Any info on Harrison Pass?? | High Sierra Topix  

Any info on Harrison Pass??

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Postby gcj » Sun Jul 16, 2006 6:05 pm

H-H-H-Harrison P-P-Pass! Slowly I turned... step by step... inch by inch...

I crossed Harrison many years ago from south to north in July of a normal snow year (1979). The upper 3 feet of the north side had the near vertical remnants of a cornice. The snow was relatively soft, so I was able to work my way down diagonally. At the base of the vertical part, I encountered steep ice that was covered with just an inch or so of soft snow... UGH! I had to ever so carefully chip my way over to an outcrop of rock to put my crampons on. To make matters worse, there was some debris in the chute, lying on the snow, that came to my attention as I was putting on my crampons. There was a Sierra Club Cup, bandana, bits of other clothing... all strewn at various locations all the way to the bottom of the chute. There were even some prescription medicine bottles. Oh my god! Someone had taken a pretty serious fall, here! This, of course had a very negative psychological affect on me as I slowly picked my way down the steep ice and loose rocks carrying a heavy 'multi-week' backpack. I was relieved, when I reached the bottom of the chute, not to have found a body there! I talked to someone later that day near East Lake who'd crossed the same day I did. He said that he had followed the crest up from where Harrison is marked on the map toward Mt. Stanford and found a much easier chute with less ice and snow. I suppose that if I'm ever to cross that divide again, I would try to find his alternate route.



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Postby cgundersen » Mon Jul 17, 2006 8:22 am

Quentinc:
The route I took to reach Harrison was via the ridge out of East Vidette, and from the crest leaving Vidette, the basin (surrounded by Stanford-Ericsson-Deerhorn) that accesses Harrison is treeless. A remnant trail led from the basin down toward East/Reflection, and there clearly was vegetation as one headed down toward the lower lakes, but I cannot comment on the relative quality of the approach except to say that the basin below Harrison is stunning. As for relative degrees of trauma on Milly-Lucy. I have only done them from north to south, and frankly would not want to go the other direction (at least, not carrying a loaded pack). The reason is that the downhill momentum is likely to be a problem on both (unless, one is lucky and has accommodating snow, and/or climbing gear), as it appears gcj found out (as well as the unlucky soul who preceded gcj down Harrison). My recollection is that Lucy was a longer, more arduous vertical crawl at the top (with very loose dirt/sand), whilst Milly had the pleasure of loose sand on gravel for the final 50-70 ft which necessitated tentative and awkward climbing (and huge relief at the top). Still, in my mind's eye, Harrison is the way to go (when it's clear of ice).
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Postby quentinc » Tue Jul 18, 2006 9:16 pm

Thanks CG. I did Lucy's Foot from south to north with a full pack, and I almost got kicked to the curb. The descent on the northern side was a nightmare. As I mentioned on an earlier post, a very large boulder came loose, taking me with it. I was lucky not to be mangled in a big way.
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Postby maverick » Thu Jul 20, 2006 4:06 pm

I have done Lucy's Foot and Harrison Pass. LF being more difficult
but neither compare to the steepness of the northwestern side of Milly's
Foot from Lake Reflection.
I would not try to go down it even if you payed me, the top 80-100ft
is almost straight up which made me wonder what the hell I was doing
climbing it anyway.
Has anyone else climbed this crazy pass?
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