TR: Ring Around the Glacier Divide, 9/8-9/15 | High Sierra Topix  

TR: Ring Around the Glacier Divide, 9/8-9/15

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Re: TR: Ring Around the Glacier Divide

Postby windknot » Thu Sep 20, 2012 1:46 pm

Phil,

I'm not nearly qualified to speak for an experienced cross-country backpacker, as I've only done a handful of class 2 passes and the like, but speaking as someone with moderate off-trail experience I do think that this route we did is easily doable for a strong and experienced hiker who may not have a lot of off-trail experience. Lamarck Column is a piece of cake; there's a well-defined use trail down the entire east side, as well as along most of the west side into Darwin Canyon (only at the top does the trail peter out and you're faced with several smaller use trails, but by that point it's fairly straightforward where you're supposed to be going).

Furthermore, Humphreys Basin is popularly known to have some of the easiest cross-country travel in the Sierra, with great lines of sight, gentle gradients, and no bothersome brush or miniature cliffs that don't show up on the topo.

If you go up Bear Creek, you'll have to take an off-trail pass to get from Bear Basin to French Canyon. I haven't been on any of those passes so I can't speak to their difficulty, but several of the members here have and will hopefully chime in.

There are several cross-country passes from the north side of the Glacier Divide to the south side, the most famous of which is probably Snow-Tongue, but we avoided those due to perceived difficulty (all are high class 2 or greater), as well as our plan to go around to the west side of the range anyway.
A few backcountry fishing pictures: http://wanderswithtrout.wordpress.com/



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Re: TR: Ring Around the Glacier Divide

Postby overheadx2 » Thu Sep 20, 2012 1:52 pm

Thanks
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Re: TR: Ring Around the Glacier Divide

Postby ERIC » Fri Sep 21, 2012 8:28 am

windknot wrote:Thanks! Our trip was last week, from Sept. 8-15. No mosquitoes, and Piute Creek was definitely flowing strongly and will not dry out completely at any point this season. We couldn't see the trail from the top of the canyon, but I knew that the trail ran parallel to the creek so we just angled down the canyon at a roughly southwest heading and hit the trail eventually. If you don't particularly care about knowing the exact spot on the trail you want to intersect, this will work just fine for your trip.


I concur with windknot on the ease of cc travel in that area. My wife and I dropped straight down from just east of Tomahawk Lake to the trail this past weekend in very little time and with very little effort (and she's not much of a hiker).
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Re: TR: Ring Around the Glacier Divide

Postby overheadx2 » Fri Sep 21, 2012 9:35 am

I think I'd like to try and break up your hike into 2 separate hikes and split Piute Canyon into north and south areas so I can add in a stop over in French Canyon and then add a stop over at Mcclure Meadow to the south trail. My map shows a trail to Elba Lake from the canyon. I assume the hike to Paris Lake isn't to hard. Did you go over Carol Column to get to Mesa Lake, or over by Pilot Knob?
You had mentioned some ducks out of Ramona. Where did you pick that trail up at (I assume by the outlet). Also, was there any duck system on the Evolution valley side between the lakes like 11300 and 11090, or was it relative straight forward hiking once you made the turn to go up the canyon. Sorry for the 20 ?'s, but this is going to be one of next years trips, so I figure I should figure it out now. Thanks, Phil
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Re: TR: Ring Around the Glacier Divide

Postby windknot » Fri Sep 21, 2012 10:32 am

We went over Carol Column to get from Mesa to French Canyon, but if you come in from the bottom of the canyon the hike is easier.

Yes, the ducks from Ramona begin near the outlet. This was perhaps the most useful use of cairns I've seen, as most tend to provide more misdirection than direction, but if it weren't for these this route would be tenuous (very steep slope, not readily apparent the best route to traverse).

On the bench above Evolution Valley, there is no such well-defined use trail, but the off-trail travel is also much easier and more obvious. Simply round each bend and then head farther up into the basin, using topography to orient yourself.
A few backcountry fishing pictures: http://wanderswithtrout.wordpress.com/
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Re: TR: Ring Around the Glacier Divide, 9/8-9/15

Postby Vaca Russ » Thu Jul 18, 2013 7:28 am

HST Team,

Matt wrote, "The rest of the hike back to the trailhead was a straightforward walk along the very well-defined use trail. I shouldn’t have been so surprised at how well-used the trail was, but the only sign that this trail is not officially maintained is that there is no sign marking the turnoff for the trail just before Upper Lamarck Lake. Because the trail begins on the other side of Lamarck Creek from the official trail, I suppose one would have to know where the use trail branches off from the main trail in order to stay on the right track. "

There is now a sign...

5Trail to U. L.JPG
Looking toward (southwest) Upper Lamarck Lake


Thanks,

-Russ
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