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SHR Loop - Tuolumne/Reds/Mono Creek

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SHR Loop - Tuolumne/Reds/Mono Creek

Postby stevet » Sat Nov 19, 2011 4:48 pm

I am thinking about my hike next summer, late August/early September. Roughly a week and a half of hiking. I'd appreciate insight/advice and "don't miss" camping spots or side trips along this route (or reverse):

Start at Reds Meadow, head south past Rainbow Falls and on to Fish Creek. Head up Fish Creek and up past Iva Bell Hot Springs and down Cascade Valley. Up over Silver Pass down Mono Creek, stay a night at VVR, then up Mono Creek. Head north on the SHR to Laurel Lakes and follow it back to Reds Meadow. From Reds follow the SHR to Tuolumne. YARTS back to Mammoth.

thanks, Steve

Per the trip advice post, here are additional details:

What level of backpacking experience do you have?
Level 1- Minimal hiking
Level 2- Some backpacking trips, using trails
Level 3- Numerous backpacking trips, some x-country travel
Level 4- Comfortable with trail and/or x-country travel

What terrain are you comfortable/uncomfortable with?
- Class 1 terrain/trail hiking comfortable
- Class 2 terrain/pass/x-country comfortable
- Class 3 terrain/pass/x-country comfortable
- River crossings some experience
- Snow travel/Glacier crossings some experience crossing snow fields, no glacier experience

What is your main interest?
- Lakes
- Forests
- Big Mountain scenery
- Photography
- Fishing
- Climbing
- Getting away from work and the big city
- Physical challenge

How many days/nights is your trip, not including travel to trailhead? thinking 9-10 hiking days
How many miles did you want to do a day, any layovers? Will do 10-20+ miles on any given day depending on terrain. No planned layovers, but will use VVR and Reds for resupply.
Did you prefer a loop or out and back trip? Prefer "loop" unless transportation is easy.
Is there a particular area in the Sierra that your most interested in(Yosemite, SEKI
western sierra start or eastern start ect.)? Section hiking the SHR. Hiked 2nd Recess to Piute last summer.
Will you be hiking with a dog? No
Will likely have a hiking partner, but could end up solo.



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Re: SHR Loop - Tuolumne/Reds/Mono Creek

Postby Wandering Daisy » Sat Nov 19, 2011 9:05 pm

My initial reaction is that you are trying to do too much mileage in too short a time. If your goal is to speed hike, then, maybe OK, if you are a really strong hiker. You need to sit down and write out a detailed trip plan of daily mileage and elevation gain that you need to do in order to complete the route in the time allowed. A 10-mile day on the SHR is rigorous, even assuming no route finding problems. Even if I could do the route in 9-10 days, I would not because there are so many fabulaous areas that I would want to wander around and photograph or fish. I did the SHR in its entirety two years ago and my problem is that there were so many spots that I deemed "must camp at" spots that I ended up doing many short days. I could have gone farther but I sure did not want to! It is like half way through the day you come to this wonderful spot and then it is "Oh darn, I absolutley must camp here to experience the sunset and sunrise." Why not skip the first part and simply go in via Rock Creek and Mono Pass (or Edison Lake, up Mono Creek). This gets yout to Laurel Lake in a bit over one day,leaving 9 days to do the SHR to Tuolumne. Do the Fish Creek/ Silver Divide on another separate trip.
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Re: SHR Loop - Tuolumne/Reds/Mono Creek

Postby stevet » Sun Nov 20, 2011 11:05 am

I was originally thinking of entering at Mono Pass, but adding the loop on the southern end makes for easier trailhead logistics. Point taken though, last year our SHR days ranged 7-12 miles. At that rate should either add more days or arrange a shuttle.
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Re: SHR Loop - Tuolumne/Reds/Mono Creek

Postby RoguePhotonic » Sun Nov 20, 2011 2:46 pm

Generally the hike you have planned is very nice although i'd rather reverse the first section to go on the Muir Trail/SHR to Laurel Lake then to Iva Bell because then you will have been on the trail longer and it would make the hotsprings even better.

I'm not sure if you planned the route based on areas you really want to see or not other wise I would suggest for a time frame you could make small adjustments like take Goodale Pass instead of Silver for a more direct route to VVR and take the Mott Lake trail over Rohn Pass to avoid the longer and steeper way around.

I would also suggest in terms of scenery that after crossing Blue Lake Pass into Yosemite that instead of going to Tuolumne you take Red Peak Pass to Glacier Point and down to Yosemite Valley. You can YARTS back from there also. I have done the route over Vogelsang Pass and the other way is far nicer.
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Re: SHR Loop - Tuolumne/Reds/Mono Creek

Postby Wandering Daisy » Sun Nov 20, 2011 3:05 pm

Here were my favorite camp spots and side trips.

1. I enjoyed Laurel Lake but equally good alternatives, both less than a mile off the route, would be Grinnell Lake or Bighorn Lake. These alternate sites are more "up close" to the mountains. But if you prefer lush greenery, stay at Laurel Lake. You can catch lots of small fish at Laurel Lake.

2. I have hiked both via Isaak Walton Lake and Tully Lake (not on the official HSR). I slightly preferred Tully Lake. Roper raves about the "sublime" route from Isaak Walton to Horse Haven; here is a case where I thought it was anything but sublime! AVOID camping in Horse Haven and Tully Hole as both are full of mosquitoes.

3. Lake Virgina is preferable to Purple Lake. You can get off the trail either on the west side or inlet area. Purple Lake is really over-camped and has lots of people. The long scenic route to Purple Lake is via Ram Lakes. It is easy x-country and nice- pristine country.

4. Duck Lake outlet area is scenic but there are regulations on being at least 300 feet (I think that is the distance) from the outlet. The more scenic campsites are technically within the illegal area. If you camp at the inlet area, by far the best camping is up at Pika Lake - well worth the extra distance to get there. The drop down from the trail is really not that bad.

5. Deer Lakes - really enjoyed this camp. best sites are at the north lake, south side of the inlet.
Note that there is no water between Deer Lakes and Mammoth Pass (McCloud Lake) after about end of July.

6. Reds Meadows- I would avoid camping here- just get supplies, take a shower, and move on.

7. MUST do camping at outlet of Mineret Lake, Iceberg Lake, and Nydiver Lakes are all spectacular. Very limited camping at Cecile Lake. Logistically, it is best to descend from Cecile Lake to Iceberg Lake in the afternoon when the snow is softer - this also goes for getting down White Bark Pass. This makes camping at Iceberg Lake the best choice. Ezida Lake is scenic but a real zoo.

8. Southwest ends of Garnet and Thousand Island Lake can be swampy and buggy. OK if you are there in September. Less scenic than previous camps.

9. Ritter Lakes are very scenic - well worth a side-trip to al the lakes, but have very limited camping. There is a small grassy bench on the north shore of Catherine Lake and between the two small ponds southwest of Catherine Lk.

10. Nice camping at Twin Island Lakes. A side trip upstream is well worth the effort. Very spectacularly scenic (although rocky) camping at unnamed large lake a mile north northwest of northern Twin Island Lake.

11. MUST do camping at Blue Lake, west shore.

12. Upper Hutchings Creek nad Lyell Creek. Could spend an entire day extrra in each of these. Nothing even very scenic along trail. AVOID Volgalsang High Sierra Camp. Some nice camping at east end of Townsley Lake.

Although not the SHR, an equally scenic exit is : from Blue Lakes pass, head southwest past Harriet Lake and traverse the bench containing several small lakes and intersect junction of the the trail to Isberg Pass and the trail down Tripple DIvide Creek. Take Tripple Divide Creek trail , past Washburn Lake and Merced Lake- then Mist Trail to Happy Isles. You can also catch the shuttle to Mammoth from Yosemite Valley.

If you go out via Tuolumne Meadows and have not spent much time there in the past, it is well worth the time to zip around Tuolumne on the free shuttle and do some sight seeing.
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