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Backpacking Partner wanted: 9-10 day Dumbbell Lakes - Aug 20

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Backpacking Partner wanted: 9-10 day Dumbbell Lakes - Aug 20

Postby Cheetahwoka » Thu Aug 08, 2013 5:24 pm

Hello, I am seeking partner(s) for a couple long and ambitious trips... 9-12 days. One is very soon (thought I had a partner but not). If you are available, or can forward this to hikers with ability for these trips, that would be great. I need partners with light pack, good mileage and endurance, and off-trail skills, or at least willingness and physical ability. The target areas are the cream of the high Sierra. Please note that on-trail days can be 10-12 miles with a full 10-day pack, and up to 4,000' of elevation gain or more. Once we reach the target areas, it will be off-trail, with shorter distances and time to fish or relax.

Trip 1 Dumbbell Lakes: 9-11 days, 12-14 miles/day with 3,000-5,000' elev gain on trail, 5-8 miles/day off-trail with high class 2 passes. Lightweight packs preferred due to advanced difficulty of trip.

Window I am available: Aug 18 - Aug 27, but may be able to Aug 24 - Sept 2
Where: Target area is Kings Canyon NP, Cataract Crk, Observation Lake, Cataract Pass, Dumbbell Lakes, Lake Basin (Marion Lake), fishing and lake-hopping along the way.
Route: There are different approaches and exits, but all routes involve pushing long miles and elevation gains on-trail, and challenging class 2 xc travel and time for fishing and exploration once in the target area.

My prefered route is
1) Bishop/S. Lake, trail to LeConte Canyon
2) trail to Deer Meadow on Palisade Creek
3) XC up Cataract Crk to Amphitheater Lake & explore upper lakes
4) XC over Cataract Pass to Dumbbell Lakes & fish explore basin
5) XC over Dumbbell Pass to Marion Lake or upper Lake Basin & fish explore basin
6) layover in Lake Basin and move to Marion Lake
7) XC down Cartridge Creek (bushwack) to Middle Fork (MF) Kings river, to up-river 1 mile
8) trail (somewhat maintained) up MF Kings, past LeConte RS, up Dusy Branch to (XC) Rainbow Lakes
9) trail up over Bishop pass to S. Lake, lake-hopping along the way (don't want to 'throw away' the last day!)
10) just in case

I am also open to Kings Canyon Cedar Grove trailheads, but that would likely take 11 days with long trail days. Preferred route would be up Woods Creek, over Pinchot and Mather Pass to bottom of Cataract Creek, up to Amphitheater, Dumbbells, Lake Basin, the SHR to Copper Creek, and down to Roads End.

I have another long trip planned for September, and will post separately.

Thanks for considering this and passing it along. Clarification questions can be posted to this thread; seriously interested backpackers can pm, thanks so much.



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Re: Backpacking Partner wanted: 9-10 day Dumbbell Lakes - Aug 20

Postby fishhunter » Sun Aug 18, 2013 5:05 pm

Cheetawoka,

I just returned from a trip into Lakes Basin starting at Cedar Grove. Was hoping to at least day hike to fish the Dumbells as my hiking buddies wanted to limit backcountry time to 8 days. Just not enough time so we fished Marion Lake which had nice 12" rainbows. I agree that 11-12 is probably required to do it right.

With respect to the bushwack down Cartridge Creek, we in fact did that as after coming over White/Red Pass my partners were looking for an alternate route back to Road's End. All I can say is that there is very little discernable trail and that XC travel is tricky due to extensive overgrowth of cottonwoods, aspens, manzanita and other objectionable barriers and the nature of the canyon. It took us 7 hours to traverse down to Kings River and we had the benefit of a GPS which showed the old JMT route (not that it mattered much). There were some cairns and even some recent footprints but they would inevitably disappear right before the next phase of doom -- dense brush and just brute force busting through, getting thrashed and falling down, etc. ](*,) Mostly we followed what appeared to be bear tracks (lots of poop) and at one point found it easier to just rock hop downstream (below Triple Falls). The last 1000' above the river isn't too bad, I suspect owning to the fact that a fair number of people push on that far in attempt to reach the falls. Having said that the scenery was awesome...but fair warning that it's a real bushwack and will eat up a whole day, not to mention the wear and tear on your gear!
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Re: Backpacking Partner wanted: 9-10 day Dumbbell Lakes - Aug 20

Postby Cheetahwoka » Sun Aug 18, 2013 5:38 pm

Thanks Fishhunter. That was hilarious. ](*,) I guessed as much on the epic bushwack, and had thought it would take a full day, with maybe just a bit of time to throw in a line on the MF Kings. Very useful to hear your detailed report of that bushwack, though. I was hoping it was a teensy bit less thick, oh well.

The bear trails are really helpful in places like that. Although once I followed one into a thicket, and all of a sudden the ground inside it became very clean, flat, and spacious, and I saw a pair of deer feet in there. I realized I was in the bear DQ and I'd better exit, stage left.
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Re: Backpacking Partner wanted: 9-10 day Dumbbell Lakes - Aug 20

Postby Cheetahwoka » Sun Aug 18, 2013 5:42 pm

Oh, how was the ford of the MF Kings at Simpson Meadow? Did you look at it when you went by?
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Re: Backpacking Partner wanted: 9-10 day Dumbbell Lakes - Aug 20

Postby fishhunter » Sun Aug 18, 2013 5:50 pm

No we turned south at Simpson to hike back up to the junction with Horseshoe Lakes...but the river is very low and should be crossable. We were too tired too fish MF Kings (I know, I know...) after leaving Marion at noon and reaching confluence with Cartridge Creek at 7 pm but with lower flow it looked very tempting for fly fishing.
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Re: Backpacking Partner wanted: 9-10 day Dumbbell Lakes - Aug 20

Postby Cheetahwoka » Sun Aug 18, 2013 11:18 pm

Thanks. Sounds downright shallow.
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Re: Backpacking Partner wanted: 9-10 day Dumbbell Lakes - Aug 20

Postby fishhunter » Tue Aug 20, 2013 9:32 pm

Here's a picture of the middle fork near Simpson meadow. It's low.

MiddleFork_Aug2013.JPG
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