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Sonora Pass to Tuolumne Area

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Sonora Pass to Tuolumne Area

Postby mattherrington » Thu Feb 09, 2012 12:26 pm

So I've got a month of vacation to burn this year and with the low snow year looming on the horizon I'm guessing things are going to be packed come Jul-Aug. To get at least a little alone time I was thinking that I'd do most of the JMT route (Tuolumne to Lone Pine) mostly on trail, but that I'd start from somewhere else.

Transportation logistics dictate that I'll have to go in from the E side so I was playing with taking the bus to Bridgeport and starting from up that direction.

Is anyone in love with any PCT alternatives from the Sonora Pass area? I will supplement some of the HSR down in areas where I'm more familiar (1,000 Islands/Garnet/Duck Lake) but I have no interest in climbing out of Twin Lakes so I'll probably hitch from the Bridgeport permit office to somewhere on the 108 and start south. I haven't been N of Yosemite in 20 years and am just looking for expansive views and alpine medows vs. slot canyons day after day. Let's say for now that it'd be on-trail or mild class 2, not stretching out the route (75 trail miles from the 108 to the 120) by more than 20 miles or so. I'll be averaging about 15 mi. a day and expect my pack to be around 25-30 lbs.

Any input on some hot spots is appreciated!



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Re: Sonora Pass to Tuolumne Area

Postby paul » Thu Feb 09, 2012 6:04 pm

If you like some cross country stuff:
Start from Sonora Pass (since you can pretty easily hitch there) and go south on the PCT to the saddle at the head of Kennedy Canyon. Leave the PCT, go up over Big Sam ( not necessarily named that on the map, but the old mining road/trail goes right over the top of it at 10,825) for big views. You can follow the trail down for a gentle descent, or leave it for more direct, down to High Emigrant Lake. From there, off-trail (super easy) to Grizzly Lake, up to the the plateau above it overlooking Dorothy Lake; down to your left down an easy chute to Stella; work your way past the various ladies and over the ridge to Tower Lake; drop down a bit towards the west walker but not too much before you head up towards the pass between Hawksbeak and Ehrnbeck; down Thompson canyon a little ways until you can hop over the first saddle into Kerrick Meadows; go left or right and either way you can work over to Mule Pass, then to Burro Pass and down Matterhorn canyon to pick up the PCT again. Bonus points if you find your own way over to Spiller Canyon (gorgeous) from Matterhorn, and double bonus if you go from Spiller over to Return creek and down that to the PCT.
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Re: Sonora Pass to Tuolumne Area

Postby Ikan Mas » Thu Feb 09, 2012 9:13 pm

A few pictures to support Paul's suggestions.
Looking up Matterhorn Canyon to Matterhorn:
Image

Looking Down Matterhorn Canyon approaching Mule Pass
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Matterhorn Canyon near the intersection with the PCT
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Kerrick Meadows
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Re: Sonora Pass to Tuolumne Area

Postby mattherrington » Fri Feb 10, 2012 10:27 am

Thanks all. I'm just starting the topo work this week but your response was just what I'm looking for. Matterhorn Cyn looks nice. I'd rather rip off someone's route (w some pics) than do it all by map as consistently I end up in something not suited for a mid-weight pack when I do that and have to re-route. Cheers.
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Re: Sonora Pass to Tuolumne Area

Postby mattherrington » Tue Feb 14, 2012 11:02 am

Paul,

Awesome route. Thank you. Especially appealing as the would be passes are little ridges or on trail. I love climbing up out of drainages too so the gap between Hawksbeak and Ehrnbeck looks nice. You're right about bonus points though, Matterhorn Pass looks like a handful.
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