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Hiking from Hamilton Lake to Moraine Lake in one day

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Re: Hiking from Hamilton Lake to Moraine Lake in one day

Postby LMBSGV » Fri Jun 29, 2012 10:22 am

But a follow up question is - from what I read setting up a tent at Precipice Lake is questionable - is this true?

The best tent site at Precipice is to the right of the trail and outlet creek below a giant rock. You have a spectacular view down the canyon of Angel Wings. You are well off the trail and thus out of traffic plus the giant rock offers some shade. There are also a couple of sites to the left and above the trail, which don't offer as much privacy and have no shade but do have a spectacular view.

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Re: Hiking from Hamilton Lake to Moraine Lake in one day

Postby Flamingo » Fri Jun 29, 2012 2:53 pm

@peekseeker01 - Yes, you can camp at Precipice Lake; there is a small area that fits a couple tents. There is also space to camp at the top of Kaweah Gap. That said, the camping options at Hamilton Lake are more plush.
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Re: Hiking from Hamilton Lake to Moraine Lake in one day

Postby DoyleWDonehoo » Sat Jun 30, 2012 9:44 pm

Having done this area more than a few times, my suggestion is thus: Why not camp at Hamilton Lake on day 2? Day 1, get as far as Bearpaw: Sure, that is not the greatest camp, but you could always spend some time on the porch of the store taking in the view after the 11 mile hike getting there. It will probably be late by the time you get there, which means most of your time will be spent hiking, making camp, eating, cleaning up and getting ready to turn in. Day 2, take a leisurely stroll to Hamilton Lake. There is plenty to see in this fairly spectacular section,, and after the day 1 slog, this short hike would be a pleasure. That would give you plenty of time to rest, hang out at the lake and maybe take a swim. Hey, the point of the journey is the journey after all.
The next day, get up at the crack of dawn, eat, strike camp and get on the trail. It is 2.8 miles and a accumulated altitude gain of 2451 feet to Kaweah Gap summit. At the very slow pace of 1 mile an hour, that means in about 3 hours you will be at the highpoint of the days hike. Get out of camp by 7:00 AM and you will be in the gap well before noon. Like at a moderate pace, maybe by 9:00 AM. Whenever you get there, it means plenty of time to get to Moraine Lake and it is mostly gentle up and down, mostly down. So from the Gap it is about 10.1 miles, 1509 feet of gain and 2532 feet of loss to Moraine Lake. Say a ~13 mile hike with the worst of the uphill in the first few hours and lots of daylight. Piece of cake! :nod:
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Re: Hiking from Hamilton Lake to Moraine Lake in one day

Postby Trent » Mon Jul 02, 2012 3:09 pm

Tent? Why a tent? It's just extra weight.

A plastic "tube tent" weighing just ounces with 50' of parachute cord and a half dozen clothspins is all you need, and only if a storm moves in. Which is not likely this time of year. You will need a rain poncho as the usual thing in June/July is for an afternoon shower that's usually over in an hour or so. You'll need tons of Deet in any event, even with a tent.

DoyleWDoneoo's advice is spot on. My only suggestion would be to shorten day 1 by camping either at Buck Creek or 7 Mile Creek[?]. Thence to Hamilton on day 2. As he says "The point of the journey is the journey".

Look at gonzowrite.com I've got lots of photos and trail "comments" on there.

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Re: Hiking from Hamilton Lake to Moraine Lake in one day

Postby calipidder » Tue Jul 03, 2012 2:16 pm

When I do this route my first few days usually look like this:

Day 1: Drive, pick up permit, etc. Hit the trail (I use Panther Gap) midday. Hike to 9-mile creek and camp there (not a great spot but it gets the job done and avoids the crowds at Bearpaw. Watch out for bears here).

Day 2: 9-Mile to Precipice. I've never pitched a tent at Precipice - find a slab of rock and sleep out under the stars. One year I was there for the peak of the perseids. Set my alarm for 3 am and just opened my eyes. Best trail experience ever. But this isn't a good place to camp if weather is ick.

Day 3: Precipice to Moraine. I've never found this to be a bad day. The hike out of Big Arroyo to Moraine is a bit sloggy, and that tarn in between the two that's on USGS maps? It's dry. Carry a lot of water on this stretch - the crossings can also be dry and it's pretty hot and sun exposed. But I've always gotten to Moraine with plenty of time to relax.
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