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5d/4n starting at Onion Valley- what would you do?

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5d/4n starting at Onion Valley- what would you do?

Postby Britt » Sat Jul 21, 2012 10:36 pm

Curious to know where you guys would hike if you had 5d/4n and were starting at onion valley campground?
Four buddies and I are hiking there later this week and I thought I had my route planned but might be second guessing it after reading some things lately...

One guy is not too keen on leaving "path" and all of us are first timers to that location.
Thoughts??



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Re: 5d/4n starting at Onion Valley- what would you do?

Postby Britt » Sun Jul 22, 2012 5:55 am

Ps:
Our 5 person group experience ranges from level 1 to level 4 (person with least experience is best conditioned); terrain interest is class 2 (or 3); Main interests are lakes with some fishing and general mtn views- a 14'er would be nice but prob won't happen on this trip.

We would prefer a loop but have entertained ideas for Out/back with layover also.
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Re: 5d/4n starting at Onion Valley- what would you do?

Postby maverick » Sun Jul 22, 2012 11:28 am

Britt wrote:
Four buddies and I are hiking there later this week and I thought I had my route planned
but might be second guessing it after reading some things lately...


Hi Britt,

Welcome to HST! What route were you looking at, and what made you second guess it?
Just remember when planning a group trip a good leader should always take everyones
experience into consideration, and not plan anything that goes beyond the comfort level
of the weakest hiker.
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: 5d/4n starting at Onion Valley- what would you do?

Postby Britt » Mon Jul 23, 2012 7:30 am

Thanks for the reply! Looks like a good forum here...

At first, we were thinking Rae lakes loop but thought we'd didn't want to push it that hard for this trip, particularly for one of the hikers. Then we settled on Rae lakes/ sixty lakes - with layovers for fishing and misc summit scrambles. This may still be an option but id really like to do a loop (plus, no fishing at sixty lakes). I read about three loop routes on this site that were out of onion which got me thinking - sawmill, Baxter and another. I am intrigued by Sawmill but am trying to find the trail map and figuring out transportation back to onion.

Thoughts?
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Whitney exit permits

Postby Hobbes » Mon Jul 23, 2012 7:42 am

Britt wrote:Curious to know where you guys would hike if you had 5d/4n and were starting at onion valley campground?


Why not just do the Rae lakes loop? (Oops, just saw your reply.)

Or, for a complete lark, check to see if there are 4-5 Whitney exit permits available when you pick up your OV permit. (You need to pick up permits in person if you're entering a Nat'l park, so you can ask while you're standing there.)

Like other reservable TH permits (besides Whitney entry - either overnight or day), Whitney exit permits are only 60% reservable, so you never know about the other 40% walk-ins until you're actually there.

I usually like to decide what I'm going to do around 15 minutes from Lone Pine. On the drive up, I have sort of what I have in mind vs impulse. Of course, I have the advantage of going solo, but you should never let the prospect of figuring out logistics stop you from doing an open jaw.

If you guys walked in and got Whitney exits, it's not really that hard to get back to OV. As for itinerary, the Kearsarge to Whitney route is tailor made for 4d/3n:

D1 Vidette
D2 Tyndall
D3 Guitar
D4 Whitney

An extra day would give you either shorter days or a layover to check out some of the various lakes.
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Re: 5d/4n starting at Onion Valley- what would you do?

Postby Britt » Mon Jul 23, 2012 9:36 am

Great idea! 2 of us have done Whitney but the others would love it! I'll look into that.
I too, am an impulse planner. I'm researching the sawmill pass more so as to at least have that covered in case.
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Re: 5d/4n starting at Onion Valley- what would you do?

Postby Ska-T » Mon Jul 23, 2012 9:51 am

You could make a semi-loop out of the Rae Lakes - Sixty Lake Basin hike. From Sixty Lake Basin go northeast over Basin Notch to Arrowhead Lake. Or do it in the opposite direction. Basin Notch is an easy cross country pass that will serve as a good introduction to off trail travel.

For a side trip in the Rae Lakes area, visit Dragon Lake. Fishing was good for me there, but that was over 40 yrs ago.

If you have time for a day hike out of Sixty Lake Basin, then leave the trail, hike to the top of Sixty Lake Col and peer into Gardiner Basin. If you have the energy, from Sixty Lake Col you can head up the ridge north and climb Mt Cotter. Great views from the top!
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Re: 5d/4n starting at Onion Valley- what would you do?

Postby toejam » Mon Jul 23, 2012 11:17 am

Loops are over-rated and force you to commit to a hard schedule. I like your Rae Lakes/Sixty Lakes idea. Wish I was going.
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Re: 5d/4n starting at Onion Valley- what would you do?

Postby maverick » Mon Jul 23, 2012 11:44 am

Hi Britt,

Are you spending a night acclimating, does either of your group have problems
with altitude? Some things you have to keep in mind.
If you considered the Whitney option, will your group be comfortable with doing
Kearsarge Pass, Forester Pass, Trail Crest, and Whitney , plus the long 8.5 miles
4080 ft descent to Whitney Portal from Trail Crest.
Sawmill Pass is 1000 ft climb in 3.9 miles, and then a grueling 10 mile decent with
a 6760 ft elevation loss, maybe not the best idea for folks you are just introducing
to backpacking.
You mentioned that you did not want to push hard, please keep that in mind as
members throw suggestions your way, its about the group thing, and not a single
individual. Its easy to get hyped up from all the different routes and loose focus of
the intent of this trip.
Would recommend that you do stick with original plan or if you can add an extra night
then do the Rae Lakes Loop the traditional way starting from Roads End. Spend a night
in Paradise Valley, Woods Creek Crossing, 2 nights at Rae Lakes (which is the max you
can stay there), and one night at Junction Meadow. This way you will have to time
acclimate before reaching the higher elevations at Rae Lakes and Glen Pass.
While at Rae Lakes you can do a day hike to 60 Lakes Basin, and if there are a lot
of people at the lower lakes then go up at Dragon Lake which will offer some
solitude. and worth visiting too.
This will allow everyone in your group to enjoy themselves, see some beautiful
scenery, get hooked, and be ready to come back many more time in the future.
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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