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Silver Divide XC Route - Squaw/Warrior to Hortense?

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Silver Divide XC Route - Squaw/Warrior to Hortense?

Postby krudler » Mon Jul 31, 2006 6:38 pm

The trip planning continues for my prospective 2 week epic journey along the Silver Divide in late Aug/early Sept. Due to the challenges of getting friends to accompany me at least some of the way, I am looking at somewhat of a possible re-route.

The crux of this involves my question: Does anyone know if there is a reasonable (ie, not Class III+) cross-country route to get from the Squaw/Warrior Lake area (or Silver Pass in general) over to the Hortense Lake/parkland area? It would be possible for us to go back down and through Tully Hole and then back up to the parkland from the other side, but a XC route from Silver Pass would be much more direct and save several miles.

Oh, I should mention we will be coming from the Peter Pande area, so following the SHR from Laurel Lake is not really an option...

Any input is greatly appreciated - you people rock! :nod:
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Postby giantbrookie » Mon Jul 31, 2006 8:50 pm

This is part of the area over which I planned some off trail backpacking hijinx this summer (cancelled, unfortunately, otherwise I'd probably be there now). I've been to Hortense the "conventional" way by following the spur and outlet from Tully Hole. I had planned this year to do a huge 4-day loop starting in Edison, going to Margaret thence to the Minnow Creek drainage and then a very long 3rd day, the early parts of which involved going to Hortense. Here's what I would have tried: I would have approached Hortense from the W, by leaving the Silver Pass trail a bit above Fish Creek (~9400'), then sort of making a diagonal traverse eastward to Hortense. This looks like it should go class 2 with careful dodging of small cliff bands, but I haven't seen this written. I planned to exit Hortense by heading to Izaak Walton Lake thence ascending a chute to a col at 11520+ that is about 0.5 mi east of Warrior Lake (high odds for class 2 based on map). This col would then lead to the cirque above Warrior Lake. My game plan then involved heading to the Silver Pass trail and eventually getting to Feather Lake. In your case you are trying to get from the Warrior Lake et al. group to Hortense and I don't see anything more direct that would be guaranteed class 2 or lower. A possible class 2 route may be to ascend nearly due north (or NNE) from the northern tip of Warrior Lake, cresting out at about 11440+ then descending a shoulder or appropriate chute NE toward Mace Lake, then veering somewhat more eastward at about 11000' to exploit the gentler topography of the big broad chute that drains NE toward Mace. That one looks a bit dicier than the other two options but I'd guess there's a good possibility it's class 2. The one wild card in this may be snow in any chutes near the crest of this ridge and remaining in chutes (esp the one coming off of the 11520+ col noted above). The first two routes I mentioned because they fit my route, whereas the more direct route mentioned third may fit your itinerary the best.
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Postby Steve Bearman » Mon Jul 31, 2006 9:09 pm

I have made the trip from Hortense to to Squaw by contouring around at about the 10,000 ft level. While it was certainly class 2, there was some tricky bushwhacking and the need to go up and down quite a bit to avoid steep stretches. I wouldn't do it again.

While I was there, I kept my eye out for possible class 2 passes. From both the Mace Lake side and the Squaw Lake side, it seemed very reasonable to cross over the North-South saddle between Peak 11,622 and Peak 11,880 to its South. From the Squaw Lake side, it looked like climbing up to Warrior and then to the saddle was the way to go. From the Mace Lake side, it seemed like the best route was South by Southwest to a point West of the moraine, and then curving Westward up to the saddle.

So, I have never done it, but I marked it to do on a later trip. I have high confidence that with good routefinding you could stay on reasonable class 2 rock.

Please let me know how it works out if you go that way!
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Postby krudler » Mon Jul 31, 2006 9:33 pm

This brings a tear to my eye :crybaby:
This is undoubtedly the greatest website EVER!

Thanks for your valuable feedback, gentlemen. I will certainly let you know what we find and how it works out!
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Postby krudler » Mon Jul 31, 2006 9:38 pm

Oh, follow up question!

So, would you say easier to follow the Hortense outlet up from Tully Hole, or the Izaak Walton outlet up from near Horse Heaven and then just backtrack to Hortense?

(I dear not ask you to comment on the fishing publicly! ;) )
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Postby Steve Bearman » Tue Aug 01, 2006 11:07 am

You mean if I wasn't taking the King's Road over the saddle between Warrior and Mace . . .

I personally think Horse Heaven should be renamed Horse Swamp. I'm not very fond of it, so I would avoid it personally. Also, Izaak Walton is pretty tricky to navigate around, but coming up to the outlet and heading to the West is the easiest part of the lake to get around.

If forced to drop all the way down on trail, I would try the Hortense outlet stream, but I have never actually experienced it.

As a side note, if you have not explored the magical land of tarns that stretch from below Shout-of-Relief Pass / Rohn Pass to the Cotton Lake area, it is one of my favorite Sierra places. The tarns tend to dry up quite a bit by fall on a normal year, so I wouldn't count on fish, but the whole area is really wonderful and easy to wander around. The only hard part is getting up and down from Izaak Walton.
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Postby giantbrookie » Tue Aug 01, 2006 11:14 am

Krudler,

Have a good trip. Please let us know how the fishing is, at least those places you're willing to divulge your results on (there's at least one on your route that may be so good you probably won't want to tell us about).

Cheers,

John
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Postby krudler » Tue Aug 01, 2006 11:37 am

Thanks guys! Sounds like the Hortense outlet might be the way to go, and more direct to boot.

Steve, that area below Shout-of-Relief is specifically one of the things I was heading that way to see as I was very intruiged by Roper's (and others) description of it. Orginally I was going to come over Bighorn/Shout from Laurel Lake on the SHR, but now with the re-routing/rescheduling I don't think that will happen. I would like to climb up to the top of Shout-of-Relief from the north side though, just so I can feel like I did.

brookie, I'll let you know how it pans out. There are a couple lakes in the area I have heard some stories about so I am planning on trying to get a couple layover days in this area to check them out. I'll let you know if I find anything truly interesting! :)

Thanks alot!!! :) :)
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Postby cgundersen » Tue Aug 01, 2006 1:51 pm

krudler,
I made the hop from Mace to Warrior about 6 years ago with my wife and a 10 year old golden retriever, so it definitely works. From the Mace side, we just followed the gentlest contours (more or less due south, and south of peak 11522) and then veered to the west at the top. There was a lot of sticky vegetation obscuring the route down on the Warrior side, but since you'll be coming from that direction, it should not be a problem. Mace is fishless, but Hortense is loaded. We got to Hortense just by following the creek draining Hortense (I've done the same for Izaak Walton, there are some inevitable detours as one stays to the west of the creek out of Izaak Walton, but it still works). I've also reached Walton/Hortense by dropping down from Cotton Lake. From the eastern side of Warrior you get a stunning "infinity pool" view of the Minarets (which sent us hail etc the night we camped there), so if you can plan to stop a night there, it'd be worth it. It should be fun!
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Postby Telkwa » Fri Sep 08, 2006 4:54 pm

krudler - You still looking for a report on the Shout-of-Relief Pass from Laurel? Patti and I just did that a week ago. I'll check back here over the next few days and try to fill you in if the answer is yes
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