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Shepherd Pass Trail to the Kern River to Milestone Creek Bas

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Shepherd Pass Trail to the Kern River to Milestone Creek Bas

Postby KathyW » Sun Aug 18, 2013 5:19 pm

I had planned to do this trip for a while, but I kept thinking I would not enjoy it because of how dry it is this year. At one point I thought about going in over Bishop Pass instead, but I was worried about smoke in that area; so I stuck to the original plan. Anyway, I spent 4 days this week trekking from the Shepherd Pass Trailhead to the Kern River and then up Milestone Creek Basin to Milestone Mountain before turning around and heading back out the same way.

Yes, it was dry but it was still beautiful.

The Shepherd Pass Trail is recovering very nicely from the flash flood - boots on the trails seem to be doing the job, and the only section that requires extra effort is the big gully not too far before Anvil Camp. For that section, it just takes going up an extra 100' or so above the trail to find a comfortable enough place to cross. Plenty of water available along the route still. The longest section without water is from where you leave Symmes Creek to about 8800' not to far before Mahogany Flat Camp (After the downhill section).

I enjoyed the trek up Milestone Creek Basin very much - very beautiful, and the scramble up Milestone Peak was fun - not really much slogging involved and a bit of fun route finding up the Class 3 section near the summit.

Anyway, If that area is so pretty on a dry year, it must be beautiful enough to make a person cry on a not so dry year.

Photos and map: http://kathywing.smugmug.com/California ... -Milestone



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Re: Shepherd Pass Trail to the Kern River to Milestone Creek Bas

Postby SweetSierra » Sun Aug 18, 2013 5:58 pm

Beautiful photos. The basin is gorgeous. Thanks for posting.
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Re: Shepherd Pass Trail to the Kern River to Milestone Creek Bas

Postby madeintahoe » Sun Aug 18, 2013 6:27 pm

Kathy...You're pictures brought back great memories for me! So happy you got back in there to do Milestone and see Milestone Basin....I did this trip back in 2007 and want to do it again one day..Milestone is a fun mountain to climb.

You're last day sounded like a very long day all the way out.
Thank you for sharing this....loved the pictures!..That small lake/tarn with the curving meadow on the cutoff trail is one of my absolute favorite spots in the Sierra!
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Re: Shepherd Pass Trail to the Kern River to Milestone Creek Bas

Postby Wandering Daisy » Mon Aug 19, 2013 8:00 am

Thanks for the update on Shepherd Pass. The FS permit office in Bishop are still telling people that the trail is not safely passable (unstable rock).

I was in Milestone Creek and on the cross trail August 5-6. Yes, it is a beautiful place. I had been there another year earlier (more water) and this year the place looked a little "stressed" due to lack of water - more like typical September conditions.
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Re: Shepherd Pass Trail to the Kern River to Milestone Creek Bas

Postby SSSdave » Mon Aug 19, 2013 8:48 am

Hi Kathy,

Quite enjoyed your photo tour. Thanks for adding the route map. We both had plans for that zone this summer and after looking at your images, am glad I pulled the plug because as you noted it is indeed dry. Beautiful up there regardless but during the peak of wildflower season during a normal year while meadows are still a lush green, more so for those seeking the best aesthetic. Next summer Saturday July 19 is the forum board meet up in that zone but after a normal winter up at 10k/11k that is likely to be a couple weeks early for best widlflowers. So am apt to plan on a trip starting Saturday Aug 2. In any case my focus is going to be further west in rather neglected foxtail pine timberline forests and lower stream areas nearer the trench than the above timberline barren crest areas where most of the lakes lie for fishermen and crest peaks for peakbaggers.
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Re: Shepherd Pass Trail to the Kern River to Milestone Creek Bas

Postby toejam » Mon Aug 19, 2013 12:13 pm

You're such a badass. Love your TRs.
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Re: Shepherd Pass Trail to the Kern River to Milestone Creek Bas

Postby maverick » Mon Aug 19, 2013 12:24 pm

SSDave wrote:

Next summer Saturday July 19 is the forum board meet up in that zone


The dates are 7/22-7/27 tentatively (depending on this coming winters snow), if
above average then it may be pushed back to early August.

Great TR and photos as usual Kathy. As Dave mention it is dry, but in a month
or so the grass will dry out and turn a shade of gold at sunset which is quite
pleasing too.
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
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Re: Shepherd Pass Trail to the Kern River to Milestone Creek Bas

Postby KathyW » Mon Aug 19, 2013 2:10 pm

I run across weather predictions related to agriculture and recall reading one recently that suggested this winter will be a wet one. I hope so.

I still have lots of other places to explore up in that area; so I'm looking forward to heading in to meet the group for a night or two next July.
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Re: Shepherd Pass Trail to the Kern River to Milestone Creek Bas

Postby giantbrookie » Mon Aug 19, 2013 8:36 pm

Great report. I recall you posted a report of a climb of Milestone Mtn several years ago and seeing these photos once again ignites my desire to go climb that beautiful peak. I've been away from the Upper Kern too long (haven't been there since 1996).
Since my fishing (etc.) website is still down, you can be distracted by geology stuff at: http://www.fresnostate.edu/csm/ees/facu ... ayshi.html
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Re: Shepherd Pass Trail to the Kern River to Milestone Creek Bas

Postby sekihiker » Tue Aug 27, 2013 9:34 am

Thanks for the trip report for one of my favorite areas. It seems like everyone finds a different way to the summit and then a slightly different way down. Not being much of a peak bagger, it is probably the most significant peak I have climbed and I felt a real sense of accomplishment after the effort. I was amazed when I got around to the west side and found a simple stroll to the top.
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