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Elizabeth Pass

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Elizabeth Pass

Postby pvalovich » Tue May 22, 2012 12:34 pm

It's been about 8 years since I last did Elizabeth Pass. Anyone have any info from last year on trail conditions?

I'm going to do a 17 day loop over Shepherd, Harrison, Avalanche, Elizabeth (camp on the south side of the pass - spectacular), then back to Roaring River, Colby, Upper Kern then out.

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Re: Elizabeth Pass

Postby cgundersen » Tue May 22, 2012 2:52 pm

There's a maintained trail all the way up over Elizabeth, so it should be a snooze. I was not there last year, but a couple years back, I traversed from Lonely Lake over to Cloud Canyon and the Elizabeth trail was in perfectly good repair. The much harder element on your itinerary will be Harrison. I've only gone up Harrison, but there are older reports on this forum from folks who, like you're planning, have gone down, and it apparently can be a rush, especially early in your trip when you're carrying more weight. If you are comfortable on Harrison, you could easily make the hop from Deadman to Cloud without going all the way back to Roaring River. And, once in Cloud, Triple Divide pass would be easier than backtracking to the Colby trail, and would take you into an area much less travelled with spectacular down-canyon views. Just a thought........
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Re: Elizabeth Pass

Postby RoguePhotonic » Tue May 22, 2012 3:05 pm

The only part of the pass that is lacking a trail is when you drop down the switch backs some on the South Side. It fades and can be hard to follow. Trail crews have constructed large *real* cairns to help out but really it's an easy cross country stroll.

A few comments are I would much rather take something like Brewer or Longely Pass to Roaring River then Avalanche. That trail starts out with some beautiful views of Kings Canyon but is a whole lot of stair cases and a 5000 foot climb offering no great views at all.

So you intend to cross Elizabeth and camp on the South Side near the top? And then go back over and down to Roaring River as you go around to Cloud Canyon? Unless you just want to hike Cloud Canyon which can be very nice i'd say go over Copper Mine Pass and drop into Cloud to avoid going the whole 10 miles back down and into Cloud.

I'd also say that after Colby Pass instead of dropping down to Junction Meadow you could take Milestone Pass which would drop you out higher up the Kern where you want to be anyway.

These passes I suggest based on the fact your planning on Harrison and are probably comfortable with cross country travel?
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Re: Elizabeth Pass

Postby maverick » Tue May 22, 2012 8:57 pm

Hi PV,

Little concerned about you asking about a trailed pass even if the trail is on and off on
the southern side of EP, which is nothing compared to the crosscountry section you have
listed in you itinerary. Even Shepherd can be much more challenging depend on the
The 5 passes crossing the Kern Divide (Milly's Foot, Andy's Foot, Ericsson, Little Joe, and
Harrison) are all solid and even though Harrison is the easiest it is still a solid, steep
class 2 which requires good crosscountry skills.
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Re: Elizabeth Pass

Postby Wandering Daisy » Wed May 23, 2012 8:03 am

I am not clear on your route. I assume you are going out to Roads End to resupply and then back via Avalanche Pass. I have done Longly Pass and it is NOT easy. The pass itself is not hard (IF there is a break in the cornice) but getting to the pass from Reflection Lake is very tricky. Although Avalanche Pass is a slog it is a solid well maintained trail. I doubt you would save much time going over Longley or Brewer. From the top of Longly, you have to get down to Roaring Fork - another tricky off-trail venture. Brewer Pass basically climbs Mt Brewer. It is straight-forward route-finding but involves some rock scrambling that may be difficult with a pack. The west side is full of talus. Again, not easy.

I have been up Harrison but not down. It is really steep. I used an ice axe - not for snow but I honestly had to plant it deep in the loose dirt in order to make progress upward.
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