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Pine Creek Roadend trip

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Pine Creek Roadend trip

Postby whrdafamI? » Fri Feb 10, 2012 2:55 pm

Just got done getting my permit for this year over the internet. That was a new experience and certainly not as much fun as getting to talk to the people at White Mtn. Ranger office. At any rate we are starting at Pine Creek, going up over Italy Pass, over Seldon Pass and out by way of Pine Creek Pass. Intentionally done this way as to avoid a car shuttle. Any one else done this loop? Any thoughts or advice? I have done the start of this one to Granite Park so I know whats in store at the beginning. Pant and slog for sure!
Last edited by whrdafamI? on Fri Feb 10, 2012 6:00 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Pine Creek Roadend trip

Postby gcj » Fri Feb 10, 2012 5:13 pm

Sounds like an excellent itinerary. I've traveled over Italy Pass from Lake Italy. Fun and beautiful. If you're coming down toward Lake Italy, and if there's a large snowfield (probably not this year), make sure you stay well above the lake surface:

ItalyPassTrail.jpg
Lake Italy and snowbank collapse along Italy Pass Trail


Notice how deeply undercut the snow bank was. Luckily, I saw it from this vantage point before hiking on the trail the next morning. I crossed the snow up close to the rocks. The lake was beautiful, but I don't think I'd want to try swimming in it. :)

Enjoy your trip! Looking forward to some pics.
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Re: Pine Creek Roadend trip

Postby Carne_DelMuerto » Fri Feb 10, 2012 5:35 pm

Headed over Italy Pass July 23rd myself—maybe I'll see you out there! I started a thread a while back (viewtopic.php?f=1&t=7262), it may have some info you find useful.

When are you headed out?
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Re: Pine Creek Roadend trip

Postby whrdafamI? » Fri Feb 10, 2012 5:52 pm

CDM , I got a entrance date of Aug. 2nd. I have it slated for 7 days. Should be adequate. I just checked out your post on your trip plans. Whooee, that 1st day will be a ball buster! I will be quite content to call it a day at Upper Pine Creek Lake!
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Re: Pine Creek Roadend trip

Postby hikerchick395 » Sat Feb 11, 2012 4:36 pm

Will be up in that area this summer, too, I hope. A basecamp with the neighbors. Had it planned last year but everyone bailed. They said for sure this year. We'll see.

We'll probably do it earlier than we might've planned for last year.

Short drive...9 miles...to the trailhead :)



Bill, we did that loop the opposite direction, quite a few years back. Stayed at Rose Lake and Sandpiper Lake on the west side.
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Re: Pine Creek Roadend trip

Postby RoguePhotonic » Sat Feb 11, 2012 9:02 pm

If you like mine exploring you can stop by Brownstone. You can get into the mine by a ladder in the lift motor room. The ladders are in good shape and the mine is a very safe type. Solid granite walls with plenty of fresh air flow.
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Re: Pine Creek Roadend trip

Postby whrdafamI? » Fri Feb 17, 2012 10:20 am

Mine exploring can be fun but doubt if I will take the time this trip. The climb from the TH is menacing especially the 1st day with little or no acclimation time available.
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Re: Pine Creek Roadend trip

Postby kpeter » Fri Feb 17, 2012 10:35 pm

That is indeed one of the tougher first day hikes I've done. Such a low trailhead. I remember how wonderful it feels to finally see Pine Lake. I've always made it to Honeymoon, and once all the way to Granite Park. But the Granite Park trip was probably the hardest first day I've ever done. That was roughly 4000 feet of elevation with a heavy pack, coming from sea level and out-of-shape. Upper Pine sounds like a much better first day.

Much further along your loop (if I understand your route properly) you will come by the intersection of the JMT with the Piute Creek trail. There are some beautiful campsites on the southern side of bridge amidst the ponderosas. I'm not used to such low elevation campsites in the wilderness--it was lovely. It is also a major waystop for the JMT hikers, so be prepared for company.

When headed back up Piute Creek canyon I don't recall much in the way of camping until beyond W Pinacles Creek. Before that the trail tends to stay high in the canyon. I do recall one beautiful stream-side camp that was very inviting and obviously illegal. After W. Pinacles the trail is not too far from the Creek and there are many more campsites.

W. Pinacles Creek can be a torrent at times and was one of my biggest concerns on my loop trip last summer. There is a trick to crossing that stream--the froth keeps you from seeing the bottom, but it is reasonably shallow on the downstream side of the trail crossing, and relatively deep on the upstream side. Take the downstream side and feel your way with poles. I imagine this year stream crossings won't be the issue they were last year.

If you have the time to take a day it can be fun to explore the French/Steelhead/Moon/Puppet lakes etc. They are really on a couple of shelves. Some, like Puppet, are very exposed and shallow. Eerie even. There is a spur trail from the French Creek Canyon trail over to Moon lake.
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Re: Pine Creek Roadend trip

Postby whrdafamI? » Sat Feb 18, 2012 8:44 am

KPETER, I know the spot at the bridge that you are referring to. I have camped there the last 2 yrs. when doing the trip over Lamarck Col. and back out over Piute. It can indeed get very crowded there with the JMT thru hikers piling in but can also be a fun night sharing info. and stories with those of the same attitude. Last year crossing West Pinnacles was a challenge as it was ripping. I managed to fall about half way across and lost a trekking pole in the process. Took the fun out that day pretty quick! From what I understand this particular trip is one of the more strenuous because of all the elev. gain. Will see how that goes. I picked it as I have wanted to do it for several yrs. and it also keeps me out of NP's the whole trip. Last yr. we had a dog with us down in KCNP and while we didn't get caught I don't want to chance that again. Also took some flack from some on here for having done it. I will be well behaved this yr.
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Re: Pine Creek Roadend trip

Postby kpeter » Sat Feb 18, 2012 9:01 pm

Hah! I might have known you were an old hand at that trail. Enjoy your loop this summer!

Just in case anyone else is curious about the infamous West Pinnacles Creek ford (and to bring back not-so-fond memories for you), here it is:

IMGP2035-1.jpg
Ford at West Pinnacles Creek
IMGP2035-1.jpg (57.48 KiB) Viewed 216 times


As it turns out, this one doesn't seem so bad in retrospect, but it was plenty scary given that it was my first major crossing on my trip.
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Re: Pine Creek Roadend trip

Postby whrdafamI? » Sat Feb 18, 2012 10:10 pm

Kpeter, yep that was the spot! Last year when I attempted this crossing it looked deeper. I, unfortunately it seems, went upstream around 10 ft. or so as it "looked" like a good idea that day. I had my water shoes on and ventured forward. About half way across I was going down. My boots were tied together and hung around my neck. I took one of them to the face and ended up with a righteous nose bleed and 1 less trekking pole. I am just not quite as agile as I used to be.
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Re: Pine Creek Roadend trip

Postby whrdafamI? » Thu Feb 23, 2012 3:32 pm

It appears that not too many have made this loop.
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