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Last Last Minute Trip Advice: 4-day SEKI Loop

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Last Last Minute Trip Advice: 4-day SEKI Loop

Postby Nico » Wed Jun 26, 2013 9:30 am

Hi there fellow Sierra fans... I'm looking for some last minute suggestions on possible back-up plans for a 4-day SEKI loop.

I was planned to be part of a different trip starting tomorrow that has since fell apart. I already have the time off work (Thurs-Sun) though, so I want to salvage my long weekend with a 4-day loop through SEKI, preferably entering from the west side to cut down on driving time.

My preferred itinerary at the moment would be to do the Circle of Solitude Loop (Bubbs Crk to Avalanche Pass to Cloud Canyon to Colby Pass to Bighorn Plateau to Forester Pass and back to Roads End along Bubbs with some detours along the way) starting from Roads End. I realize however that there's a good chance I'll miss out on a same day permit to start from Bubbs Creek since I'd be sharing the TH quota with Rae Lakes Loopers, etc.

So, I'm looking for some back-up plans. One possible idea is to still do the Solitude Loop but start from the Big Meadows area and go in over Marvin Pass and through Sugarloaf to Roaring River. This would add about ~30 miles to my loop, which is doable but at the higher end of what I'd like to do for this trip.

My group (at this late juncture, there's anywhere from 2 to 4 of us) is all comfortable with consecutive ~25-mile days if it's on trail. Off trail miles would obviously need to be scaled back a bit. We're generally comfortable with off-trail travel and navigation, although I personally don't have much experience with off-trail travel in the Sierra, so let's say easy Class 2 off trail routes are open for consideration.

I'd appreciate any ideas or suggestions that might work out for a last minute, same-day permit type of trip.

Thanks for your help!
-N.



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Re: Last Last Minute Trip Advice: 4-day SEKI Loop

Postby elena » Wed Jun 26, 2013 10:38 am

I think your chances of getting a Bubbs Creek permit on Thursday morning are pretty good.

We were walking out from Rae Lakes on Bubbs Creek Trail last Thursday and met only ~8 hikers on the whole trail from Vidette Meadow to Roads End, all of them quite late in the day. 4 of them were on the trek to Mt. Whitney.
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Re: Last Last Minute Trip Advice: 4-day SEKI Loop

Postby sparky » Wed Jun 26, 2013 10:54 am

If you get there early, you shouldn't have a problem getting a permit.

I remember finishing a hike on the fourth of july a couple years ago, and I saw NO ONE on the hike out until I reach the ranger station at roads end.....I saw the ranger chatting with an older couple. The park on the way out was as quiet as could be.
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Re: Last Last Minute Trip Advice: 4-day SEKI Loop

Postby Nico » Wed Jun 26, 2013 11:02 am

Thanks Elena and Sparky for the insight on permit availability. I've never had a problem getting a walk-up permit but I usually hit the Sierra late in the season, usually just before the permit season expires. It's rare for me to get up there during summer prime time, so I'm not sure what to expect for numbers of other hikers vying for permits. We'll definitely make a point to get an early start on the road tomorrow a.m. to improve our chances. Hoping that a Thursday start works to our advantage.

Still open to any other ideas/suggestions out there.

I was reading through Secor (Peaks, Passes & Trails) last night about some of the routes that connect to either the Deadman Canyon or Cloud Canyon trails. There might be some back-up options in there for us. Just need to pull out the topo and study in more detail and dig around for some photos/TRs.

Cheers,
-N.
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Re: Last Last Minute Trip Advice: 4-day SEKI Loop

Postby cgundersen » Wed Jun 26, 2013 12:29 pm

Nico,
Yep, I'm guessing you'll be OK getting a permit, but if not, the trail (Copper Creek) up to Granite Pass will drop you into areas that will have appreciably more solitude than the Circle of Solitude. And, that first 6000+ ft climb out of Kings canyon will definitely get you warmed up. But, once you get into upper Tehipite Valley, you could use the old Cartridge Creek trail to get into Marion Lakes Basin and re-connect with the JMT by going over Cartridge Pass. Depending how fast you're covering ground (there are zones there where it's really nice to slow down and look around!!!), you can then either go back to the valley via Woods creek or hop Glen Pass too and exit via Bubbs creek.
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Re: Last Last Minute Trip Advice: 4-day SEKI Loop

Postby maverick » Wed Jun 26, 2013 12:40 pm

Hi Elena,

Welcome to HST! Thanks for chiming in with your help.

Nico,

You probably will have no problems getting a walk-in permit as long as your their
first thing in the morning when the station opens.
An alternative trip would be Mineral King>Franklin Pass>Soda Creek>Little Five Lakes>
Big Arroyo>Kaweah Gap>Hamilton Lakes>Redwood Meadow>Timber Gap>Mineral King
roughly 54 miles.
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Re: Last Last Minute Trip Advice: 4-day SEKI Loop

Postby Nico » Wed Jun 26, 2013 2:01 pm

CG and Maverick,

Thanks for the alternative suggestions. I'll take a look at those on the topos when I get home this evening.

Cheers,
-N.
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Re: Last Last Minute Trip Advice: 4-day SEKI Loop

Postby sparky » Wed Jun 26, 2013 3:15 pm

Use the HST map, click cross country passes. There are several cross country passes in the cloud/deadman canyon area. Create your own loop!

Be careful with class 2 and class 3 distinctions. I have found some class 3 to be "easier" or "less scary" than some class 2. So don't assume if its class 2 it will be cake :D
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Re: Last Last Minute Trip Advice: 4-day SEKI Loop

Postby maiathebee » Wed Jun 26, 2013 3:23 pm

cgundersen wrote:Nico,
Yep, I'm guessing you'll be OK getting a permit, but if not, the trail (Copper Creek) up to Granite Pass will drop you into areas that will have appreciably more solitude than the Circle of Solitude. And, that first 6000+ ft climb out of Kings canyon will definitely get you warmed up. But, once you get into upper Tehipite Valley, you could use the old Cartridge Creek trail to get into Marion Lakes Basin and re-connect with the JMT by going over Cartridge Pass. Depending how fast you're covering ground (there are zones there where it's really nice to slow down and look around!!!), you can then either go back to the valley via Woods creek or hop Glen Pass too and exit via Bubbs creek.
cg


Agreed on Copper Creek to Granite Pass as a really nice alternate route if you don't get Bubbs Creek. I ended up starting that hike at 1pm on a 80 degree day once due a morning illness that meant I couldn't make it to the eastern Sierra as I had planned and Copper Creek was all that was left by the time I got down into KC. The hike up to Granite Pass is brutal, but the valley beyond is gorgeous. The middle fork of the Kings River has some gorgeous scenery. Swim in the Devil's Washbowl if you have time!
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Re: Last Last Minute Trip Advice: 4-day SEKI Loop

Postby AlmostThere » Wed Jun 26, 2013 5:51 pm

Permits in SEKI used to be less problematic, but this year, I'm having issues... I've totally rerouted myself a few times after finding out my trailheads were full.

I think it is gonna be a really really busy year out there...
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