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Opinions on Dusy Basin to Palisades Lakes

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Opinions on Dusy Basin to Palisades Lakes

Postby deej » Fri Jun 28, 2013 2:01 pm

Does anyone have any feedback on the Palisades Lakes? I'm trying to get a quick trip together for my boyfriend and I. He's got Missouri blood in them bones, and he's an avid hunter, but he doesn't "backpack." I want to introduce him to a pretty place, but it's hard because he has to be willing to put in 10 miler days in order to see what I'd like to see in 4 day's time. I'd love to get him to Evolution Lake via the Dusy Basin (been there via Florence Lake and don't really want to do that section again right now). Going thru Dusy (was there two years ago after a big snow year) would be nice because I'd have a chance to check out Le Conte Canyon a little and Evolution Valley. Then I noticed Palisades Lakes if I were to go the other direction and wondered if anyone had any feedback on that area. Sorry to be so wordy, but I always appreciate hearing other folk's opinion of places I haven't explored before I go. If you got this far, thanks for reading.



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Re: Opinions on Dusy Basin to Palisades Lakes

Postby Wandering Daisy » Fri Jun 28, 2013 5:15 pm

Four days to visit Palisade Lakes is a lot of walking and very little time for enjoying. It may even be closer via Taboose Pass, but I doubt your BF would enjoy Taboose Pass. With all the lakes on the east side of Bishop Pass plus Dusy Basin, I think you have 4 days worth of good stuff right there. Or go up to Sabrina Lake and go into Hungry Packer Lake, then do Baboon Lakes on way out. Pine Creek (by Glacier Lodge) and into First Second, Third Lake , etc. with some poking around the upper drainages makes another nice 4-day trip.
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Re: Opinions on Dusy Basin to Palisades Lakes

Postby SSSdave » Sat Jun 29, 2013 12:27 am

In just 4 days, too much for someone who has never backpacked even if they are in excellent shape. Just too many body parts that can become sore lugging an unfamiliar pack up into mountains. For new people one ought to go easy else run the risk of them never going backpacking again. Slow it down, plan to spend more time at a destination and take some day hikes.

Dusy Basin is a large area. Most people who have been there have only camped next to the trail in one of two spots. That is hardly getting to know the place. Camp a day off in the Columbine and Isosceles Peak area and a day down at the lower lake chain. On the former day, do a day hike over Knapsack Pass into the Barrett Lake area and on the way back from the pass do the class 2 climb up on Columbine Peak. On the latter day hike down to the Little Pete Meadow area then back up. And if you still want more, the final day climb back up to Bishop Pass and climb Mount Agassiz, then drop over the east side and down to the beautiful shores of Long Lake making for an easy walk out the next morning. All those places area also fine places to bring along a fishing pole.
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Re: Opinions on Dusy Basin to Palisades Lakes

Postby deej » Sat Jun 29, 2013 6:22 am

Hungry Packer Lake....wow, it's been years since I played out there. I do need to go there again. The lakes out of Pine Creek are nice enough. Been there a couple of time already; Sam Mack Meadow is the spot I love. My BF carries bows and arrows and drags out his kill; he's a strong one, and hikes up and down all sorts of terrain. That's why I don't mind dragging him around a bit! But I know, I don't want to burn him out. Those areas around Dusy sound cool, I'll check that out. Heart is still in Evolution Basin, though. Maybe I can squeeze one more night out of him. Or, do I show him Sixty Lakes Basin....ugh....so many beautiful choices!

Thanks guys!
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Re: Opinions on Dusy Basin to Palisades Lakes

Postby fishmonger » Sat Jun 29, 2013 1:13 pm

Not sure what you want to do - Dusy to Palisade Lakes (thread title) or use Bishop Pass and Dusy Basin to get to the JMT and down to Evolution?

Dusy to Palisade Lake is the Sierra High Route - technical, not for beginners, at least the Potluck Pass section. The Bishop Pass to Evolution Lake route through Dusy and over Muir Pass is just doing miles on trails, and if you do 10 a day, yeah, can be done, especially if you're acclimated. Definitely need to move every day on that loop to get through in 4 days, so no room for any possible delays due to weather or blisters, etc.
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Re: Opinions on Dusy Basin to Palisades Lakes

Postby cgundersen » Sun Jun 30, 2013 12:03 pm

deej,
As Daisy & Dave indicated, there is plenty to do around Dusy, but if you're heart is set on Evo Lake, a quick and spectacular way to get there is Piute Pass and then via the off-trail Alpine col to Goethe Lakes and Darwin Canyon/Bench. From Darwin Bench, you can either set up a base camp from which to operate, or go down into Evo Basin itself. And, to complete a loop, you get back to North Lake via Lamarck col. There have been several recent trip reports with this loop in the entirety (or segments), and the conditions look fine (yes, some talus hopping on Alpine col, but nothing horrible). This route also allows you to pace things accordingly. If you're moving reasonably well, it's certainly feasible to get over Piute and Alpine in a day, but even if you don't, there are great places to camp around Muriel Lake. Reaching Darwin bench on day 2 would still give you plenty of time to explore and by having a loop route, you don't need to re-visit your footprints. And, as nice as Palisade Lakes are, Darwin canyon/bench and Evo basin would be my choice if you're looking to make an impression!
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Re: Opinions on Dusy Basin to Palisades Lakes

Postby Wandering Daisy » Sun Jun 30, 2013 12:53 pm

cgunderson's suggestion is assuming you have considerable off-trail experience. Dragging animals around the woods in the Ozarks is quite different than going over Alpine Col! Are you both comfortable hopping huge boulders for more than a mile, with a full pack on your backs? Lemark Col is quite do-able even for those without a lot of talus-hopping experience, but Alpine Col is not. Alternatively, from Piute Pass you could keep going down Piute Canyon, and intersect the PCT which goes south to Evolution canyon, visit Evolution area, then come out Lemark Col (when packs are light). This is the preferable way to go if you want to "experience" Evolution Creek from bottom to top.

Another good loop for Evolution, is to go in from the west. Take the ferry across Florence Lake, and hike to the PCT, continue to Evolution Lake - at Wanda Lake, cross over (off-trail) passing the north shore of Davis Lake, and traverse to Martha Lake, then drop down Goddard Canyon to return.
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Re: Opinions on Dusy Basin to Palisades Lakes

Postby paul » Sun Jun 30, 2013 1:27 pm

As usual, WD has a great idea with her coming from the west route. Absolutely gorgeous, more gradual elevation gain, much wider variety of scenery. that's assuming you MUST get to Evolution.

Another great possibility is to go up to Dusy, and do a little off-trail over Knapsack pass to Barret Lakes. It's cross-country but real easy, and if you want you can do it as a dy hike from a base camp in Dusy so you don't have to carry the full load over the hill.

Also; Go up Pine creek to Pine creek pass and over into upper French canyon. Numerous lakes, beautiful, lots of places to wander around there and close by in over the hill in Granite Park or Royce Lakes.

If you are introducing someone to the Sierra and backpacking at the same time, make sure the trip is FUN. Plenty of time to just enjoy it rather than long days of walking. If he's a hunter I'll bet he likes to fish as well; you'll want time for that.
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Re: Opinions on Dusy Basin to Palisades Lakes

Postby SSSdave » Sun Jun 30, 2013 10:52 pm

Evolution areas don't match the level of their hype. On a 10 scale for aesthetics, my own opinion as an old photographer would rate

Dusy Basin 10
Darwin Canyon/Darwin Bench 8
Long Lake 7
Saddlerock Lake 7
Evolution Lake 7
Evolution Valley 6
Lamarck Lakes 6
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Re: Opinions on Dusy Basin to Palisades Lakes

Postby ManOfTooManySports » Mon Jul 01, 2013 10:00 am

SSSDave, by your list it seems you prefer high, rocky basins. I think the Evolution area is one of the most scenic parts of the Sierra.

I'd give the Evolution Basin a 10 overall, especially around Sapphire Lake. I think Evolution Lake is overrated only because it is overrun and because I find Sapphire, Darwin Bench and even McGee Lakes yet more scenic. Evolution Valley? You can't see anything for all those danged trees! :D
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Re: Opinions on Dusy Basin to Palisades Lakes

Postby SSSdave » Mon Jul 01, 2013 10:39 am

Well I wouldn't generalize about high rocky basins beyond the fact Dusy is at the top. There are a few other areas of the Sierra I would rate a 10 like the outlet of Thousand Island Lake and in this case just opined on a few spots in that region. I would rate the south end of Saphire Lake in Evolution Basin a 9 and the McGee Lakes an 8. One can understand the high regard for Evolution Valley historically because in the old days people had to build campfires for cooking so tended to site camps down below timberline areas. Hence from the stream meanders in McClure Meadow at sunset they would look up at alpenglow on the Mendel-Darwin area from below which is as superb a valley view as anywhere.

From a modern photographer's perspective, getting nearer the actual peaks has value of raising the experience a notch higher. Photography of Mendel-Darwin from Evolution Lake itself is simply too close to frame and areas to the south appear better from Darwin Bench or Saphire. In any case other old photographers would certainly have varying opinions so the above were just mine.
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