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TR: 5 ridges, 5 basins, one big pass

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TR: 5 ridges, 5 basins, one big pass

Postby cgundersen » Sun Jun 24, 2012 1:55 pm

I have Maverick & Kathy W to thank for this trip (June 6-17). Mav did a great write up on Taboose/Bench last year, and Kathy's early season photos and report implied this area was mostly free of the blowdown affecting other areas of the Sierra. Below is a photo link, but I need to do a better job of organizing and annotating them:
http://sierrajune2012taboose.shutterfly.com/
General Plan:
Enter via Taboose; take Upper Basin Crossing (UBC) into Amphitheater Lakes Basin (ALB) and continue over Cataract Creek col (CCC) to Dumbbell Lakes Basin (DLB). From there, ascend the ridge west of Observation Peak to reach Lake 10565 which faces the Black Divide. Backtrack from there to Dumbbell Basin and use Dumbbell Pass to reach Marion Lakes Basin (MLB). Leave MLB via Vennacher col (VC) and retrace the route out via Taboose.
General Comments: We had blue skies and bright sunshine for most of the 11 days. However, a couple days with clouds afforded one spectacular light show and a memorable sunset. Upper Basin crossing was a tough cookie and it took me an hour to find a route down the West side. The East is a pretty easy climb, but your brakes need to be well lubricated for the western descent. The inducement is that ALB is so incredibly gorgeous from that ridge that there is a strong incentive to avoid plan B (to back off and go the long way via Mather Pass and Cataract Creek). We then spent 3 nights in ALB (good fish in Amph Lake) before heading for Lake 10565. However, bugs were 1-2 going up CCC, 2 in DLB and got worse as we headed down toward 10565. Ergo, we camped high and thought we'd try MLB instead. Unfortunately, MLB had the worst bugs of the trip, but we were lucky that when we reached the small lakes below VC, the bugs were almost non-existent and we spent the evening enjoying the great light show. Most of the photos were chosen to provide insight into the various ridges we crossed. The west side of VC, like UBC was challenging, but no worse than when we crossed it 10 years ago. It's listed as a 3, but is a hard 2 in my book. Snowmelt and springs were abundant, but water sources will clearly be an issue later this Summer. I'd only been to Amphitheater once before and that basin really was even more outstanding than I recalled. Devil's Crags were as distinctive as ever, and in spite of the bugs MLB is a worthwhile trek any time of year.
We saw no pika, deer or elk, no signs of bears and no raptors; songbirds were abundant and we were regularly serenaded by frogs even at high elevation. Flowers were just beginning and the JMT/PCT was showing signs of use, but we encountered only 2 other souls in those 11 days. Can't wait to get back!
cg
Last edited by cgundersen on Tue Jun 26, 2012 8:32 am, edited 5 times in total.



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Re: TR: 5 ridges, 5 basins, one big pass

Postby maverick » Sun Jun 24, 2012 2:11 pm

Great trip CG to a beautiful area, but the photo link when clicked on is requesting an
e-mail and password. :crybaby:
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: 5 ridges, 5 basins, one big pass

Postby cgundersen » Sun Jun 24, 2012 2:28 pm

Hi Mav,
Yep, I tried fixing this once, and same problem. I tried again and it seems to work. We'll see how long that lasts. My first time with shutterfly, so it could be a stretch.
cg
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Re: TR: 5 ridges, 5 basins, one big pass

Postby Carne_DelMuerto » Sun Jun 24, 2012 3:24 pm

Still not working. :(
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Re: TR: 5 ridges, 5 basins, one big pass

Postby justm » Sun Jun 24, 2012 4:53 pm

lets see these photos please! :nod:
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Re: TR: 5 ridges, 5 basins, one big pass

Postby cgundersen » Mon Jun 25, 2012 8:28 am

My apologies folks; I've copied the web browser link twice and on the first check, it shows the photos, but then it reverts to the sign in page. I tried again (looked OK), so we'll see how long this lasts. Meanwhile, I'll try annotating some of the photos!
OK, annotations are appended, but the link appears to keep reverting to the sign in page. I tried again and we'll see....
cg
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Re: TR: 5 ridges, 5 basins, one big pass

Postby quentinc » Mon Jun 25, 2012 11:53 am

CG, it's still reverting to the sign in page...the suspense is killing us! :)
This is a trip I'm hoping to do maybe this August. Would the passes be any easier to navigate if one did this loop in the opposite direction?
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Re: TR: 5 ridges, 5 basins, one big pass

Postby cgundersen » Mon Jun 25, 2012 1:13 pm

First, this time I cut & pasted the Shutterfly link, but I'm skeptical. I'll request help from the tech wizards.
Second, Quentin, I see no reason not to do it in reverse. My first time over Vennacher col was E to W and it took the usual 30-40 min of poking around to find ramps and ledges that were in my comfort zone for going down the steeper western side. For Upper Basin crossing, the boulder field that precedes the more-vertical section on the west side is a real grind. Look for cairns that signal tenable spots to get off the boulders and onto hard rock (I left a couple myself!). By comparison, Dumbbell & Cataract are easy.
cg
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Re: TR: 5 ridges, 5 basins, one big pass

Postby maverick » Mon Jun 25, 2012 1:28 pm

CG wrote:
First, this time I cut & pasted the Shutterfly link, but I'm skeptical.


Just to let you know, it's still the same. PM sent.
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: 5 ridges, 5 basins, one big pass

Postby balzaccom » Mon Jun 25, 2012 3:30 pm

Shutterfly, she don't fly!
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check out our website: http://www.backpackthesierra.com/
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Re: TR: 5 ridges, 5 basins, one big pass

Postby windknot » Mon Jun 25, 2012 10:58 pm

Thanks for the report, I too am eagerly awaiting being able to view the pictures.
A few backcountry fishing pictures: http://wanderswithtrout.wordpress.com/
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Re: TR: 5 ridges, 5 basins, one big pass

Postby cgundersen » Tue Jun 26, 2012 8:36 am

OK folks, Eric came to the rescue and I think for most Shutterfly cognoscenti the solution was simple: I had to create a free webpage via Shutterfly. I did this and installed the link in the original report. I'm about to check to see if the photos come up. If they don't I'll go back and jump off one of the peaks that we recently visited (one with a lake below).
cg

OK, looks like they took; but, the photo files were relatively low resolution jpegs. I may try to get higher resolution shots uploaded at some point. For now, these will give an idea of snow & degres of green!
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