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High Sierra Trail Out and Back to Sequoia

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High Sierra Trail Out and Back to Sequoia

Postby WandererWade » Tue Jan 31, 2012 11:44 am

I am planning a late July HST from Sequoia to Mt. Whitney and back. I say back because I am not from CA and have no way to get back to Sequoia except by shuttle. I understand this is at least $600 so not an option.

Have any of you done this trail as an out and back and willing to share the experience and any advice.

I am doing this with my 20 yo son. We are both experienced backpackers and have hiked Yosemite to Devils Post Pile couple of years ago. So we are both familiar with the effects of altitude on performance. We will be in trail shape upon arrival prepared with as light a kit as possible with food and water.

Thanks for helping.



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Re: High Sierra Trail Out and Back to Sequoia

Postby RoguePhotonic » Tue Jan 31, 2012 6:07 pm

I'd say you should consider other routes on the way back. Why just yo-yo it when you can see even more beautiful country side? You have options but it depends on your skill. How do you stand with any sort of cross country travel?
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Re: High Sierra Trail Out and Back to Sequoia

Postby The Other Tom » Tue Jan 31, 2012 6:47 pm

Where are you going to resupply ? Are you hiking down to Whitney Portal then back up ?
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Re: High Sierra Trail Out and Back to Sequoia

Postby WandererWade » Wed Feb 01, 2012 2:07 pm

Thanks guys. We don't have to yo-yo. I have not really looked yet at an alternative and reasonable route back to Sequoia. Any suggestions?

There is no resupply. I have seen posts from folks that have done this trip as yo-yo and no resupply. I realize that is a heavy food load.

This a tough trip for me coming from Atlanta with no friends, no 2nd cars and no reasonable way to get back to Sequoia where our car will be. Again, any suggestion will be appreciated.
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Re: High Sierra Trail Out and Back to Sequoia

Postby Wandering Daisy » Wed Feb 01, 2012 2:12 pm

I essentially did this to and from Whitney Portal. I had been up the trail from Crescent Meadow to Hamilton Lake numerous times, so I simply did not go all the way out, rather turned around and returned, thus eliminating 30 miles of generally boring trail walking. I did it on a 10-day ration, going in an essentially off-trail route and coming back on the trail route with a few short side-trips (Wallace Lake, Crabtree Lakes and Arctic Lake). It was the end of the season and I was already in good shape and fully aclimated. I also went minimalist so my pack weight was not bad.

Your planned direction makes it a little longer without resupply. I would drop down to Trail Camp, even just as a day hike because the veiw of Whitney from there is worth it. You would have to check on the permit issues with this particulary if you camped down there. If you are a strong hiker you can make it to and from Hamilton Lake in an 8-9 hour day. It is supposed to be 16 miles but it really is not that bad. I have done it in a day even carrying a heavy pack loaded with technical climbing gear.

The trail is well maintained and graded so you can really make good time. I would tend to bite the bullet and just carry a heavy pack and go slow and skip re-rationing. On the return trip you pack would be much lighter and you could go an alternate route, making good mileage. An all-trail different return would be from Junction Meadow, go over Colby Pass, down to Deadman Canyon, up to Elizabeth Pass and then intersect the High Sierra Trail at Bearpaw. If you do not mind some off-trail, you can instead go out from Elizabeth Pass through Tablelands and Pear Lake ending at Wolverton, near Lodgepole. There is a shuttle that would take you back from Lodgepole to Crescent Meadow. And if you do not mind a fairly difficult pass (rock scrambling up and very loose down), instead of Colby Pass you can go over Pants Pass and intersect the trail at Keweah Gap. A VERY adventoursome return would be via Keweah Basin, over Pyra Queen Col to Keweah Gap. It is a spectacular and short route, but Pyra Queen is a difficult pass.

If you prefer to re-ration, I think it would be easy to hitch from Whitney Portal to get town to buy rations, but I also think you could have someone mail rations to the Whitney Portal store as long as they would not have to hold it too long. I am not sure you could find enough at the Portal Store to do an entire ration for the return trip. You certainly would be limited in food choices.

Do you already have your permit? What restrictions apply with respect to your permit? If you are solo or a very small group, and are willing to wait a day if needed, you can usually pick up a no-show permit at Whitney RS, if you decide to do the loop the opposite direction. You would be amazed at how many people who get a permit in the Whitney drawing, end up with a person or two who drop out of their group.
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Re: High Sierra Trail Out and Back to Sequoia

Postby Wandering Daisy » Wed Feb 01, 2012 2:30 pm

Oh, forgot to mention. One strategy that helps is leave some of your food in the bear boxes as Junction Meaodow. This lightens the load to Whitney and back. From Junction Meadow you can then decide to return same route (yo-yo) of take the Kern-Keweah trail for the various alternate returns. I know it is technically illegal to leave stuff in the bear box but Junction Meadow is not used as much as the PCT campsites and you would only be leaving it a handfull of days. You will probably have 2 bear cannisters, so you could also just hide one cannister full of food instead of using the bear boxes. No need to haul all that food back and forth.
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Re: High Sierra Trail Out and Back to Sequoia

Postby oldranger » Wed Feb 01, 2012 3:35 pm

Daisy,

I'm sure george will jump on you for suggesting either to leave food in bear boxes or to leave a food cache, even in a cannister. Both are illegal.

Mike
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Re: High Sierra Trail Out and Back to Sequoia

Postby maverick » Wed Feb 01, 2012 6:11 pm

Hi WandererWade

Welcome to HST.
First here are some links that may help you in planning your trip.
http://www.nps.gov/seki/planyourvisit/h ... -trail.htm
http://www.nps.gov/seki/planyourvisit/bear_box.htm

Do not leave food in the bear boxes. One, it is inconsiderate of others, though off
season it would not be a big issue, and two, it is illegal according to the NPS.
Take time to read the following, and answer accordingly, so we can give you advice
that will be adequate to your experience levels.
viewtopic.php?f=1&t=4205

There are variations that one can do on the way back as mention by WD, but not
knowing your abilities or limitations, and suggesting cross-country routes based on
hiking from Yosemite to DPNM, it would be reckless of me to suggest any such routes
but that is just me.
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: High Sierra Trail Out and Back to Sequoia

Postby RoguePhotonic » Wed Feb 01, 2012 7:29 pm

There is no permit issue with Whitney when starting at Crescent Meadow. You will not need an exit quota or any special permit to camp in the Whitney Zone. All that changes is that bear barrels and wag bags are needed in the Whitney Zone but not any where else.

If you don't do any cross country then there really isn't that many great options. You can take Colby to Roaring River and then out around to Silliman Pass but that route is not very scenic.

In the end there is nothing wrong with a simple yo-yo. It's a beautiful trail.
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Re: High Sierra Trail Out and Back to Sequoia

Postby Wandering Daisy » Wed Feb 01, 2012 7:51 pm

A well hidden bear cannister may be "illegal" but the regulation is absurd. Of course I will come and pick it up- the stupid thing cost $200 and it has my food in it! It is not a permanant structure. It is bear-proof. Nobody will see it. I get your point on using bear boxes. Again it is a matter of judgement.

If you are worried about permanant structures in the wilderness, yank out all those trial signs!

Kern-Keweah-Colby Pass-Deadman Canyon and over Elizabeth Pass puts you back on the High Sierra Trail and you do get to see a bit more new country. It is, however, longer.

The cross country route suggestions should not be done by those without extensive off trail experience. The Tablelands, is not too bad- mainly a route finding problem.
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Re: High Sierra Trail Out and Back to Sequoia

Postby oldranger » Wed Feb 01, 2012 9:47 pm

Daisy,

Maybe you always return to pick up your cache but lots of people do not. I know because I had to pack it out!

Mike
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Re: High Sierra Trail Out and Back to Sequoia

Postby tim » Thu Feb 02, 2012 2:17 am

WandererWade wrote:Thanks guys. We don't have to yo-yo. I have not really looked yet at an alternative and reasonable route back to Sequoia. Any suggestions?

There is no resupply. I have seen posts from folks that have done this trip as yo-yo and no resupply. I realize that is a heavy food load.

This a tough trip for me coming from Atlanta with no friends, no 2nd cars and no reasonable way to get back to Sequoia where our car will be. Again, any suggestion will be appreciated.


Why leave a car there at all? Fly into LA then bus/train to Visalia, shuttle to Sequoia (next morning early so you start that day), hitch down from Whitney Portal then Crest bus back from Lone Pine to train to LA.

I looked at this with a car (we're in the Bay Area) and concluded I would leave the car in Visalia, and you can get back on buses from Lone Pine to Visalia in a day (changing in Mojave) so long as you pay attention to the exit day (Sun/Tue/Thu for a Mon/Wed/Fri bus).
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