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Red's Meadows to Taboose, suggestions for peakbagging?

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Red's Meadows to Taboose, suggestions for peakbagging?

Postby bcrowell » Mon May 14, 2012 2:26 pm

A friend and I have a permit for July 10-23, entering at Red's Meadows, exiting over Taboose Pass. We've both done the JMT before in stereotypically robotic JMT-first-timer fashion, and would now like to do something with a little more off-trail action, possibly following portions of the Sierra High route, and definitely bagging a few peaks along the way. We're mainly up for class 1-2, will consider class 3 depending on what kind of class 3 it is. The peaks on my short list so far are Split Mountain, Black Giant, and Mt Spencer.

Comments? If you were covering the same territory, what would be on your list? We might do something like Sierra High for the first (northern) half, JMT plus side trips on the second half.

Is Volcanic Knob worthwhile? Arrow Peak? (a little out of our way) Striped Mountain? Mt Warlow?



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Re: Red's Meadows to Taboose, suggestions for peakbagging?

Postby maverick » Mon May 14, 2012 3:09 pm

Hi BC,

Kathy W just wrote up a TR for Striped Mtn: viewtopic.php?f=1&t=7563#p55037

If you have the time to hike to Arrow Peak than it would be at the top of my list, beautiful
views from the summit, also Cardinal Mountain is well worth the climb, both class 2.
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Re: Red's Meadows to Taboose, suggestions for peakbagging?

Postby quentinc » Thu May 17, 2012 5:55 pm

Split, Black Giant and Spencer are all very nice, and not very difficult, although BG is a bit of a chore with all the loose gravel.
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Re: Red's Meadows to Taboose, suggestions for peakbagging?

Postby bcrowell » Tue May 22, 2012 7:43 pm

Thanks, maverick and quentinc -- much appreciated! -Ben
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Re: Red's Meadows to Taboose, suggestions for peakbagging?

Postby AfterSeven » Thu May 24, 2012 5:52 am

Hey there....here's my $0.02

1. I wouldn't bother with Split Mt. because that's a Day Hike Peak you can access from the East Side. Along those lines...I would avoid any peak on the Sierra Crest for precisely the same reason. Time is precious so I would save my energies for interior peaks only, which cannot be easily attacked on a day trip or on an over-nighter which requires permits and bureaucracy. So if you are headed from Red Meadows to Taboose....I would focus on only peaks to the Right of the JMT as you head South.

2. Along those lines you state you might try the High Sierra Route...which is cool...but a pain...and I think again you are just putting terrain in play that is just as easily accessible for strong Day Hikers as you move your trail east towards the Sierra Crest. So strategically rather than detouring off the JMT to the East ...why not detour to the west instead? Into that middle no-mans land which has equally long and distasteful approaches from the east or the west.
Example...descend the Enchanted Gorge and ascend the Original John Muir Trail up Cartridge Creek past the elusive Triple Falls and up to Marion Lake...one of the Gems of the Sierra...in fact any lake East of Marion would be stellar.

3. As for peaks: I would say don't bother with Spencer. I would do The Hermit at the same basic height with a better view and a more 'historic' peak. Mt. Solomons has more bang for your buck than almost any peak in the Sierra...You can see virtually the whole Sierra and its a very easy Class 1/2...a very fast and safe climb. Mt Goddard has a fantastic view as well but is harder to get at than Mt. Solomon. Black Giant is ok but honestly its kinda Bleh for me...there is wide room for debate on that issue...its aesthetic for me; for whatever reason, Solomons, Goddard and Charbydis all impressed me far more. If you go down the Enchanted Gorge try Charybdis ...easy class 3. Lastly, the Vennacher Needle is a great easy scramble (its not really a Needle) with great views and easy access. Mt. Ruskin is a good alternative but is a little more 'airy' than the Needle. If you go up Cartridge Creek all those peaks in the area are in play...all sit in a manner that they have a great 360 degree panorama of the whole Sierra. Also I remember Near Observation Peak, surrounded by Lakes on 3 sides...Climber Mark Chapman took one of the greatest sunset pictures ever and made it into a poster. unfortunately I cant remember which lake....but no matter how you slice it if you staye 2 - 4 miles west of the JMT you will see a part of the Sierra seldom photographed, seldom explored, yet every bit as magnificent as the JMT.

4. Lastly, If you do the generic JMT and stop at Evolution Lake or the next one up....I would give Mt. Darwin a shot because its literally right there...and you don't have to deal with the glacier as you do if you make the traditional eastern approach...so I will contradict my 1st point by saying...if you are inclined to do a Sierra Crest Peak...this one makes more sense than any...It is one of the defining peaks of the Sierra...and would be on any real Sierra lover's bucket list. It is Class 3 in 2 points...crossing between 2 shoots like midway up the standard route and again on the summit pinnacle.

hope that helps.
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Re: Red's Meadows to Taboose, suggestions for peakbagging?

Postby Wandering Daisy » Thu May 24, 2012 7:46 am

The alternatives offered by After-Seven are hard core off-trail routes that require more than just the technical ability to do a class 2 peak. The poster did not elaborate on their qualifications and off-trail experience - just that they had done the JMT once before. Until we get more information, I would hesitate to recommend those routes.

Why do a peak? For the same amount of side-trip time you can explore each off-trail basin: 1) from Purple Lake to Virgina Lake loop through Ram Lakes, 2) High Route from Tully Hole to French Canyon is highly recommended, 3) side trip to Darwin Basin 4) side trip to Ionian Basin (Chasm Lake) via Black Giant Pass, 5) side trip down towards Simpson Meadow (spectacular canyon), 6) south side of Mather Pass-- loop via Frozen Lake Pass through Lakes Basin and return via old Cartridge Trail, 7) loop through 60 Lakes Basin, 8) side trips to upper Wrights Lakes and Wallace/Wales Lakes, 9) side trip to Crabtree Lakes, 10) side trip to Arctic Lake. You obviously could not do all these with your time constraints, but you can hardly go wrong no matter what side trip you choose.

The JMT is much more enjoyable if you get off the trail 1-2 miles into one of the side drainages each night.
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Re: Red's Meadows to Taboose, suggestions for peakbagging?

Postby AfterSeven » Thu May 24, 2012 2:37 pm

Wandering Daisy states: The alternatives offered by After-Seven are hard core off-trail routes that require more than just the technical ability to do a class 2 peak. The poster did not elaborate on their qualifications and off-trail experience - just that they had done the JMT once before. Until we get more information, I would hesitate to recommend those routes.


I disagree, so I'll address Wandering Daisy's concerns in reverse order:

1. "The poster did not elaborate on their qualifications and off-trail experience."
With all due respect the poster stated they were looking for Class, 1 or class 2 peaks...and also possibly class 3 on a case by case basis.
They also stated they are looking at doing parts of the High Route, which indicates that they have a familiarity with the Sierra High Route. As we know the Sierra High Route takes people over remote, seldom used, Sierra passes, up and down class 2-3 terrain and where mistakes in route-finding can take people into class 4-5 slabs ...and while wearing a backpack with a high center of gravity to boot!
I agree with Wandering Daisy's prior comments in other threads about the SHR passes 100% "IF you only have backpacking experience on trails, you WILL find almost ALL the passes HARD! IF you have not done off-trail travel and IF you are not an expert route-finder -- you will find the entire High Route difficult. I would say that good route-finding is the key to the entire route."
Having said that, might as well ask BCrowell here to take a quick look at a prior post on asking for trip advice so that people don't make assumptions that can get you and your friends in trouble.
http://is.gd/w8yQtK
Ultimately, my comments were directed at someone who is a strong hiker with some cross-country experience, comfortable on class 2 terrain and has doubts on class 3.

2. "The alternatives offered by After-Seven are hard core off-trail routes that require more than just the technical ability to do a class 2 peak."
If Nancy is referring to the Enchanted Gorge and Cartridge Creek she has a good point as to the Enchanted Gorge, it's definitely a big ask...on the other hand,I don't think anybody considering the SHR would find the Cartridge Creek/Cartridge Pass too troublesome nor 'hard-core' in any manner...one might be annoyed by some brush crashing...Great photos and trip report, albeit 37 years ago can be found here concerning both http://is.gd/bduaaK.
Lastly, any time you start going cross-country in the High Sierra with a full backpack you will be going much much slower than you planned on...downhill foot placement coming down passes can quickly fatigue muscles in your foot, ankle, quads. Loose scree, ball bearing pebbles and wobbly boulders abound. You live in a day and age where there is ample info on every conceivable route just a click away. Whatever you do, research your trip thoroughly and to the extent you go cross country, make sure you know where the tricky spots are so you aren't surprised when you get there.
Enthusiasm is the burning spirit within that says, ‘I can!’ It is the indomitable ‘Yes!’ without which nothing worthwhile is ever accomplished. ~ ROYAL ROBBINS
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Re: Red's Meadows to Taboose, suggestions for peakbagging?

Postby maverick » Thu May 24, 2012 3:38 pm

OP has given some indication to his experience here: viewtopic.php?f=1&t=5816&p=38320#p38320
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Re: Red's Meadows to Taboose, suggestions for peakbagging?

Postby Wandering Daisy » Thu May 24, 2012 4:37 pm

Sorry, the poster's name did not ring a bell with me so I did not remember previous posts.

I would still hesitate to send anyone down Enchanted Gorge! I did it once (with a day pack) and did not find it that scenic or enjoyable and I did not do the final 3 miles of bushwhaking to the Middle Fork. (Read Rogue's account) I honestly think there are much more enjoyable variations to the JMT than Enchanted Gorge-Cartridge Creek. I would take the High Route via Dusy/Barrett Lakes/cirque pass (high mountains, alpine environment) vs Enchanted Gorge (gnarly deep in canyon bushwhaking).

My point, which I should have elaborated on more, is that doing a climb of class 2-3 is a different beast than the micro-route finding and bushwhaking skills required of Enchanted Gorge/Cartridge Creek. I can think of many technical mountaineers who would do poorly in Enchanted Gorge!

Given the distance and time constraints, I feel the off-trail time would be better spent on other side trips. For half the time it would take to suffer Enchanted Gorge-Cartridge, you could do a lot of rambling through fine alpine terrain both east and west of the JMT south of Forrester Pass.
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Re: Red's Meadows to Taboose, suggestions for peakbagging?

Postby SandStorm » Thu May 24, 2012 11:41 pm

I have a quick related question.

I'll be headed down the JMT speedway (southbound) in mid-July and had in mind doing exactly what Daisy mentioned, i.e., detouring on the SHR from Tully to French Canyon and then up through Dusy-Barrett Lakes to the Palisade Lakes.

Route finding and Class 2 (or 3 if it can't be avoided) are no problem. FWIW, I have the Roper guide. I just wanted to inquire if there are any glitches or particularly tricky parts of these sections to watch out for. Looks like both variations should take about two days.

Many thanks in advance, folks, and good luck, bcrowell, on your trip.
Last edited by SandStorm on Fri May 25, 2012 8:18 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: Red's Meadows to Taboose, suggestions for peakbagging?

Postby bcrowell » Fri May 25, 2012 12:48 pm

Thanks, all -- lots of good info there!

To clarify, we both have a fair amount of cross-country experience (mostly in the San Gabriels), have both done a little class 3 (e.g., Tehipite Dome). The general idea of doing peakbagging and some Sierra High Route are the basic ideas we've agreed on for the trip. My doubts about class 3 stuff such as Mt Darwin are because class 3 is such a broad term, and also because carrying a heavy backpacking pack makes it more difficult to do that kind of thing.
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Re: Red's Meadows to Taboose, suggestions for peakbagging?

Postby Wandering Daisy » Fri May 25, 2012 6:13 pm

Here are some no-rope climbs along the JMT. Class 3 definitly is a broad catagory! The peaks I climbed were done when I was doing a lot of rock climbing so they may be more than you want to tackle. I usually had rock shoes with me when I did any class 3 routes. If you want to do class 3 climbing I would not recommend wearing big boots. Having an approach shoe or rock shoe with sticky rubber makes a lot of difference.

My #1 rated climb is north rib on Tyndell. It is class 3 - exposed slabs, if you are comfortable with that. You basically start a bit southwest of Shepherd Pass. I used rock shoes on this climb. I descended on the south side to upper Wrights Lakes - very spectacular but lots of talus from the summit to the upper lake. Then it was an easy walk over Rockwell Pass (easy class 2).

Split Mountian - easy class 2. Nice view. A 14'er. Not particularly interesting climbing.

Although I have not done it, I have heard good things about Mt Iszaak Walton. Northeast Ridge. Exposed ridge climbing.

Thunderbolt, SW Chute No. 1 (if you do High Route into Barrett Lakes). Class 3. The summit block is 5.8 but the peak register is located below the summit block. Many do the peak without doing the summit block.

Mt. Fisk, southwest ridge, from Sapphire Lake. Nice ridge that is a series of boulder moves over lots of big blocks - none exposed. At any time you can go over onto the east slope for class 1 slog.

Mt Sill from unnamed lake east of Potluck Pass (if you do High Route). Southwest slope, class 2-3. Nice climb. Tricky route finding. 14'er. I did this climb in tennis shoes! There is some snow and I was able to get over the snow because there were big sun-cups.

I have not done it, but East Ridge of Ruskin is a reported to be a good ridge climb. Class 3.

If you drop over to East Lake/Reflection Lake/Harrison Pass instead of the JMT, East Ridge on Mt Brewer is very nice, easy class 2. Again, I used rock shoes, although you do not need them.

Milestone and Midway make a nice two-peak day if you go up into Milestone Creek. East side, easy class 3 on Milestone; East Ridge Class 2 on Midway.

Mt Jordan, easy class 3 with Cl 4 summit block. I have not climbed this. I do not know if the class 3 climbing is worth it if you have to skip the summit block.

If you have already done Mt Whitney, you may want to instead do Mt. Muir on the way out.

I am sure there are many others. You may want to contact the LosAngeles Sierra Club SPS section. They are the main "peak bagging" orgnaization and could give you suggestions. You can also look at their website trip reports - climber.org
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