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Horse Cr. Pass to Matterhorn Cyn. Loop vs. HCP to Kerrick Cy

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Horse Cr. Pass to Matterhorn Cyn. Loop vs. HCP to Kerrick Cy

Postby sierraholic » Wed Jul 11, 2012 9:21 pm

Background info.: Level 3 backpacker with 15 years of experience, including the JMT. Comfortable with easy class 2. Horse Creek Pass will be one of the tougher passes that we have done. Don't laugh! :o

I have a permit to go up Horse Creek Canyon (near Twin Lakes, adjacent to the Sawtooth peaks) to the pass (Day 1) and down Spiller Creek to the PCT (Day 2). At that point, I am trying to decide whether to head up Matterhorn Canyon and exit out to Twin Lakes, or hit Smedberg Lake and Kerrick Canyon and out to Twin Lakes. I am looking for dramatic scenery, less skeeters, and more dirt trail than rock stair steps (Have seen them first hand from the valley to the falls in Yosemite). Having searched the older posts, I am guessing the Matterhorn Canyon option may fit the bill, but I want to get some comfirmation from the Yosemite veterans.

Also, would you camp at the Spiller Creek/PCT junction or keep going to Miller Lake (or Fishhook Lake) on Night 2? Would you camp at the tarns just west of Burro Pass or further west along the trail in the valley between Burro and Mule Passes for Night 3?

I appreciate any advice and feedback. I will be posting a trail report with pics late next week. Our trip is Friday through Monday or Tuesday.
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Re: Horse Cr. Pass to Matterhorn Cyn. Loop vs. HCP to Kerrick Cy

Postby sierraholic » Thu Jul 12, 2012 12:23 pm

Bump
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Re: Horse Cr. Pass to Matterhorn Cyn. Loop vs. HCP to Kerrick Cy

Postby maverick » Thu Jul 12, 2012 1:13 pm

Hi Sierraholic,

Saw this post last night but did not have time to answer.
HCP is no biggie just have to deal with some talus on the way to the top.
You should be able to get over and into Spiller the first day and stay at one of
the smaller lake/ponds on the western side of the pass, just get an early start
which should not be a big deal since you have a permit.
If you do not have problems racking up some mileage than for your next day go
over Benson Pass and head over to Smedberg or Benson Lake. For your last night
stay at pretty Peeler Lake.
Matterhorn Canyon is pretty especially the view down it from the top of Burro Pass
as is the close up views of the Sawtooth Ridge. A quick peak bagging can be done from
Burro up Matterhorn Peak via a class 2 route, which has great view from the top.
My pick would be the first option if you do not mind hiking a longer distance, but
you will not be sorry with either option.
Good luck, and have a safe trip!! Looking forward to your TR and pictures!
Mosquitoes will be less bad with option 2, but who know for sure, when I did this
last time (10 years ago) they got bad at the bottom or Matterhorn Canyon, and
really bad (level 4-5) in the Smedberg-Seavey Pass corridor.
Here is a TR: http://www.highsierratopix.com/communit ... emite+loop
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: Horse Cr. Pass to Matterhorn Cyn. Loop vs. HCP to Kerrick Cy

Postby sierraholic » Thu Jul 12, 2012 7:15 pm

Thank you for the info.! Since having a kid 3 years ago, I get one big trip (4-6 days) and one or two overnighters per year . Needless to say, I want to make sure that I get the most bang for the buck. Thanks again!
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Re: Horse Cr. Pass to Matterhorn Cyn. Loop vs. HCP to Kerrick Cy

Postby KathyW » Thu Jul 12, 2012 9:33 pm

We did this loop trip back in 2003 that went like this:

Twin Lakes to Peeler Lake - Day 1 with a late start
Peeler Lake to Benson Lake - Day 2
Benson Lake to Smedberg Lake - Day 3 (short and easy day)
Smedberg Lake to Matterhorn Canyon - Day 4
Matterhorn Canyon to Crown Lake - Day 5
Back to Twin Lakes - Day 6

The highlights of that trip were Peeler Lake, Benson Lake, Smedberg Lake, Slide Canyon (the valley between Burro and Mule Passes), and the views from Burro and Mule Passes. A really beautiful area. I went back a couple years ago and did a day trip to Matterhorn Peak via Horse Creek. Here are some pictures from the Matterhorn Peak day trip: http://kathywing.smugmug.com/California ... 21&k=aekgB

Here are some pictures from the loop backpacking trip we did in 2003, but unfortunately they are not all in the right order: http://kathywing.smugmug.com/California ... 42&k=WoAaT
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