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old Mineral King Glacier Pass route

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Re: old Mineral King Glacier Pass route

Postby Shawn » Wed Feb 20, 2013 9:33 pm

It's been a long time ago (2005 I think), but I hoofed up to Glacier Pass in early spring. Much easier in the snow!

The bottom looking up
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The top looking down
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Looking over at Empire...a skier on the slope
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Looking over the other side
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Heading back down
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Re: old Mineral King Glacier Pass route

Postby SSSdave » Wed Feb 20, 2013 10:13 pm

I recall when you posted that trip Shawn.


Ok orange highlight is the on trail section, red highlight crosscountry. Click image for normal size.

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Note the dotted line horse trail climbing up from 8757 at Groundhog Meadow to 10024 is not the one shown on the topo. Maybe the poorest drawn trail in the Sierra. It zigs and zags much more back and forth than shown and there are 13 switchbacks.
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Re: old Mineral King Glacier Pass route

Postby SSSdave » Thu Feb 21, 2013 8:14 am

Quick photo of my old 15 minute quad topo showing the old trail. Using the ACME link in my OP one can see the trail circling above Groundhog Meadow using the Satellite tab.

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Note the magenta highlighted line is where I crossed east to west from Amphitheatre Lake back in 1979.
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Re: old Mineral King Glacier Pass route

Postby sekihiker » Fri Mar 01, 2013 8:47 pm

The times I've gone over Glacier Pass (which I would NOT consider class 3 even with snow) I have tried to avoid any of the nasty sand which is part of the Sawtooth Pass "trail". Staying north of the sand is the key. In fact, when using Sawtooth Pass, I prefer to hike almost to Glacier Pass then cut south toward Sawtooth once the footing becomes solid.
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Re: old Mineral King Glacier Pass route

Postby sekihiker » Thu Mar 07, 2013 9:52 am

SSSdave wrote:I want to use the old unmaintained use trail from Groundhog Meadow at 8757 that goes up the north side of Monarch Creek until 9700 then up the sandy sub-canyon on the south side of Empire Mountain directly to Glacier Pass.

I came down the trail in 1990 and it was still in good shape. I lost it in one place but it wasn't much of a bother. I would guess it would be much easier to stay on trail if you were coming up it. I'm not sure it's any faster, but it certainly is more scenic than the new trail.
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Re: old Mineral King Glacier Pass route

Postby jmherrell » Thu Mar 07, 2013 4:32 pm

I went this way last June on the way to Little Five Lakes. I've been up here about ten times over the years -- 2 times dayhiking and 8 times hauling a pack. The start of the trail at Groundhog Meadow was the worst I've seen it, very overgrown and filling up with big rocks. Secor recommends "hiking directly up the slope" from Groundhog Meadow. There's sage and talus this way so it may not be much better. Once you get half way up to "Upper Groundhog Meadow" the trail is in good condition. In past years I've heard people say the rangers do some minimal maintenance on the lower part that follows Monarch Creek. In fact I met a ranger there a couple of years ago. Further up there is a faint use trail all the way to the pass. I took extra time to follow it, I usually don't. It's slightly easier to follow the trail but probably not worth the extra effort -- you don't get to do as much sightseeing.
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Re: old Mineral King Glacier Pass route

Postby SSSdave » Sat Apr 27, 2013 6:34 pm

Received wilderness permit confirmation from SEKI for this 9-day 2 person mid July trip out of Mineral King over Sawtooth into the land of foxtails. Will be as far out as the Little Five Lakes. Areas I've been at before but given how vast such places are, will be exploring quite a bit of new ground. Due to the drought, moved dates up about 2 weeks versus after an average winter.
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Re: old Mineral King Glacier Pass route

Postby SSSdave » Thu Jul 11, 2013 9:31 am

Final pack adjustments last night. 64 pounds on my digital scale and will add 6 more, boots, clothing, pocket stuff, for a total carrying weight of 70. 3 more than on last yea'rs 9-day trip over the Silver Divide due to having to lug the disliked Garcia.

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Osprey Aether 70 backpack. In the pics above numbers are:

1 = a potato chip container protecting the top of my new Fenwick Eagle GT rod.
2 = spare sock wrapped around a clear plastic tube protecting my fishing rod. Also a 2 mil polyethelene 50 gallon 36x50 inch garbage bag for storm storage of gear is wrapped around the outside of the tube so the sock buffers it and is stuffed in the left side pocket.
3 = an OR fanny pack with inside my Canon SX130 12mp camera and various small photo gear.
4 = Blue Nalgene water bottle on a carabiner.
5 = Marmot Pinnacle 15F 800 fill sleeping bag
6 = Vasque Bitterroot boots
7 = Induro CT113 graphite tripod with a Manfrotto MH054M0 ballhead
8 = Rear elastic side sleeve on the Aether 70 I stuffed my Thermarest Neoair pad into plus a blue plastic ground sheet for my Big Agnes UL1 tent that is inside the pack.


Thanks for inputs on the route. On following ACME map links I use the crosshairs at map center to indicate where I am talking about. Switching to the Satellite tab changes to the exact point the topo was at and vice versa which is a useful feature.

This ACME mapper page is on top of the crosshairs 8757 which is Groundhog Meadows. (aka marmots!)

http://mapper.acme.com/?ll=36.45574,-118.58587&z=15&t=T

Switch to the ACME satellite tab and zoom to one notch below max zoom. Now you will be able to see the maintained horse trail at the exact spot it crosses Monarch Creek then starts switchbacking up the forest slopes south. From 8757 will head crosscounty northeast on bearing 45 degrees to the foot of a metamorphic scree slope at 9200. This is the crux of the lower route.

http://mapper.acme.com/?ll=36.45703,-118.58366&z=15&t=T

Switch to the Satellite tab and zoom in again and will note a narrow scree slot between brush. This view shows where the old trail meets this section higher up at 9350:

http://mapper.acme.com/?ll=36.45746,-118.58159&z=19&t=S

The old trail circles the steep scree slopes on the north side of Groundhog Meadow as shows on the old 15 minute topo and satellite views. However lots of scree has buried sections of that unmaintained trail. Switch back to topo and one will see how the old trail was cut across ugly steep areas. Moving the cursor along that trail reaches this point where the trail crosses the creek at 9420:

http://mapper.acme.com/?ll=36.45548,-118.57935&z=19&t=S

Switch back to the topo tab and note how travel along the south side of the creek to 9600 is mellow. We will be stopping late morning at that point, taking a dip, eating lunch, spending 2 or 3 hours napping, then deciding whether to head up the Glacier Pass route or continue up Monarch Creek on the old trail. If we see water coming down from the GP route am likely to go that more direct way. However if dry in this droughty year will stay on the old trail as we are carrying much too heavy loads to make the pass on the first day so will be content to just do 3k or so. Next morning at dawn will break camp quickly and ascend the sand slog to the pass in the cool morning shadows.
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Re: old Mineral King Glacier Pass route

Postby scsa92107 » Fri Jul 12, 2013 1:40 pm

I came down that route a couple of years ago as a storm was chasing us. It barely visible on Google Earth but it is there if you look close enough. My favorite part was nearing the bottom towards Monarch as we traversed a steep slope. The rain/hail changed the color of the rock and surroundings to something out of Lord of the Rings. It is always enjoyable in the land of Rock, Ice, and Snow.
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Re: old Mineral King Glacier Pass route

Postby maverick » Fri Jul 12, 2013 2:23 pm

Hi Scsa92107,

Welcome to HST! Thanks for you contribution to this thread. :thumbsup:
HST= Wilderness Adventurer who knows no bounds, except for their own imagination.

Have a safer backcountry experience by using the HST ReConn Form 2.0, named after Larry Conn, a HST member: http://reconn.org
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