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Off-Trail Backpacking Suggestions?

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Off-Trail Backpacking Suggestions?

Postby maddkeys » Sun Aug 12, 2012 6:37 pm

A quick first-post introduction -- I'm Nate, and the Sierras have a very special place in my heart!

My dad and I will soon be heading to the mountains for a 4-5 day trip. Last year, we did our first off-trail hike, an easy mile from the French Canyon trail up to Merriam Peak/Royce Lakes. This year, we are looking to expand on that victory and see more of what lies beyond the beaten path.

That said, I could use some help with off-trail trip recommendations. We (like most) are looking for natural beauty -- specifically, we love lakes, and prefer dramatic mountain/canyon scenery over forests. We are pretty open to any area between Kings Canyon and Yosemite. That said, we have already backpacked Thousand-Island-Lake and French Canyon, so ideally we'd like to explore some contrasting scenery.

So...what are your favorite off-trail gems?

(A little more about us: we are in-shape, comfortable crossing up to Class 2 terrain, and average 6-10 miles/day (depending on elevation loss/gain).



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Re: Off-Trail Backpacking Suggestions?

Postby ManOfTooManySports » Sun Aug 12, 2012 9:07 pm

You've set a high bar with Royce Lakes.

Sixty Lakes Basin above Rae Lakes, although it barely qualifies as off-trail. It's generally a 1 1/2-day trip in and out.

We just visited McGee Lakes Basin in the Evolution area. That's a tough 2+ days in no matter your route. But we had the whole danged basin to ourselves.

There are some trip reports for Dusy/Palisades Basins that have a lot of serious XC. Reading those put that high on my list of trips.
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Re: Off-Trail Backpacking Suggestions?

Postby sparky » Sun Aug 12, 2012 9:26 pm

I really liked the crabtree pass loop. New Army Pass to Crabtree Pass, to Crabtree Meadows, to Guyot Pass out via Cottonwood Pass.
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Re: Off-Trail Backpacking Suggestions?

Postby rlown » Sun Aug 12, 2012 9:40 pm

ManOfTooManySports wrote:That said, I could use some help with off-trail trip recommendations. We (like most) are looking for natural beauty -- specifically, we love lakes, and prefer dramatic mountain/canyon scenery over forests. We are pretty open to any area between Kings Canyon and Yosemite. That said, we have already backpacked Thousand-Island-Lake and French Canyon, so ideally we'd like to explore some contrasting scenery.

So...what are your favorite off-trail gems?


Do you fish? because some of those destinations seem like fishing spots.

Here's a concept. Post a TR from your last trip.

Russ
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Re: Off-Trail Backpacking Suggestions?

Postby maddkeys » Mon Aug 13, 2012 6:34 am

rlown wrote:Do you fish? because some of those destinations seem like fishing spots.

Here's a concept. Post a TR from your last trip.

Russ


No, neither my dad or I fishes. I would post a TR, but it's been two years since my last trip in the mountains and my memory of the trip is pretty faded.
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Re: Off-Trail Backpacking Suggestions?

Postby Hobbes » Mon Aug 13, 2012 8:02 am

maddkeys wrote:We did our first off-trail hike, an easy mile from the French Canyon trail up to Merriam Peak/Royce Lakes. This year, we are looking to expand on that victory and see more of what lies beyond the beaten path.


Here's a short list of lolipops/loops which have some XC that seem to be popular with the HST crew:
1. NAP-Crabtree-Cottonwood
2. Piute-Puppet-French-Piute (or Pine)
3. Piute-Lamarck-Darwin-Piute (or Bishop)
4. Bishop-Dusy-Ionian-Bishop (or Piute)
5. Kearsarge-Rae-60 Lakes-Kearsarge
6. Kearsarge-Forester-LSA-Tyndall-Shepherd
7. Agnew-TI-Iceberg-Shadow-Agnew

#2 would allow you to connect part of the route you've already done out of Pine Crk. Ditto with #7. #3/4 are the Evo loop if you continue through.

What you might consider, since you've already gone out of Pine Crk, is to simply head over Italy from Granite park, through the Bear drainage over Feather and back.
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Re: Off-Trail Backpacking Suggestions?

Postby TehipiteTom » Mon Aug 13, 2012 8:56 am

If you're up for 5,000'+ elevation gain up-front, the Monarch Divide has tons of great off-trail possibilities. Take the Copper Creek or Lewis Creek trails up, and then go from lake basin to lake basin (most of the ridges between have a class 2 or better route over).

My Monarch Divide routes, over the years:

1990: Up the Copper Creek Trail to near the Granite Basin rim, then off to Grouse Lake and over Mungoat Pass to Kid Lakes Basin.

1997: Up the Lewis Creek Trail over Kennedy Pass, via East Kennedy Lake to Volcanic Lakes, over to the lake NE of Granite Pass, then via Glacier Lakes to Kid Lakes Basin, out via Mungoat Pass/Grouse Lake/Copper Creek Trail.

2001: Up the Lewis Creek Trail to Frypan Meadow, to Grizzly Lakes, over Harrington Pass to Swamp Lakes, to Slide Lakes, West Kennedy Lake, out via Kennedy Pass & Lewis Creek Trail.

2006: Up the Copper Creek Trail to Granite Pass, cut off to lake NE of the pass, to western Glacier Lakes, via highest Glacier Lake to North Fork Kid Creek basin, to Kid Lakes, out via Grouse Lake & Copper Creek Trail.
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Re: Off-Trail Backpacking Suggestions?

Postby maverick » Mon Aug 13, 2012 2:05 pm

Hi Maddkeys,

Welcome To HST!
- A hike up to Vee Lake, and then a night at Orchid Lake
- Graveyard Lakes to Peter Panda, Annie, Minnie, Olive Lakes
- LLV to Forth Recess Lake and then up to Pioneer Basin
- Cottonwood Lakes, Soldier Lakes to Miter Basin
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: Off-Trail Backpacking Suggestions?

Postby Ska-T » Mon Aug 13, 2012 5:11 pm

Easy to moderate CC:

Park your car at Wolverton, Lodgepole or Crescent Meadow in Sequoia NP. Take the High Sierra Trail (HST) past Hamilton Lakes and over Kaweah Gap. For the CC section, continue up thru Nine Lake Basin, go over Lion Rock Pass (either one), and down to Tamarack Lake. Pick up the trail and either return to the car via the HST, or if you want more CC, then turn north on the Elizabeth Pass trial. Leave the trail at about 9,960 ft and go west over Pterodactyl Pass to wander thru the Tablelands and back to the car.
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Re: Off-Trail Backpacking Suggestions?

Postby maddkeys » Mon Aug 13, 2012 7:50 pm

Wow -- thanks for all the suggestions! I'll start checking out these routes.
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Re: Off-Trail Backpacking Suggestions?

Postby Cross Country » Wed Aug 15, 2012 4:48 pm

Tullomne Meadows to Rafferty Creel Reymann Lake (camp), Nelson Lake, Matthis Lake (camp), Echo Lake, Cathedral Lake (camp), and out. It's 4 days, easy (leisurely) and very pretty.

Kings Canyon to Lower Tent Meadow, to Grouse Lake, to Kid Lakes, to Glacier Lakes, and out. It's 5 days, strenuous, and beautiful (spectacular).
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Re: Off-Trail Backpacking Suggestions?

Postby Mradford » Thu Aug 16, 2012 7:05 pm

I agree with the miter basin suggestion as this is some amazing back country and not to be missed!
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