Junction Pass

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Stanley Otter
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Location: Flat Land (a.k.a. Northeast Wisconsin)

Junction Pass

Post by Stanley Otter » Fri Jan 25, 2019 3:14 pm

GENERAL OVERVIEW: This pass leads between Center Basin and the drainage beneath Junction Peak that empties into Shepherd Creek
CLASS/DIFFICULTY: Class 1 (north)/Class 2 (south)
LOCATION: Kings Canyon National Park/John Muir Wilderness (Inyo National Forest) HST Map
ELEVATION: 13300 feet
USGS TOPO MAP (7.5') Mt Williamson, CA
ROUTE DESCRIPTION: I crossed from north to south in mid-July 2018 -- winter 2017-18 had below average snowfall. From Center Basin follow the old John Muir Trail to the top of the pass. It is easy to lose track of the trail at low elevations on the granite ramps, but further up it is very easy to follow with only a few short sections obscured by minor rock slides on the talus slopes. There is a vibrant community of Sky Pilot plants near the top. The descent on the south side is pretty handily divided into two sections: 1) A precipitous gravel/sand/scree slope that leads 600-700' down to the base of Junction Peak. No trace of the original trail remains, but the approximate location shown on the Mt Williamson quad is pretty much where I descended. Coming down is a matter of a controlled gravel glissade. Going up must be quite a slog -- a two steps up, one back sort of thing. 2) The route down to The Pothole consists of three relatively flat sections separated by somewhat steeper slopes. All of this is Class 2 hiking, no scrambling required. It is, however, pretty miserable going with no evidence of a trail except for some cairns obviously placed for their humor value. Somewhere I read a description attributing this to the fact that it is not well-sorted; i.e., many different sizes and types of rock, talus, and all manner of other debris are mixed together, making it difficult to get a rhythm going. There is certainly a lot of "new" rock that came from above scattered over the snow fields. Although there was snow and some stagnant pools in the upper portions of the drainage, I did not find flowing water at the surface until the flat section immediately above The Pothole. Hope this helps.

I'll also copy the description from the HST Map for opposite direction here: From The Pothole on the eastern side of Shepherd, head northwest. Cross the meadow on the bench above The Pothole. Ascend the west side of the stream that leads into the meadow and head into the valley between Junction Peak and Junction Pass. Stay on the north side of the valley and ascend sand and scree to the plateau near the summit of Junction Pass.

Junction Pass A.jpg
Junction Pass B.jpg
Junction Pass C.jpg
Junction Pass D.jpg
Junction Pass E.jpg
Junction Pass F.jpg
Junction Pass G.jpg
Center Basin.jpg
Sky Pilot.jpg
Junction Peak.jpg
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