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Sierra High Route - Bear Lakes Basin - 10 days, 5 peaks

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Sierra High Route - Bear Lakes Basin - 10 days, 5 peaks

Postby Snow Nymph » Wed Nov 09, 2005 12:16 am

Sierra High Route - 10 Days from North Lake - Bear Lakes Basin - Pine Creek Roadend

Passes: Piute Pass, Feather Pass, White Bear Pass, Italy Pass and a few unnamed passes/ridges along the way

Peaks: Royce Peak, Merriam Peak, Feather Peak, Mt Hilgard, Mt Julius Ceasar

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a few notes:
- climbed 5 peaks, 3 empty registers, 2 didn't have anything
- climbed Mt Hilgard in a snowstorm, with whiteout, and missed the views from the top
- woke up 9/21 with snow all over
- all new terrain for us except the first and last day
- didn't talk to anyone from day 3 til the day we walked out
- our first trip without filtering water
- beautiful area, and we can't wait for the next section!


Day 1-3:
Spent the first 1.5 days hiking to where we left off in July when we couldn't cross the raging waters of French Canyon. Now the water is so low we had rocks to walk across. It was beautiful once we got off trail!

Photos: http://community.webshots.com/album/459161226YqZNAv
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Day 4:
Dayclimbed Royce (13,253') and Merriam (13,103') from LaSalle Lake (11,592')

Photos: http://community.webshots.com/album/460092914VtHPVr

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Day 5:
LaSalle Lake (11,592') to Feather Pass (12,375'). Dropped packs and dayclimbed Feather Peak (13,240'). Picked up packs, hiked and camped at Ursa Lake (11,500')

Photos: http://community.webshots.com/album/462132388EXkuEj

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Day 6:
Bear Lakes Basin Layover day . . . we hiked to almost all the lakes in Bear Lakes Basin

Photos: http://community.webshots.com/album/463560371VZtLAO

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Day 7:
Black Bear Lk, White Bear Pass to Brown Bear Lk. It was a short backpacking day so we took our time leaving Ursa Lake. We started up over a low pass to Black Bear Lake, higher to White Bear Lake, over White Bear Pass and down to Brown Bear and Teddy Bear Lakes.

Photos: http://community.webshots.com/album/463646304lVCUUd

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Day 8:
Mt Hilgard dayclimb. It was cold at 6am, then it started snowing a little. Decided to go for it . . . light rain coming down. It started snowing at 12,000' around noon. We summitted at 1:20, and descended 10 min later since we didn’t have any views (storming). The sun came out ~4:30pm so we were able to dry everything out. Awesome day!

Photos: http://community.webshots.com/album/464163290EtvKIe

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Six weeks later and I still haven't caught up . . . two more days of pics to go thru. I'll add them when I can
Expose yourself to your deepest fear; after that, fear has no power, and the fear of freedom shrinks and vanishes. You are free . . . . Jim Morrison


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Postby Rosabella » Wed Nov 09, 2005 6:58 am

Nice pictures!! The weather went from beautiful autum clear days to really cold, but it looks like a great trip!

Looks like you happened onto a "geo-cache" on day five? I've gone on a couple geo-cache hunts with my sister - really fun! I didn't realize they could be so remote.

I do envy your opportunities to be up in the mountains so much... I feel lucky to get away a few times a year. Oh well, I enjoy what I can :)
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Postby Snow Nymph » Wed Nov 09, 2005 1:51 pm

Day 9:


Mt Julius Ceasar

Crosscountry over a ridge and dropped down to Jumble Lake. Scrambled up Julius Ceasar from Italy Pass, then x-country to Chalfant Lakes

Photos: http://community.webshots.com/album/467006807zSrdOd
Expose yourself to your deepest fear; after that, fear has no power, and the fear of freedom shrinks and vanishes. You are free . . . . Jim Morrison


http://snownymph.smugmug.com/
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Postby quentinc » Wed Nov 09, 2005 9:25 pm

Great pictures. I did almost the same trip in late August, only substituting Gemini for Merriam and Hilgard. I was annoyed that there was no register on Feather!
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Postby Snow Nymph » Thu Nov 10, 2005 1:50 pm

Rosabella,
I don't know if it was a geocache. That's what I thought it was, until I opened it. It had a bunch of pens and a custom made book dedicated to David Batt, who planned this trip with this group, but passed away before it happened. It was put together by David Batt's wife/girlfriend (?) There was a poem dedicated to him "To my Mountain Man" by her. David's son and friends also had entries of how David introduced them to backpacking, and trips they had done, entries of that trip and a lot of good things about this man. It was pretty touching. I tried to look him/them up on the internet, but didn't find anything. His wife/girlfriend (different last name) added that they couldn't make the summit, so they left it where they turned around. From that point we had to descend (cliffed out) and climb up a different chute to get to the summit. We thought about taking it to the summit, but thought it would be better where they left it since so many summit registers end up disappearing. It looked like we were the first ones to find it.

quentinc,
We thought about doing Seven Gables, but decided to take it easy and hike around Bear Lakes Basin instead. We had planned to do it a few years ago, and I had already done Seven Gables. I had my eye on Gemini, but it was too much for that day. I was pretty annoyed about all the registers missing too, especially since I know they were signed only a month before we got there! Only 3 out of 5 had the containers, but all the entries were gone. We're going to try doing our fall trips a little earlier next year. This is two years in a row we got caught in snow storms.
Expose yourself to your deepest fear; after that, fear has no power, and the fear of freedom shrinks and vanishes. You are free . . . . Jim Morrison


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Postby quentinc » Thu Nov 10, 2005 7:38 pm

Well, the Bear Lakes Basin is so beautiful, you certainly didn't go wrong with that decision.
I loved climbing Seven Gables (a couple of years back), mainly because it's such a beautiful peak. The Medley Lakes basin (just to the west of Gemini and Gables) is also wonderful -- the whole area is just a terrific part of the Sierras.
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Postby BSquared » Fri Nov 11, 2005 7:46 pm

I'll always remember Seven Gables from our 2004 JMT trip, because the only rain we got was near Rosemary Meadows, and the thunder seemed to be coming from Seven Gables. It was really cool thunder -- nearly monotonic, probably because of the geometry of the mountains or something. I've been following your trip, Snowie, downloading the maps and stuff -- very cool! Makes me wish I was back in the west again...
Last edited by BSquared on Sat Nov 12, 2005 6:11 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Postby hikerduane » Fri Nov 11, 2005 10:34 pm

Thank you for all the photos of Bear Basin. Pooch and I were thru the area some years back. On one of our loops, we spent one night at Big Bear Lake, (4th night out) then over Italy Pass and then Morgan Pass, out at Rock Creek.

I want to explore the Pinnacles area on some future trip.
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Postby quentinc » Sat Nov 12, 2005 3:01 pm

Duane, how was Morgan Pass? I've always avoided it because of the tungsten mine, but it would allow for loop trips between Pine Creek and Mosquito Flats, which would be nice.
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Postby hikerduane » Sat Nov 12, 2005 3:34 pm

quentinc, I hitched a ride up from the bottom of the Pine Crk TH to the mine luckily, saved a mile. The trail seems really long after coming down from Honeymoon and starting right back up to Lower Morgan Lake. I camped a night at Honeymoon and headed for Lower Morgan Lake the next morning, it seemed like a long day. The trail switchbacks some going up to Lower Morgan after leaving the mine. Long sweeps, about the time you think you have made it, you have to hike some more. The trail was just about washed out in one spot, hard if at all possible when it washes out all together because of the slope of the mountain. No water for quite aways. If I were you, I would plan a trip where you could start up to Morgan Pass as early in the morning as you could, if you went the way I did. If you are into fishing, Lower Morgan Lake was great. The pass was easy. I went counter clockwise out of Mosquito Flat, going over Mono Pass. If you were going the other way, and assuming you would pass up the Morgan Lakes, camping is possible about 5 to 10 minutes or so up from the TH at Pine Crk, or along the creek out of Pine Lake. Don't know what you would do.
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Postby quentinc » Sun Nov 13, 2005 9:54 pm

Thanks Duane.
What I would do then, is think real hard about the pass just north of Bear Creek Spire instead (I think it's called Cox Col). Has anyone been over that with a full pack?
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Postby madeintahoe » Mon Nov 14, 2005 10:51 am

SN..I Love this album! I love the summit shot pictures you got from Julius Ceasar looking at all the other peaks...what a beautiful sky you had..with those clouds I think make the lighting and picture look so much more interesting. I love the cute little bug!!..gosh is she cute!! wonder what kind?
I have to go to that unnamed lake picture number 75!!..oh my what an amazing setting that is I think..would that be in what they call granite park? Beautiful pictures as always & thank you for sharing. Your moving Woo Hoo always makes me smile and laugh..it is so dang cute!
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