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3 day trip over Labor Day

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3 day trip over Labor Day

Postby thenine » Sun Aug 26, 2012 10:51 pm

Hello all,

I was supposed to work this weekend but just got off and I want to spend some time in the outdoors. Unfortunately it doesn't leave me a lot of time to plan a route or get permits so I was looking for recommendations. Here are the details:

Level of experience: Both of us are level 3. Many backpacking trips but only a few cross country. Not looking for that on this trip.

Terrain: We are comfortable with Class 3 terrain and River crossings. We have experience with Class III and IV scrambling as well.

Main Interests:

1. Option to bag a peak and do some fishing. For example if we could get a permit we would do Middle Palisade in a heart beat. So anything similar would be great.
2. If that type of climb doesn't exist then we would prefer big mountain with an option to fish followed by forrest with option to fish

Note: We want backpacking. Car camping isn't an option.

Area
1. SEKI
2. Eastern Sierra
3. Anywhere we can go on such short notice given that we currently don't have permits


Other
* We want to spend 3 days and 2 nights (start saturday morning return monday)
* We don't care about out and back or loop we just have to finish where we start
*Miles per day is up in there based on the strenuousness of the climb. Assuming moderate lets say 11 - 13mi round trip. (this point can be flexible)
* no dog

Thanks for the help in advance



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Re: 3 day trip over Labor Day

Postby tim » Sun Aug 26, 2012 11:35 pm

Assuming you are coming from the south, and are up for a reasonably decent hike in (9 miles) on Day 1, I'd suggest going to Soldier Lakes and then visiting either Miter Basin or Mt Langley (or both). You can go in at Cottonwood Pass (out of Horseshoe Meadows), where there are quite a lot of walk-in permits or if they run out (given its Labor Day weekend) go in at Trail Pass (no quota) and walk about 3 more miles.

A decent 3 day itinerary wuld be Day 1: Cottonwood (or Trail) Pass to Lower Soldier Lake (stay there both nights)
Day 2: Day hike wandering Miter Basin (off trail but very easy) up to Sky Blue Lake or climbing Langley (though Miter Basin really is spectacular - my trip report from last year was earlier in the season but gives some impression of the scenery: viewtopic.php?f=1&t=6526&start=0)
Day 3: Come out through Cottonwood Pass or if you're ambitious climb Langley and come out via Army/New Army Pass and Cottonwood Lakes instead (though that would make it a long third day).

There's plenty of fishing in the lakes.
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Re: 3 day trip over Labor Day

Postby thenine » Mon Aug 27, 2012 3:45 pm

Tim,

Thank you so much for the post. We read through your trip report and through a couple of others and this seems like just the ticket. What we are going to do is:

Day 1: Try to get walk in permit for Cottonwood Pass. If that doesn't work we will do trail pass to LSL
Day 2: LSL to Sky Blue Lake
Day 3: LSL back home through CottonWood Lakes (without the langley summit)


That said I am not too familiar with this area. Are there any maps or trail route descriptions that you recommend?

I have found the links below but I am looking for something with a little more detail. Specifically I haven't seen where Trail Pass links with Cottonwood Pass to get to LSL.


http://www.hikespeak.com/trails/sky-blu ... uoia-hike/
http://www.hikespeak.com/trails/lower-s ... e-sequoia/


Thanks again for the help!!!!!!

Shawn
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Re: 3 day trip over Labor Day

Postby Mradford » Mon Aug 27, 2012 4:07 pm

Tom Harrison Maps, Golden trout wilderness and Mt. Whitney Zone. Or try using MyTopo.com.
tomharrisonmaps.com
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Re: 3 day trip over Labor Day

Postby tim » Mon Aug 27, 2012 8:13 pm

thenine wrote:I haven't seen where Trail Pass links with Cottonwood Pass to get to LSL

Trail Pass heads basically south/southwest out of Horseshoe Meadows. It hits the PCT at the top of the hill. Just head north on the PCT and you'll reach the top of Cottonwood Pass (that's the trail heading west out of Horseshoe Meadows) just before Chicken Spring Lake.

The only other key route finding is around Lower Soldier Lake. Best camping is near the bear box (signed on the E side of outlet stream). To get up to Miter Basin cross the LSL outlet, then go along the W side of the lake and just before reaching the head of the lake, take the obvious steep path up to the col to your west (between LSL and the Rock Creek tributary coming out of Miter Basin). At the col (where there is a small tarn early season) contour north along or just west of the broad ridge until you reach Miter Basin. Paths in this area are a bit sketchy, but its hard to go wrong if you maintain your altitude until Miter Basin comes into view.
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Re: 3 day trip over Labor Day

Postby Mradford » Mon Aug 27, 2012 8:17 pm

The hard part is staying high enough on the way back to make sure you head back into soldier lakes basin, if you dont youll run yourself into a canyon heading west and have to backtrack. not that thats what happened to me or anything :paranoid:
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Re: 3 day trip over Labor Day

Postby tim » Mon Aug 27, 2012 8:21 pm

Mradford wrote:The hard part is staying high enough on the way back to make sure you head back into soldier lakes basin, if you dont youll run yourself into a canyon heading west and have to backtrack. not that thats what happened to me or anything :paranoid:

Agreed. We were lucky enough to have footprints in the snow to follow on the way back out of the basin. I can imagine you would have to be more careful later in the year.
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Re: 3 day trip over Labor Day

Postby thenine » Thu Aug 30, 2012 10:35 am

All,

I just wanted to thank you all for the help. We are stoked about the trip and are heading up friday night. I'll write a quick report when I get back.

thanks again

Shawn
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Re: 3 day trip over Labor Day

Postby thenine » Tue Sep 04, 2012 5:27 pm

All,

I wanted to do a quick trip report. The trip was absolutely awesome. We got to the Inyo Vistor Center first thing Saturday morning and were able to get permits to head up Cottonwood Pass. We were on the trail just before 10am and got to Lower Soldier Lake around 4:30. The hike itself wasn't too bad but we had to spend a little time recovering after the climb up to Cottonwood pass. After you reach the ridge at the top of Chicken Lake the hike got pretty easy. We took a spot next to the bear locker overlooking the meadow. The views were amazing and group of deer decided to play around while we were setting up camp.

After setting up camp we got in a little fishing and caught a couple of little ones.

Unfortunately we didn't make it up to Sky Blue Lake the next day because we got kicked out of the forrest.

Shortly after we got back from fishing a Ranger stopped by and asked to see our permits and bear canisters. We told him we didn't bring canisters but that our food was safely stored int he bear locker 20 feet away. He told us that the locker was only for PCT hikers and that if didn't have canisters that we needed to break camp and leave immediately (this was at about 6pm). It took quite a bit of convincing but after explaining several times that we had just set up camp, that we were exhausted and that hiking back that late and as tired as we were would be unsafe he let us stay the night.

We got up early the next morning packed up and headed home a day early. We thought about coming back through the New Army Pass but we were both a little tired.

In the end we absolutely loved the area and are already planning a trip for next year so that we can get up to Sky Blue Lake. However next year we will bring our canisters!! :)

Thanks again for your helping me plan was was a pretty cool trip!

Shawn
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Re: 3 day trip over Labor Day

Postby Mike M. » Tue Sep 04, 2012 8:14 pm

thenine:

You're much more philosophical about this than I would be. I'm sorry you had to run into an overzealous, petty bureaucrat. That's just b.s. -- there is no policy that favors PCT hikers over others and it is entirely appropriate for you to use those lockers to secure your food. (I do it all the time, although I do also carry a bear canister. In fact, I camped at the very site you did last year and used the bear box there.) To kick you out of the woods even though your food was properly secured is asinine. I hope you got this ranger's name and I urge you to report him.

Mike
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Re: 3 day trip over Labor Day

Postby Mradford » Tue Sep 04, 2012 8:36 pm

Sounds like a good time other than the ranger situation. I agree that it shouldn't be used for PCTers only. thanks for posting!
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Re: 3 day trip over Labor Day

Postby SSSdave » Tue Sep 04, 2012 8:59 pm

I'm not a fan of having to listen to the same sermon every time I pick up a national park permit as I would much prefer picking permits up night box style like Inyo NF. And I am very against not allowing Ursack use.

Actually all backpackers in the Rock Creek drainage are now required to have canisters (I also own 2 bulky, heavy Garcia's besides 2 Ursack's). When the permit was picked up since you were going into Sequoia NP, they certainly would have impressed on any group that requirement.

http://www.nps.gov/seki/planyourvisit/bear_bc.htm

In other SEKI areas the 3 listed methods can be used including #2 foodlocker. So the ranger was doing his job. The national parks have been rather rigid for years and with good effect. A few years ago Inyo took off the kids glove and began forcing people without permits or bear canisters out of the wilderness. For years they would often scold people without permits and then if they didn't get any lip write them a permit on the spot. Obviously was not working as there are simply a lot of groups that apparently don't think rules apply to them so SEKI, Yosemite and increasingly Inyo now sends a clear message of play by the rules or pay the consequences. Especially lots of groups camping too close to lakes and making fires above legal limits.
Last edited by SSSdave on Tue Sep 04, 2012 9:14 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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