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Devil's Punchbowl to Schoolmarm Lake via Devil's Saddle

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Devil's Punchbowl to Schoolmarm Lake via Devil's Saddle

Postby perkins75 » Wed Feb 20, 2013 11:17 am

I am planning a similar trip. We plan to leave from Maxon Trailhead and proceed up the Hell-for-Sure Pass trail to Devil's Punchbowl. From there we want to go to the Schoolmarm Lake, Six Shooter Lake, Wah Hoo Lake, Holster Lake area and spend the night. The next morning we plan to go down Bench Valley to Colt Lake and Guest Lake to the Bench Valley Trail. We will return to Maxon Trailhead via Big Maxon Meadow and Post Corral Meadow. I am really interested in hearing from anyone that has gone from Devil's Punchbowl to the Bench Valley via the pass just southwest of Mt Hutton. I understand from other posts that this area is often referred to as Devil's Saddle of Lucifer's Pass or in the book "The High Sierra - Peaks, Passes and Trails" it is called "Two Passes".

Let me know if you have experience in this area of the John Muir Wilderness.



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Re: Devil's Punchbowl to Schoolmarm Lake via Devil's Saddle

Postby SweetSierra » Wed Feb 20, 2013 1:56 pm

It was named "Lucifer's Saddle" by the late Sierra Mountaineer Jim Watters. I've been over it once on the route you're planning. From the highest lake below the saddle, scramble up Class 2 rock to the first saddle. It's not difficult, just some climbing that requires a few hand and foot holds. When you reach that first obvious saddle, you'll see a steep slope with big talus blocks in front of you. Don't climb that. Look to your right and there's a fairly wide shelf. Take that a short distance, then veer left and up a very easy slope to the second saddle and ridgetop where you look down into Bench Valley. It's an easy walk to the lakes in Bench Valley.
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Re: Devil's Punchbowl to Schoolmarm Lake via Devil's Saddle

Postby perkins75 » Wed Feb 20, 2013 2:00 pm

Are there any helpful landmarks from the Devil's Punchbowl/Big Shot lake area to help get me to the first saddle you refer to?
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Re: Devil's Punchbowl to Schoolmarm Lake via Devil's Saddle

Postby AlmostThere » Wed Feb 20, 2013 2:07 pm

I can post pictures when i get home. I was there last year.

Sent from my HTC Glacier using Tapatalk 2
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Re: Devil's Punchbowl to Schoolmarm Lake via Devil's Saddle

Postby perkins75 » Wed Feb 20, 2013 2:11 pm

Some pictures would be wonderful!! Thanks.
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Re: Devil's Punchbowl to Schoolmarm Lake via Devil's Saddle

Postby SweetSierra » Wed Feb 20, 2013 2:42 pm

I'm glad AlmostThere has photos. We didn't start at Devil's Punchbowl but came over from Disappointment Lake to above Devil's Punchbowl. It was easy to contour from Disappointment Lake. Then we climbed a fairly steep but doable slab to the next level that holds Big Shot/Little Shot lakes. We contoured around the lakes until we reached the last lake's inlet stream. The route up may have been near the inlet stream but I don't remember with certainty. The climb up is over medium-sized talus--I said handholds, etc., but it's really just a short climb over not-too-steep talus. I remember that it didn't take that long to climb up to the first saddle.
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Re: Devil's Punchbowl to Schoolmarm Lake via Devil's Saddle

Postby maverick » Wed Feb 20, 2013 3:05 pm

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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Re: Devil's Punchbowl to Schoolmarm Lake via Devil's Saddle

Postby perkins75 » Wed Feb 20, 2013 3:08 pm

Maverick - Can you tell me what I am seeing in the first picture? Which direction am I looking? What is in the background?

Thanks
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Re: Devil's Punchbowl to Schoolmarm Lake via Devil's Saddle

Postby maverick » Wed Feb 20, 2013 4:18 pm

View is looking back northwest from the start of the ascent to the first pass after leaving
Little and Big Shot Lakes area.
http://www.highsierratopix.com/high-sie ... m=14&cat=2,
Use Google Earth to track the whole described route two both passes. Also try zooming
down to the ground level to get an idea of the topography from a different angle to.
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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Re: Devil's Punchbowl to Schoolmarm Lake via Devil's Saddle

Postby AlmostThere » Wed Feb 20, 2013 6:26 pm

Image

going up from Punchbowl to the little and big shot lakes, then up from there to a meadow with an unnamed tarn, you see the above. I traced a line to mark the approximate route we took, which doesn't mean you should follow it.

Image

this is looking back down at where the top of the arrow pointed, roughly.

Image

Looking up from where the previous picture was taken, at the final bit of climbing to get to the first saddle. This was steep but class 1.

Image

when you get up that last bit you get this view. You look left and get:

Image

Go uphill and traverse left. There start to be occasional cairns up here. Just go forward.

Image

In the second saddle you see a change in the rocks and this view. looking down you think you can't just walk down it, but there's a route going down and north.

Image

This is of the view north, the route we took goes down and then we zigzagged down into bench valley which is shown in the previous shot.

There was a big cairn in the second saddle.

Take a topo map.
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Re: Devil's Punchbowl to Schoolmarm Lake via Devil's Saddle

Postby Mike M. » Wed Feb 20, 2013 7:28 pm

Cross country travel is easy in this area. I was there in 2006 with 10 days of food on my back. Routes are fairly obvious and the gentleness of the terrain means you have many options. Be sure to take a detailed topo map. Two Passes is a more descriptive name for this route and the one I like to use. Here's a link to some annotated photos from our hike from Devil's Punchbowl to Schoolmarm Lake:

http://s32.photobucket.com/albums/d24/m ... 0Environs/

We had heavy loads on our backs, we were (and still are) old farts, yet we still found the going fairly easy.

Enjoy!

Mike
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Re: Devil's Punchbowl to Schoolmarm Lake via Devil's Saddle

Postby DoyleWDonehoo » Wed Feb 20, 2013 9:12 pm

That is a fairly easy route that I did in reverse. It was a fun way to go. You can see what I did starting here: http://www.doylewdonehoo.com/nfkings/nfkr28.htm
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