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Tips for Bishop Pass to evo Valley to Florence Lake?

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Tips for Bishop Pass to evo Valley to Florence Lake?

Postby overheadx2 » Sun Aug 19, 2012 3:03 pm

Being some what new to backpacking, a lot of my trips are more popular ones which are usually popular for a reason. My next trip coming up will have me flying to mammoth, head over Bishop Pass to Dusy Basin,Big Pete Meadow, Wanda Lake, Colby Meadow, Blanney Meadow hot springs, and then to Florence Lake where we pick up a shuttle to Fresno airport and fly home.

Are there any must see side trips, better areas to stop than the locations mentioned?
Any input is welcomed.
Fishing Info?



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Re: Tips for Bishop Pass to evo Valley to Florence Lake?

Postby ManOfTooManySports » Sun Aug 19, 2012 3:35 pm

Wanda Lake is a bit desolate. Sapphire is great and worth the extra mileage. However, Big Pete's to Evolution Basin is a long, long day. You might want to push a little farther after dropping from Dusy to spread out the mileage. There's camping above the first lake after Big Pete Meadow (10,320+). (We saw a bear there about 5 years ago, but that's the Sierra for you.) I've had a few different people tell me of sites near the outlet of 10,800+, but I've never seen them. You will find some sites with great views just off the trail around 11,160. After these sites, there nothing we saw until Helen Lake, where you have to search around only a bit to see the sites. The problem with Helen is that it, too, is somewhat desolate.

I'm not a big fan of Evolution Valley, which is a heresy. To me it's a lot of trees blocking my view of the mountains. Usually it's buggy, but it won't be this year. You'll have a stream crossing that the guidebooks and others might get worked up about, but it's not that big of a deal, especially this year.

To get to the hot springs, you have to cross the river. That shouldn't be a big deal this year, just be forewarned. And if you choose to go from a hot pool to a cool pool, don't do what I did a zillion years ago and puncture your foot on a twig by not wear shoes or sandals.
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Re: Tips for Bishop Pass to evo Valley to Florence Lake?

Postby paul » Sun Aug 19, 2012 4:51 pm

When you are at Wanda, take the time to stroll up to the saddle which leads to Davis Lake. Nice view from there. When you get to Evolution lake, make your way over to the outlet (the trail bypasses it) for a great overlook of the Evolution Valley.
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Re: Tips for Bishop Pass to evo Valley to Florence Lake?

Postby LMBSGV » Sun Aug 19, 2012 4:54 pm

Another vote for going beyond Big Pete Meadow. The lakes near the trail above Big Pete have some great sites and if you cross the river where the waterfall comes down from the two lakes on the other side of the river, there is a wonderful site above the first lake.

I also prefer Sapphire to Wanda.

I love Evolution Valley, especially McClure Meadow. If you want more privacy, just wade Evolution Creek and find a site on the other side.
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Re: Tips for Bishop Pass to evo Valley to Florence Lake?

Postby kpeter » Sun Aug 19, 2012 5:39 pm

If you are trying to get beyond Dusy Basin on your first day, there is a nice campsite just past the second stream crossing on the way down the switchbacks. To be more specific, the trail will cross a footbridge and then switchback down to another stream crossing (which is somewhat infamous early in the year.) About a couple of hundred yards after the crossing the trail bends right in front of a massive view of the opposite wall of LeConte canyon. Just where you see the view, on the opposite side of the trail, is the campsite. It is at about 9680'.

I camped at Wanda last year out of necessity. It is very open and stark, and there are a limited number of developed tent pads scattered among the rocks. It made for absolutely magnificent sunrises and sunsets and has its own stark beauty. However, I agree that Sapphire and Evolution lakes are probably more scenic. Sapphire really impressed me.
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Re: Tips for Bishop Pass to evo Valley to Florence Lake?

Postby giantbrookie » Sun Aug 19, 2012 5:54 pm

overheadx2 wrote:Being some what new to backpacking, a lot of my trips are more popular ones which are usually popular for a reason. My next trip coming up will have me flying to mammoth, head over Bishop Pass to Dusy Basin,Big Pete Meadow, Wanda Lake, Colby Meadow, Blanney Meadow hot springs, and then to Florence Lake where we pick up a shuttle to Fresno airport and fly home.

Are there any must see side trips, better areas to stop than the locations mentioned?
Any input is welcomed.
Fishing Info?


Regarding side trips, this is dependent upon a number things, including your off trail hiking experience and comfort level, and your priorities. Side trips on this route are almost entirely off trail, with the exception of the possibility of some trail-bound side trips as you get a bit closer to Florence. In other words: what floats your boat? Stark rugged and wild off trail territory such as Ionian Basin? Big fish? Peak bagging? There are a number of outstanding summits within dayhiking range of a number of camps you might choose along your route. If peak bagging is a priority, then a secondary question would be: what is your comfort level in climbing (in terms of maximum level of difficulty).
Since my fishing (etc.) website is still down, you can be distracted by geology stuff at: http://www.fresnostate.edu/csm/ees/facu ... ayshi.html
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Re: Tips for Bishop Pass to evo Valley to Florence Lake?

Postby overheadx2 » Mon Aug 20, 2012 12:23 pm

Thanks for all the input. In reading sierra south, it states that there are no sites between Wanda and Evolution Lake. I would much rather make it to Saphire Lake if I can find a site there. Any idea where I would find sites there? Also it states that Colby is better than Mcclure and Evo Meadow because they are overused. Since this is a fly fishing trip, is there a better area to fish between the thre? As stated by lmgbv, are there less used sites across the river at McClure or Evo.?

One last thing, we were thinking of a layover in Evo Valley, or maybe hiking down the valley and up the San Joaquin to Franklin Meadow, or just camp at the junction bridge and fish for bigger fish. Any Ideas? Thanks for all the help, Phil
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Re: Tips for Bishop Pass to evo Valley to Florence Lake?

Postby SSSdave » Mon Aug 20, 2012 12:39 pm

That route is normally a 9-day or such trip. If your itinerary is 6 days as you listed, you are hardly going to have much more to do than hike carrying your pack each each day. Better fishing like in the rest of the Sierra usually means fishing waters well away from trails especially heavily used trails like on your route.
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Re: Tips for Bishop Pass to evo Valley to Florence Lake?

Postby ManOfTooManySports » Mon Aug 20, 2012 1:00 pm

The inlet end of Sapphire has a lot of legitimate sites. You have to find your way down the somewhat steep slope from the trail, but you'll see use trails. People camp on the meadow on the shore toward the outlet near the trail. Please don't join them.

There are also sites between Sapphire and Wanda, but you are still better pressing to Sapphire. Unless you get a big storm rolling through, which is how we wound up at one of those sites some years ago.

From Colby you can climb in to McGee Canyon. We went a few weeks ago and it was great. That would make a good day trip or side trip to camp at the lakes.

Darwin Bench is pretty cool and an easier trail to follow than the one up McGee Canyon. I'd commit to that before dropping all the way to Evo Valley.
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Re: Tips for Bishop Pass to evo Valley to Florence Lake?

Postby overheadx2 » Mon Aug 20, 2012 1:20 pm

This trip has always been on my list, and I would love to go longer, but I am unable to get more than a week off from work. I Try to keep a 2 -3 mph walking pace so that I can stop to fish and take pics along the way and still get 8 - 10 miles per day in and have the afternoon to fish. We plan on having one layover day, so a nice day hike is exactly what I was looking for.
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Re: Tips for Bishop Pass to evo Valley to Florence Lake?

Postby Hobbes » Mon Aug 20, 2012 2:03 pm

overheadx2 wrote:This trip has always been on my list, and I would love to go longer, but I am unable to get more than a week off from work. I Try to keep a 2 -3 mph walking pace so that I can stop to fish and take pics along the way and still get 8 - 10 miles per day in and have the afternoon to fish. We plan on having one layover day, so a nice day hike is exactly what I was looking for.

3mph might be a little optimistic. I'm a UL guy & moderately fast walker, and I don't avg that pace. In fact, I started keeping track of my time in very specific segments, and have been surprised at the results.

Bottom line is that I realistically avg around 1-1.25mph going up a steep grade, pass or peak. Earlier this year it took me 3 hrs to cross Forester from Vidette (3k climb), and more recently it took 3hrs from Guitar to Whitney (another 3k climb).

Note this is pure time - I note my time when starting and simply mentally record when I finally drop my pack at the top. It's surprising how much time goes by drinking water, taking a breather, etc. I monitor my time history because I like to plan 15+- days (12-18 miles per day). I'm not trying to fool myself, so I realistically need to know how long I will be hiking.

Downhill is not much better if the trail is rocky like the Palisades. That is, if you above tree line, there isn't any soil or tree litter to 'soften' the trail. I find that I avg 2.25-2.5 on a hard trail. (XC drops to 1-1.5.)

Where you can really motor are well worn trails below tree line, which you might experience in the latter part of your trip. Otherwise, you might consider 1.25-1.75mph as more realistic for the day. If you are planning 10 miles/day, you will more than likely be on the trail for around 8+ hrs.
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Re: Tips for Bishop Pass to evo Valley to Florence Lake?

Postby overheadx2 » Mon Aug 20, 2012 2:50 pm

I'm relatively new, but have done quite a few trips. Even with fishing (5 cast rule - if no fish in 5 casts Im gone) and breathers 2 miles per hour + 1/2 hour for lunch is the minimum unless I'm going up a pass. I can usually expect to get to my next destination at that pace. I have always assumed most of you are averaging about the same. I'm 6'6" and all legs, so I may have an advantage, but with a pack under 30 lbs, 2 mph seems pretty easy even with breaks.
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