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Route Planning

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Re: Route Planning

Postby oldranger » Sat Feb 11, 2012 7:45 am

Rogue,

Of course it is hard to predict the weather but remember that the Granite Creek drainage tops out at about 11,000 ft and the drainage to the e. before you drop down to the SJ as you head toward the Ritter Range is low, too. I would expect limited water availability, barring rain, to be pretty limited except in lakes.

Mike
Mike

Who can't do everything he used to and what he can do takes a hell of a lot longer!



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Re: Route Planning

Postby RoguePhotonic » Sat Feb 11, 2012 2:06 pm

Yeah looking at that area I will probably bring some extra water containers. I would expect Dike Creek to have at least some flow but I bet the nearly 2000 foot climb up to Mcdonald Pass is bone dry.

I remember in my early days of backpacking which comically enough was only 5 years ago I spent the night at Cottonwood Lake #3 and then set out for the summit of Langely with no more than a single Nalgene bottle of water and a camera. Hmm I wonder why I failed to summit that time. :-k

I'm crossing my fingers at pulling off this trip. If I do I'll probably have 95% of everything I want to do in the Sierra done. Then I can leave it to climbing more peaks and revisiting the best areas.
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Re: Route Planning

Postby rlown » Sat Feb 11, 2012 2:13 pm

RoguePhotonic wrote:
I remember in my early days of backpacking which comically enough was only 5 years ago I spent the night at Cottonwood Lake #3 and then set out for the summit of Langely with no more than a single Nalgene bottle of water and a camera. Hmm I wonder why I failed to summit that time. :-k


How's that retirement planning coming along? You won't be young forever. It's really nice that you can get away with these trips now. We all did, and we all still want to. We do our best to save, plan, and still do what we want to do.

Oh, yeah.. forgot to say.. Sweet trip plan!
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Re: Route Planning

Postby RoguePhotonic » Sat Feb 11, 2012 8:58 pm

I have no plans of living to retirement lol. I can't imagine a course I would take where that would happen. To quote a phrase "not even the very wise can see all ends" but the thought itself is horrible at best.
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Re: Route Planning

Postby rlown » Sat Feb 11, 2012 9:04 pm

guess what.. if you survive your trips, like most of us.. Better think about what being 60 might look like.

Still a great trip.. I think most here would like to be on certain legs. (well, for me where the fish are)..
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Re: Route Planning

Postby RoguePhotonic » Thu Feb 23, 2012 8:52 pm

I've reconsidered the last section of this hike. Assuming I make it that far of course. Instead of going to Cartridge Creek by following the Muir Trail I think I will try the more difficult route and go up the South Fork and into Ionian Basin from Martha Lake. Then down through the Enchanted Gorge to Goddard Creek and out to Cartridge Creek.

It wasn't easy to decide on this route because i've heard the Enchanted Gorge is not as nice as Goddard Creek and the simple fact that it dumps you out directly at the start of the major bush whacking. I think it's best to do new things though instead of just following the other route back. Being the last section of the hike though anything could happen.

October 3 - 124 - Blayney Hotsprings
October 4 - 125 - South Fork
October 5 - 126 - Lake 12,080
October 6 - 127 - Disappearing Creek
October 7 - 128 - Goddard Creek
October 8 - 129 - Cartridge Creek
October 9 - 130 - Marion Lake
October 10 - 131 - Muro Blanco
October 11 - 132 - Upper Paradise Valley
October 12 - 133 - Cedar Grove

Have any of you hiked the Enchanted Gorge?
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Re: Route Planning

Postby Wandering Daisy » Fri Feb 24, 2012 9:30 am

I have hiked the loop from Chasm Lake, down to the confluence and up Goddard Creek. I did it as a seat-of-pants day hike, ended up bivying. Chasm Lake - Lake 9797 11 hrs. next day Lk 9797 -Chasm Lake 7 hours. I had a very small day pack. It was August of a 200% snow pack year so conditions this year would likely be very different. I did not do the slowest most miserable part from the confluence to the Middle Fork. Others will have to give you information on that. Goddard Creek is in my opinion more scenic than Disappearing Creek, simply because it is greener and more open. Disappearing Creek is spectacular in its own way- but has a very claustrophobic dark feel to it. I primarly stayed on the"inside" of the loop and avoided the thick brush at the actual confluence by traversing at about 7,100 feet. Because of the high water I did not cross any of the creeks except on snow bridges. These were rather freaky- I actually got on my belly and scooted across one. Crossing during late season of a low snow year should be no problem. You can make travel a lot easier if willing to cross often. In those days I wore mountaineering boots, which were useful. It is pretty rough footing so boots probably are better than low cut light hikers. I also had high tough gaiters. There are lots of nettles that can tear up your legs. If I had the choice of Enchanted Gorge vs Goddard Creek I would do Goddard because it is prettier, but if that means you cannot loop through Ionain Basin, then do Enchanted Gorge. Chasm Lake is a nice campsite and a good place to start out the descent. There is also good camping at Lake 11692, but that lake can be a wind tunnel some days. Chasm is more protected.

For those on this forum who have given you grief about "recklessness", my trip down Enchanted Gorge probably deserves similar comment! I was on a long 2-week backpack and was a few days behind schedule, so when I got to Chasm Lake it became clear that I could not backpack both Enchanted Gorge and get to Barrett Lakes to climb Mt Sill without running out of food. So I decided to just take a light day pack (one bag of munchies, a few tea bags and a pot- I always carry a cook pot with me), a rain parka and one extra layer. I was wearing wool pants and a Woolrich wool shirt. The army surplus wool pants were a godsend in the brush. The idea was to just go part way down and come back.

The previous day was a hard day- I had a mild epic. I encountered a cornice descending from Lake 11818 to Lake 11837 and near the bottom of the cornice I post-holed waist deep into a hole near a rock and pinned my arm and wedged a knee. Rather than risk furthe injury I was able to get my pack unbuckled and simply let it careen down towards the lower lake, and thankfully it did not go into the drink. I then was able to carefully extract myself. The entire day was full of little problems like that. So I slept in at Chasm Lake and did not leave for my "Peek" down Enchanted Gorge until 9AM.

I soon came to a steep nearly ice snowfield. I layed down and descended in a controlled self arrest. Good method to get down but soon realised that I was not going to be able to get back up! So I just continued to descend. I was aware that I probably would have to bivouac, so did not want to get wet, thus did everything I could to avoid crossing. At one point I was forced to cross by a cliff, but there were lots of little snow bridges so I scooted across one. Lower down I crossed back to the north side on rocks. As I rounded the slope above the confluence (lots of slow talus) and came back to the creek, two fellows across the creek were waving at me! At Chasm Lake, I camped next to a rock were someone had left all their maps. The two fellows were these people. One guy crossed the creek and asked to see my map. They had left Chasm Lake 3 days earlier and it took then 3 days to get to this point. One guy twisted an ankle. Without a big pack, I thought Enchanted Gorge was really not that bad but could see that with a pack it would be a different story. There is lots of talus, stream banks are really steep - at one point I was hanging on to roots and swinging laterally. Lower down (about below 7800) there the brush is all prickly- lots of cats claw and nettles.

Anyway, it was 6PM so left the two guys and continued up Goddard Creek until dark. I have done enough bivouacing to know that moving steadily as long as feasible is better than stopping early and getting cold. It was so dark by the time I got to Lake 9797 that I could hardly see (my battery on my flashlight had long before gone dead). I immediately built a fire and stumbled upon a stump type log and put it on to smoulder all night. I boiled water and drank warm tea that gradually became nothing more than warm water, but it did keep me warmer than if I had nothing. I must have pushed my ice axe too close to the fire when I slept because in the morning the handle was slightly burned (it was an old hickory handled axe). Also, the "grass" I had gathered to make an insulating bed turned out to be wild onions. I smelled like a roasted pig when I awoke! Great for bear bait! I got up crack of dawn and got back to Chasm Lake a bit after noon and slept the rest of the day. I really think you could day-hike this loop in mid-summer with enough light. I was pretty slow second day after little sleep. You could probably do the entire loop in 16 hours.

It looked to me when I was ascending Goddard Creek that the west side would have been easier. I stayed on the east side because I did not want to cross and get wet or fall in. It is impossible to describe a "route" in either canyon. The more you can cross the creeks, the easier travel you will encounter. Both Goddard Creek and Enchanted Gorge are not that bad above the confluence. There is also limited camping at the small lakes in Enchanted Gorge. I think with a bit of looking around you could find a flat spot at many places. Down lower getting to the stream for water may be a problem.

Ionian Baisn is wonderful. I think you have the right idea to go through it. If you get behind schedule, you can always just go out Black Giant Pass and get on the PCT to make good time. I am not sure you will "like" Enchanted Gorge. I certainly think you are capable of doing it. You have done enough bushwhaking at this point that I think you have a good enough "nose" for route-finding through brush to find your way. It may take more time than you planned, but then you can always go up the trail from Simpson Meadow to get back quickly to Roads End. Do be aware of rattlesnakes. I heard one near the confluence.
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Re: Route Planning

Postby Jimr » Fri Feb 24, 2012 9:49 am

We had planned to go down EG in '85, but my DA buddy broke his ankle in Ionian Basin and had to be helicoptered out, so we opted to climb the pass and drop down to the Muir Hut, then down the JMT to Dusy Basin instead. May be a good year to attempt though. I believe what makes it more difficult than Goddard Creek is the ice bridges that last well into (through) summer.

WD, great write-up! Brings me back to '89 when my buddy and I went down GC to MF Kings. High, crumbly banks, hillsides full of nettles that reach out and wrap around you like an octopus, lots of stream crossing, root swinging, etc. We went down, staying high on the west side until we were about half way down the canyon. Lots or runouts, so we had to drop our packs and pre-scout every move, then go back for the packs and scout out again until we finally came to chute we could use to get down to the creek. We had to sleep on a small berm just inches from the stream. It took us 16 hours over two days to get from LK 9797 down to Simpson Meadows.
What?!
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Re: Route Planning

Postby RoguePhotonic » Fri Feb 24, 2012 5:49 pm

Going into Ionian Basin itself shouldn't be the main goal although I will end up seeing more of it on the route I planned. Earlier in the trip if everything goes right I will explore allot of Ionian in late July.

When I did Goddard Creek last year I didn't see any Nettle at all so I guess I was lucky. It doesn't sound like the Enchanted Gorge will be all that difficult compared to Goddard Creek but it does suck for sure going back into the heavy bush at the bottom. I was wondering if by that time of early October in a low snow year if it would be possible to stay in the creek itself and avoid the bush.

There is also a really epic rock fall that happened this year in the middle of the worst bush. It extends all the way to the creek so it must be crossed. It's pretty dangerous also. I dislodged a 6500 pound boulder that almost fell on my foot while I crossed it.

I'll just have to see what happens over the summer. If I make it that far I may or may not choose to take that route. I really want to do Cartridge Creek and then through the Muro Blanco and i'd hate to be so destroyed by that route that I back out and just take Granite Pass.
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Re: Route Planning

Postby oleander » Thu Mar 15, 2012 2:24 pm

Congratulations on a wonderful adventure in 2011 (I couldn't help reading the whole thing) and another one upcoming. Sounds awesome.

I only have a comment on your first section. If it were me, I'd skip the layover at Big Five Lakes, which my friend and I found to be boring compared to everything else in Mineral King which is so spectacular. Especially since you're going to Kaweah Basin on the same section! Re-allocate the Five Lakes day to Kaweah Basin.

The uppermost Little Five Lake, though, is beautiful. You could pop over the easy little ridge from Big Five Lakes basin, which will drop you down right into the uppermost Little Five. I'd go that way on my way to Nine Lakes Basin, rather than taking the dull trailed route (down in the hot forest) from Big Five to Little Five.

- Elizabeth
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Re: Route Planning

Postby RoguePhotonic » Thu Mar 15, 2012 5:10 pm

The only thing about taking the day away from Big Five Lakes is I also have a layover day in Kaweah Basin planned already. So if I did that I would spend 3 nights there. That's probably not a bad thing but being the start of the trip I will probably need the rest.

As for the whole Little Five Lakes thing your comments made me check my maps again and I had the lakes mixed up. One thing I hate about Mapsource is many markers are way off target. The Lake I was planning to stay at is Lake 10,410 that is just North of Little Five Lakes. Since my goal in this area is sight seeing jumping over the ridge is probably a good idea.

I have only been to the Mineral King area once and that was at the start of my hike last year crossing Farewell Gap and then Timber Gap. Everything else will be new for me.

The only changes I have made to this plan so far is I plan to climb Clyde Minaret while I pass by it moving North instead of coming back South. Also I had planned to follow the Sierra High Route over White Bark - Garnet - North Glacier Passes but then it occurred to me why not just jump over the Ritter / Banner saddle. I have climbed it once while doing Mt. Banner. It is steep for sure near the top but I can make it. Then if I am doing that why not take a shot at Ritter while there?

Also I have been analyzing my photos taken from Mt. Banner of the ridge I want to cross that leads SW of Rogers Peak. It looks nasty. Of course from a distance it's impossible to tell but that is a remote enough area that I think having a plan B is a good idea. Bailing out over Clinch Pass is an option if I cannot go that way. I could head over Donohue and down to Tuolumne. I would probably miss my shot at Mt. Lyell but it's no big deal.

I'd ask if anyone has seen that ridge in person closer up but I think the question is futile.

It does amaze me sometimes when you plan a route based on the topo maps and when you actually see the terrain it turns out to be way more steep then what the map shows.
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Re: Route Planning

Postby AndyMac321 » Fri Mar 16, 2012 11:04 am

Just remember that VVR may be closed by oct.... They stay open until around the 15th, but if you notice the weather turning in late September, you may want to have a backup plan for resupply.Sounds like an awesome hike! I really enjoyed your 2011 trip. I will be in Sierras (Rae Lakes) around beg of August!
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