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Yosemite Lake 7040+

Posted: Mon Feb 20, 2012 6:38 pm
by SSSdave

Here is another Yosemite glaciated granite country no name lake at 7040+ that has rarely if ever been reached. Yes no one may have ever been there like a few others in that zone that is one of the least explored regions of Yosemite and southern Sierra...the middle Rancheria Creek and Breeze Creek labyrinths.

And below is a possible 8 day loop trip maybe some of you with some imagination can help adjust my initial itinerary below and float some options of your own for the group to mull over. An ultralighter might do a 5 day 4 night roundtrip with a layover. My route would require an early August date in order to be able to cross Falls Creek on the return.,-119.63073&z=15&t=T" onclick=";return false;

Reaching the lake for ultralight backpackers would be doable by backpacking from 3800 feet at Hetch Hetch dam the first day to Titill Valley climbing to 5800 feet over a strenuous 9.3 miles up 2100 feet. And then the second day to this no name lake has to climb 2900 feet to reach the top of the ridge at 8600 or a 3000 footer over about 9 or 10 miles. Going north on the trail from Tiltill Valley one could turn off trail near lake 8576 northeast towards Tilden Canyon. Those unfamiliar with these landscapes could get into lots of trouble because of unpleasant brush, especially manzanita. That is where Google Earth ( GE ) can help a lot.

The lake at 8160+ looks like a real beauty on GE. Wow what a place to camp! After dropping 600 feet onto the bench, at 8000 my route would either follow the less brushy stream bed or go south-southeast towards the knob at 7600 feet about 1000 feet south of the creek andthen would descend obvious less gradients slopes south arcing southeast around that knob down to the canyon bottom. However GE shows the knob route rather brushy along the big granite joint cracks. From the canyon bottom would move south down to the southeast end of lake 7040+ where some green shows. Likely a very pleasant zone with a significant mile long stretch of stream that never gets fished. Heck maybe the lake has fish? Someone may have put stream fish into the lake they are so close. A really deep bony granitoid canyon that probably looks alot like some of the deep canyon terrain along Cherry Creek.

If I did this trip with my usual heavy load it would not be two days. Instead this 8 day loop trip. The YNP Mather Station blocked gate doesn't open till 8am so one would likely just get across the dam by a late 9am. Instead would likely do the 6.5 miles up 800 feet to Rancheria Falls at 4500 by early afternoon and be satisfied to set up camp there. The next day at dawn would climb the 2.7 miles up 1300 feet over the 5800 dome to Tiltill Vally by 9am and then take an hour break. From there would climb the trail about 2 miles up 1500 feet to 7120 leave the trail and continue up over the easy 7200+ saddle with a small pond and then down a bit to where the stream comes off the slope due north at 7160+ to make camp. Would be some interesting Rancheria Creek views just east where the bench drops off. About a 5 mile day and 2800 feet of vertical. The third day would continue on to the lake 8576 area noted above, a climb of 1500 foot and then descend to lake 7040+ noted above or about 6 miles. An option on the layover day five would be to cross Rancheria Creek, climb the obvious ramp, and visit also very remote lake 7471.

After a layover day would climb back up and camp on day five at the 8160+ lake. From there on day 6 instead of reversing my route taking a certain brutal foot bruiser back to Rancheria Creek, would intercept the trail due north of the lake that passes between two domes at 8520+ and follow it into the Falls Creek drainage down into the wonderful juniper land of Jack Main Canyon. There might camp at lake 7643. Then next day 7 about noon after a good morning fishing the Falls Creek and making a fat rainbow trout lunch would continue on to Bee Hive Meadow to commune with some bears. Then the final day 8 do the 6 miles out to the trailhead.


Re: Yosemite Lake 7040+

Posted: Mon Feb 20, 2012 7:58 pm
by Wandering Daisy
I did Tiltill Creek this fall and if it is anything like Tiltill, you will be doing some major bushwhaking between the more open rock slabs. It was not continuous, but short sections of really thick tangles of shrubs- had to take my pack of several times and scoot under branches. You certainly want to do it at low flow so you can cross to avoid brush or cliffs. Lots of 10-foot cliffs too. Leaving the trail at Tiltil Valley, it took me most the day to get to Brannigan Lake.

Re: Yosemite Lake 7040+

Posted: Tue Feb 21, 2012 2:17 pm
by Mike M.
Given the current conditions, I suspect your itinerary might work best in early to mid July this year, rather than in August. Falls Creek should be in rather low flow mode by July 1, certainly by mid July.

You could camp at the trailhead backpacker camp, just up from the dam. That would allow you to get an early start -- you don't want to be hiking up the old road in the heat of the day if you can help it.

I love this area -- before moving to Portland, used to come up there three or four times a year in early season, before the high country opened up.


Re: Yosemite Lake 7040+

Posted: Tue Feb 21, 2012 5:30 pm
by SSSdave
WD, you are absolutely right on about the brush. I've done extensive backpacking about Kibbie, Eleanor-Kendrick, Frog, and Falls creek drainages although most other than Kibbie tended to be in my early backpacking years when I had more of a troute fishing interest. Fortunately today we can use Google Earth to identify areas of thick brush. It tends to dominate sunny facing exposures and granitoid joint cracks. And yes I've been to the Brannigan's and in fact we traded some posts about that several months back. Some ugly manzanita to the east of the main lake.

Mike M, yes this year unless we get a whopper Pineapple Express in the next few weeks, early July may be quite doable. And yes one can get a head start by using the backpacker camp. However for this person that is not likely to be of benefit on an 8 or 9 day trip. Of course the most efficient use of PTO vacation is to use 5 days of PTO attached to 2 weekends thus most of our long trips begin on a Saturday and end on a Sunday 9 days later. Thus we would likely be driving up like most m-f 8-5 working people on a Friday evening then pick up a reserved pass when the station opened. I love heavily glaciated granite landscapes too. Just last year two of us did a weekend down in a rarely visited stretch of West Cherry Creek while big water was still flowing. Caught some nice rainbows too.

Re: Yosemite Lake 7040+

Posted: Tue Feb 21, 2012 7:01 pm
by Mike M.
SSSdave, I look forward to seeing your photos. Watch out for the rattlers!!


Re: Yosemite Lake 7040+

Posted: Tue Feb 21, 2012 7:44 pm
by maverick
Sorry for not answering sooner but had to check some notes.
Mind you this was 25+ years ago, but from what I can read from an old log
book is, heavy brush, 2 rattlers, and 4 bears in 3 days, though they did not
come into my camp, and were at quite a distance. No sign of human traffic
along my route.
This trip was down from Bear Valley following Breeze Creek to the cluster
of lakes, one with the island. Recall seeing flowers which were very impressive
on the northern side of lake. Also visited the lake west with the Bart Simpson
like head on one end, and the lake you describe as Lake 7410.
That lake has 3 star overall next to it, which is not bad, 5 being the highest rating
but Irwin Bright was also rated 3, and it was much easier to get to.
The issue with this area is getting decent viewing angles since a lot of the
these lakes are between ridges, that block 2 or 3 sides of the view, which is why
areas back towards the northwestern border or even the Slide Canyon area and
up towards one of the northeastern canyons (Stubblefield or Thompson) are my
preference. Though for pure adventure, getting deep into virgin country has its
level of excitement.
Also if time is at a premium, would look at staying on the ridge tops whenever
possible, and drop down to the places of interest to avoid the brush. Just like
getting to Edith can be the hard, the adventure way using Kendrick Creek, or
the fast way by running along the ridge starting from Laurel, and dropping down
to near Edith's eastern end.
Avonelle Lake is pretty nice if my memory serves me well, if you have the time
to spare. Do not care much for the Branigan's, but the smaller lakes south of
lower Branigan are quite nice.