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South Fork Big Pine Creek

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South Fork Big Pine Creek

Postby oleander » Tue Oct 11, 2011 2:08 pm


We are thinking of exploring the South Fork Big Pine Creek area. (Next year.) Some questions:

Is it anywhere near as scenic as the North Fork trail/Palisade Glacier?
Most gorgeous places to camp?
Most gorgeous places to explore? (Finger Lake inlet up towards Middle Palisade? Elinore Lake towards Scimitar Pass? Further north/northwest?)
Would an exit over Contact Pass over to Second Lake be worthwhile? We've been to the North Fork watershed; just looks like it could make an interesting loop.

We are intermed/advanced backpackers, good route-finders, comfortable with Class 2 & some Class 3. Our priority is alpine scenery. We like getting off-trail for a few days. Not really interested in climbing Mt. Sill; just as content wandering about, and/or climbing up to a pass just to see the view (hence the interest in Scimitar Pass). No fishing.


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Re: South Fork Big Pine Creek

Postby ceragold5150 » Tue Oct 11, 2011 5:18 pm

Elizabeth, i have one question? Why next year? Some people don't have that long to wait. Go now and explore what your options maybe for next year. You always have the option now to trek in and experience these conditions to prepare for next year. You know next year may never happen. That's how i look at it! Ceragold :nod:
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Re: South Fork Big Pine Creek

Postby DAVELA » Tue Oct 11, 2011 6:28 pm

The bridge was destroyed by avalanche.Find out first if its been replaced.The creek was only 6 ft across but was raging in june and i didnt take that chance.Ruined my whole trip.
Once you get up that face and are near Willow lake you will see an amazing panorama.
The below pic is of the willow lake area and does not do justice-the scale is massive and overwhelming.
Last edited by DAVELA on Wed Oct 12, 2011 7:50 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: South Fork Big Pine Creek

Postby Pulpit » Wed Oct 12, 2011 2:02 pm

Yes, the bridge was destroyed by an avalanche last winter as Davela noted. We were there in late August and the stream was able to be forded pretty easily (i.e. it was still running pretty fast but was only knee to mid-thigh high). I don't know that I'd want to try it in June or July though.

The scenery is spectacular once you get up the switchbacks to Willow Lake and I don't think the North Fork has much on it on those terms. As for the pass over to 2nd Lake, I really don't know.
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