TR: Cardinal via Taboose Pass, Olancha & Owens via PCT 4/11/ | High Sierra Topix  

TR: Cardinal via Taboose Pass, Olancha & Owens via PCT 4/11/

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TR: Cardinal via Taboose Pass, Olancha & Owens via PCT 4/11/

Postby seanr » Fri Apr 17, 2015 1:49 am

After the storms last week, I hiked Owens Peak from Walker Pass via the PCT, Olancha Peak via Olancha Pass and the PCT, and then Cardinal Mountain (up the west/county line ridge & down the south chute) via Taboose Pass.

Olancha and Owens will be snow free until fall unless you go out right after any further spring storms. I was thankful to go on the heels of a storm for scenery purposes and because snow was the only water source besides an ugly trickle in Gomez Meadow (between Monache Meadow & Olancha Peak). Cardinal Mountain and Taboose Pass can probably be climbed mostly snow free if persistent about avoiding it, but there is patchy to continuous consolidated snowpack on horizontal, shaded, and north facing aspects above 10,000 feet. 3-24 inches (generally about a foot) of powdery snow made things interesting for me from the second creek crossing by the big waterfall upward, but the fresh snow has been melting very fast.

I enjoyed the flowers blooming down low on these hikes. They were most plentiful on the Owens Peak hike, but very nice along lower Taboose Creek.

Information on these hikes is not hard to come by so I'm leaving this brief. Let me know if there is anything specific you'd like me to post an image of from Taboose Pass area south of Big Pine to Walker Pass area. I may be able to help. George Creek and Williamson were certainly calling to me. Below are some of the highlights from Cardinal Mountain-Taboose Pass:

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Looking up toward the crest of the pass area after a few hours or so of hiking. I enjoyed speaking with a state hydrologist who was out spending the morning walking his dog to the top of the pass and back. He commented on normally donning skis down in the small forested area far behind and below by the first creek crossing. That, the warm day, and his recent challenges finding snow to measure for the big April 1st reports made it seem like June.


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The west ridge/county line route up Cardinal Mountain that I ascended can be gained on the left of the photo. The sloggy south chute I descended is on the right.


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Looking back after ascending most of the west ridge.


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Arrow Peak view from the west ridge of Cardinal Mountain.


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Taking in the Taboose Pass area and beyond from near the summit of Cardinal Mountain.


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Looking down the west ridge and at Cardinal Lake to the right on the north side of the ridge.


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Looking down the west ridge emphasizing its south side (Taboose Pass side) and Arrow Peak to the southwest.


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Looking toward the summit of Cardinal Mountain from the West Ridge as it nears the south chute route.


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Split Mountain from Cardinal Mountain with the Palisades region to the north. It was unbelievably calm, quiet, and warm on the summit. I heard a coyote howl in the distance.


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Split Mountain and Birch Mtn.


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Goodale is looking easy on the left with Striped on the right looming over Taboose Pass.


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Orange Ogre looming over Taboose Canyon on my way down to the TH.


Please do check weather forecasts and research conditions. I spent some time giving a ride to an inadequately prepared backpacker who found me at Walker Pass campground before the second (bigger) storm rolled in. It turned out he graduated a year before my wife from the same high school named after a famous mountain. Anyway, he thought it was nice enough out to show up out of shape and backpack from Walker Pass to Lone Pine in early April. He wisely turned back after after a few days due to the first storm and spraining his ankle among other factors. He missed the nice trail angels who drove through and spoke to my wife and I ten minutes before he appeared from his somewhat questionable shelter (or maybe the restroom) and found me. He was out of water and cold. He didn't realize the campground and area is lacking water. Additionally, he mentioned being out of shape and developing blisters. To top things off, he was reluctant to hitchike from the adjacent highway. Anyway, he seemed to be doing well besides a limp and fatigue. I was glad he aborted his trip and learned from the experience.



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Re: TR: Cardinal via Taboose Pass, Olancha & Owens via PCT 4

Postby ExploreABitMore » Fri Apr 17, 2015 11:45 am

Great trip report and photos! Thanks for sharing, sure makes it tempting to head up Taboose.

By the way, how did you get those captions under your photos? Is that just italicized text with no spacing, or something more special?
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Re: TR: Cardinal via Taboose Pass, Olancha & Owens via PCT 4

Postby seanr » Fri Apr 17, 2015 11:56 am

ExploreABitMore wrote:Great trip report and photos! Thanks for sharing, sure makes it tempting to head up Taboose.

By the way, how did you get those captions under your photos? Is that just italicized text with no spacing, or something more special?


Thanks, I'd definitely be back near there if I had the time!

It seems like the easiest way for me to post images from my smartphone is to hit the upload attachment button below the main text box. From there you can enter text for each image in a separate box.
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Re: TR: Cardinal via Taboose Pass, Olancha & Owens via PCT 4

Postby Hobbes » Fri Apr 17, 2015 12:16 pm

Dang, I'm so jealous. I'd like to hit Taboose in May to catch even a little snow, but the way things look, it might be gone, gone baby.

We've got two storms lining up, next week and the week after, so perhaps a little additional coverage can be achieved for some May hiking.
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Re: TR: Cardinal via Taboose Pass, Olancha & Owens via PCT 4

Postby maverick » Fri Apr 17, 2015 12:18 pm

Thanks for the info and pictures.

Sean wrote:

I enjoyed the flowers blooming down low on these hikes. They were most plentiful on the Owens Peak hike, but very
nice along lower Taboose Creek.


What elevation are we talking about along Taboose Creek? Was it this flower garden along the trail, though even with this
drought year it would be to early for it to be blooming this early: http://WildernessApertures.com/img/s11/ ... 8418-6.jpg
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Re: TR: Cardinal via Taboose Pass, Olancha & Owens via PCT 4

Postby seanr » Fri Apr 17, 2015 12:40 pm

Maverick, thanks for sharing! I wish it bad been like that! No, a few glimpses of color in the sandy stretches probably below 6,500 feet was better than nothing for me. I'll have to head back sometime!

IMAG6864.jpg


IMAG6888.jpg


:lol:

PCT from Walker Pass to Owens shoulder had variety with many plentiful stretches throughout. I guess it is not surprising given the similar elevation.
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Re: TR: Cardinal via Taboose Pass, Olancha & Owens via PCT 4

Postby maverick » Fri Apr 17, 2015 12:42 pm

Okay thanks.
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Re: TR: Cardinal via Taboose Pass, Olancha & Owens via PCT 4

Postby seanr » Fri Apr 17, 2015 2:25 pm

Hobbes wrote:Dang, I'm so jealous. I'd like to hit Taboose in May to catch even a little snow, but the way things look, it might be gone, gone baby.

We've got two storms lining up, next week and the week after, so perhaps a little additional coverage can be achieved for some May hiking.


I hope so too, but the next chunk of time I have for easily getting out far from home is Memorial Day. Unless a little storm comes through, like it often seems to around then, it may seem more like 4th of July. I imagine wildflowers may be decent around then. Good luck!
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