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

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

Postby Bluewater » Fri Jun 07, 2013 2:28 pm

Thanks John. It sounds like traveling SoBo is the way to go considering the early season conditions. Glissading is fun but not going down these passes.

Feather Pass is the first steep pass coming from Humphreys Basin (not counting Puppet Pass) although mavericks suggestion to use Ruskie Pass to get into Bear Lakes Basin looks like a good alternative.

There is some good info on Grinnel Col here on HST including pxts of both sides. Thanks for the alternate, I wouldn't have considered it before.

Although I would like to stay true to the route when it makes sense I have already been through Virginia and Purple Lakes. I camped in the trees above Virginia during a storm while on the JMT. The route over Franklin Col to Franklin and Ram Lakes and over Pika Pass looks like a much better/fun route, and a good way to stay off the JMT.

Thanks again to everybody for sharing your wealth of Sierra knowledge.



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

Postby gooral » Fri Jun 07, 2013 7:08 pm

Andy,

Please post an update when you finish your trip as soon as you can. We are going on the same route during the first week of July starting at Mammoth Lakes and exiting over Italy Pass. We plan to do it in 7 days. It would be great to get the latest info on the snow conditions. Thanks and have a great trip .
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Re: Trip Advice: SHR the 3rd week of June 2013?

Postby maverick » Fri Jun 07, 2013 7:49 pm

Hi Gooral,

Welcome to HST! Please also post a TR when you get back from your trip.
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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Trip Advice: SHR the 3rd week of June 2013?

Postby Bluewater » Fri Jun 07, 2013 9:11 pm

I will be back by the 23rd and will post pxts and an update on conditions.
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Re: Trip Advice: SHR the 3rd week of June 2013?

Postby artrock23 » Fri Jun 07, 2013 9:50 pm

Andy, the route you choose to do to the side, I recommend getting some crampons and an ice axe. IMHO, both are indispensable tools for the serious alpinist. Both are relatively easy to learn the use of, and with your amount of backpacking experience, you'll pick it up quickly. Since we live nearby one another, I can give you the basics. BTW, WD, most modern crampons come with very effective anti-balling devices.

This week I upgraded my crampons to Grivel G12s. So, my G10s are now an extra set. You're welcomed to use them, if you want.
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Trip Advice: SHR the 3rd week of June 2013?

Postby Bluewater » Sun Jun 09, 2013 10:38 pm

Thanks for your generous offer Art! I appreciate it and will get in touch. I have somehow avoided getting crampons and an axe until now but it is definitely time. I could have used them a few times last winter.

Darwin Glacier:

ImageUploadedByTapatalk1370842721.420321.jpg
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Re: Trip Advice: SHR the 3rd week of June 2013?

Postby Wandering Daisy » Mon Jun 10, 2013 8:28 am

I agree that crampons and ice axe are essential tools of the alpinist, however, I disagree that their use is "relatively easy to learn" for most backpackers. You can learn the techniques in a day with a good instructor, but it takes repeated practice (and annual refresher practice) for the proper response to a fall to become instinctual. The fact is that with a pack on your back, and under certain snow conditions, you will not be able to arrest a fall unless you do it within the first few seconds, if you can stop at all. Part of the skill is to learn to read snow conditions. Knowing when to rope up is difficult to assess. Case in point - a fall on ice and death from an experienced mountaineer who was carrying crampons but did not put them on for "one little step" that was icy. Tools help but judgment is critical. If as a backpacker you wish to dabble in snow and ice, I suggest you join the Sierra Club (SPS section) and get in on some of their training and trips or find and experienced "mentor" who will take you under his wing to get experience.

I also, came into backpacking, from mountaineering and technical climbing. (You know old climbers never die, they just become off-trail adventure backpackers). I started climbing in the Pacific Northwest and being on snow was just second nature. Every climb involved snow. Even at that, we spent a weekend each late spring on "snow practice" to prepare for the coming climbing season. I am not keen on having someone "borrow crampons" unless this also includes instruction and practice. Using crampons to get over a low angle icy snow patch is entirely different from descending a seriously steep pass covered with snow.

A bit off the subject, I have never used the Black Diamond Whippit (ski/trekking pole with ice axe head). Those experienced on snow - does it work? What do you think?
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Re: Trip Advice: SHR the 3rd week of June 2013?

Postby cgundersen » Mon Jun 10, 2013 3:02 pm

]Hi Bluewater,
I'm a novice at getting photos posted, so I'll try to get a few embedded and then explain:
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The first shot is the north side of the Silver Divide from a point about halfway between McGee Pass and Tully Lake on May 31. Mt. Izaak Walton is in about the middle of the photo. The snow was melting rapidly and will be much diminished by the time you leave. However, you will almost certainly hit healthy mosquitoes! But, since we spent the better part of our 11 days on snow and had no problems with it, you should be fine (we had good boots but no poles, axes or crampons).
Shot 2 is Tully Lake and Shout of Relief is the ridge in the upper right. It will be easy.
Shot 3 has Mt. Gabb directly in the middle of the frame with Gabbott Pass to the left. It looked easy from our vantage point(s) on the south side of the Silver Divide.
Shot 4 was taken to remind us what the ridge from Bighorn Lake to Izaak Walton Lake looks like (June 3rd). Shout of Relief looked virtually the same (or, easier).

If you want more details, send me an email. It was gorgeous and serene out there, but we did finally hit bugs as we descended below Big McGee Lake on June 8th.
cg
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Re: Trip Advice: SHR the 3rd week of June 2013?

Postby Bluewater » Mon Jun 10, 2013 9:58 pm

Wow, I don't think I could have asked for better recon. Thanks cgunderson! PM sent.
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Re: Trip Advice: SHR the 3rd week of June 2013?

Postby artrock23 » Mon Jun 10, 2013 10:44 pm

Wandering Daisy wrote:I agree that crampons and ice axe are essential tools of the alpinist, however, I disagree that their use is "relatively easy to learn" for most backpackers. You can learn the techniques in a day with a good instructor, but it takes repeated practice (and annual refresher practice) for the proper response to a fall to become instinctual.

Wandering Daisy wrote: I am not keen on having someone "borrow crampons" unless this also includes instruction and practice.



With all due respect, my comment was not directed at "most backpackers". It was directed at Andy, who is a very experienced backpacker, does mostly solo multi-day trips (some in Winter), is someone I know personally, and based on my own experience.

I learned self-arrest in the Boy Scouts in the 1970s. After 30+ years away from backpacking, my first trip was a solo climb of Hourglass Couloir in late July 2011 (a high snow year). It was the first time i'd ever used crampons, and I had no instruction, although I did have a meager amount of snow travel experience from my old Scouting days, and what I feel is relatively good judgement*. Saturday, after hiking in to Gem Lakes, I practiced both self-arrest with ice axe and traversing ascent wearing crampons for about an hour on a nearby steep snowfield. The next day I climbed the couloir with crampons and single ice axe, and then plunge-stepped and glissaded back down... safely, solo, without incident. Do I recommend this to newbie backpackers/climbers? Absolutely not.It's merely an example that a person of moderate alpine experience can pick-up and utilise skills for the use of those tools quickly. Andy -a friend- also has the benefit of my experience, which i've worked hard to augment over the last few years. Quite frankly, I find the implication that i'd let a friend "borrow" crampons from me without giving them instruction in their use and the possible dangers involved in snow travel insulting.

Thanks for your input, nonetheless. :thumbsup:

*In addition, i'd read the snow/ice section in "Freedom Of The Hills" from the Mountaineers Press.
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Re: Trip Advice: SHR the 3rd week of June 2013?

Postby John Dittli » Tue Jun 11, 2013 7:58 am

Bluewater wrote:Feather Pass is the first steep pass coming from Humphreys Basin (not counting Puppet Pass)


Great, I just wanted to make sure you weren't overlooking the Humpherys/French Canyon divide: Puppet, Star and Steelhead can all have steep snow with bad runout.

I was never sure why Roper didn't take his route over Red and White Pass, it always seemed the obvious route?

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

Postby Wandering Daisy » Tue Jun 11, 2013 9:07 am

I had no intention of insulting you artrock. Without the information of Andy's experience and the fact that you knew his capabilities. Just reading the posts, not knowing the background, it DID look to me that a word of warning on loaning crampons was in order.

I simply played it conservative, because, a lot of newbies and less experienced read these posts and get ideas in their heads. I have had my hand slapped several times by forum moderators for suggesting something in the realm of mountaineering that was "easy" for me would be suitable for others.

There have been many previous posts on this forum where people seem to think that just being "equipped" with snow gear was sufficient to safely traverse over steep snow. Snow is tricky. I personally know three southern California mountaineers, two who died and one who now is permanently disabled due to falls on snow.
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