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Trip Advice: Ansel Adams Wilderness (east side)

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Trip Advice: Ansel Adams Wilderness (east side)

Postby Pietro257 » Mon Feb 11, 2013 5:27 pm

I got some great advice on this forum when planning my 2012 hike in the Western Ansel Adams Wilderness (viewtopic.php?f=1&t=8190) and my 2011 hike in the Desolation Wilderness (viewtopic.php?f=1&t=6814). Now I'm asking for volunteers. I need advice for my 2013 hike in the Eastern Ansel Adams Wilderness (for which I just go the permit).

I'm an experience backpacker who is comfortable going cross-country. For this trip, I want to introduce some friends to backpacking. They are newbies but in good shape. My proposed itinerary:

Day 1: Reds Meadow to Thousand Island Lake
Day 2: Day hike over North Glacier Pass to Mt. Davis (spend a second night at Thousand Island)
Day 3: Cross-country to Lake Ediza and to Minaret Lake
Day 4: Cross-country to the Minaret Mine, then to the trail, and then down to Devil's Postpile

I know most of this terrain very well. I've been over North Glacier Pass twice. I've been on the cross-country route from Lake Ediza to Minaret Lake three times. I've been to the Minaret Mine twice from Minaret Lake.

My questions:

1. How is the hike from Thousand Island Lake to Mt. Davis? I intend to do this as a day hike without packs. Is it strenuous? How is the route finding?

2. My idea to go cross-country from Thousand Island lake to Minaret Lake in one day -- is it unrealistic? I know the area from Lake Ediza to Minaret Lake, but I've never been cross-country from Thousand Island to Lake Ediza. This area is on the Roper route and is often crossed by climbers on their way to Ritter and Banner Peak, so I'm assuming there is a use trail through here. Am I correct? How long does it take to go cross-country from Thousand Island lake to Lake Ediza? Might it be easier just to take the trail from Thousand Island to Ediza?

Thanks in advance for your help. I love this forum.



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Re: Trip Advice: Ansel Adams Wilderness (east side)

Postby balzaccom » Mon Feb 11, 2013 6:55 pm

It might be easier to just take the trail from TIL to Ediza. At the same time, that trail drops down towards Shadow Lake and then climbs back up again.

I can't answer how long it will take you, but it can certainly be done in a day...
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Re: Trip Advice: Ansel Adams Wilderness (east side)

Postby maverick » Mon Feb 11, 2013 8:10 pm

Pm sent
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Re: Trip Advice: Ansel Adams Wilderness (east side)

Postby Wandering Daisy » Mon Feb 11, 2013 10:00 pm

Thousand Island lake to Minaret Lake in a day is long but feasible. In fact hitting the snowfield at Iceberg lake in the afternoon is a good idea becaue you can kick steps in the snow (and others have been over it during the day so you probably will not even have to kick step). I had to sit at Iceberg Lake and wait for 2 hours until the sun finally hit the snowfield (10AM). It really sits in a deep shadow. If instead of spending 2 nights at Thousand Island Lake, you move to Garnet Lake (easy move- about an hour) then Garnet Lake to Minaret is even easier.

Garnet Lake to Nydivier lakes (or skirt above Nydiver Lakes) goes over White Bark Pass. It has a steep snowfield on the north side. Late season you can scramble up rock to the left (class 2-3 scramble). The snowfield often is nearly vertical because it tends to build up a cornice. You also do not have to drop to Lake Ediza - you can traverse high and go directly to Iceberg Lake. Iceberg Lake is extremely scenic. I have always wanted to camp there. But that puts you going over the snow to Cecile Lake when the snow is hard as a rock. There is very little camping at Cecile Lake. I was there in August moderately high snow year and Cecile Lake was almost entirely surrounded by snow. There is an easier route down from Cecile to Minaret Lake than the one described in Secor's guide.

Ediza Lake is really a zoo. I went down there once because everyone said it was so beautiful. It was crawling with people!

Be sure all in your group are competent on steep snow. That snowfield by Iceberg Lake is really trecherous. I would take crampons. I would not take any newbie, no matter how fit they are, on that snowfield. I did not have crampon because I did the High Route and did not want to carry crampons, but wished I had them.
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Re: Trip Advice: Ansel Adams Wilderness (east side)

Postby chrisdiercks » Tue Feb 12, 2013 11:14 am

+1 on the inexperienced on steep snow and be sure you show them that kick step.

The day trek from Thousand Island to Mt. Davis is relatively easy. I took my wife up Mt. Davis as part of her first backpacking experience and she handled it just fine. The easiest route I know up Davis from Thousand Island Lake is up through North Glacier Pass to Lake Catherine. Once at Catherine, continue West along the North side of the lake until the terrain flattens out (the northwest end). From here it is a relatively easy slope up to the top. Lake Catherine is beautiful; they should love that!
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Re: Trip Advice: Ansel Adams Wilderness (east side)

Postby Pietro257 » Tue Jul 30, 2013 10:48 am

I'm bumping this in case anyone can provide more info. I'm headed out next week and I'm very excited.

I changed the route a little. The first night, we'll stay at Garnet Lake. We'll day-hike next day to Lake Catherine and maybe the Ritter Lakes. And to get from Garnet Lake to Minaret Lake, we'll hike by trail to Ediza Lake and then go cross-country to Iceberg and Cecile. We'll forgo the trip to Nydiver Lakes.

I suspect the hike around Cecile Lake will be pretty easy, as this is a very low snow year (I did this hike twice, once with my 11 year old son).

Where are the good campsites at Garnet Lake? From the photos, it looks kind of rocky.
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Re: Trip Advice: Ansel Adams Wilderness (east side)

Postby maverick » Tue Jul 30, 2013 12:07 pm

Hope the fire has been controlled by then, today all the smoke is heading into
that area: http://www.firedetect.noaa.gov/viewer.htm
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