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Trip Advice: SHR the 3rd week of June 2013?

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Re: Trip Advice: SHR the 3rd week of June 2013?

Postby Ska-T » Wed Jun 05, 2013 3:50 pm

Once you go north over Bighorn Pass, Rohn Pass is more work to get to than Shout-of-Relief Pass. To get to SOR you stay fairly high above Rosy Finch Lake and you will find benches and ramps that make things easier than it looks.

I think I camped at or near Lower Mills Creek Lake. I passed Upper Mills on the right above it (ate lunch there in full sun on a hot day) and didn't look around for sleeping spots. Obviously, as the Second Recess stair steps down (steep and flat, meadow sections) it gets more plush, but you may run into early season mosquitoes if you camp too far down.

I thought Tully Lake was nice, but didn't camp there. Cotton Lake didn't win my heart that hot Sept day. I camped down in a small grove of trees at Izaak Walton Lake and thought it was very attractive. I didn't go up to Hortense Lake, but from photos I've seen of it I'd like to go there sometime.



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Re: Trip Advice: SHR the 3rd week of June 2013?

Postby Bluewater » Wed Jun 05, 2013 3:54 pm

maverick wrote:You should be fine going over Gabbot, and the Mills Creek Lakes should not
be missed! Camp spots are better at the lower lake near the outlet, but there
are some spots near the upper lake but without much wind cover.


Good news about Gabbot Pass. . and lower Mills Creek Lake camping. That is great. I've been reading various t/r's about that area for a while.

The only pass I've done in early season like this was Vogelsang in June 2011 (along with the peak). The trail was covered on both sides. If the conditions are similar this year I should be ok.
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Re: Trip Advice: SHR the 3rd week of June 2013?

Postby Bluewater » Wed Jun 05, 2013 4:05 pm

Ska-T wrote:Once you go north over Bighorn Pass, Rohn Pass is more work to get to than Shout-of-Relief Pass. To get to SOR you stay fairly high above Rosy Finch Lake and you will find benches and ramps that make things easier than it looks.

I think I camped at or near Lower Mills Creek Lake. I passed Upper Mills on the right above it (ate lunch there in full sun on a hot day) and didn't look around for sleeping spots. Obviously, as the Second Recess stair steps down (steep and flat, meadow sections) it gets more plush, but you may run into early season mosquitoes if you camp too far down.

I thought Tully Lake was nice, but didn't camp there. Cotton Lake didn't win my heart that hot Sept day. I camped down in a small grove of trees at Izaak Walton Lake and thought it was very attractive. I didn't go up to Hortense Lake, but from photos I've seen of it I'd like to go there sometime.


Thanks for the beta on the route from Bighorn to SOR. Sounds like classic Roper 'granite benches' type terrain. Beautiful.

I'm checking the skeeter reports closely until I leave, mainly to make any last minute shelter choices between a tent or shaped tarp (Hexamid vs. Solomid). I'm hoping for plenty of time to wander around and check out Cotton, Tully, Izaak Walton, Mace and Hortense lakes. Regardless of where I camp I'll carry Deet and a head net for those meadow areas!
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Re: Trip Advice: SHR the 3rd week of June 2013?

Postby maverick » Wed Jun 05, 2013 4:09 pm

Cotton Lake is one of the highlights of that area, IZW and Hortense are fine.
Don't miss Laurel and Grinnell Lakes! These are from a photographers point of
view, fishing wise have heard IZW and Hortense are good.
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Re: Trip Advice: SHR the 3rd week of June 2013?

Postby Ska-T » Wed Jun 05, 2013 4:11 pm

Bluewater wrote:Sounds like classic Roper 'granite benches' type terrain.

Not that good (easy/flat), but not technical.
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Re: Trip Advice: SHR the 3rd week of June 2013?

Postby ManOfTooManySports » Wed Jun 05, 2013 4:58 pm

Curious to hear from the more experienced people (like WD) what is thought of bringing an ice ax on such a trip. For me, I wouldn't do the trip without crampons and an ax. However, as with crampons, it is important to do quite a bit of training beforehand, with and without a pack on. Even with my moderate experience with the gear, I'd spend a couple hours playing on slopes to get used to it again.
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Re: Trip Advice: SHR the 3rd week of June 2013?

Postby maverick » Wed Jun 05, 2013 5:03 pm

Hi MOTMS,

She and others have already chimed in about that earlier on in this thread.
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Re: Trip Advice: SHR the 3rd week of June 2013?

Postby Wandering Daisy » Wed Jun 05, 2013 8:50 pm

I have camped both at Izaak Walton and Tully Lake. I prefer Tully. It has good fishing and in the evening you can walk up on the upper benches and get great photographs of Red Slate Mtn. There are a hundred little lakes up on that bench (same bench as Cotton Lake- I think some of the smaller lakes are prettier than Cotton Lake) that also would make fantastic campsites, but no fishing. Beware of Horse Heaven- it should have been named Mosquito Heaven. Worst mosquitoes I ever saw in the Sierra. Tullys Hole is just about as bad. DO NOT camp at these locations!

Yes, yes - do not miss Grinnell Lake. It is easiest reached from Laurel Lake via a southwest gully that is shown as dry on the map. There is seasonal water in the gully. I descended from Grinnell Lake once, down the outlet to the meadow well below Laurel Lake, and it involved some really steep slabs. Worked out but was a nail biter. Laurel Lake is full of small fish. It is a one-cast, one fish deal. It would do that lake good to have people fish a lot and get the population down to match the available food supply.

There is a big log crossing of Mono Creek downstream from the horse crossing, but it is a real brushy pain to get to. Unless Mono Creek is really deep or swift, it is really easier just to wade at the horse crossing.

I prefer to camp at Virginia Lake rather than Purple Lake. Purple Lake is grand central station for PCT hikers. Pika Lake is much better camping than Duck Lake (north end). I was also pleasantly surprised with Deer Lakes - much more scenic than it looks on the topo map. I also did not like Mammoth Pass to Reds Meadow - old burn area. If I were to do it again I would walk out to Mammoth Lakes and take the free shuttle bus to the town. But then, if you are a purist, you would miss the very last end of this section of the SHR.
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Re: Trip Advice: SHR the 3rd week of June 2013?

Postby LMBSGV » Wed Jun 05, 2013 9:43 pm

I just wanted to add another vote for camping by the outlet of Lower Mills Creek Lake, Laurel and Grinnell Lakes, Cotton Lake, and Virginia over Purple. I’ll also second all the skeeter warnings, especially Horse Heaven/Tully Hole. Have a great trip.
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Re: Trip Advice: SHR the 3rd week of June 2013?

Postby ManOfTooManySports » Thu Jun 06, 2013 9:42 am

maverick wrote:Hi MOTMS,

She and others have already chimed in about that earlier on in this thread.


The talk was primarily about crampons, and Bluewater was talking about poles. I was curious about thoughts on bringing an ax.
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Re: Trip Advice: SHR the 3rd week of June 2013?

Postby Bluewater » Thu Jun 06, 2013 6:50 pm

Thank you WD and LMBSGV for the advice regarding Grinnel and Cottonwood Lakes. I might have skipped right past Grinnel.

WD, I plan on leaving my car in Mammoth and taking Mammoth Pass over to the upper lakes on the way out. I skipped the burned out section around Devils/Reds Mdw. when thru hiking the JMT in 2011, and I agree it looks worth missing:).

After reading the recent t/r about the Treasure Lakes area I'm considering some alternatives in the Southern Sierra just in case the snow conditions don't improve. I appreciate everyone sharing their experience and advice!
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Re: Trip Advice: SHR the 3rd week of June 2013?

Postby John Dittli » Fri Jun 07, 2013 8:53 am

If snow is your concern, you may want to travel SoBo. You'll be able to asess the steep snowy headwalls much better from below and hiking up snow is better than down unless you are an accomplished glissader!

The first steep snow NoBo your most likely going to hit is leaving Humpheries Basin. I'm not sure which pass the SHR suggests, but I've been thru three and they are all a bit steep.

If you are going to Grinnell (I also recommend) you may want to just use Red and White Pass. I've skied thru there a few times, could be talus hell underneath, don't know.

Virginia Lake over Purple, yes. I've wondered why Roper even suggests the JMT here as there is a nice route thru Franklin and Ram Lakes and over Pika Col. Steep and rocky but that's the SHR eh?
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