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Help me plan!

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Re: Help me plan!

Postby DavePloessel » Wed Mar 06, 2013 7:25 am

SSSdave wrote:DP >>>"...I've been to some of these places myself, and reallly want to give my lady a nice taste of some of my favorite places in the high sierras. "

Are you kidding? That has to be one of most impossible "I'd like to visit" High Sierra itinerary's I've ever seen posted especially if a prime intent is showing a wife or gal friend that seems to read like she hasn't done that kind of thing. Way too ambitious unless you are both endurance atheletes, strong peak baggers, and backpackers.



*slightly snarky original reply deleted* :whistle:

As I stated in my original post. Her experience/fitness level is high (4). I'm not sure where you got this whole "read(s) like she hasn't done that kind of thing" idea. my gal has not spent much time in the high sierras , but that in no means suggests she is not an experienced backpacker, peakbagger, or fit. While one could spend a lifetime exploring the Sierra Nevada, it's important to remember they are not the only mountain range in the world ;)

My personal experience comes from the sierras, and I'd like to share some of the places that have been special treats for me over the years with someone who enjoys the same type of challenges I do. I wouldn't have suggested anything she couldnt handle. The bigger question is if I can keep up with HER despite the fact I've been to many of those places.

So please, keep the ambitions ideas coming!!! I love 'em, and she (and hopefully I) can handle them.



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Re: Help me plan!

Postby oldranger » Wed Mar 06, 2013 9:38 am

Dave P

SSSdave's response is based on years of experience (as is Bill's, maverick's, and my own) not only in the backcountry but also reading posts and advising folks and having people tell us, after the fact that we were right. Some portions of these routes are quite challenging and distances traveled are deceiving. My sense is that the less ambitious itinerary I proposed provides for the opportunity to really fish, peakbag, and do some exploring without a pack. And if into the trip you want to do more--you can--after exploring the Great Western divide and dropping over the Kings-Kern divide into the Kern you can do as much or as little as you want in the Upper Kern region--a great place to make your adjustments.

Mike
Mike

Who can't do everything he used to and what he can do takes a hell of a lot longer!
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Re: Help me plan!

Postby SSSdave » Wed Mar 06, 2013 10:05 am

DavePloessel= wrote:...As I stated in my original post. Her experience/fitness level is high (4). I'm not sure where you got this whole "read(s) like she hasn't done that kind of thing" idea. my gal has not spent much time in the high sierras , but that in no means suggests she is not an experienced backpacker, peakbagger, or fit...


DP >>>"Backpacking experience: level 4
Terrain: I'm pretty much comfortable with everything, but I'd like to avoid anything technical on this trip as I will have a less experienced climber..."

Your intent may have been to inform that she was also at level 4 but most reading that might assume you were relating your own skills as an opening statement for comments and merely mentioning you were bringing along someone else that to the audience is vaguely of "less experienced skills". Then lower down in the thread on your second post you mention it is your gal friend and that she is positive with sehiker's input.

I didn't assume she was not capable of handling a strenuous trip and that is why I added "unless you are both endurance atheletes, strong peak baggers, and backpackers." However if indeed she did not have such skill my input reflected an honest reaction to serve purpose of getting attention though I might have posed such with less bite. That you did not explicitly explain her skills raised the classis flag of a young twentysomething climber or backpacker that decides to show someone important to them what they are so impressed with without a reasonable assessment of how the other person might cope. Stories of novice friends being unintentionally subjected to various levels of over ambitious itinerary death marches are of course myriad.

There are considerable postings on the Internet especially on informal web boards that tend to be rather vague and terse regarding adequately explaining what a person's intent is. We all do it to some extent during all manner of communications including this person mostly as a result of often being terse though some people tend to do so rather consistently regardless of whether they are doing so with close friends or strangers in the public. On board threads once confusion over intent occurs, people usually clarify what they actually meant and all proceeds continuing on in a thread. Your few inputs herein have been more informational than average so I consider the confusion just another trivial instance of vague and terse so tis no big deal and best of luck on whatever trip you two decide to take on.
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Re: Help me plan!

Postby DavePloessel » Wed Mar 06, 2013 10:39 am

Dave - you are right on quite a few counts there.

One reason I haven't posted much here is I don't want to repeat stuff many of you have already posted. That paired with my lack of introducing myself accounts for the lions share of my intent and experience being misgauged. I can see how many past experiences of overambitions people setting themselves up for no fun can add to that.

I never really introduced myself on here, so a little more about me:

While not "old" I'm not particularily young either. Approaching 40 I find that I'm in a good spot where I've been doing this long enough (been hiking/camping/fishing with the family since I was tiny) that I know what I'm doing and still have most of the physical abilities I did in my "prime". I dabble in triathlons, freedive, climb, and mountaineer. My current pet project is doing solo winter ascents of all of the ca 14ers and then taking a naked self portrait on the summit. As far as I know, no one has ever done that before. I'll probably make a coffee table book out of it and call it high exposure, assents, or something like that. My most recent bag was tyndall in feb via shepherds, and I got most of the way up williamson on the same trip before I got off route, had to downclimb about a 1000 feet or so, decided I was tired and bailed. Probably my favorite climb so far was a a solo up sill via the swiss arete last spring. This summer I'm hoping to do the long twisting rib so that I can bag Williamson via that route next winter.

As far as backpacking trips, I get in a dozen or so 3-4 day trips and try and do a couple week long trips a year. Primarily in Los Padres NF when I go coastal, or eastside when I go sierras. I'm a big fan ogf the seki area, but also spend a fair amount of time in the GTW as it's closer to me down here in San Diego. Mileage varies from 3 miles a day up to 30+ depending on the intent of the trip.

Climbing: I'm fairly comfy up to 5.10ish, but these days I find prefer more leisurly/easy stuff with big exposure for the views. Done a little bit of glacier travel, and I also like to snowboard back down the 14ers I climb.
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Re: Help me plan!

Postby maverick » Wed Mar 06, 2013 11:14 am

Dave wrote:
My current pet project is doing solo winter ascents of all of the ca 14ers and then
taking a naked self portrait on the summit. As far as I know, no one has ever done
that before. I'll probably make a coffee table book out of it and call it high exposure,
assents, or something like that.


Why not ask everyone here to come up with a title for the book, would love to see the
creative input folks here in HST would have! :unibrow: My contribution "Pinnacles".

PS If it became a best seller I want a percentage for coming up with the idea for how
you got the title.
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: Help me plan!

Postby Mike M. » Wed Mar 06, 2013 11:58 am

The title of this post should be "Help Me Pain!"

Dave, the areas you mention are all terrific and I understand why you'd want to share them with your girlfriend. However, Bill's proposed itinerary would have you rushing through areas that are best enjoyed over a period of days, not hours. It would feel like a Bob Burd death march and by mid trip you'd be beaten to a pulp. Why not select an east-side loop this year and then come back next year and do a west-side loop? The truth is, there are magical places throughout the Sierra and no way to visit them all in one season -- just ask Rogue, who has spent his last few summers roaming the backcountry and is gearing up once again for a 100+ day hike this year.

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Re: Help me plan!

Postby papasequoia » Wed Mar 06, 2013 3:35 pm

maverick wrote:
Dave wrote:
My current pet project is doing solo winter ascents of all of the ca 14ers and then
taking a naked self portrait on the summit. As far as I know, no one has ever done
that before. I'll probably make a coffee table book out of it and call it high exposure,
assents, or something like that.


Why not ask everyone here to come up with a title for the book, would love to see the
creative input folks here in HST would have! :unibrow:

PS If it became a best seller I want a percentage for coming up with the idea for how
you got the title.


Winter High Exposure: Wait - Where Did it Go?
Nature always wins
> miles = < people
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Re: Help me plan!

Postby sparky » Wed Mar 06, 2013 4:25 pm

Is there anyway you and your lady could use two cars? Do a west to east traverse would enable you two to take your time and really enjoy the hell out of every day out there.

If you are dead set on visiting cloud canyon (I really think you should reconsider its importance) Going avalanche pass to cloud canyon should be a no brainer. You should be able to hit colby lake by day 2 no problem ( 2 long days) getting lubed up for the altitude in the process.

day 3 colby pass, milestone pass, make camp by lake 3490

Day 4, day hike to bighorn plateau, explore wright lakes, climb tyndall, come back to camp and move to below mileys foot pass or harrison.

day 5 explore upper kern

day 6 ascend either mileys or harrison to lake reflection. Then hit longly to south guard lake to set up camp. If you are feeling it go ahead and explore cunningham creek.

Day 7 south guard lake to big brewer lake to sphinx lakes

day 8 sphinx lakes to roads end

one more day for a layover wherever you feel

Oh and title for your book, "High Angle Dangle" "Fresh Air for my Pair" "No Harness, No Rope, No Pants!" "14k+1" In Winter" "Winter at 14k: Hide and Seek"
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Re: Help me plan!

Postby sekihiker » Wed Mar 06, 2013 7:43 pm

DavePloessel introduced himself to the forum in a recent post and it occurred to me that I need to do the same.

There doesn't seem to be a single explanation for what draws us to the wilderness. For many of us, there is a visceral response to the overwhelming beauty we experience. We take many different paths to experience wilderness and enjoy it. Some of us are compelled to see as much of it as we can. Some of us are motivated to visit as many places as we can so we can cross conquered trails, passes,and peaks off our lists. The challenge of reaching a remote area or climbing a difficult peak inspires many of us. Others are nourished by returning to the same spot year after year. We bring to our experiences different abilities; physical, mental, emotional. Our abilities change through time and that allows us to experience bolder adventures as we grow.

The wilderness experience is covered by a broad spectrum of activities. The experience often evolves from peripheral to more intense. Reading an adventure story set in the great outdoors or seeing a picture of the wilderness are remote experiences. Outdoor experiences range in intensity from a drive through the mountains, a cabin or hotel stay, a campground stay, a day hike, an overnight hike, a multi-day hike on trail, off trail hiking, peak bagging. At the extreme are through hiking, trail running, wall climbing, and other activities that require exceptional levels of endurance.

Having returned to CA at age 42, I adopted an aggressive plan for exploring the Sierra Nevada. I hadn't hiked there since my late 20's, and I wanted to make up for lost time. One of my goals was to complete some of the classic trips described in guidebooks, such as the John Muir Trail, the High Sierra Trail, and the Rae Lakes Loop. An exploration plan didn't occur to me overnight. The first step was a return visit to the mountains that I loved so much.

As soon as we returned to Fresno, I HAD to take a hike. Subconsciously, I chose to return to an area which inspired my interest in exploring the Sierra Nevada. Some thirty years earlier on a hike from YMCA Camp Tulequoia, I had seen a view that was forever etched in my memory. It was the deep blue ponds with surrounding emerald turf of lower Granite Basin. Having completed the Boston Marathon earlier in the year, I was in excellent shape. The overnight trip to Volcanic Lakes simply whetted my appetite for more.

Reality intruded. I had a job, albeit one with a couple of months off in the summer. I had a wife and young children that I wanted to be near. I decided I would have to section hike the John Muir Trail (JMT). On hikes with Scout Troop 152, I had already completed the 32 miles of JMT between Vidette Meadows and Mt Whitney. Completing the second leg was inadvertent. On an overnight trip up Woods Creek, I changed my itinerary. A planned visit to the lakes above Castle Domes turned into a two day trip around the Rae Lakes Loop (RLL). I now had accumulated the southernmost 45 miles of the trail with the addition of the 13 miles of JMT on the RLL. I continued northward with a hike that added the 28 mile section of JMT between Woods Creek crossing and Grouse Meadow. At almost 80 miles, that hike convinced me section hiking was not the way to go.

I have the great fortune of being married to a great wife. With her support and encouragement, I managed to hike most of the JMT, from Tuolumne Meadows to Mt Whitney later that summer. The JMT hike helped crystallize my philosophy of hiking. The hike turned into what I call a classic sampler trip. It's a trip that left me with ideas for dozens of further trips along its course. It also helped me focus on the areas I thought were most appealing to me. Since then, I have not gone on any hikes north of Mono Creek. Not that the Sierra north of Mono Creek isn't beautiful, we only have so much time, so I focus on the south.

As well as the JMT trip that gave inspiration for many of the trips I have taken since, any trail free area on a map has prompted many others.

I am an aggressive planner. I pick a challenging route, one that will require a lot of effort. I plan for plenty of extra activities in case the trip turns out to be easier than I thought. I plan escape routes in case things go wrong. Hardly ever do I kick back and read a book on a trip. It has been years since I have gone fishing. To me, there is no better feeling than the the satisfaction of reaching the day's goal and the fatigue that goes with it. "More miles, more smiles," as friend Dan Braun says. No pain no gain. Yes, I expect discomfort and the blood, sweat, and tears that are all a part of a great hike. Over the past few years, I have taken a lot more photos of flowers. Maybe this is because my conditioning is not what it used to be and I need to take more breaks.

I have been told many times that I hike too fast by people I have met on the trail and by visitors to my website. As I mentioned earlier, the wilderness experience covers a broad spectrum of activities - a night's stay at the Ahwahnee, a 12.5 hour hike of the Rae Lakes Loop, a day hike of Black Kaweah, a four day hike of the entire John Muir Trail. I say, "One man's death march is another man's cake walk." If I have to shorten the trip or abort it, that's part of the game. I've always been willing to adapt.

My trip reports are found at http://www.sierrahiker.com/

Bill Finch
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Re: Help me plan!

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

sekihiker wrote:The wilderness experience is covered by a broad spectrum of activities.

Speaking of wilderness experiences, I'd like to point out the remarkable achievements of one of the moderators of this forum, Cori or SnowNymph. Her website includes documentation of almost 800 wilderness experiences with more than 50,000 photos.
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Re: Help me plan!

Postby DavePloessel » Thu Mar 07, 2013 9:53 am

Mike M. wrote:The title of this post should be "Help Me Pain!"

Dave, the areas you mention are all terrific and I understand why you'd want to share them with your girlfriend. However, Bill's proposed itinerary would have you rushing through areas that are best enjoyed over a period of days, not hours. It would feel like a Bob Burd death march and by mid trip you'd be beaten to a pulp.

Mike M.



Sheesh, some of you guys are making me question if my idea of fun is somehow twisted :p Odd as it may sound, I kind of like death marches... sometimes. A mix is good. A couple years ago I did a similar loop from the west side all the way over to the east side, and then back again. I was with a slow group so going west to east we only covered 8-12 miles a day and it drove me more than a little batty. Walking back solo, I took a different route and went about 25 miles a day for three days and that was just about the perfect pace for me. My lady hikes the same pace as me (well, faster), and we both enjoy long days on the trail, so I try to plan as challenging an itinerary as possible, and then adjust on the fly as conditions warrent.

Bill pretty much nailed it with his post just above this one. Long day sampler trips filled with activity from before dawn to past sunset are typically my favorite.

One itinerary I had contemplated for this trip was :

Day 1: Wolverton ---> Table meadows
Day 2: Table meadows ---> Cunningham Creek
Day 3: Cunningham creek --->Lake reflection --->Upper kern basin (Longley, then milly's, Lucy's or harrison depending on time)
Day 4: (semi-zero day) Upper kern Basin ---> Bighorn Plateau/Wright lakes
Day 5: Alpine start to try and catch sunrise on Tyndall ---> Milestone basin
Day 6: Milestone basin ---> Colby lake via midway col.
Day 7: Colby lake ---> Lonely lake via coppermine pass and horn col
Day 8: Lonely lake ---> wolverton via pterodactyl pass

This would leave us with an extra day to make up time if we couldn't cover all that ground and allows for many variations and bailouts. It has more miles (I think) than Bill's itinerary, but the long days have more on trail miles, except day 3. Does that itinerary look insane?

Sparky and old ranger, I like your ideas as well! Thanks for the input.

Sparky, just out of curiosity, why don't you feel cloud canyon is worth the hike? That has always been one of my favorite places in SeKi.
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Re: Help me plan!

Postby sparky » Thu Mar 07, 2013 5:57 pm

It is a really awesome place, but I was having a little trouble incorperating it in a loop hitting all the other spots....mainly because of elevation loss if you were to take the scenic route.

On day 2, what is your intended route from table meadows to cunningham creek? this is quite a haul

Any way you cut it wolverton -> big wet is a much more scenic 2 days than roads end > big wet.
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