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Baxter Pass Trail Hike April 2013

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Baxter Pass Trail Hike April 2013

Postby cloudlesssky » Sat Apr 13, 2013 8:25 am

I couldn't wait any longer and decided to take advantage of some nice Spring weather. I chose the Baxter Pass trail for my first day hike of the year. I wasn't sure how far my fitness or the snow would let me go, but I wanted to get out and hike.

I arrived at the trailhead around 9am. The road is immaculate and easily passable by any auto. Temps were in the upper 50's and the sky was blue. There was a slight breeze.
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Baxter Pass trailhead view

Many of the bushes were blooming at the lower altitudes and there were some nice wildflowers as well.
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Nice blooms at the lower elevations

There was a fire in the canyon in the mid-2000's so despite a good flow down oak creek, the foliage is a bit limited. But it appears to be returning.
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Oak Creek

Almost every view up the canyon is anchored by Diamond Peak. It grows larger and larger as you climb.
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Diamond Peak

And Owens Valley recedes lower and lower. I'd guess this hike can be pretty hot in the summer months. Glad it was April!
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Looking back towards Owens Valley

This is about as far up the canyon I got. I hit increasingly patchy snow starting about 10kft and lost the trail. Looking at my Spot GPS track after the hike I think the trail actually goes around on the knoll to the right, but I didn't have a GPS on the trail. The snow cover complete on everything that was hike-able just a few hundred feet above that. So I found a rock, ate my lunch, enjoyed the scenery for a while and started back down.
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Diamond Peak from around 10kft

The trail must not get heavy use. Shrubs and trees are encroaching on the trail in many locations. Many of them have thorns and spikes. This is one of the particularly nasty brambles that I encountered. I wouldn't call the trail a bushwack, but it could become one in a few years.
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Nasty bramble

The trail out seemed even steeper than climbing up. There are spots that were steep enough that I was sliding. I was glad to have trekking poles to assist the decent (my knees were also glad). I was back at the trailhead by 3:30 and eating dinner with my wife and daughter by 6pm. A well rounded day.

While I'd had the hope of making the pass summit, I was glad to be back in the Sierras. Maybe I'll go back up the Baxter Pass trail in a month or so and see if I can make it then. The snow is melting rapidly and making the pass summit will probably be more likely.



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Baxter Pass Trail Hike April 2013

Postby Bluewater » Sat Apr 13, 2013 11:01 am

Thanks for scouting the conditions and posting photos. The snow at the top looks beautiful.
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Re: Baxter Pass Trail Hike April 2013

Postby maverick » Sun Apr 14, 2013 9:21 am

Hi Cloudlesssky,

Thanks for taking the time and effort to put this together and post it here on HST!
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: Baxter Pass Trail Hike April 2013

Postby KathyW » Sun Apr 14, 2013 2:01 pm

Thanks for the report - that area is beautiful with snow and you covered a good distance in just 6.5 hours. There's still a good amount of snow west of the crest, but it's pretty sad on the east side.
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Re: Baxter Pass Trail Hike April 2013

Postby richlong8 » Mon Apr 15, 2013 7:12 am

I have not been to the Sierra since October. Your report is whetting my appetite! Maybe this Saturday....
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Re: Baxter Pass Trail Hike April 2013

Postby jackie_s » Tue Apr 16, 2013 2:16 pm

So very beautiful. Baxter Pass was one of my favorite backpacking trips! Last summer we went up Kearsarge and down Baxter. We were lucky enough to spy some Bighorn sheep.
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