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Trip Advice: Duck Pass to Devils Postpile (5 days)

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Trip Advice: Duck Pass to Devils Postpile (5 days)

Postby Talimon » Sun Mar 24, 2013 10:02 pm

My wife and I are planning a trip for mid June. We have 5 days. We are having friends join us for some car camping after, so we thought to take advantage and do an easy "shuttle" trip. I have never been to Duck Pass and the Silver Divide area, and given the light snow this year we thought Duck Pass may be doable by mid-June (please correct me if I'm wrong). We are generally hardy with our miles, but love to reward ourselves with one relaxing layover day on our trips. Here was our loose plan, but I would love some suggestions on how to set up the days, or alternative trip options in the area. We thought Iva Bella would be a good layover location, but please offer other options if you think that's a waste.

Day 1: Duck Pass trailhead to Ram Lake (~12 miles)
Day 2: ????? (Suggestions up to 10 miles)
Day 3: Day 2 destination to Iva Bella hot springs (no more than 15 miles max) (never been, but I hear early season is the time to go.... Advice?)
Day 4: Layover day
Day 5: End at Devils Postpile, or Redds

We are comfortable with basic cross country, but prefer trails where possible.



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Re: Trip Advice: Duck Pass to Devils Postpile (5 days)

Postby sparky » Mon Mar 25, 2013 9:38 am

How about this:

Day 1 Duck Pass TH > Ram Lakes
Day 2 Ram Lakes > Izaak Walton Lake (cross country travel required)
Day 3 Layover to explore lakes in area (cross country travel required)
*move camp to Tully Hole after dinner
Day 4 Izaak Walton or Tully Hole > Iva Bell
Day 5 Iva Bell > Reds Meadow

McGee Pass > Reds Meadow is an option too.
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Re: Trip Advice: Duck Pass to Devils Postpile (5 days)

Postby overheadx2 » Mon Mar 25, 2013 9:44 am

I'm sure that some of the experienced guys will help, but I'll give you my 2 cents from 2 years ago. The fish creek canyon area down from Purple lake is beautiful, but was loaded with mosquitoes even late season. Didn't have any mosquitoes until fish creek, even with DEET on they were so bad we couldn't even stop to fish let alone camp there. Iva bell is definitely worth spending a night there, but not worth a lay over day due to crowds and lack of overall beauty. If you can hit it mid to late week you can most likely get your own granite pool. The higher up the hill you go the less people and the hotter the pools. I was told weekends get a little crowded. After IB, there isn't much until Devils Postpile. It is about 12 miles and some cool granite canyon, and some interesting burned areas, but only a few small steams to camp at and not a lot of areas worth camping. I would extend the hike from Ram lake to some of the upper lakes around Peter Pande or Lake of the Lone Indian areas (never been) and then head down to IB and Devils Postpile. Phil
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Re: Trip Advice: Duck Pass to Devils Postpile (5 days)

Postby tim » Mon Mar 25, 2013 1:43 pm

We did the short version of this loop in 2010 (our trip report: viewtopic.php?f=1&t=5344). Mosquitos were awful in the Fish Creek valley (that was in late July), but not a problem at either the hot springs or further up at Pika Lake. But in mid June, even in this dry year, I would guess you might be ahead of them in the higher elevations.

I think if you want to do plenty of miles then a loop round the upper reaches of Fish Creek (i.e. JMT to Lake of the Lone Indian then back down the Minnow Creek drainage), with side trips to some of the spectacular lakes in the valleys off this loop would be a great option. For example, Ram night 1, Peter Pande night 2, Lost Keys night 3.

That would also avoid the potentially nasty ford of Fish Creek at Second Crossing (the reason why we headed up to the Minnow Creek trail rather than coming straight down the valley). I'd agree with those who suggest that Iva Bell hot springs isn't great for a layover day, especially as the obvious day trip from there would be to Lost Keys lakes, which you can already visit while you are coming down Minnow Creek drainage. A compromise could be to spend night 3 at Lost Keys then have a long afternoon on Day 4 at the hot springs - there's plenty to explore if you wander all the way up the hill to the upper pools.

Its not a bad hike out from Iva Bell to Reds Meadow - make sure you take a detour to Rainbow Falls if you haven't seen it. Devils Postpile is also very interesting, though (compared to Reds Meadow) the buses may be busier there on a weekend when you're trying to get out of the valley (and the ice cream at Reds Meadow store is very welcome at the end of a trip). Allow a couple of hours for the 3 connecting shuttles back to your car (and check that they are running 7 days a week up to Lakes basin that early in the season).
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Re: Trip Advice: Duck Pass to Devils Postpile (5 days)

Postby overheadx2 » Mon Mar 25, 2013 4:13 pm

One last thing. as I mentioned before, the last 12 miles is hot and burned out. It's still an interesting area, but it gets hot and dusty. I would get up, have some coffee while soaking in a hot tub and then get going relatively early.
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Re: Trip Advice: Duck Pass to Devils Postpile (5 days)

Postby Talimon » Mon Mar 25, 2013 6:58 pm

Thank you for all the advice! Sounds like the consensus is that iva bell is great for a half day, but thats it. The appeal of a wilderness hot springs is tempting for longer, so maybe the compromise is to have a shorter day 4 that ends there. One more question. Is Ram lake worth the trouble, or should I just camp at Virginia and thus spend more time around Peter pande, etc? Purple>ram>Virginia seems to add around 6-8 miles
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Re: Trip Advice: Duck Pass to Devils Postpile (5 days)

Postby maverick » Tue Mar 26, 2013 4:52 pm

Definitely Peter Pande Lake, Annie, and the Minnie Lake this great area, not to say
Ram isn't good, but this area of the Silver Divide is outstanding.
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Re: Trip Advice: Duck Pass to Devils Postpile (5 days)

Postby Talimon » Wed Jun 12, 2013 10:50 am

I'm bumping this post to ask if anyone has been up in this area recently (Duck Pass, Silver Divide), and can report on snow and mosquitoes. My wife hates mosquitoes, and we were hoping to beat them, but I know it has been a dry year.
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Re: Trip Advice: Duck Pass to Devils Postpile (5 days)

Postby John Dittli » Wed Jun 12, 2013 11:36 am

I haven't been there yet this year, but from the last few days up the canyons on the eastside, I'll have to say, no, your definitely NOT going to beat them....

John
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Re: Trip Advice: Duck Pass to Devils Postpile (5 days)

Postby maverick » Wed Jun 12, 2013 11:37 am

Just got a PM from a member who was in the Silver Divide and said that
the mosquitoes "were just getting going", and about snow he wrote "we
were pleasantly surprised by the relatively high snow coverage".
You may want to rethink your timing, especially if your wife hates mosquitoes
Talimon.
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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: Trip Advice: Duck Pass to Devils Postpile (5 days)

Postby Talimon » Wed Jun 12, 2013 11:53 am

maverick wrote:Just got a PM from a member who was in the Silver Divide and said that
the mosquitoes "were just getting going", and about snow he wrote "we
were pleasantly surprised by the relatively high snow coverage".
You may want to rethink your timing, especially if your wife hates mosquitoes
Talimon.


Any recommendations on alternatives, within the scope of the original post? (4-5 days, ~35-40 miles, mostly on trail). Our driving route is such that the Yosemite area would work for us (including Hoover). Perhaps some lower elevation options in Yosemite would be dry enough to be past the mosquito wave.
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Re: Trip Advice: Duck Pass to Devils Postpile (5 days)

Postby maverick » Wed Jun 12, 2013 12:14 pm

Hard to recommend at the moment because it seems we are close to the height
in some areas and other have yet to peak, otherwise it is a roll of the dice.
The 3 reports we have gotten in the Yosemite areas are between 3-4. Call
Bridgeport to find out about current backcountry conditions (mosquitoes).
http://www.fs.usda.gov/detail/htnf/abou ... sm9_026951
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