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Obscure Route Planning

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Obscure Route Planning

Postby RoguePhotonic » Sat Dec 17, 2011 8:30 pm

Like once before when I was thinking of odd routes I thought it to be a shot in the dark but many of you on this board have certainly been around in the Sierra so you may be able to give me some insight.

I've been considering places to go if I get out next year for another major adventure. I am considering of even trying to leave June 1st regardless of snow levels and stay out to October. I can't honestly answer anything about where or when but I am slowly piecing together sections of a hike.

The obscure route I was thinking about is I would like to take a trip up to Hester Lake West of Leconte Canyon. I was thinking of climbing Langille then cross over to Ladder Lake, Climb The Citadel then move back to the lake West of Hester Lake. Now here is my wonderings. I would like to pass over the ridge into Ionian Basin. There is a ridge running down to the lake in an Eastern direction that at least on map looks climbable. It looks like you could climb up it to the saddle and down the other side past some small lakes and over below Charybdis which I would also try to climb. My question is has anybody been up to Hester Lake and actually seen the ridge I am talking about? I know that terrain on a map and what is actually there can be very different.

I know that if I couldn't pass over that ridge there I could follow down the slope East of Black Giant to the Muir Trail then go around to Black Giant Pass but a more direct route would be better.
Last edited by RoguePhotonic on Sun Dec 18, 2011 1:40 am, edited 1 time in total.



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Re: Obscure Route Planning

Postby RoguePhotonic » Sat Dec 17, 2011 8:53 pm

I guess while I am at it another route I was thinking of taking which I thought about dragging out to a 15 day or so without resupply would be Cedar Grove - Gardiner Pass - Kings Col - up East of Window Peak to Whitefork Saddle into the White Fork - White Fork Pass - Bench Lake - Petes Col or Cartridge Pass - Dumbell Pass - Past Lake 10,565 West of Observation Peak then around West of Mt. Shakspere.

A couple questions are is it feasible to go up Gardiner Creek from Bubbs Creek or is it just better to take the long way around from Charlotte Lake?

Coming down from Kings Col would mean fording Woods Creek. Has anyone tried in this area earlier season? That creek seems like it might be impossible until later depending on snow levels.

While at Bench Lake what would be the best route down to the South Fork of the Kings? I know it can be done to drop straight down but is there an area that is generally the best? And how wide and crazy is the ford in that area?

I was thinking of using the small notch directly West of Observation Peak to cross over and down to Lake 10,565. Has anyone ever been to this lake? Going this way seems like an extremely remote and possibly beautiful area.

I know allot of questions but you people are the knowledge base. :p

To bad Norman Clyde isn't around. He could answer my questions lol.
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Re: Obscure Route Planning

Postby oldranger » Sun Dec 18, 2011 9:19 am

RP

Do you mean Gardner Creek from S. Fork or Charlotte Creek from Bubbs? Either is doable but Gardner has issue of Crossing the S. Fork.

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Re: Obscure Route Planning

Postby lostcoyote » Sun Dec 18, 2011 11:26 am

here's one for ya rogue....

beginning at colby lake, head north. don't go down into cloud canyon.
anyway, head north from colby... skirt around & go up talus creek to talus lake.
from there.continue north over a pass to table creek
from there, several options...
go uptable creek to some small tarns about 3/4 mile SW of Thunder Mtn.. then head north to the gap. crossing this gap can put you down into Cunningham Creek. go up cunningham creek to South Guard lake and then cross the gap over to Big Brewer lake. from there, it's easy to follow on over to Sphinx Lakes.

now if that gap just west of Thunder Mtn is not passable, you can head east instead and cross thge divide just south of Thunder Mtn and put yourself into the Upper Kern basin.

Guarantee you won't see anyone for days and whichever route pans out, either way, you win.
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Re: Obscure Route Planning

Postby RoguePhotonic » Sun Dec 18, 2011 2:10 pm

Do you mean Gardner Creek from S. Fork or Charlotte Creek from Bubbs? Either is doable but Gardner has issue of Crossing the S. Fork.


Actually yes I meant Charlotte Creek. A hiker I talked to once said they tried going Gardiner Creek with ropes and still turned around.

That route does sound interesting lostcoyote. I was planning to do the section over Lion Rock and Lake Passes then over Colby and Milestone. Your way I could move North on that route which could give me a chance to climb Mt. Brewer. I think the hardest part if I do plan to put these sections of a hike together will be figuring out when to do it. I think the reality would be tromping through tons of snow regardless. I have thought about the idea of starting at Mineral King in early June but that would mean tramping around the general area for at least a month before continuing North on these cross country routes would be realistic. I have already bought microspikes for this coming season but not having spikes on my toes to kick in concerns me a little.

My only concern right now with pulling off another hike that is as big or bigger is money. I spent way more money this year then I should or needed to. I probably bought at least 2000 dollars or more of new gear and spent about 2700 while I was on the trail. Then how ever much I spent on buying food at home which was probably more then 1000 dollars. It's one of the reasons I am thinking of trying to go two weeks without resupply. Resupply means hanging around resorts and dropping tons of cash. Not to mention I could cover areas better and go a week or so at a time without seeing anyone.
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Re: Obscure Route Planning

Postby oldranger » Sun Dec 18, 2011 4:28 pm

lostcoyote's routes are a great selection, though the talus getting past Talus lake is a bit tedious.

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Re: Obscure Route Planning

Postby RoguePhotonic » Sun Dec 18, 2011 5:10 pm

I'd plan for no more than 5 miles a day for any major cross country this year. Since I had not done allot of it before this last summer I did not know what to expect on an average day which led to bad planning. This year I would plan extremely conservative and maybe even pack an extra day or two of food just in case.
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Re: Obscure Route Planning

Postby Wandering Daisy » Sun Dec 18, 2011 9:36 pm

I have found that a 10-day ration period to be the best for me. I can fit 9 days in my bear can and that leaves one day to be illegal or put in a bear box if I can plan on camping at an established site with bear boxes the first night. I take about 1.5 pounds per day (2,600 calories per day). This requires being very careful with the bulk of the food. For example, I cannot take macaroni because it is too bulky- instead I take cous-cous. The 10-day ration weighs 15 pounds. THis is my personal "sweet spot". More weight and I slow down to the point of making so little miles the first few days that it cuts into my goal of miles I like to travel. Less days and I find that I have to make awakward routes just to go out and get re-rationed.

I also pack all my non-perishable food at home for the entire summer. It saves money. Hard to get the best deal on food at the trailheads. When I did the High Route my husband helped me on bringing food to the trailhead. I honestly think if you plan ahead, there are lots of folks here on this forum who would bring you your rations. I certainly would. It would just be a matter of planning my own trips to start or end where you needed to pick up food. I would gladly take you into town to buy food. If you just had a car available there are lots of places to get a cheap shower and plenty of campgrounds to overnight at, so you could avoid motels.

As for how many miles to go each day. I have found that planning for daily hours of travel, not miles, works out the best. I estimate my travel time as 1 mph off-trail (1.5 mph if it is easy cross-country) and 1 hour for each 1,000 feet of elevatin gain. I always aim for 7-8 hours per day. I add half an hour for each stream crossing. So if I have 3000 feet gain in a day, then I can only go 5 miles to stay within my 8-hour limit. Once on trails, I can travel faster. The 8-hour limit gives me about 2-3 hours of "contingency" daylight in case I get into some really rough stuff.

As for your questions on the routes-- I do not have time right now to look up my old notes (am crazy cooking for Christmas, sending out cards, getting gifts for 8 grandkids). I will get you some information on the routes in a ew wes once Christmas is over.

By the way, Merry Christmas!
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Re: Obscure Route Planning

Postby Cross Country » Mon Dec 19, 2011 12:14 am

Going up Charlotte Creek from Bubbs Creek and over Gardner Pass is certainly the way to go. I thought it was a lot of fun, interesting and relatively easy. From a Bubbs Creek Cable food hang a little ways down Bubbs Creek I was up and over and fishing in Gardner in a few hours - between lunch and dinner. I ate lunch on Gardner Pass (I planned it that way). I love that pass having been there and on Charlotte Creek 3 times. What a great area! Fish the really small lake just above the first large lake.
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Re: Obscure Route Planning

Postby fourputt » Mon Dec 19, 2011 7:48 am

Long ago when researching the Enchanted Gorge, I found this reference to a crossing the Black Divide.

http://www.climber.org/reports/1995/43.html
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Re: Obscure Route Planning

Postby RoguePhotonic » Mon Dec 19, 2011 2:36 pm

I have found that a 10-day ration period to be the best for me


Yeah your whole point on food is true. If I do 15 days without resupply then I wont have everything in my bear barrel for probably a week. I typically can't get more then 6 or 7 days worth of food in my Bearikade Expedition. And like I always tell people out there that I simply sleep with the rest in my tent. Up until now I have not had a problem with anything coming after my food. It's one of those things I just shrug and say what can you do?

I also pack all my non-perishable food at home for the entire summer. It saves money


This is true but has different problems such as you can't always find a place to mail a package to but you can buy food from their store. Or the typical problem of packing food you really like but after 2 months on the trail and you get to that package to just say yuck to everything you packed.

I think it would be very cool if people brought me supplies but the most obvious problem is keeping on schedule. I'd have to plan a hike with several blank days before meeting up with you so I can make sure I can get there on time. I did this last year with meeting up with my dad. My planned hike was going to meet him on Tuesday but he needed to come Saturday so I just threw in 4 extra days to blow anywhere I wanted and it worked out well.

Resupply is always a tricky thing. After three long trips I have most trail heads figured out but it still leaves planning hikes revolving around these places. Other issues show themselves such as fuel. I use butane canisters and because of the hazardous waste liability insurance required to stock these in your stores many don't do it. Some examples are Mineral king, Cedar Grove, Parchers Resort. All don't have those canisters. That notion alone was causing some problems with planning this year. The best solution is to drop packages off in person if possible so I can put fuel in them.

Your mile calculations are about right also. When I went from Windy Point to Marion Lake then from there to Amphitheater Lake both days were about 5 miles and took me 8 hours.

Fish the really small lake just above the first large lake.


I'm actually debating on not fishing at all this year to cut more weight out. my fishing gear weighs about 12 ounces total and I don't think I did enough fishing the last two years to justify taking it again.

I finally made a gear chart using http://www.geargrams.com and if I manage to switch out allot of gear this year I am still going to come in around 21 pounds without any food added. That's not allot but when your going cross country every bit counts.

Long ago when researching the Enchanted Gorge, I found this reference to a crossing the Black Divide


I don't think their route is the best idea for me because they came straight up from the floor of the Enchanted Gorge which would mean allot more gain and loss possibly taking longer then just going all the way around to the Muir Trail. Not dropping down looks like it could be a challenge as the Western slopes of Mt. Mcduffie look steep.

Pretty impressive that they went into that area starting July 1st. I was worried about crossing the Kings even getting there later. I thought if Rick is home while passing through he could advise me to the best place to cross.
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Re: Obscure Route Planning

Postby raphus » Mon Dec 19, 2011 11:06 pm

Holy cow ! :eek:
7 days in the large Bearikade !? The 15 L one !?
I know pack weight and food selection comes down to personal choices, almost a taboo for some people, but this is really surprising. I think a large majority of hikers can fit up to 8-9 days in a 10L canister (the common size) for comparison.
You must have a huge and heavy pack ! I guess I understand the Norman Clyde reference now...
No seriously, at least for the sake of your knees may I suggest you look for some advice from the ultralight community ? And why not an alcoohol stove ? You're not in a hurry, that's light, you can even simmer with some stove designs, and you can find the alcohol more easily than gas !
Anyway, my 2 cents... and I can't even help with your route planning !
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