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Ionian Basin from Martha Lake

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Ionian Basin from Martha Lake

Postby orbitor » Thu Apr 05, 2012 9:07 am

Hi all, this is my first post in the forum.

I'm wondering if anyone has accessed the Ionian Basin from Martha Lake. I recently read (in Sierra South) about a great backpacking trip starting at Florence Lake, following the PCT past Muir Trail Ranch to Evolution Meadow, then heading south up Goddard Canyon, following the South Fork of the San Joaquin River to Martha Lake. The author hinted that the Ionian Basin would be within easier reach from there than from the normal approach via Muir Pass. Comments?

Thanks,
Mihai



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Re: Ionian Basin from Martha Lake

Postby Mike M. » Thu Apr 05, 2012 10:49 am

Mihai, yes, the route to Ionian basin from Martha lake is one of the most direct. You leave the Muir Trail well before Evolution Valley. Follow Goddard Creek up to Martha Lake, then head east into the Ionian Basin. Photos of the class 2 route are abundant here on this forum and the route is described in Secor's book The High Sierra.

Mike
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Re: Ionian Basin from Martha Lake

Postby Jimr » Thu Apr 05, 2012 11:14 am

You can also start from Courtwright Reservoir over Hell-For-Sure pass, then down to meet up with the upper section of the trail to Martha Lk.
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Re: Ionian Basin from Martha Lake

Postby orbitor » Thu Apr 05, 2012 11:38 am

Thanks to both, Mike and Jim.
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Re: Ionian Basin from Martha Lake

Postby maverick » Thu Apr 05, 2012 12:58 pm

Hi Mihai

Welcome to HST! Use the search features located at the top using key words, you'll
find some great information covering that area.
Here is one of them: viewtopic.php?f=1&t=7230&p=50917&hilit=martha+lake+to+ionian+basin#p50917
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Have a safer backcountry experience by using the HST ReConn Form 2.0, named after Larry Conn, a HST member: http://reconn.org
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Re: Ionian Basin from Martha Lake

Postby East Side Hiker » Thu Apr 12, 2012 5:43 pm

A trip into the Ionian Basin is the greatest Sierra experience imaginable (besides Evolution Basin). I envy you as my health and time constraints are limiting my upcoming summer desires.
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Re: Ionian Basin from Martha Lake

Postby Jimr » Fri Apr 13, 2012 8:29 am

Sorry to hear of your health issues East Side. I love Ionian Basin as well. I was so impressed that years later, when I met my wife, I told her I wanted my ashes spread over IB. She wasn't too thrilled about the prospect of honoring my wishes. When the kids were young, I told her to scratch the IB idea, I wanted to be buried so the kids would have a grave stone to p!ss on after visits to their psychiatrist. When the kids hit early (nasty) teens, I told her IB was back in the plans. Let the kids find their own rock to p!ss on.
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Re: Ionian Basin from Martha Lake

Postby Turtleggjp » Wed Apr 18, 2012 8:39 am

orbitor

I was planning to do a loop this year up Goddard Canyon, through Ionian Basin, then out Black Giant Pass and back via the JMT. I'm planning on starting the weekend of September 8, when were you thinking of going? I was going to go solo, and the thought of pairing up with someone makes the trip a little less scary.

Matt
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Re: Ionian Basin from Martha Lake

Postby orbitor » Wed Apr 18, 2012 10:36 am

Matt,

My schedule won't allow me to do a trip to the Ionian Basin this year. I was just requesting information when I posted, and the helpful folks on this forum directed me to a lot of existing knowledge on the subject. This will come in handy for future plans. I do agree with you that it's not a trek to be undertaken solo unless you're a very experienced Sierra veteran. I would consider joining you in September, however around the same time I'm already booked for my main backpacking trip of the summer - the High Sierra Trail. Good luck!

Mihai
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Re: Ionian Basin from Martha Lake

Postby Stewart G » Mon May 21, 2012 10:19 am

Hi, new member here, found this forum while gearing up for a summer visit to Ionian. I wanted to point out a slight technical in this thread. The route from the Muir Trail goes up Goddard Canyon, not Goddard Creek. The latter drains from the other side of Ionian toward Simpson meadow. The San Joaquin is what one follows up to Martha Lake.
Can also add that yes the route from Martha is a good way into Ionian, though somewhat challenging with a pack on. The endangered sierra toad lives along this route, so tread lightly!
Ionian is a special place where uphill always seems easier than downhill. My suggestion is to expect to make about half (or less) of whatever speed you expect--there are very few spots in Ionian where you (well, me, anyway) can confidently put one foot in front of the other for more than five minutes.
I go to Ionian to meet my maker and live (so far) to tell about it. It's a terrifying place. Love that.
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Re: Ionian Basin from Martha Lake

Postby SSSdave » Mon May 21, 2012 3:19 pm

I climbed Goddard twice from Martha Lake in the early 80s and don't recall the route particularly difficult except that it was well ducked and across quite a bit of metamorphic talus and scree. Explored the western parts of Ionian Basin also. At that elevation the sky is more saturated so lots of deep blue noname lakes, some with considerable depth. Generally I thought it was unpleasantly sterile with only turf and lichen vegetation and few wildflowers. Of course that is because some El Nino years there is so much snow there it dosn't melt out till late August when it all too soon starts getting cooler so little time for anything to grow. And without plants, one won't find many critters. Much the same as some other sterile high elevation basins in the Sierra up near 12k I've rambled about in like the Ritter Lakes. Both unpleasant dark and too often windy. I much preferred down by Martha Lake even thought that is also alpine with few trees, as there is considerable life down there both plants and animals.
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Re: Ionian Basin from Martha Lake

Postby Wandering Daisy » Mon May 21, 2012 6:34 pm

Ionian Basin is stark but there is nothing like the large deep blue lakes. Camping is very limited. Be prepared to make due with few flat spots. The best camping is down at Chasm Lake. The lake above Chasm lake also has flat sandy campsites, but the outlet area is very windy. Every time I have been in the Ionian Basin I have had to walk over snow, even in late August. The permanant snowfield are likely to be very icy. When the sky is blue and sun is shining Ionian Basin is magic. When it is raining or cloudy, it is cold and stark.

Image

You will find pockets of greenery but on the whole it is black, white and deep dark blue. In contrast here is Martha Lake - not exactly lush but a bit more green.

Image
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