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advice on mineral king trip mid july

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advice on mineral king trip mid july

Postby jasonmark » Sat Jun 23, 2012 4:24 pm

Hello!

After a failed attempt (weather) to do a nice trip out of mineral king last year, it looks like i'm finally going to get my chance. I've never been in the Sierras before, but I have done alot of backpacking and some fairly easy XC elsewhere. I want to stick to the trail on this trip, but would be comfortable with up to class 3 (i think.) I'm 32, 6'3", 185lbs and will be by myself.

So far my idea is this:
d1- mineral king over timber gap to redwood meadow grove area or little bearpaw
d2 - up to high sierra trail and on to hamilton or precipice lake
d3 - explore nine lakes basin and camp either in big arroyo or go up to little five lakes
d4 - little five lakes over black rock pass to around timber gap creek
d5 - timber gap and out
(if i can swing it, i'd like to add a layover day in the middle)

Some questions:
does this seem too ambitious?
hows the timing/distance sound?
what are the better spots to make camp on this route?
can i have fires anywhere under 10,000ft?
any notable issues with mosquitoes/varmits/bears on this route?
best spots for a layover day?
would i regret not bringing a small casting rod?
any additional thoughts?
anyone interested in coming along?

Thanks in advance for any wisdom, experience and anything else you want to share!



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Re: advice on mineral king trip mid july

Postby sparky » Sun Jun 24, 2012 8:51 am

Sounds great, except using Timber gap again on the way out. I would try to throw Sawtooth pass in there if the mileage made sense. The hike from Hamilton to Kaweah gap is to Nine Lakes and the upper Big Arroyo is just awesome.
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Re: advice on mineral king trip mid july

Postby quentinc » Sun Jun 24, 2012 10:25 am

If it were me, I'd skip anything to do with Timber Gap (boring), let along a hike in and out of both sides of Cliff Creek (borderline miserable, although we were in a rush which made it seem more arduous and unscenic than it was). I haven't been to Redwood Grove, but I'm not fond of the "Low" Sierra, and Bearpaw Meadow is worth avoiding if possible.

The alternative is to do what many have described here in other threads: go over Franklin Pass and come out of Glacier/Sawtooth, as Sparky mentions. You'd have to do some backtracking between Hamilton Lake and the Arroyo area, but Hamilton Lake and Timber Gap/Nine Lakes Basin are quite spectacular, so that wouldn't be such a terrible thing. There's some easy x-country between Big and Little 5 Lakes.

I was there in late July and the mosquitoes from Nine Lakes Basin down to the Arroyo were absolutely horrendous. But this year mosquito season will end much earlier. The worst creatures we encountered were deer, believe it or not. You'll have a bear canister, so bears are there but won't be an issue.
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Re: advice on mineral king trip mid july

Postby maverick » Sun Jun 24, 2012 1:35 pm

Sorry to read your Nov trip fell through.
Your trip sound like fun and should not be an issue. On day 2 would rather stay at
Precipice than Hamilton Lake because it can be crowded (HST), also the sunset
views from Kaweah Gap looking east towards the Kaweah ridge line is magical. Would
spend the next day in 9 Lakes Basin exploring the pretty lakes up on the bench below
the Kaweah ridge.
The next day would be spent at 5 Lakes Basin, and this is the place you wish you had
bought along your rod. The views from the off trail lakes opposed to the large one near
the ranger station/trail offer more solitude and sublime views.
After climbing BRP, would recommend you climb up to Columbine Lake via the easy class
2 route starting up the eastern side of Spring Lake and east and above Cyclamen Lake,
spend the night at Columbine before heading over Sawtooth Pass and back down to the
Mineral King area.
Mosquitoes can be bad as Q mentioned, hopefully by your trip they will have died down
a bit.
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Re: advice on mineral king trip mid july

Postby sparky » Sun Jun 24, 2012 7:44 pm

Glacier Pass is listed as class 3 (I think?) but I found it pretty easy class 2. Anyone else agree or disagree on that?

I found the lakes in upper cliff creek to be amazing.

I agree about avoiding timber gap simply based on elevation gains and losses with no scenery.

Doing as mav said and going black rock pass to spring lake to meet the sawtooth pass trail is a MUCH more scenic journey. You wouldn't have a dull moment.
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Re: advice on mineral king trip mid july

Postby oldranger » Mon Jun 25, 2012 10:39 am

Sparky,

It has been a long time but I don't remember even using my hands on Glacier Pass. I'm pretty sure I took the Pass to the S. of the one marked on the HST Map. I can't believe I did 4,000 ft of vertical in a day after a late morning start, but that was almost 30 years ago!

Mike
Mike

Who can't do everything he used to and what he can do takes a hell of a lot longer!
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Re: advice on mineral king trip mid july

Postby sparky » Mon Jun 25, 2012 3:00 pm

You might br right, i was there in 2010 but whatever use trail there was was covered in snow. I took a way that required maybe 20ft of class 3 climbing at the top, was decently solid, and super easy.

The silly ass route i took from spring lake to the base of the pass i wont discuss....lets just say i took the most difficult way possible.

Also when i was there at the north end of the lake in the snow was a very large "cave" probably 7 feet tall. I wondered if a bear had hibernated in there and busted out in spring. From the top of bunny ears pass I thought it was a lightning scar. I was too freaked out to look inside....could have been a bear in there!
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Re: advice on mineral king trip mid july

Postby jasonmark » Tue Jun 26, 2012 4:01 pm

Thanks for all the great info! and nice of you to remember me from november maverick.
The only reason i chose timber gap was that it seemed to be the easiest way to get into the general area, (my main interest lying in the hamilton/precipice/nine lakes/big arroyo area) I do also enjoy the trees and creeks almost as much as the mountains and lakes so i'm feeling good about coming in on that route through redwood meadow. I was already thinking about trying to cut over from BRP to sawtooth or glacier on the way out, but was concerned with the difficuly, especially being solo and unfamiliar with the area. I could cut around through lost canyon, but thats getting a little long for the time and if the route east around spring and cyclamen to columbine is easy enough (and more beautiful?) that sounds like a winner. Any additional info anyone could share about that route would be appreciated. Is there much of any use trail there or is it somewhat obvious? Also, are there fires possible anywhere along lower cliff creek, lower kaweah river tributaries or lower big arroyo?
Thanks Again!
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Re: advice on mineral king trip mid july

Postby maverick » Tue Jun 26, 2012 5:45 pm

Hi Jason,

Luckily found a photo that includes the section that you need to climb east of
Cyclamen, the photo I have doesn't.
Click on the link below and in the 4th photo you will see Spring at the bottom
Cyclamen in the middle, and Columbine Lake at the top. You also get a look
at Glacier Pass from the east in the 5th photo.
http://www.tiocampo.smugmug.com/Camping ... 64&k=CSwen
You will need to go around Spring and climb up to Cyclamen near the outlet
stream, and then head for the eastern wall (left of Cyclamen Lake) in this photo
it looks like a ramp.
To will need to skirt this ramp staying high which will take you to the bench
above where Columbine Lake is located. This Cyclamen to Columbine is the only
class 2 part and you can scout around while going up to find the easiest route for
you comfort level though it is quite easy and it is not like you can get lost. If for
some reason it is beyond your comfort level than just turn around and continue
down Cliff Creek.
Campfire regulations for Sequoia NP: http://www.nps.gov/seki/planyourvisit/kernfire.htm
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: advice on mineral king trip mid july

Postby ndwoods » Tue Jun 26, 2012 8:44 pm

Sounds like a great trip. I'm going to disagree with everyone tho, I think the Timber Gap is a great way to get in. The creek xing is not a place I would stay tho. Pass thru that. But it also takes you over Black Rock Pass into the high country and Black Rock is just cool....and so is the trail over Timber Gap on a hot day!:) I wrote a story about this area and on the story, the first 4 pics on it take you up and over timber gap http://ndeewoods.blogspot.com/search/la ... es%20Basin . I don't like the creek crossing cuz folks cramp into narrow unflat well used camp spots, so I go thru that. The other suggestions are good too tho, you can't go wrong anywhere in Mineral King!:)
dee
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Re: advice on mineral king trip mid july

Postby BBchris » Thu Jun 28, 2012 3:10 pm

Just did that trip a couple of weeks ago. Did the trip in 3 days. However we came out over glacier pass. pretty easy class 2/3 but the 500 feet or so of snow was a pain in the late afternoon. Theres a pretty well marked trail up from soda spring lake to glacier pass. From glacier pass we continued XC south west from the pass down to monarch creek where you can pick up an unmaintained trail back to mineral king.
Mosquitos were quite bad in the big arroyo and little five lakes.
I did the same route a few years ago but came out over sawtooth pass. The lost canyon is worth seeing especially at sunrise.
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Re: advice on mineral king trip mid july

Postby SSSdave » Sun Jul 01, 2012 10:03 am

I've posted before (try searching) with vertical up and down numbers and mileage how and in and out over Sawtooth Pass to reach the Big Five and Little Five Lakes zone versus a loop over Timber Gap saves considerable effort IF the goal is simply to reach those destinations. Otherwise if one is simply intent to see a lot on the journey while lugging a pack, covering a lot of ground only on trails during most of daylight hours, then your itinerary has value.
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