What are the best Sierra hikes I have missed? | High Sierra Topix  

What are the best Sierra hikes I have missed?

If you've been searching for the best source of information and stimulating discussion related to Spring/Summer/Fall backpacking, hiking and camping in the Sierra Nevada...look no further!
User avatar

Re: What are the best Sierra hikes I have missed?

Postby freestone » Sun Mar 10, 2013 6:58 pm

I am still referring to Starrs's Guide, as my generational "go to" Sierra guide book, but prefer this site for researching the obscure corners.



User avatar
freestone
Topix Expert
 
Posts: 571
Joined: Fri Nov 11, 2005 9:42 pm
Location: Santa Barbara
Experience: Level 1 Hiker

User avatar

Re: What are the best Sierra hikes I have missed?

Postby LMBSGV » Sun Mar 10, 2013 9:05 pm

I have a couple of other suggestions. First the Ansel Adams Wilderness and southeast Yosemite from Clover Meadow/Granite Creek. I would look at a map to determine your exact route since there are many possibilities. Essentially, you would go from the Granite Creek trailhead, past Cora, Sadler Lake and Isberg Lakes over Isberg Pass. From there, you can decide whether to go over Post Peak Pass and do a loop back to Clover Meadow or do a longer trip, over Red Peak Pass, Ottaway Lakes and back to Clover Meadow. The hike between Clover Meadow trailhead and Granite Creek trailhead is a little over a mile. There are also numerous side trips you can take such as Joe Crane Lake.

The other idea is going to the Upper Kern and Milestone Basin. This is a variation of the Circle of Solitude without the cross-country passes. From Roads End, you can go over Avalanche Pass down to Roaring River, up to Colby Lake, over Colby Pass, down to Gallats Lake and Junction Meadow. From there, turn left and follow the Lake South America Trail to Forester Pass and then back to Roads End. From the Lake South America trail, there is a clear use trail on the other side of Kern River that takes you into Milestone Basin. For the Upper Kern, there are lots of small lakes near the Lake South America trail as well as Lake South America itself. Personally, I prefer the small, off-trail lakes to Lake South America. Cross-country travel is easy in the Upper Kern area. It’s one of the easiest areas for cross-country hiking in the Sierra. One can spend days wandering around this area. One bit of advice for reaching Forester Pass is to get off the Lake South America trail about a mile after the side trail to Lake South America where you reach the bottom of the descent down to the unnamed long, thin lake. From there, head cross country to the JMT and then up to Forester Pass. It’s easy cross-country, one of those walks when you feel like you’re walking on top of the world with the Great Western Divide, the Sierra Crest, and Kern Canyon to the south.

By the way, just stop thinking that 55 is old. You make us really old folks feel ancient!


I agree. 55 is not old.
User avatar
LMBSGV
Topix Expert
 
Posts: 579
Joined: Sat Oct 27, 2007 8:42 pm
Location: San Geronimo, CA
Experience: Level 4 Explorer

User avatar

Re: What are the best Sierra hikes I have missed?

Postby lambertiana » Sun Mar 10, 2013 9:10 pm

SSSDave - That first picture that you posted just below the map link for Table Mountain sure looks like it was taken from the Little Five Lakes area, with the Kaweahs in the background. Furthermore, those are foxtail pines in the foreground and I don't think they are found as far north as Table Mountain.

To the OP, there are so many possibilities that can be reached with a little class 2 off trail. If you are willing to stretch yourself in that regard, you can visit beautiful areas like Lake Basin in Kings Canyon, all while having it to yourself. I am of similar age (51), and prefer to average 8-10 miles/day, and there are so many great places to visit.

If you want to stay on trail, work on a loop out of Crescent Meadow, over Elizabeth Pass, down Deadman Canyon, up Cloud Canyon/Colby Pass, then down to the Kern to meet the High Sierra Trail, which you will follow west back to Crescent Meadow. That covers some spectacular country, all on trail. At my pace I would take nine days to do it. For half of that route you will see few people.

I did a variation of that trip last year that you may not be interested in because it involves some significant off trail and includes a day in the gray talus that you don't care for, but I thoroughly enjoyed it. From Colby Pass we went to Gallats Lake and then went up to Picket Creek, crossed into Kaweah Basin and met up with the High Sierra Trail in Nine Lake Basin by going over Pyra-Queen col. With your stated comfort leve, you probably should avoid Pyra-Queen Col because it is a serious class 2 pass with a lot of loose talus at the top of the west side.
Last edited by lambertiana on Sun Mar 10, 2013 9:21 pm, edited 1 time in total.
User avatar
lambertiana
Topix Regular
 
Posts: 159
Joined: Tue Aug 24, 2010 3:13 pm
Location: Visalia, CA
Experience: N/A

User avatar

Re: What are the best Sierra hikes I have missed?

Postby lambertiana » Sun Mar 10, 2013 9:21 pm

Another semi-loop you could consider that is pretty much all on trail, although some of the trail is sketchy, is to go in at Rancheria to Tehipite Valley, then go up the Middle Fork Kings to the JMT, turn south on the JMT and then take Woods Creek trail to Roads End. That covers a lot of prime SEKI territory that keeps you all on trail. I took eight days at my normal pace, averaging about 10 miles/day. The stretch from Rancheria to the JMT at Palisade Creek will most likely be all yours, it does not get much traffic except for some horse traffic from Rancheria to Crown Valley.
User avatar
lambertiana
Topix Regular
 
Posts: 159
Joined: Tue Aug 24, 2010 3:13 pm
Location: Visalia, CA
Experience: N/A

User avatar

Re: What are the best Sierra hikes I have missed?

Postby oleander » Sun Mar 10, 2013 10:29 pm

Hi,

Those friends of mine who are aging and are still backpacking seem to be more concerned about the steepness of the terrain than about the length of the trip. It's the knees and the joints.

Much as I desperately want to show my good friend the Palisade Glacier, I am losing hope that she will ever agree to this. The knees are just going in a bad way. 4000 vertical feet up and 4000 back down to the trailhead.

Besides Palisade Glacier - which you don't mention (though you've been nearby over Bishop Pass twice and into Sabrina x 4!) - some of the other "steep" or "big elevation gain" places I'd personally prioritize while my joints are in good shape include: Mineral King (favorite loop is over Black Rock Pass with a return via Columbine Lake/Sawtooth Pass); some of the beautiful but daunting eastside passes; and the SEKI in general, as it is just, well, more vertical than the stuff further north. You could even add Mt. Whitney and Half Dome to this list; the zoo of hikers is worth tolerating every so often in the interests of getting to the good view.

The gentler part of the Sierras, roughly from the Silver Divide area to Yosemite and northwards, will always be there for you when there is little down south that you knees can take anymore.

Just another angle to consider.

And another ringing endorsement for Phil Arnot's book. The book of his that I have is called High Sierra. I find it infinitely more colorful and inspiring than the usual guidebooks. He picks his favorite 25 or so places in all the Sierra, dedicates a chapter to each, really gives you a feel for what that place is like; and only at the end explains how you might try to get there. Some of those destinations are way off trail, but many are actually right on a trail, or are a reasonably short walk on a "use trail" off a main trail, or are easy-walking x-country areas.

- Elizabeth
User avatar
oleander
Topix Regular
 
Posts: 325
Joined: Wed Aug 18, 2010 10:15 am
Experience: N/A

User avatar

Re: What are the best Sierra hikes I have missed?

Postby TehipiteTom » Mon Mar 11, 2013 6:15 am

lambertiana wrote:Another semi-loop you could consider that is pretty much all on trail, although some of the trail is sketchy, is to go in at Rancheria to Tehipite Valley, then go up the Middle Fork Kings to the JMT, turn south on the JMT and then take Woods Creek trail to Roads End. That covers a lot of prime SEKI territory that keeps you all on trail. I took eight days at my normal pace, averaging about 10 miles/day. The stretch from Rancheria to the JMT at Palisade Creek will most likely be all yours, it does not get much traffic except for some horse traffic from Rancheria to Crown Valley.

I was going to suggest a loop of Roads End-->Simpson Meadow-->JMT-->Woods Creek Trail-->Roads End. Misses Tehipite, but no shuttle logistics to work out.

That said, Tehipite is well worth a visit in its own right, even if it's just a straightforward round trip.
User avatar
TehipiteTom
Founding Member
 
Posts: 814
Joined: Thu Aug 24, 2006 8:42 am
Experience: Level 4 Explorer

User avatar

Re: What are the best Sierra hikes I have missed?

Postby SSSdave » Mon Mar 11, 2013 9:57 am

lambertiana wrote:SSSDave - That first picture that you posted just below the map link for Table Mountain sure looks like it was taken from the Little Five Lakes area, with the Kaweahs in the background. Furthermore, those are foxtail pines in the foreground and I don't think they are found as far north as Table Mountain...


Image is from GWD to support my comments in that paragraph that there is value slowing down and base camping. The below gallery is a monument to places unknown to the public one has no chance of finding by just rambling along on trails.

http://www.davidsenesac.com/Gallery_B/gallery_b.html
User avatar
SSSdave
Topix Fanatic
 
Posts: 1965
Joined: Thu Nov 17, 2005 11:18 pm
Location: Silicon Valley
Experience: N/A

User avatar

Re: What are the best Sierra hikes I have missed?

Postby maverick » Mon Mar 11, 2013 12:50 pm

First I would like to address the idea that if someone posts a picture or posts
a TR to a remote location than all of a sudden it will be over run by crowds
of DSLR toting photographers or inexperienced backpackers. Can anyone name
a location in the backcountry (off trail) that this happened to? My experienced
in regards to photographers is that the same applies to them as 99% of backpackers
is that they stay close to the main trails like the JMT.
Majority of my clients and other pro photographer friends I know make their sales
from landscapes that are familiar to their clients, areas they can emotionally relate
to. Not many folks are going into Kaweah Basin, Ionian Basin, Muro Blanco, Dumbbell
Basin, Enchanted Gorge, and countless other remote sections of the Sierra.
These places are rarely visited by professional photographers or even backpackers.
Most amateur DSLR/Point & Shoot folks do not posses the skills that would/should
threaten an established/experienced pro photographer. The numerous hours of
planning, then hours of scouting alone would discourage them, plus add in the hours
of waiting for the optimal lighting/conditions if one is lucky enough to get it, and
then having the knowledge/experience to know how to capture it and then wrap it
up in ones unique personal and creative style is what his/her clients appreciate
and are paying for, is far beyond the reach for most.

KP, you should prioritize your trips getting to the most difficult/remote parts of
the Sierra that interest you while your body is still in good shape, this can be
extended by many years by good/smart off season training, 54 is still young.
There are many TR's posted here on HST, and on the web which you can choose
from but everyone have their preferences to what place appeals to them
emotionally. Just pick your own places/trips based on your own priorities and
research, its part of what makes the wilderness so intriguing.
Another endorsement for Phil Arnot's book, which is well written, and discusses/visits
some great places in the Sierra.
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
User avatar
maverick
Forums Moderator
Forums Moderator
 
Posts: 8029
Joined: Thu Apr 06, 2006 5:54 pm
Experience: Level 4 Explorer

User avatar

Re: What are the best Sierra hikes I have missed?

Postby SSSdave » Mon Mar 11, 2013 3:50 pm

maverick wrote:First I would like to address the idea that if someone posts a picture or posts
a TR to a remote location than all of a sudden it will be over run by crowds
of DSLR toting photographers or inexperienced backpackers...


What you say about REMOTE backcountry areas is true but more generally the notion of placing images of secret places on the public Internet has issues.

Hardly anyone knew about Torres del Paine in Chile until this Internet age but now in just a few years has become a Mecca for climbers and photographers.

For the first few years the Internet was mainly just a text medium with small images. As bandwidth increased at the begining of the millenium so did image sizes and numbers of images. The first few years people were somewhat open about images they publicly posted and information about those images in early web communities. A lot of my work the last couple decades has been during spring with wildflowers. Such places are not in remote wildernesses but rather along roads and day hiked to. There have been several places like these two areas that a decade plus ago just had a few people visit each spring in wet years when wildflowers are peaking. In recent years it has been a circus.

Image

Image

Wilderness areas never receive as much notice as such roadside public areas but the same occurs with those who do visit such places and are trying to figure out places to visit.

Here is an image I posted over at Summitpost.org in 2004 that the page author for Isosceles Peak then chose for the title page image:

http://www.summitpost.org/isosceles-peak/151840

A year later or so I see the same landscape on the cover Outdoor Photographer Magazine taken by Art Wolfe though OP jacked the saturation up so much the paper looked like it was glowing. AW still sells the image on his website though is more believable even though without cloud underlit conditions I doubt it really looked like that.

http://artwolfe.photoshelter.com/image/I00004q9wU.9ZlXo

Another well known climber over at Summitpost also went up to take the same image. A person known for outrageously jacking up saturation. After a long list of various people blubbering over the image below the image in comments, I posted a singlecomment about it being unnatural which made for some unpleasant discourse but after a year or so he removed it because what I said was true.
User avatar
SSSdave
Topix Fanatic
 
Posts: 1965
Joined: Thu Nov 17, 2005 11:18 pm
Location: Silicon Valley
Experience: N/A

User avatar

Re: What are the best Sierra hikes I have missed?

Postby schmalz » Mon Mar 11, 2013 4:23 pm

I have to agree with Mav and disagree with SSDave on this one.

Here in California there are so many natural wonders that we can all share and appreciate them without having to try to horde secret areas.
User avatar
schmalz
Topix Expert
 
Posts: 460
Joined: Fri May 07, 2010 9:18 am
Location: Altadena, CA
Experience: Level 4 Explorer

User avatar

Re: What are the best Sierra hikes I have missed?

Postby DavePloessel » Mon Mar 11, 2013 4:35 pm

schmalz wrote:
Here in California there are so many natural wonders that we can all share and appreciate them without having to try to horde secret areas.



Agreed!


I love threads like this. Usually they result in so many good suggestions!

As far as my own suggestions, as has been mentioned above, the Golden Trout Wilderness has some amazing areas and is (IMO) highly underappreciated. From the blackrock trailhead there are a number of loop trails you could do. It's a different kind of beauty (drier, not as much exposed granite) than you find in the SeKi areas, but gorgeous nontheless.

Up in SeKI, my personal on/near trail favorite is the deadman canyon/colby lake/cloud canyon area. The beauty of the mountains, meadows, trees there just overwhelms me in a way few other places in the sierras do. I'm a big fan of the Sabrina basin, North and south lake, and piute pass areas too - but it liiks like you've already spent a fair bit of time there.

Maybe the High Sierra Trail with some variation? Like follow the HST up to junction meadow,and then loop back via colby pass, cloud canyon, roaring river, deadman canyon, elisabeth pass...
User avatar
DavePloessel
Topix Acquainted
 
Posts: 81
Joined: Tue Sep 04, 2012 9:53 am
Location: sandy eggo
Experience: N/A

User avatar

Re: What are the best Sierra hikes I have missed?

Postby maverick » Mon Mar 11, 2013 4:44 pm

You are totally right about roadside and easily accessible wildflower areas Dave.
A few years back the website "Calphoto" which produced great up to date wildflower
reports was unfortunately discontinued because a bunch of inconsiderate photographers
continued entering private property to take wildflower photos even though they had
been repeatedly warned to stay off the property. There was also an incident where
they trampled on beautiful wildflower displays in the Carrizo Plains some years back.

In regards to the Sierra backcountry, if someone asks me about the particular location a
photo was taken I have no issues whatsoever telling them because of the aforementioned
reasons given in my previous post.

Sorry KP for taking the thread off track.
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
User avatar
maverick
Forums Moderator
Forums Moderator
 
Posts: 8029
Joined: Thu Apr 06, 2006 5:54 pm
Experience: Level 4 Explorer

PreviousNext

Return to Backpacking / Hiking / Camping



Who is online

Users browsing this forum: Yahoo [Bot] and 11 guests