suggestions for fall backpack oct 3rd weekend | High Sierra Topix  

suggestions for fall backpack oct 3rd weekend

If you've been searching for the best source of information and stimulating discussion related to Spring/Summer/Fall backpacking, hiking and camping in the Sierra Nevada...look no further!
User avatar

suggestions for fall backpack oct 3rd weekend

Postby croupier » Mon Jul 15, 2013 4:09 pm

Hi,

My group of friends & i like to do an annual backpack trip in the sierras. The group is varied and not particularly in shape so what we've done is a short-ish backpack to a lake to setup a base camp. And then stay there for a couple days and do dayhikes before coming down.

I'm wondering if you guys have any tips for places that would work well for this. So, ~5 miles hike in max, hopefully stay under 2,500 elevation gain, lake destination, good dayhiking opportunities from the base camp.

Places we've gone in past years:
- South Lake / bishop pass trail
- Big Pine Lakes
- Twenty Lakes Basin
- Convict Creek
- McGee Creek
- Onion Valley
- North Lake / piute pass
- Little Lakes Valley / Rock Creek

Ones we're considering:
- ediza lake
- thousand islane lake area (the hike from agnew meadows is a bit long though)
- Lake sabrina area (we've done this individually but not as a group yet)

Any suggestions you guys/gals have?

We're open to going on the west side, but i'm not entirely sure what the good options are there. In browsing my copy of "Sierra South" it seems a lot of those hikes on the west side are a bit longer to get to a lake.

Thanks in advance!



User avatar
croupier
Topix Novice
 
Posts: 13
Joined: Fri Oct 05, 2007 12:56 pm
Experience: N/A

User avatar

Re: suggestions for fall backpack oct 3rd weekend

Postby AlmostThere » Mon Jul 15, 2013 6:12 pm

I tend to backpack the first weekend of October and every year I see storms. So wherever you go you need to have chains/cables, shovel, extra supplies, and gear adequate to some snow, hail, etc.

You'll also want a trip plan that doesn't involve any bus or shuttle as they'll all be shut down.

So, all on the west side and assuming you have a good higher clearance vehicle with cables or chains that work on it:

Chain Lakes (Quartz Mountain trailhead)
Chilnualna and Grouse lakes out of the Chilnualna trailhead in Yosemite - self register on the porch of the wilderness office and bring your bear canisters
Dinkey lakes from Cliff trailhead at Courtright.

Mineral King has good short (but high elevation gain) hikes to lakes. I went over Sawtooth and came back over Franklin Lakes one year, over the first weekend of October - had a grand time getting every kind of precip known to man, stayed dry, warm and safe camping below treeline and watching the lightning show one night that was going on up in the clouds.... even saw a little grapel coming back to the car and got rained on all the way out. Not the shortest drive in the world, but self registration was effortless on the wilderness center porch and the scenery was tops with views east to Whitney and other high peaks.

Sierra South is by no means comprehensive.
User avatar
AlmostThere
Topix Fanatic
 
Posts: 1758
Joined: Wed Jun 24, 2009 4:38 pm
Experience: N/A

User avatar

Re: suggestions for fall backpack oct 3rd weekend

Postby balzaccom » Mon Jul 15, 2013 9:46 pm

On the West side you can get into some nice country above Bass lake: Vandenberg, for example, and lots of exploring around that area.

Of course. much further North there are lots of options in Emigrant wilderness..
Balzaccom

check out our website: http://www.backpackthesierra.com/
User avatar
balzaccom
Topix Fanatic
 
Posts: 1290
Joined: Wed Dec 17, 2008 9:22 pm
Experience: N/A

User avatar

Re: suggestions for fall backpack oct 3rd weekend

Postby The hermit » Tue Jul 16, 2013 12:24 am

Ive done an epic(for me) the past 3 octobers. North lake south lake loop or equivalent. Ive been waiting till after the 1st snowfall. We usually get a week of good weather after that. Just be prepared, know the forecast and your abilities. Alot can go wrong. Its my favorote time of year. No crowds no bugs unfortunately this year maybe no water too! Be safe!
User avatar
The hermit
Topix Regular
 
Posts: 183
Joined: Mon Jul 02, 2012 9:25 am
Experience: N/A

User avatar

Re: suggestions for fall backpack oct 3rd weekend

Postby croupier » Tue Jul 16, 2013 11:58 am

Thanks for the weather notices - we usually go in late september / early october and we've had both good and bad luck with the weather. It depends on the year. But we'll be prepared for whatever.

And thanks for the west side ideas! Those look great! In particular dinkey, vanderburgh/lillian lake loop trail, and quartz mountain / chain lakes.

I forgot to mention that we're coming from San Diego & Los Angeles so we tend to stick to the lower half of the Sierras - hence me owning only "Sierra South". At some point we may venture farther, but for now there's still plenty of new stuff to see in the South.
User avatar
croupier
Topix Novice
 
Posts: 13
Joined: Fri Oct 05, 2007 12:56 pm
Experience: N/A

User avatar

Re: suggestions for fall backpack oct 3rd weekend

Postby tim » Tue Jul 16, 2013 9:45 pm

Pear Lake (or Emerald if you don't want to carry the packs quite that far) is a great late season hike, with plenty of opportunities for day trips into the Tablelands. Here's my trip report from November 2011: viewtopic.php?f=1&t=7169
User avatar
tim
Topix Expert
 
Posts: 496
Joined: Thu Feb 12, 2009 2:36 pm
Location: Bay Area
Experience: N/A

User avatar

Re: suggestions for fall backpack oct 3rd weekend

Postby oleander » Wed Jul 17, 2013 3:39 pm

That warning about being fully prepared for a SNOWSTORM - chains, 4W drive, shovels, etc. - is one you should take very seriously. And, how does your group feel about waking up to snow or navigating a snowed-over trail?

A few years ago, my friend and I got trapped at the Agnew Meadows trailhead (Ediza/Thousand Island trailhead) on the first weekend in October. A surprise storm - yes, the forecast said 100% sunshine! - came in and snowed us in with our car. Road closed. No plow. Eventually someone from Reds Meadow secured a plow that came in and bailed us all out, but it actually took significant politicking to even make the plow come out. We were told we'd all have to wait it out and camp in or next to our cars. Long story.

In fact, before we even got to our car, the snow covered the little-used trail from Garnet Lake to the River Trail. We lost our trail and had to go x-country over slippery granite and somewhat dangerous terrain. And we are experienced navigators. Your group ready for this kind of situation?

That was not the only time. After Sept 20 or so, you can expect "unexpected" snow storms on a pretty regular basis. Every year.

In October the only places I'm willing to drive to anymore are low-elevation trailheads. Even though I greatly prefer the high alpine.

Paradise Valley would be my recommendation. Park at Roads End in Kings Canyon. Hike about 8 mi. (but it's an easy 8 mi.) to Lower Paradise Valley. No lake there, but the river is truly paradisical. Beautiful colors, and if it's warm you'll want to take a dip. Second day, do a round-trip hike to see the aspens changing color at Castle Domes. Third day, out.

- Elizabeth
User avatar
oleander
Topix Regular
 
Posts: 325
Joined: Wed Aug 18, 2010 10:15 am
Experience: N/A

User avatar

Re: suggestions for fall backpack oct 3rd weekend

Postby schmalz » Wed Jul 17, 2013 4:00 pm

I guess the question is which high sierra trailheads can you be confident to be plowed out of if a freak storm came in and trapped your car? Are there any?
User avatar
schmalz
Topix Expert
 
Posts: 460
Joined: Fri May 07, 2010 9:18 am
Location: Altadena, CA
Experience: Level 4 Explorer

User avatar

Re: suggestions for fall backpack oct 3rd weekend

Postby AlmostThere » Wed Jul 17, 2013 6:47 pm

schmalz wrote:I guess the question is which high sierra trailheads can you be confident to be plowed out of if a freak storm came in and trapped your car? Are there any?


At a reasonable guess, the list would not include any of the passes, the road into Kings Canyon, the road between Sequoia and Kings, Mineral King Road, or any other road that typically closes when the first major snowfall happens and does not open til spring.

There's a reason you can't legally park on Tioga Pass after Oct 15.
User avatar
AlmostThere
Topix Fanatic
 
Posts: 1758
Joined: Wed Jun 24, 2009 4:38 pm
Experience: N/A

User avatar

Re: suggestions for fall backpack oct 3rd weekend

Postby rlown » Wed Jul 17, 2013 7:31 pm

suggestions for Oct are kind of moot at this point. It really depends on the weather patterns right up until you leave. Pick some spots that are opportunistic and tune it to the weather pattern as appropriate when the time comes.

Otherwise, one word: Skis. Predicated with parking outside the locked gate.
User avatar
rlown
Topix Junkie
 
Posts: 5331
Joined: Thu Oct 25, 2007 5:00 pm
Location: Petaluma and Wilton, CA
Experience: Level 4 Explorer

User avatar

Re: suggestions for fall backpack oct 3rd weekend

Postby tim » Wed Jul 17, 2013 9:33 pm

schmalz wrote:I guess the question is which high sierra trailheads can you be confident to be plowed out of if a freak storm came in and trapped your car? Are there any?


Wolverton is plowed year round and has no parking restrictions in winter. Hump Trail to Lakes Basin is a ski touring route and there is a snow play area and winter camping at the parking lot. If you avoid the Watchtower I wouldn't worry about going there late season.
User avatar
tim
Topix Expert
 
Posts: 496
Joined: Thu Feb 12, 2009 2:36 pm
Location: Bay Area
Experience: N/A

User avatar

Re: suggestions for fall backpack oct 3rd weekend

Postby maverick » Thu Jul 18, 2013 8:19 am

Generals Hwy, from Grant Grove to Foothills (southern end of park) stays open year
round. It may close for a short period for plowing after a storm, and you should be
carrying snow chains, especially this time of the year in your car anyway.
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
User avatar
maverick
Forums Moderator
Forums Moderator
 
Posts: 8034
Joined: Thu Apr 06, 2006 5:54 pm
Experience: Level 4 Explorer

Next

Return to Backpacking / Hiking / Camping



Who is online

Users browsing this forum: Bing [Bot], lvray and 12 guests