HST questions | High Sierra Topix  

HST questions

If you've been searching for the best source of information and stimulating discussion related to Spring/Summer/Fall backpacking, hiking and camping in the Sierra Nevada...look no further!
User avatar

HST questions

Postby oleander » Tue Feb 14, 2012 10:08 am

Hi,

We're doing a north-to-south trek of part of the HST this summer. It will either be
(a) Horse Creek to Mono Creek (exiting at Mono Pass/Rock Creek), or
(b) Tuolumne to Piute Pass.

Questions:

Which would be the easier START to our hike, mentally and physically: The uphill up Horse Creek and those difficult passes (Stanton/Sky Pilot); or the greater food weight and the tougher navigation of the Tuolumne-Reds section?

If someone put a gun to your head and demanded to know which section - Horse Creek to Tuolumne, vs. Mono Creek to Piute Creek - had the better scenery and was more enjoyable, what would be your answer?

Since a friend may be joining us southbound from Reds, we may need to define how many days we'll allocate to each section, so that we can set a date for our arrival at Reds. Certainly we have heard that Horse Creek to Tuolumne is known as a "slow" section, and Reds to Mono Creek "very fast" (relatively speaking). The other two sections, Tuolumne to Reds and Mono to Piute, are harder to judge. Also, how MUCH "slower" or "faster" is one section compared to another? I wonder if any of you have noted the number of days you spent on each section, and/or your average daily mileage. That would be super-helpful.

Southbound from Reds to Deer Lakes, what's the water situation? (Late-season)

Thank you!
- Elizabeth



User avatar
oleander
Topix Regular
 
Posts: 325
Joined: Wed Aug 18, 2010 10:15 am
Experience: N/A

User avatar

Re: HST questions

Postby AlmostThere » Tue Feb 14, 2012 10:54 am

Do you mean the Sierra High Route?

The HST doesn't go there...

I'm going from Tuolumne to Reds on the Route - if the stars line up for me - in late July.
User avatar
AlmostThere
Topix Fanatic
 
Posts: 1758
Joined: Wed Jun 24, 2009 4:38 pm
Experience: N/A

User avatar

Re: HST questions

Postby Wandering Daisy » Tue Feb 14, 2012 11:57 am

If you start at Horse Creek you only need to start out with about 4-5 days food and then pick up the rest of your food at Tuolumne. I though Sky Pilot Col was really scarey. And I diverted Stanton because I was going solo. I would have done Stanton if someone were with me. But this was more an issue of snow on the route, and it looks like this year there is not likely to be snow on the route late season.

"Slow" or "Fast" depends on how experienced you are at off-trail travel. I good rule of thumb for those of moderate experience is 1 mph for the distance and add 1 hour for each 1,000 feet of elevation gain. Also add about half an hour for each Class2+ pass. You can make fair time Horse Creek to Tuolumne IF you are really good on talus. Tuolumne south you are on trails until you exit to go over to Blue Lakes. Then the next few days are quite hard and slower. On the other had I easily did 2.5 mph on trails with an hour for each 2,000 feet of elevation gain. Another issue is weather. You can hike on a trail during rain, but many of the passes are not safe to travel when it rains, so you just have to wait for better weather.

Remember that the High Route was designed by a first-class climber. His opinion of "easy"
or "delightful" may not be yours! You definitely need to be comfortable on terrain that is similar to mountaineering approaches.

I wrote up reports on my trip a few years ago. I will try to go back and "bring them up front" so you can read them.
User avatar
Wandering Daisy
Topix Junkie
 
Posts: 2607
Joined: Sun Jan 24, 2010 8:19 pm
Location: Fair Oaks CA (Sacramento area)
Experience: N/A

User avatar

Re: HST questions

Postby oleander » Tue Feb 14, 2012 5:04 pm

HSR vs. HST, yes. I constantly get the two names mixed up, which is why I usually just call the HSR "Roper" as that's the one I can remember ;)

We're ready for this level of backpacking. (Thanks for verifying, though.) Each of us has 20+ years of experience in the Sierra, we've done some long thrus/sections, and we've both done challenging x-country up to Class 3, including parts of Roper. My hiking partner has done the section from Tuolumne up and over Sky Pilot. (She too was intimidated by that pass; but we're told that is the worst pass on the whole route with the possible exception of Snow Tongue, which we'd avoid in favor of Alpine Col.) I do orienteering/adventure races and have not found the x-country navigation a problem. Lightweight packs.

What will be new to us is stringing together long sections of x-country as a thru.

Planning a conservative pace averaging 6-7 miles per day. (That's why we'd bother to resupply after Mono Creek - not into the idea of carrying 11 days of food from Reds to Piute.) The question is how, exactly, our pace will realistically vary across the route.

We were guessing 6 mi/day Horse Creek to Tuolumne; 7 mi/day Tuolumne to Reds; 8 mi/day Reds to Mono; 7 mi/day Mono to Piute. But I'm sort of wondering if we should give ourselves an extra day for Horse Creek-Tuolumne, as we'd be slow and just starting out...and then speed it up a bit in the Reds-Mono section? (So it'd be more like 5 mi/day Horse-Tuolumne and 9 mi/day Reds-Mono.)

I forgot to ask. Has anyone tried to resupply at Rock Creek (Mono Pass exit) before? We know it's 2 more miles and more elevation compared to resupplying at VVR; but we figure a Mono Pass exit would preserve more of the high-country feel. We have been to both places before (Rock Creek & VVR).

- Elizabeth
User avatar
oleander
Topix Regular
 
Posts: 325
Joined: Wed Aug 18, 2010 10:15 am
Experience: N/A

User avatar

Re: HST questions

Postby Wandering Daisy » Tue Feb 14, 2012 7:22 pm

I resupplied at Tuolumne, Devils Post Pile (Mammoth Lakes), North Lake. My husband joined me on the middle section so he just brought all the food with him. We had cars parked both at North Lake and near Mammoth and there was the fine bus service at Devils Post Pile. My travel plan was such that Edison or Rock Creek would be too soon to resupply. The North Lake resupply is handy but you definitely need someone to meet you there or have a car there so you can go into Bishop. Edison is a standard PCT resupply. Mono Pass is easy but I am not sure what services are available at Rock Creek. However, if you have friends who can meet you, Rock Creek is a lot easier for them to get to than Edison.

My experience was that I could make a lot more miles per day as time went on and I became acclimated and in better shape. I made really good time on the trail sections. I planned my days to end at places that had good scenery and opportunities for afternoon exploratory hikes. Thus, some days were short, some were long. My schedule was pre-planned and I stuck with it. But that is my style. For me that works the best because in the past I have often continued past my planned end point for the day only to find myself stuck in an ugly campsite or having to go farther than I wanted due to water sources. There are sections, particularly between Evolution Lake and Dusy Basin that is all trail, that you can easily do 10 or more miles a day. Your planned average daily mileage looks fine to me.

I would do as much as you can to talk friends into meeting you at your resupply point either with your food or drive to town to buy food. It really helps.
User avatar
Wandering Daisy
Topix Junkie
 
Posts: 2607
Joined: Sun Jan 24, 2010 8:19 pm
Location: Fair Oaks CA (Sacramento area)
Experience: N/A

User avatar

Re: HST questions

Postby Wandering Daisy » Tue Feb 14, 2012 7:30 pm

Forgot to mention. You may be better off just biting the bullet and starting with 11 days food rather than do another resupply. By the time you get to Devils Postpile you will be in better shape and I think, do just fine. If needed, spend a whole rest day at Reds Meadow and get an exceedingly early start the next day. By the way, one reason we flip/flopped and went the other direction, from Piute to Devils Postpile, is that bear cans are not required for the early days so not being able to get everything in our bear cans was not an issue. Another reason to go north, was that water sources are not an issue. Thus you can take it easier when packs are heavier.
User avatar
Wandering Daisy
Topix Junkie
 
Posts: 2607
Joined: Sun Jan 24, 2010 8:19 pm
Location: Fair Oaks CA (Sacramento area)
Experience: N/A

User avatar

Re: HST questions

Postby Wandering Daisy » Fri Feb 17, 2012 9:43 am

Planning the resupply intevals is an interesting problem. I am going through a similar dilema in planning a 35+/- off trail trip in the Wind Rivers for this summer. One big difference I am having is that my nearest resupply point is 8 miles away, and most are 12-15 miles of extra travel. There are a few streches where resupply simply is not an option! On trail I most often just bite the bullet, load on the weight and plan to travel a bit slower. But off-trail the manuverability issue comes into play. My upper limit on pack weight off-trail is less than on-trail.

I try to find that "sweet point" between losing too many hours resupplying and losing too many hours due to a heavy pack. I am not sure this is helpful, but for me, an 11-day ration is about my limit on off-trail travel. Remember that an 11-day ration is really 10-days of food plus one day extra trail food since you will eat in civilization breakfast first day, and dinner last day. I use 1.25 pounds per day food. I have to be really careful in food planning to get it down to this and maintain at least 2,400 calories per day. I can make a large butane cannister last 10 days. I usually cook on a fire a few times. My base weight is about 18 pounds, so fully loaded with 11 days food and the large gas can, I weigh in at about 33 pounds (about 15 pounds of food, gas and other misc extras needed for 11 days). I am able to handle that off trail. And fortunately, after a few days it weighs less! The other issue with a longer ration period is the bear can. If you resupply out of South Lake, Mammoth, or Tuolumne you are immediately in areas that require bear cannisters. I can squeeze 9 days in my bear can if I am very careful not to take any bulky food. The advantage of resupply from Edison or North Lake is that bear cans are not required right away. In fact when my husband and I started our 11-day section out of North Lake we used one Bearikade Weekender and one Ursack with one small bag that did not fit. By the time we got to the PCT (Virginia Lake area) where bear cans were required, we easily could fit it all inside the Bearikade.

Due to the distance involved in my resupply points, I am considering resupply by commercial horse packer. It is expensive, but really tempting. I have found that some packers are willing to add your load to another scheduled trip so that you only pay for the pack horse, not the added wrangler costs. For a group who share costs, this is an efficient method. You probably do not need it, but it is another option.
User avatar
Wandering Daisy
Topix Junkie
 
Posts: 2607
Joined: Sun Jan 24, 2010 8:19 pm
Location: Fair Oaks CA (Sacramento area)
Experience: N/A


Return to Backpacking / Hiking / Camping



Who is online

Users browsing this forum: Bing [Bot], lvray, Yahoo [Bot] and 11 guests