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Sierra High Route - TM to Twin Lakes June29

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Sierra High Route - TM to Twin Lakes June29

Postby mpeters » Mon Jun 17, 2013 10:42 pm

Hi All,

Back again after a break from hiking in 2012!

Planning to hike from TM to Twin Lakes to complete the northernmost section of the SHR. Mileage is approx 28 miles with all but a couple of miles XC(according to Roper). June 29 - July 3.

In contrast to 2011, when snow wasn't an issue but a consideration(only a couple of sketchy snow traverses by Iceberg Lake and North Glacier pass), I expect this year to be less snow filled, even though we are going early season. Has anyone been up in this area who could comment on the snow or lack thereof?

1) 5 days for the DP to TM was a lot of work for our hiking speed/condition + first multi-day XC trip. An extra day would have been great. So... we are sticking with 5 days for this trip even though distance is shorter. This may give us some time to fish, climb Conness, etc.

2) Any must see detours that would offer either fishing opportunities, or photo ops. I'm not into fishing but i do hoof 12-13 lbs of camera gear along. Spiller Lake or Return Lake, both in the vicinity of Soldier Lake look interesting.

Regards,
Mark



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Re: Sierra High Route - TM to Twin Lakes June29

Postby John Dittli » Tue Jun 18, 2013 9:32 am

There are great photo ops in upper Return Creek. On the Spiller side, I find the little pond north of Spiller Lake better than the lake basin; incredible view of Whorl.

Your post could get me motivated to scan some film from there :thumbsup:

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Re: Sierra High Route - TM to Twin Lakes June29

Postby Wandering Daisy » Tue Jun 18, 2013 12:52 pm

MOSQUITOES!!

The worst mosquitoes I have been in were at McCabe Lakes on a 4th of July week end years ago.

I saw fish in the lakes below Mt. Conness - but not legal to camp there. I camped up by Cascade Lake. For me Sky Pilot Col (south side) was one of the worst passes on the entire High Route. I have done this pass before and by-passed the col by swinging right (going south to north) over the ridge east of the col. The col itself is hard, steep, ball-bearing sand and dirt. Shepherd Lake was really beautiful. You may be a bit early but if you descend on the right side of the outlet drainage, there are the most amazing fields of lupine that I have ever seen.

If you get to Horse Creek early, a nice side-trip is to scramble up (very steep) near Matterhorn Peak to the bench above Horse Creek. You get a great view of the Sawtooth crest.
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Re: Sierra High Route - TM to Twin Lakes June29

Postby John Dittli » Thu Jun 20, 2013 8:10 am

As far as snow, I can only speculate. But I did that exact route five weeks ago and the snow was good coverage but very thin. Shepherd "valley" was almost completely melted out as was the east slope of Stanton ridge. Spiller Canyon had about two feet that I would think completely gone.

Here's a link to some photos

With five days you may even consider completing the High Route that Roper left out and exit Blacksmith Canyon (an adventure!), Little Slide (less of an adventure) or Robinson (trail). There are beautiful routes on both sides of the Sawtooth Ridge.
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Re: Sierra High Route - TM to Twin Lakes June29

Postby mpeters » Thu Jun 20, 2013 1:30 pm

Wandering Daisy - thanks for the info. You also gave us some great advice for section 4 we hiked in 2011.

John - Good info and tip on upper Return Creek, thinking that may be in the plans. I also like your idea of expanding the trip slightly to one of the other exit routes you mentioned.
And -- thanks for the snow info and the photo set is great! As photography is also my hobby, it's fun to where others are shooting. Any other photo tips would be welcomed!
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Re: Sierra High Route - TM to Twin Lakes June29

Postby John Dittli » Fri Jun 21, 2013 8:29 am

North side of North Peak from 20 Lakes is also a good place to shoot. If you do decide to continue north on the complete High Route (west side) via Matterhorn col (one of the more technical passes) and Burro Pass you will probably want to stop here.
1209_ 1364_D1LP.jpg
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Re: Sierra High Route - TM to Twin Lakes June29

Postby mpeters » Mon Jun 24, 2013 4:07 pm

Thanks John. We plan to make Matterhorn/Burro/Little Slide as our alternate exit route. If we are feeling good, it is likely we would camp near Finger Peaks on our last night, then exit Little Slide.

We learned from 2011 that XC is much slower going than on-trail so we are keeping the original plan of Horse Creek pass as first option. BUT, after looking into the maps in more detail and some more websearch, I'll be disappointed if we don't go for the alternate route! Appreciate the help!
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Re: Sierra High Route - TM to Twin Lakes June29

Postby John Dittli » Mon Jun 24, 2013 5:15 pm

Ya XC = much slower! Use caution on Matterhorn col. There is a direct, exposed 4th class+ route near the center or a long traverse in from the left (south); 3rd class. Other ways too I'm sure, but those are the two I've used.

Have a great trip and don't forget the sunscreen and BUG repellent!
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Re: Sierra High Route - TM to Twin Lakes June29

Postby Wandering Daisy » Tue Jun 25, 2013 7:46 am

One problem with this stretch of the SHR is finding a legal campsite the first night. Your first two days may have more to do with where you can legally camp than planning on a specific number of miles to travel. If you do not have a GPS it is hard to exactly locate the boundaries of the legal areas. Once north of Cascade Lake this is no issue. With a dry, low snow year, finding a good water source AND a legal campsite for the first night may be more difficult. You may have to haul water from the lower lake up to Great Sierra Mine.

Ropers description of the route from the "mine" to Green Treble Lake is very confusing - I never found it (probably because I was going north-to-south and it is harder to find that direction), but there are lots of options that also work. One legal "back-up/emergency" option would be to walk out to Sawmill Campground. There is a trail from the unnamed lake north of Green Treble Lake. Technically you then spend a night at a trailhead, which invalidates your permit, but I doubt it would matter. There is also camping up on the east shoulder of Mt.Conness but it is not legal, however, it is not a place than anyone would check. My viewpoint on all this is to plan on a legal campsite, but if you get delayed, be safe and stop rather than get too obsessed about legal vs. illegal campsites. I personally would not like to be camped up on Great Sierra Mine in a thunderstorm.
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Re: Sierra High Route - TM to Twin Lakes June29

Postby mpeters » Tue Jun 25, 2013 11:49 am

Wandering Daisy wrote:One problem with this stretch of the SHR is finding a legal campsite the first night. ... I personally would not like to be camped up on Great Sierra Mine in a thunderstorm.


Thanks WD -- we have spent some time discussing day 1 and 2 camping options. Our current thinking is to push on over the crest on Day 1 and try to camp just outside the Hall Natural Area near Shell lake(based on Roper's description). Is this mileage too aggressive for day 1? It doesn't seem so based on mileage and elevation gain. We intend to start early to be over the ridge before afternoon thunderstorms...).

Ultimately, we will pick a safe campsite over a legal one, if forced to make that decision.
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Re: Sierra High Route - TM to Twin Lakes June29

Postby John Dittli » Tue Jun 25, 2013 12:00 pm

Convoluted country to be sure. Again a place where IMO the route is nicer west of the crest, more remote with more camping options. Why he didn't take it up Delaney Creek thru Young, Roosevelt, McCabe, Shepherd, is anybody's guess (though I'm glad he didn't ;) ).

As far as the east side, if you want to avoid convolutions, see if you can find the old mule trail (good trail once you find it) from the High Sierra Mine down to Bennettville (worth the visit if you've never been) then head up the meadows along Mine Creek, very nice XC walk!

You can then camp at Greenstone (except south shore) or anywhere north of Wasco.
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Re: Sierra High Route - TM to Twin Lakes June29

Postby John Dittli » Tue Jun 25, 2013 12:24 pm

I think we crossed posted... or camp east of HNA....
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