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Gould / Dragon Pass?

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Gould / Dragon Pass?

Postby overheadx2 » Tue Mar 12, 2013 10:12 pm

Just received my permit for Onion Valley Rae lakes loop for early Sept. and am planning on hiking some where below Golden trout lake the first afternoon and camping at around 10 - 11K in order to acclimate the first night. The plan is to then hike over Gould / Dragon Pass, fish Dragon Lake and camp at Rae lakes for the night. From there we plan on hiking the Notch Pass to sixty lake basin and spending another day hiking around that area and up to 60 lakes col and possibly into the Gardiner Basin to fish if we can manage it as a day hike. Then over to Vidette Meadow and up to the Vidette lakes do several days of day hikes and fishing. We would then hike out over Kersarge Pass.
My first question is would you veterans do it differently?
Second ? is I saw Blue waters TR and have his Google Earth waypoints (very cool) and was wondering about his route. Would you just go over the high point on the western edge of the east / west ridge and then traverse north down the ridge to the pass, or would you try and hit the middle waypoint and just traverse the backside of the east / west ridge to stay away from elevation gain?
I also saw a video where it appears that they took the route from the lakes north of Golden Trout lake and went straight up to the pass. On the map, it looks straight forward and easier than going from Golden Trout lake. I'm sure there is a catch, since everyone seems to go from GTL and then north along the ridge. Just wondering.
I appreciated the work Bluewater did with the TR and mapping. Hopefully I won't get stuck on a ridge at 12K feet. Phil



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Re: Gould / Dragon Pass?

Postby SSSdave » Wed Mar 13, 2013 10:33 am

I've backpacked into the northern GT lake and looked up thar. Lots of talus and a modest amount of it is unpleasant metamorphic. Also up from the trailhead, the trail climbing up steeply around the cascade is loose and crumbling then further up rock slides have covered the trail which is good as it means only foot travelers. Reports for years on that pass often relate it is always faster and easier though longer to use the trail if one is simply going to Rae Lakes, even Dragon Lake.
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Re: Gould / Dragon Pass?

Postby maverick » Wed Mar 13, 2013 12:18 pm

Hi Phil,

Would recommend an alternative route: Vidette Meadow > Deerhorn Pass > Lake
Reflection > East Lake >Glen Pass > Rae Lakes (Dragon Lake) > Notch Pass into
Sixty Lakes Basin > Glen Pass > Kersarge Pass

Gould/Dragon Pass is quite rocky and for the purpose of getting to Dragon Lake
Glen is a faster, and a safer alternative. Sixty Lakes Col takes a long time to descend
on its western side, very rocky, and unless you plan to spend 1-2 nights its
really not worth the effort.
If you have the time, and energy, than you could go over Gardiner Pass instead
of heading up to Glen from East Lake, and spend 2 days in Gardiner Basin and
then up to Sixty Lakes Col > Sixty Lakes Basin > Notch Pass > Rae Lakes (Dragon
Lake) > Glen Pass > Kersarge Pass
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Re: Gould / Dragon Pass?

Postby RoguePhotonic » Wed Mar 13, 2013 8:10 pm

All I really know about Gould Pass is what a man told me in the Sierra. "Don't ever do Gould Pass!"
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Re: Gould / Dragon Pass?

Postby gdurkee » Mon Mar 18, 2013 4:13 pm

Yes to all of the above. Dragon has a lot of very loose rock on it. I've treated several people who have taken nasty slips on it. It doesn't save you any time for sure, if that's your hope. Same with Gould Pass, though rock isn't as bad.

g.
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Re: Gould / Dragon Pass?

Postby overheadx2 » Mon Mar 18, 2013 4:55 pm

Thanks for the advice, I think i am going to take mavs advice and loop through Vidette lakes and east lake after hitting Sixty lakes for a few days. I wasn't trying to shave time, just wanted to try some off trail stuff this year and make it into a loop. Apparently I didn't pick well. Thanks, Phil
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Gould / Dragon Pass?

Postby Bluewater » Mon Mar 18, 2013 11:40 pm

Phil, I agree that the loop Maverick outlined looks like more fun. Both Dragon and Gould have long approaches through steep boulder fields. There is a lot of exposure on the traverse along the wall at the top of Dragon Pass and I wouldn't want to go up the scree chute on the west side of Gould Pass. . . but if you're looking for a challenge or adventure it might be worthwhile sometime. The area on the west side between the pass and Dragon Lake is beautiful and really stark. Miles of boulders, amazing crystal clear lakes and a feeling if solitude that I never got on the SHR. Camping at GTL the first night then heading over the pass and camping at Dragon or Rae Lake the next day would have been a better strategy than the way I did it:)
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Re: Gould / Dragon Pass?

Postby overheadx2 » Thu Mar 21, 2013 12:45 pm

Mav or any one with experience for that matter, I liked your loop through Vidette to east lake then up to Rae and 60 lakes (more of a figure 8). What about the going to sixty lakes / Rae lakes with a day hike to dragon for fishing then over into Gardiner basin for a few days and out over Gardiner pass with a possible stop at Vidette meadow on the way out. Which one would you recommend knowing that besides the obvious reasons, fishing (for me) and photography (for my brother) are top priorities. I search and found a few TR's for both, and each looks pretty nice. Phil
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Re: Gould / Dragon Pass?

Postby maverick » Thu Mar 21, 2013 1:53 pm

Would recommend doing Vidette first because it is a little easier and allows you to
get you mountain legs before tackling Gardiner Pass, Sixty Lakes Col, Glen Pass
and Keasarge Pass.
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Re: Gould / Dragon Pass?

Postby overheadx2 » Thu Mar 21, 2013 2:43 pm

Sorry Mav, would you recommend the Gardiner loop with the first night at Vidette, or the Vidette East lake to Rae lakes / 60 Lakes loop. I don't have the time off to do both loops. Thanks, Phil
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Re: Gould / Dragon Pass?

Postby maverick » Thu Mar 21, 2013 4:01 pm

HI Phil,

So if I understand your two options correctly:
1. Kersarge Pass>Vidette Lakes>Gardiner Pass>Sixty Lake Col>Rae Lakes>Glen Pass>Kersarge
2. Kersarge Pass>Vidette Lakes>Lake Reflection/East Lake>Glen Pass>Sixty Lake/Rae
Lakes>Glen Pass>Kersarge

So really what this comes down to is Gardiner Basin versus East Creek Corridor
which is a tough decision, but will have to go with number 2. The area below
Harrison Pass to Lake Reflection, and East Lake is just to beautiful as a photographer
to pass up, though Gardiner is quite good to. The only thing that kind of throws me
on #2 is having to go over Glen twice, but oh well, it it what it is.
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: Gould / Dragon Pass?

Postby Ska-T » Sat Mar 30, 2013 10:05 pm

In July 1977 one of my older brothers, his 7 yr old son Alex, and I (Scott) did a loop from Onion Valley to Golden Trout Lake, to Dragon Lake via Dragon Pass, to the Rae Lakes, to Charlotte Lake via Glen Pass, and back to Onion Valley via Kearsarge Pass. Many years have passed, but I don't remember Dragon Pass as presenting any major difficulties.

Here are a few photos from the trip.

Image
#1 Alex (7 yr old) climbing couloir above Golden Trout Lake

Image
#2 - A tired Alex is happy to be at Dragon Pass

Image
#3 Alex and Scott atop Dragon Pass (west side below)

Image
#4 West side of Dragon Pass

Image
#5 Alex with breakfast at Dragon Lake
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