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Overnight trip Kennedy Meadows to Iceland/Ridge lake

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Overnight trip Kennedy Meadows to Iceland/Ridge lake

Postby MountainMinstrel » Sat Aug 10, 2013 2:45 pm

I've got a couple of days off this next week and am looking to see some more of this area God has landed me in. I already did a day hike out of Gianelli to Chewing Gum and an overnight to out of Crabtree to Gem. I would like to explore those areas in depth when I get more time. So I was looking at following Saucer meadows to Summit Creek and then heading directly to Iceland via the northern route shown here (thanks DoyleWDonehoo)...

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If my map reading skills are correct, it looks to be about 5 miles on the trail and 1.5 miles (maybe more like 2 after my normal backtracking :angry: ) of X-country. Does that seem about right?

BTW since I haven't posted this before, I am a level 3 backpacker comfortable with class 2 terrain. I don't mind tough scrambles, but have issues with too much exposure. The purpose of this trip is to get away from people and get some training for Whitney in September and of course be in the Sierra.

I may be able to hit the trail late Thursday with a return on Saturday. This would give me more time to explore the area. Is there any decent camping along the way? If not I will just sleep in the bus and hit the trail first light.

Also I will most likely head out via Relief Valley. Dose this seem like a reasonable overnight trek? If not, any other recommendations on the 108 or 4?
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Re: Overnight trip Kennedy Meadows to Iceland/Ridge lake

Postby Carne_DelMuerto » Sat Aug 10, 2013 3:13 pm

From the Kennedy Meadows TH parking lot to summit creek is 7.5 miles. I'll have to check the mileage for Summit Creeck to Iceland Lake when I get home.

There are some nice camping spots to the west of Iceland Lake up on some granite/decomposed granite benches.
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Re: Overnight trip Kennedy Meadows to Iceland/Ridge lake

Postby giantbrookie » Sat Aug 10, 2013 4:03 pm

MountainMinstrel wrote:If my map reading skills are correct, it looks to be about 5 miles on the trail and 1.5 miles (maybe more like 2 after my normal backtracking :angry: ) of X-country. Does that seem about right?

I may be able to hit the trail late Thursday with a return on Saturday. This would give me more time to explore the area. Is there any decent camping along the way? If not I will just sleep in the bus and hit the trail first light.

Also I will most likely head out via Relief Valley. Dose this seem like a reasonable overnight trek? If not, any other recommendations on the 108 or 4?

As noted in carne del muerto's post it is 7.5 mi to Summit Cr., which makes it approximately 10 mi to Iceland Lake. That is a fairly strenuous day, for anyone. If you plan to hit the trail on late Thursday, you won't be making it to Iceland Lake. You'll probably get to Summit Creek or somewhere in that vicinity. This means that you won't really have a layover day in the Iceland Lakes area if you wish to spend a night camping there. There are abundant nice camping spots at all of the lakes of that area, but a 2.5 day trip won't give you much time to explore the area. This is certainly doable in 2.5 days (day 1 to Summit Creek etc., day 2 to Iceland plus a little time to go exploring, day 3 out) but that won't be a leisurely trip.
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Re: Overnight trip Kennedy Meadows to Iceland/Ridge lake

Postby k9mark » Sat Aug 10, 2013 5:35 pm

Dont forget your fishing rod....
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Re: Overnight trip Kennedy Meadows to Iceland/Ridge lake

Postby The hermit » Sat Aug 10, 2013 6:53 pm

My 3day trip was too short.but at least i toured the lakes up there. I did make it to lewis the first day.but it was a killer. I say go for it
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Re: Overnight trip Kennedy Meadows to Iceland/Ridge lake

Postby Carne_DelMuerto » Sat Aug 10, 2013 9:01 pm

Giantbrookie is correct on the mileage to Iceland...not sure why I didn't just ballpark that before.

I agree that 2 nights isn't much time to explore this area. You might want to consider getting across Summit Creek on the first day and then just day hiking the next day up to as many lakes as you have time. The slabs up there are pretty easy to navigate, especially that northern route you've picked out.
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Re: Overnight trip Kennedy Meadows to Iceland/Ridge lake

Postby MountainMinstrel » Sat Aug 10, 2013 11:02 pm

Thanks guys. I think where I went wrong with the mileage was that I assumed the trail started at the end of the "rough dirt road", but apparently you must hike that 2 miles. Now I am not sure what to do. I do not want to kill myself getting there and then not be able to enjoy it. If I can't swing that extra day, I may have to try something else. Maybe take the PCT out to Wolf Creek lake.
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Re: Overnight trip Kennedy Meadows to Iceland/Ridge lake

Postby MountainMinstrel » Sun Aug 11, 2013 9:08 pm

Problem solved. I will be able to hit the trail fairly early on Thursday so I will have three days to do this. I will do my best to get all that way to Iceland lake on Thursday. Then I will have all of Friday to explore the basin maybe even do Granite Dome before heading out on Saturday. :D All I have to do is get four days of work done in three (not really as hard as it seems). I am exited \:D/
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Re: Overnight trip Kennedy Meadows to Iceland/Ridge lake

Postby The hermit » Mon Aug 12, 2013 12:46 pm

I wanted to climb granite dome too. But I wanted to see lewis lakes more. I didnt have the energy to do both in the three days. Next time.
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Re: Overnight trip Kennedy Meadows to Iceland/Ridge lake

Postby DoyleWDonehoo » Tue Aug 13, 2013 6:46 pm

MountainMinstrel wrote:Problem solved. I will be able to hit the trail fairly early on Thursday so I will have three days to do this. I will do my best to get all that way to Iceland lake on Thursday.

Well good luck with that! :lol: Just make sure you have eaten and drank/drunk/drunken/whatever your fill and rest a good few times on your way up because getting all the way there is not trivial. Now I am not as young as I used to be (I train nearly every other day doing 5 to 6 miles, 1000 feet gain with a 55 pound pack) and my stamina may not be what it used to be, but that is a major grunt just getting to the camp turnoff on Summit creek to head up to the lakes. It may only 6.5 miles or so to the camp, but it is about 3500 feet of total climbing just to get there, then there is the XC to the lakes after that. I have done this trail a few times in recent years. The last time I got as far as the camp, but not before a few miles back I hit the wall and took a mandatory rest (my body insisted). True, I had little to eat at the start (no lunch: a mistake), but it is a hump. Getting to the upper portion of the Res is not a big deal (nice camps off of Grouse Creek and the peninsula), but after that heading to Saucer Meadow there is a major switchback climb, and even more climbing after Saucer Meadow.
My advice: shoot for the camp on Summit creek at the turnoff. The camp is easy to find: after Saucer Meadow and the climbing, the trail will level off then descend to the creek: where the trail meets the creek (big level area and an obvious camp spot), that is where you head up to the lakes. Camp there, get up the next morning and head up to the lakes and you will have more than plenty of time to find a camp and explore. I think we got up there at about 9AM.
When heading up to the lakes following my route and you get to the 9000 foot point, just keep to the right of the stream (probably dry) and when it constricts, keep to the right corner and stay right till you are below the last ramp then head left over the summit of the pass. There is nothing technical about this: just good easy XC. Then traverse left staying level and you will hit a parking-lot like flat area of granite, and beyond this a ways you will see another flat area just above the one you are on. Get to that flat area and at the end you will find a nice game trail to follow for a good ways. Once you reach a big open area, be sure to aim for the low point between Iceland Lake and Ridge Lake.

Treat the place nice and leave it the way you found it. The area is a jewel. A fire is totally unnecessary and real backpacker don't need them. :evil: :nod:
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Overnight trip Kennedy Meadows to Iceland/Ridge lake

Postby MountainMinstrel » Tue Aug 13, 2013 10:46 pm

Thanks for the 411. If I get on the trail by 7AM, I'm pretty certain I can make Iceland. But if I'm done when I get to Summit Creek ill have no problem stopping there. Goals are good, but at 57 my pride is pretty much a thing of the past. I bailed twice on taking the offtrail route from Alta Peak to pear lake before I actually did it. However, when I did it it was from 3:00 PM Friday through Sunday about the same time. I'm not afraid of miles and since I don't have a fishing license this year, I have nothing else to do but walk. I will most likely take a break at Summit Creek swim a bit (or at least soak the feet if i can't get all the way wet) and evaluate things. I am not a destination type guy, but more of a journey guy, so I'm sure the trip will be great no matter what.

As for fires, I enjoy them when they are doable but not if it is illegal or just stupid. I promise you that while I will have a fire (small thumb sized wood) at Summit Creek, I will not up on the granite. I always try to leave anyplace I go better than I find it.
Last edited by MountainMinstrel on Wed Aug 14, 2013 9:10 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Overnight trip Kennedy Meadows to Iceland/Ridge lake

Postby Carne_DelMuerto » Wed Aug 14, 2013 9:56 am

Wonder is rock and water and the life that lives in-between.
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