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TR 6/15-6/16 onion valley

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TR 6/15-6/16 onion valley

Postby sparky » Mon Jun 18, 2012 3:37 pm

I decided to do a quick weekend trip to start out the season. It was pretty hot! I left work a couple hours early (working in Victorville at the moment) and headed up to the lone pine visitors center to get my permit. I arrived by 3, and hit the trail at Onion Valley by 4:30pm. I got a brand new pack that fits really nice, so this was its maiden voyage. I got an osprey atmos 65, but unfortunately the thing got really beat up. I was a little surprised when I looked the pack over...I dont think this thing is going to last.

I took the turn off to Matlock lakes and was camped at Bench Lake by 7pm.

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Up in the morning I looked up at University Peak. I really didn't want to work that hard. When looking at the topos I saw a notch I thought might be passable. I couldn't find anything about it in guidebooks or on the internet, save for a single picture that I found here on HST in a trip report from this year.

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Feeling lazy, I decided the peak was too tall and I would go for the notch shown as the lowest spot on the ridgeline right of center. Looked easy enough. The tarn above bench lake is beautiful. I don't know if many people use this pass, but a mountain lion does.

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I crossed the snowmelt that fed the tarn and kept right, and ascended the loose sand and rock directly below the pass. It would have been easier and safer to do the class 3 rock to the right of the loose stuff. The scenery was beautiful. I love rock too. These rocks took on many different shapes and colors forming many different things faces and objects like watching clouds pass by

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I then noticed the beautiful hell below me.

[rimg]Image[/rIMG]

I will take relatively solid talus over the loose sandy vertical treadmill type stuff any day. So I plugged my way through with as much joy as I could muster. The views helped. I think I would do this pass again if I went the other way....from Kearsarge Lakes to Matlock Lakes.

The terrain, like all things, eventually changed.

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Passed an unfortunate deer with a broken leg. I thought of the mountain lion.

The views from the lakes are very nice. I hung out for a few to snack.

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I had no idea what time it was (sat sometime), but I was looking up at kearsarge pass. I just figured I would continue on. I had to work today (mon), so I figured if I could make it out, it would give me most of the day(sun) to rest, what with the 4.5 hour drive home and all on Sunday.

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On my way down I ran in to many thru hikers. The first one I ran in to was SURE he ran into me in the desert, and gave me a funny look when I told him my itenerary. Another lady just looked at me and said "is ryan at the top?" Most said "have fun in town!" I was too worked to try to explain I wasn't this mystery doppleganger of mine. I got to my truck, drove to Independence for a proper dinner by 5 pm.
There is a million ways to be human, all are worthwhile.

True happiness is the absence of striving for happiness.
-Chuang Tzu.



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Re: TR 6/15-6/16 onion valley

Postby Cross Country » Mon Jun 18, 2012 4:24 pm

"beautiful hell". I never thought of it like that but it's a great description. This was a really enjoyable TR read. I couldn't have done it nor written it better myself, and I'm Cross Country.
PS: I loooved the pics.
Last edited by Cross Country on Mon Jun 18, 2012 4:32 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: TR 6/15-6/16 onion valley

Postby maverick » Mon Jun 18, 2012 4:30 pm

Hi Sparky,

Great TR and nice pictures. By your photo you jumped the ridge northeast of University
Shoulder Pass.
The only other pass is in the area is University Pass which is approached
via Robinson Lake. That whole area has loads and loads of talus, and on top of that is very
loose, but the views from the ridge is pretty cool, and worth the effort.
HST= Wilderness Adventurer who knows no bounds, except for their own imagination.

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: TR 6/15-6/16 onion valley

Postby DAVELA » Mon Jun 18, 2012 7:16 pm

Perfect trip report.Well written,brief and enjoyable. :)
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Re: TR 6/15-6/16 onion valley

Postby whrdafamI? » Tue Jun 19, 2012 5:12 pm

Nice TR! But what I would really like to know is why the Atmos 65 got beat up? I recently got one of these myself and used it for the first time this last weekend. I thought that the initial first time out with it went wonderful. I had it loaded with about 21 lbs. and it was very comfortable. Better fit and ride then my Arcteryx Bora 95 by far. I am figuring on having around 30 lbs. in it for my week long in August. I hope I don't have the same assessment as you.
Better to have it and not need it than it is to need it and not have it!

Get busy living or get busy dying.
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Re: TR 6/15-6/16 onion valley

Postby sparky » Wed Jun 20, 2012 7:29 pm

Not any big issues yet, except for frayed fabric by the zipper....might become a problem? I melted it so it might be fixed. Bushes were grabbing at the stretchy back pocket thing and it has tiny frays. Fabric and the plastic parts got scraped up from granite, but thats just cosmetic I guess.

I will keep using this pack. I like it. I hope it lasts a long time. My old pack was "slippery" so granite and bushes didnt affect it as much me thinks. My even older packs were just bomber.

This one is fine, I am just being overdramatic as this pack is brand new. I went heavier than normal, might have been 20-22 lbs, and it was super comfortable. I just hope it will put up with some abuse over the years. When I have long hard days, I can be hard on my gear.
There is a million ways to be human, all are worthwhile.

True happiness is the absence of striving for happiness.
-Chuang Tzu.
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Re: TR 6/15-6/16 onion valley

Postby whrdafamI? » Thu Jun 21, 2012 4:42 am

Sparky, one thing I noticed with the Atmos was how much cooler this pack is on your back. What a change of pace this is! I got mine through Mtn. Gear on sale for a $139. Pretty good deal.
Better to have it and not need it than it is to need it and not have it!

Get busy living or get busy dying.
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Re: TR 6/15-6/16 onion valley

Postby richlong8 » Tue Jun 26, 2012 10:33 am

That Bench lake above Matlock Lake is a beauty. I hated to see them take the fish out of that lake. At least the frogs are happy, I guess, if they survive. That whole area around Kearsage has always seemed one of the more rocky areas in the Sierra to me. Thanks for sharing your trip report.
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