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TR: In the Minarets with a '73 Alpenlite Pack and a Neophyte

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TR: In the Minarets with a '73 Alpenlite Pack and a Neophyte

Postby cgundersen » Tue Sep 27, 2011 3:34 pm

http://www.flickr.com/photos/10845599@N ... 642644559/

September in the Minarets with a '73 Alpenlite Pack and a Neophyte
Day 1:The High Trail out of Agnew Meadows is a fabulous introduction to backpacking and with an “old” pal having followed through on his desire to visit the Sierra (for the first time!), we set out on a 3 night mini-adventure in mid-September. Outfitted with a ’73 model Alpenlite (well, I still use a pretty ancient A16 hip-hugger), we sauntered off at dawn and reached the first “checkpoint” (1000 Island Lake) shortly after noon. One of the guys fly fishing in the outlet creek was a regular visitor to Perth, Australia, where our pal resides. The fact that they shared acquaintances is testimony to globalization! Well, our pal from Oz was undaunted by the fact that we’d only found one large porcini (mushroom) and with the clouds not looking too threatening, we pressed on to Island Pass before heading x-country to lower Davis Lake. From there, it was a quick scramble to the upper lake and home for night one. The rain judiciously held off till we finished dinner, but then it was scattered squalls all night. Light snow was evident at higher elevations the next morning, particularly to the North.
Day 2: We spent the whole day wandering around the area with the highlight being Clinch Pass, a rounded ridge slightly northwest of upper Davis Lake. Clinch affords spectacular views of the origin of the North Fork of the San Joaquin River, Rodgers Peak, Twin Island Lakes, etc (see the photo link). The North side of Clinch is a relatively easy ascent, but the South side begins with a couple hundred feet of very loose gravel and scree. About 15 years ago, my wife & I had taken our dog over Clinch and were pleased to escape without mangling his paws. This time, we were happy just to be able to glissade down the snow fields we’d climbed on the way up. The rain arrived a bit earlier on day 2, so we were banished to tents before nightfall.
Day 3: From Davis Lakes, our goal was to get to Nydiver Plateau via Whitebark Pass and with reasonably cooperative skies, we looped past 1000 Island and Garnet Lakes before confronting the last scramble up Whitebark. We ran into a guy who was completing a counterclockwise loop from Toulomne and was coming off Whitebark as we were heading up. The fact that this guy looked appreciably older than our pal from Australia was a confidence booster, because the pass appeared daunting from below. No doubt, it was gobs worse than anything I did on my first backpacking trip, but with a bit of squirming and panting, it went well. The photos tell a bit of the story for the rest of the day: magnificent lighting with incredible scenery. I’m afraid we’ve made a convert and though the path from Perth to Agnew meadows is nearly certifiable, the man has vowed to be back….like the Terminator, I’m sure he will be. Photos tell the story where words have failed



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Re: TR: In the Minarets with a '73 Alpenlite Pack and a Neophyte

Postby maverick » Tue Sep 27, 2011 4:12 pm

Looks like a fun trip CG, and some weather thrown in for fun! Thanks for the TR, and
photo's.
Since no mention of wildflowers at Davis Lakes, though maybe to late, do not feel
to bad that I did not get there this year.
Have experinced carpets of Indian Paintbrushes there over a decade ago when visiting
during a high snow year.
HST= Wilderness Adventurer who knows no bounds, except for their own imagination.

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Re: TR: In the Minarets with a '73 Alpenlite Pack and a Neophyte

Postby cgundersen » Tue Sep 27, 2011 4:29 pm

Maverick,
The paintbrush were pretty much done at Davis, but I'll see if I can dredge a photo from an earlier trip; egads, they were amazing; ditto for the other side of Clinch Pass. On this trip, lupine was still going and the odd paintbrush, but it was clearly the last of the lot...
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Re: TR: In the Minarets with a '73 Alpenlite Pack and a Neophyte

Postby maverick » Tue Sep 27, 2011 4:34 pm

CG wrote:
The paintbrush were pretty much done at Davis, but I'll see if I can dredge a photo
from an earlier trip; egads, they were amazing; ditto for the other side of Clinch
Pass.


That would be great, just e-mail it when you have the time. Thanks Mav
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: In the Minarets with a '73 Alpenlite Pack and a Neophyte

Postby windknot » Fri Sep 30, 2011 12:37 pm

Thanks for the report, and nice photos! I feel like I say this after all of your trips, but this really is an area I want to visit. Thanks for giving me a sneak peek.
A few backcountry fishing pictures: http://wanderswithtrout.wordpress.com/
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Re: TR: In the Minarets with a '73 Alpenlite Pack and a Neophyte

Postby whrdafamI? » Fri Sep 30, 2011 5:47 pm

Cool trip! I could see the area where I camped at 1000 Island about 42 yrs. ago. Interesting to hear someone mention Alpenlight Packs. Some friends of mine back in High School worked for them I "think" in Upland, Ca. We all felt like celebrities when we were all sporting "Team Alpenlite" decals on our vans rear windows. Doubt if many even knew what it stood for.
Last edited by whrdafamI? on Thu Jan 17, 2013 6:50 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: TR: In the Minarets with a '73 Alpenlite Pack and a Neophyte

Postby cgundersen » Mon Oct 03, 2011 7:44 am

Mav,
I'm still hunting for the photo.....one of these days.

Bill,
Forty two years! Must've been a memorable campsite, but then, I can see why! Spectacular setting! I migrated from Kelty to Alpenlite (though, my recollection is the patch on the pack said Claremont, but that does not mean they weren't in Upland, too) and the only problem with the Alpenlite is it could only accommodate about a week's worth of food. But, it still works amazingly well for short jaunts.
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Re: TR: In the Minarets with a '73 Alpenlite Pack and a Neophyte

Postby whrdafamI? » Mon Oct 03, 2011 10:29 am

You are right! It was Claremont. I was off by about 6 miles. Damn'ed old age! At the time Alpenlight were considered to be "High Tech" packs. Innovative frame and pack bag. I didn't have one. I was still packing my Eddie Bauer external frame around. It was a good pack as well but every time I look at the hip belt I cringe. A belt was all it was back then. Padding hadn't hit the scene yet. I must have been tougher back then.
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Re: TR: In the Minarets with a '73 Alpenlite Pack and a Neophyte

Postby bob adams » Tue Oct 04, 2011 12:57 pm

Thanks for the very nice trip report and photos. You didn't report any temperatures. Was it cold? Any mosquitos?
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Re: TR: In the Minarets with a '73 Alpenlite Pack and a Neophyte

Postby cgundersen » Tue Oct 04, 2011 1:22 pm

Bill,
I agree, padded belts were a major step forward; but I'm guessing you're still pretty tough; and, wiser!

Bob,
I'd guess the snow level was ~11,800 and we camped no higher than ~10,400, but it was still chilly and bitingly damp. Given the slow melt this year, there were scattered mosquitoes, but nothing annoying.
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