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June Trip up Kibbie Ridge to Many Island?

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June Trip up Kibbie Ridge to Many Island?

Postby kpeter » Fri Feb 17, 2012 10:22 am

I am plotting my June packtrip. Lately I have been focusing on the NW Yosemite region due to its low elevation and have been going in the 3rd week of June. Given the low snowpack this year it might be possible for me to go a week or two earlier--we'll see! Two years ago I used advice obtained here to go from Hetch Hetchy dam to Vernal Lake, do some dayhiking from there, and back. Very nice trip. Last year I did Kibbie Lake. Also a nice trip, although it was cut short by blister issues.

This year I am thinking about the Kibbie region again, and considering going up Kibbie Ridge to Boundary Lake or Many Island Lake. I met Doyle on the trail last year, though, and he indicated that the ridge trail had deteriorated. That concerns me. Would this be essentially a long bushwhacking trip up the ridge, or could I move at trail speed?

For those of you who have been up the ridge and across Styxx pass, how early is it normally passable? It doesn't seem that there are any stream crossings the whole way, which bodes well for an early season hike. I'm not eager to walk across miles of snow (though I did that going over Muir pass last summer) but mostly want to avoid anything too dangerous. For example, from Styxx Pass to Boundary Lake it looks like the trail traverses a steep North slope. I worry about hitting a lot of steep snow in there. Should I?

Finally, what do you think of the merits of Many Island Lake vs. Boundary Lake? How easy was it to get down to Many Island from the ridge trail? Nice camping there? How does it compare with the Boundary/Little Bear/Spotted Fawn region?
Last edited by kpeter on Fri Feb 17, 2012 9:41 pm, edited 1 time in total.



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Re: June Trip up Kibbie Ridge to Many Island?

Postby Wandering Daisy » Fri Feb 17, 2012 11:35 am

I did a trip up Kibby Ridge (one year after the fire), and then basically followed the boundary ridge up towards Huckleberry Lake and visited Inferno Lakes, Boundary, Thousand Island, and numerous other small very nice lakes. It was very early with quite a bit of snow. I found the snow was soft enough to kick steps, in fact, post-holeing was more of a problem up around Huckleberry Lake where it was solid snow. Cherry Creek was basically not crossable. Once on the Yosemite side there is not much in the way of trails. The area around Inferno Lake is a bit difficult- lots of little cliffs. I did not think Thousand Island Lake was very pretty, although all the other lakes were. I would call it a moderately difficult early season trip. Kibbie Ridge was not nice, but it simply is what you have to tolerate to get to better stuff. Much of it was saturated ash- really funny stuff to walk on. I met a fellow camped on Kibbie Ridge who called it quits. The trail was basically gone between the snow patches and damage done by the fire. But that was a while back. The mile or so before Syxt Pass, I think as long as you plan on being in off-trail conditions and simply call it good luck if you happen upon the old trail, then you will be OK. If you are looking for a route primarily on easy-to-follow trails, I would not suggest this one. I cannot remember the exact time of the trip- I would have to go back and dig up some records. It was pretty much solid snow above Llyod Meadows.
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Re: June Trip up Kibbie Ridge to Many Island?

Postby TehipiteTom » Fri Feb 17, 2012 2:47 pm

I did a Kibbie Ridge trip in late May of 2007, and unless we get a ton of rain in March the conditions this year will likely be comparable (and maybe drier). My guess is you won't run into much if any snow in June.

I can't compare Many Island to Boundary, but I thought it was a pretty lake in its own right.

Complete set of photos from that trip here.
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Re: June Trip up Kibbie Ridge to Many Island?

Postby kpeter » Fri Feb 17, 2012 9:38 pm

Thank you both, that really helps.

Wandering Daisy, I would not be so ambitious as to head for Inferno Lakes. If I wanted to do Boundary lake would you suggest I follow the old trail over Styxx pass, or cut down to Many Island and cross-x it from there to Boundary? The topo shows a trail above Lords Meadows in Cherry Creek Canyon all the way to Boundary. But the overland route from Many Island to Boundary doesn't look too bad and is all southern exposure.

Tehipe, I poured over your write up and went through your pictures. You did a nice job of putting that together. I've got a couple of questions. 1) Was it pretty simple getting down from the ridge to Many Island lake? Is your third picture taken during that descent? If so, that looks pretty simple. 2) After you camped at Many Island, it sounds like it was a fairly easy hike over to Spotted Fawn. You didn't mention Little Bear or Boundary Lakes, which look even easier on the map. Any special reason you passed them up, or are they less accessible from Many Island than they look?
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Re: June Trip up Kibbie Ridge to Many Island?

Postby balzaccom » Sat Feb 18, 2012 8:05 am

We did the trip to Boundary lake a few years ago. Hiked down into Cherry Canyon and then back up to Boundary. That trail was clear and easy to follow. I would agree that Kibbie Ridge ain't my favorite place to hike---lots of deadfall, not scenic.

I think there is a chance that STyx Pass to Cherry Canyon would have some snow, it's a North face, but we did it 4th of July weekend and there was NO snow there.

And we loved Boundary Lake. It's the photo on the homepage of our website!

trail report for our trip is here:

https://sites.google.com/site/backpackt ... tioga-pass
Balzaccom

check out our website: http://www.backpackthesierra.com/
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Re: June Trip up Kibbie Ridge to Many Island?

Postby Wandering Daisy » Sat Feb 18, 2012 9:16 am

I did not take a camera on this trip, so unfortnuately cannot show you what it looks like early season. When I did it, the gate was still on the road at Cherry Lake so I had to walk from Cherry Lake. If the road is closed, there definitely will be snow! The "trail" up to Boundry Lake had lots of snow. I had expected snow so had an ice axe and recall some was steep, but not hard. Early season the flat just west of Styx Pass is a swamp. The drop into Many Island Lake was miserable because I had to wade through knee deep cold water. Little Bear and Spotted Fawn are really pretty. Laks 7489 and 7458 are woodsy but not scenic- some bushwhaking involved. If you really do not want to deal with snow I suggest doing this trip in July, not June.
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Re: June Trip up Kibbie Ridge to Many Island?

Postby Ikan Mas » Sat Feb 18, 2012 10:47 am

I will be going to Kibbie Lake probably weekend of June 1. I will post what conditions I find.
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Re: June Trip up Kibbie Ridge to Many Island?

Postby TehipiteTom » Sat Feb 18, 2012 4:09 pm

kpeter wrote:Tehipe, I poured over your write up and went through your pictures. You did a nice job of putting that together. I've got a couple of questions. 1) Was it pretty simple getting down from the ridge to Many Island lake? Is your third picture taken during that descent? If so, that looks pretty simple. 2) After you camped at Many Island, it sounds like it was a fairly easy hike over to Spotted Fawn. You didn't mention Little Bear or Boundary Lakes, which look even easier on the map. Any special reason you passed them up, or are they less accessible from Many Island than they look?

Thanks! I'll try to answer your questions here...

1) Yes, that shot is from the descent to Many Island. My recollection is that the descent wasn't too complicated, but some of the slabs were steep enough to make me nervous, so I'm not sure I came down the ideal route. I think generally you're probably better off descending closer to the north end of the lake.

2) No particular reason for passing them up, and I'm sort of sorry I did, but I was focused on the Nance Peak dayhike so I didn't take any detours.

Hope this helps.
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Re: June Trip up Kibbie Ridge to Many Island?

Postby kpeter » Sat Feb 18, 2012 5:30 pm

Thank you Balzaccom, your trip report and photos have convinced me to target Boundary Lake, and you have given me some great ideas for dayhikes and sidetrips in the area.

Thanks for getting back to me Wandering Daisy. It is very tempting to spend a day heading down into Cherry Creek Canyon on this trip. I think it will depend on the snow which will in turn depend on how early in June I go and how the weather conditions play out over the next few months.

Thanks Tehipe, I'm still undecided as to whether to go straight for Many Island or bypass it for Boundary Lake first, but it is good to know the best route down to MI in case that turns out to be the best option. And your other ramblings (on foot!) may serve as inspiration for some dayhikes in the area.

Ikan, thanks much. Yes, getting a bit of a report in early June from Kibbie would be most useful.

And thanks to all for sharing your insights. I won't get my hopes up about the first seven miles, but it certainly sounds like it could be a wonderful trip after that!
Last edited by kpeter on Sat Feb 18, 2012 11:31 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: June Trip up Kibbie Ridge to Many Island?

Postby giantbrookie » Sat Feb 18, 2012 11:27 pm

Those are some pretty lakes and they will probably be open in June, given that they usually open up fairly early and unless there is an unbelievable finish to the winter this is looking to be a light year. I don't know if fishing is part of your plans, but you should be aware that those lakes have been fishless for years.
Since my fishing (etc.) website is still down, you can be distracted by geology stuff at: http://www.fresnostate.edu/csm/ees/facu ... ayshi.html
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Re: June Trip up Kibbie Ridge to Many Island?

Postby kpeter » Sat Feb 18, 2012 11:43 pm

Thanks, Giantbrookie. I grew up fishing in Idaho, but I have never fished in California. Not that I am opposed to it--I just gave up carrying fishing gear when I started carrying camera gear, and I never got back to it.
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Re: June Trip up Kibbie Ridge to Many Island?

Postby phoenix2000 » Mon Feb 20, 2012 2:40 pm

You shouldn't have to worry about the Kibbie Ridge Trail.

In 2010 the Kibbie Ridge trail was the worst trail I had ever been on. The trail was very hard to follow and disappeared for long stretches. I kept a count of the number of trees I had to step over and got into the 80's before I realized it wasn't an accurate count because I couldn't be sure that I was on the trail the whole time.

In 2011 a trail crew came thru, made the trail easy to follow and removed the sections of trees that were lying across the trail. I had no problems following or moving along the trail. There was only one section of the trail that they should have worked on to make the trail more obvious. The trail seems to widen to a six foot wide section of dirt and rocks that looks like it forms steps going up in elevation maybe 8-10 feet. The actual trail is narrow, runs off to the right and was hidden by tall grass.

I have never been over Styx Pass so I can't comment on that but there was 1 small creek I had to cross about 2.5 miles into the Kibbie Ridge trail. It was a small creek so even in June you probably will not have a problem crossing it.

From what I read to get to Many Island Lake people were suggesting turning south off the trail once you get to the last tarn before Styx Pass in order to get to Many Island lake. I however turned south early, once I got to the small forest of trees to the north of the trail before Mercur Peak. I probably ended up at the same spot of steep granite that you take to get down to Many Island Lake. The granite slope is pretty steep so I wouldn't advise trying to go down it if there is snow or the granite is wet. At the bottom I had to do maybe 30 yards of bushwhacking before reaching the granite and trees that form the shore of the lake. Since I had purchased a Clark Jungle Hammock and was not interested in having a fire I did not look around the lake for campsites with fire pits. I was more concerned with finding a nice ring of trees to provide shade and hang my hammock between. So I can't say that there are any nice campsites with fire pits but there are plenty of perfect spots to pitch a tent or hang a hammock that don't have a fire pit. The lake itself is very picturesque. You can get some great shots of the surrounding mountains reflected in the lake in the early morning.

Boundary Lake was very beautiful. It seems larger and more open than Many Island Lake. A constant breeze caused little waves on the water so I was not able to get any reflection shots. Like Balzaccom reported in his trip report there is only one fire ring on the whole lake. It is on the west shore on the southern part of the lake where it is at its narrowest. The fire ring is on open granite with very little shade.

From Boundary lake there is an easy trail to Little Bear Lake. Little Bear Lake is nice to look at and I got some great reflection shots. What I did not like about the lake was the majority of the shoreline was muddy with grass growing in it.

There is a route marked with ducks from Little Bear to Spotted Fawn Lake. The beginning of it is a steep decent through dense brush but once thru it is an easy hike to the lake. I was very impressed with how beautiful Spotted Fawn Lake was but disappointed that I was trapped on the North shore due to cliffs and thick brush on the east and west shores. There is one very good camping spot in the forest on the north shore of the lake.

Flora Lake was nice. The fire pits are on the east and northwest shores of the lake. The hike out of it, up and over the mountain, taking the trail to Kibbie lake then all the way out is long and little difficult to navigate thru the trees on the mountain.
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