ice axe but it was a real challenge. It looks like it was a lot more snow this year than when I did it.

How was the crossing of Bubbs Creek?
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Re: TR- A stroll over the Kings-Kern Divide

Postby sparky » Wed Sep 21, 2011 11:47 am

Amazing pictures! Thank you for the report
There is a million ways to be human, all are worthwhile.

True happiness is the absence of striving for happiness.
-Chuang Tzu.
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Re: TR- A stroll over the Kings-Kern Divide

Postby ManOfTooManySports » Wed Sep 21, 2011 4:14 pm

Great photos and report. Sounds like a great time.
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Re: TR- A stroll over the Kings-Kern Divide

Postby hikerdmb » Wed Sep 21, 2011 5:18 pm

NIce pics! "A stroll," I like that.
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Re: TR- A stroll over the Kings-Kern Divide

Postby Cross Country » Wed Sep 21, 2011 5:43 pm

What a great trip you had into my favorite place.
When I did my loop trip from Kings Canyon it included coming down Millys Foot Pass. I was solo and kept asking myself why I hadn't done it in reverse (easier climbing up than down). My answer to myself was that my pack was lighter. It was my only excuse. Why didn't you do you're trip in reverse?
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Re: TR- A stroll over the Kings-Kern Divide

Postby SSSdave » Wed Sep 21, 2011 8:31 pm

Quite a challenging route crossing north. Recently planned out a trip for coming years to return up to the East Creek headwaters and have been considering looping over Deerhorn instead of just rambling back down EC.

Ought to be able see most of your route on this aerial image, click it to go huge:

http://www.summitpost.org/kings-kern-di ... 3/c-181678
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Re: TR- A stroll over the Kings-Kern Divide

Postby quentinc » Wed Sep 21, 2011 8:45 pm

I'm surprised to see there's almost as much snow on Harrison Pass as when I did it in August.
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Re: TR- A stroll over the Kings-Kern Divide

Postby desertdawg » Thu Sep 22, 2011 7:53 am

Wandering Daisy,
Bubbs was shin deep with low flow-very easy.

Cross Country,
As Dave says, the passes would be very challenging from the north. Harrison from the North is STEEP!!. We're wimps, and old :wink: and wanted the easy way.We researched using Google Earth and even brought printouts of Harrison and Deerhorn from the North and South.

Dave,
Very cool picture of the area.

Thanks for all the comments.

Can't wait for the next adventure.
Last edited by desertdawg on Thu Sep 22, 2011 4:20 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: TR- A stroll over the Kings-Kern Divide

Postby ManOfTooManySports » Thu Sep 22, 2011 11:39 am

SSSdave wrote:Quite a challenging route crossing north. Recently planned out a trip for coming years to return up to the East Creek headwaters and have been considering looping over Deerhorn instead of just rambling back down EC.

Ought to be able see most of your route on this aerial image, click it to go huge:

http://www.summitpost.org/kings-kern-di ... 3/c-181678


That photo is very, very cool as a way to revisit where we've traveled. Make sure to keep zooming in.
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Re: TR- A stroll over the Kings-Kern Divide

Postby SSSdave » Thu Sep 22, 2011 4:14 pm

desertdawg wrote:...Dave, Very cool picture of the area....


...and did you see that lunker golden trout sucking down a grasshopper on Lake South America? ;)
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