New to board with questions | High Sierra Topix  

New to board with questions

If you've been searching for the best source of information and stimulating discussion related to Spring/Summer/Fall backpacking, hiking and camping in the Sierra Nevada...look no further!
User avatar

New to board with questions

Postby sleepy » Thu Jul 20, 2006 10:17 am

Hello. I am planning a trip to Sequoia/Kings Canyon in the first week of September. I'm looking for a 5 day backpack and have been reading Mike White's guides. Couple of questions: 1 any suggestions for this length of time. Loops preferrable, but not required. 2. I've read that Sawtooth pass, although not extremely steep, has less than sure footing. I'm trying to understnad his words of climb and scramble. I'll be carrying a backpack, for sure. any description would be great.
I've only visited the Sierras once before, last year. Absolutely beautiful. I'm mostly desert/canyon hiker, but do spend time in Chisos Mountains in Big Bend. Thankee



User avatar
sleepy
Topix Novice
 
Posts: 7
Joined: Thu Jul 20, 2006 10:11 am
Experience: N/A

User avatar

Postby cgundersen » Thu Jul 20, 2006 1:11 pm

Hi sleepy,
There are lots of options (as others are likely to point out). First, I'd take into account whether you are driving (to CA) versus flying (to LA/SF or closer to the Sierras), as this would make eastside versus westside entry an issue. Regardless, westside entries tend to start lower and require greater climbs to reach high elevation gems. That said, the Mineral King entry to reach Sawtooth Pass is pretty cool and includes the option of decent camping (Monarch Lakes) if you do not clear the Pass on the first day (it's a grind, as the last several hundred feet of vertical elevation gain is on a trail that is hard to maintain/follow because it acts like quicksand; for every step up you lose 2/3rd step owing to backsliding, it can be vexing, but ultimately rewarding when you reach the ridge). From this trailhead there are tenable loops (going north and coming back via Blackrock Pass and Timber gap; or going south and returning to Mineral King via Franklin Pass or other options, especially if you go off trail) that depend on how many miles you plan to do each day. As for eastside entries, if you're flying to LA, Horseshoe Meadows is the closest high Sierra trailhead (roughly a 4h drive from LAX and allows for great loops going in via Cottonwood Pass and exiting via New Army (or vice versa). Once you get over either pass, there are lots of possibilities for rambling around in the country south and west of Whitney (once again, the options increase if you are willing to leave the trail; for instance, Sky Blue and Primrose Lakes are dramatic off trail beauties, and going into the adjacent Crabtree canyon makes for a stunning loop). For a slightly longer (eastside) drive, lots of people recommend Kearsarge Pass followed by Glen's Pass and a loop through Rae Lakes and 60 Lakes basin. This area tends to be more heavily traveled, but that's partly because it's so gorgeous. It's hard to go wrong....
User avatar
cgundersen
Topix Expert
 
Posts: 655
Joined: Sun Jul 16, 2006 1:07 pm
Experience: N/A

User avatar

Postby sleepy » Thu Jul 20, 2006 1:17 pm

cg,
thanks for the info. I should have given a little more info. We will be flying into Fresno, so probably west side entrance. We considered Yosemite, but i'm fearful of cars and crowds. I see you can access via 178, but that seems too much driving.
User avatar
sleepy
Topix Novice
 
Posts: 7
Joined: Thu Jul 20, 2006 10:11 am
Experience: N/A

User avatar

Postby cgundersen » Fri Jul 21, 2006 9:02 am

Hi Sleepy,
OK, from Fresno, Mineral King is still a good bet, but for the least driving, just take 180 to roads' end in Kings Canyon. There you have many options. One of the most well-traveled loops in the Sierras is the Rae Lakes loop. It's about 40 miles on good trail and peaks at Glen's Pass (which nudges 12,000 feet, a good climb since roads' end is about 5,000). There are plenty of opportunities for "side-adventures", especially in 60 Lakes Basin, as I mentioned before. Typically, people do the loop by heading clockwise toward Mist Falls and Paradise Valley, as it's a more gradual elevation gain, but either way, it works. If you want a more challenging loop, head up Bubbs Creek and cross the Creek at Junction Meadow and head for East and Reflection Lakes. The trail largely vanishes at East, but it's easy to figure your way to Reflection (a spectacular body of water). From there things get more exciting heading up to and over Longely Pass, an off trail ridge that frequently still has snow cornices even late into summer. From Longely circle toward Sphinx Lakes and back to the Bubbs Creek trail via the path to Avalanche Pass. Or, a third possibility is to make the huge jump up the Copper Creek trail (and, if you opt for this, get going early, as the hillside bakes) toward Granite basin and the placid lakes on the other side of Granite Pass. This can be made into more of a loop by leaving the Copper Creek trail and going overland to Grouse Lake (and if you do this, I recommend continuing a couple more ridges to the north into the Glacier Lakes basin). The real appeal of this last trip is that it provides some of the most-stunning long-range panoramas you'll get anywhere in the Sierras. You can see all the way down to the Kaweahs to the South and up to Bishop Pass, the Palisades, Goddard and the Ionian Basin facing North (assuming that the air is not sullied by fires or San Joaquin crud).
User avatar
cgundersen
Topix Expert
 
Posts: 655
Joined: Sun Jul 16, 2006 1:07 pm
Experience: N/A

User avatar

Postby Take-a-Hike » Fri Jul 21, 2006 10:56 am

Hi,
I'd like to give you another alternative and a warning. First, another option is to take route 168 from Fresno til it ends at/near Lake Edison, the road ends at the Vermilion Valley Resort (VVR). That being a re-supply point on the PCT/JMT, there's a host of opportunities from there. We did a loop from there last summer, Graveyard Lakes, Peter Panda, the Indian lakes, and back. A great reference point for this area, the Silver Divide, and the Sphinx lakes area mentioned above is to go to Doyle Donehoo's Sierra-Trails.com site. He has great stories w/photos that'll give you some insight on areas to visit. His site can be accessed from this site, just search around and click on it. We did the Graveyard Lakes pass mentioned in his Silver Divide story and my wife really loved that area. If you want solitude, Peter Panda is the place to be.
Another wonderful area, on our list of to-do's, , is the Tablelands area, via Deadman Canyon, also a subject of Doyle's on his site.
Now the warning...if you go up the Copper Creek trail mentioned above, you'd better be in great shape and love uphill. We did that thing over the 4th, and it was a killer. To Grouse Lake, it's about 8 miles and 5300' gain in elevation. Yes, the veiws are dynamic, but you sure don't feel much like enjoying them. Plan on a recovery day once you get up there.
Good Luck
User avatar
Take-a-Hike
Topix Acquainted
 
Posts: 88
Joined: Mon Dec 12, 2005 4:28 pm
Location: Alta Loma, Ca
Experience: N/A

User avatar

Postby maverick » Fri Jul 21, 2006 2:28 pm

Hi Sleepy

Id like to echo CG recommendations! If you do the Rae Lakes Loop
stay at the upper lake for solitude(the other lakes can be crowded with
the JMT going by).
I really like the East Lake option but you have to be comfortable with
cross-country travel(you have a creek crossing and pass that can
be tricky). Lake Reflection is one of the prettiest lakes with mountains
all around(East Lake aint bad either). If you hike up to the Bubbs
Creek crossing point the first day, Relection Lake the second and
over Longley Pass to Spinx Lakes the next you can climb MT Brewer on
the fourth day (13570ft,class 2 route). What a view!!
Thats if youve gotten used to the elevation.
Granite Basin is gorgeous with many side trips to Glacier lakes, Kids
Lakes or Volcanic Lakes but no loop unless you came out via
Kennedy Pass and then you would have to hitch hike back to Roads
End(this would take longer than 5 days anyways).
User avatar
maverick
Forums Moderator
Forums Moderator
 
Posts: 8050
Joined: Thu Apr 06, 2006 5:54 pm
Experience: Level 4 Explorer

User avatar

Postby sleepy » Wed Jul 26, 2006 5:37 pm

thanks for all the info, ya'll. Just found out we have two extra days! So we got 7! woooweee.
sleepy
User avatar
sleepy
Topix Novice
 
Posts: 7
Joined: Thu Jul 20, 2006 10:11 am
Experience: N/A


Return to Backpacking / Hiking / Camping



Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 13 guests