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Carol Col (Puppet Pass)

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Re: Carol Col (Puppet Pass)

Postby neil » Mon Aug 29, 2016 1:21 pm

I just came South over Puppet Pass on August 18, 2016, completing a section of the Sierra High Route. I recognized Puppet Pass as an XC pass I had done in 2001 without knowing then that it was a named pass. So I just followed the route I remembered, heading essentially due South from the East shore of Roget Lake, angling up the talus to a notch. [media]IMG_3865.JPG[/media] The cairns are much bigger here at the notch than at the "obvious low point" of the Steve Roper description, but maybe that just means fewer Roper-inspired cairn destroyers go this way. From the notch you can see that the route is a straight continuation of the line from Puppet Lake to Roget Lake. [media]IMG_3855.JPG[/media] I'm not recommending this route. It's less steep that the standard route, but some of the rock is not stable. In particular, I was in a gully of small talus and scree when a 12 foot long and 3 foot wide section broke loose and slid about 3 feet. Fortunately nothing above it broke loose, but the smell of rock against rock was sickening.

From this notch at the top I walked NE about 1/4 mile along the top to see the real Puppet Pass. The actual low point is above some nasty cliffs, but just a little bit further NE, climbing slightly up the side of "Puppet Peak" (12225), I saw a use trail heading down with some cairns. I walked down a bit to see what it was like, it looked like the dirt path disappeared down into some very steep stuff, turning the corner around a huge block. Probably very steep but if there is a defined route it's probably efficient and safe. I never saw the plaque.

When I was here in 2001 I came across the divide from Humphreys Basin above Rust Lake, making the mistake of assuming that the gap with the widest separation of contour lines is the best and safest route. This "pass" is an exfoliating vertical cliff on the N side. You can walk along the flat top of this cliff to the right the whole width of the pass, and I found a way off the cliff on the right side onto some of the loosest and scariest talus / scree I have ever set foot on. The short route down to more stable stuff terrified me, larger blocks were moving as I walked down the scree. Anyway, not recommended. That's why on the way back I took Puppet Pass, albeit my own version going up and right to the notch. Back then I thought it was an excellent route, sort of like a short version of the E side of Lamarck Col, and I was proud of myself for "discovering" it.
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Re: Carol Col (Puppet Pass)

Postby rlown » Mon Aug 29, 2016 4:29 pm

neil, I do like your pack choice!! :thumbsup:
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Re: Carol Col (Puppet Pass)

Postby shtinkypuppie » Wed Aug 31, 2016 7:17 pm

Just did Puppet Pass on August 26. It is definitely best to stay to the east, hugging the base of the little ledge. There is actually a pretty good switchbacking use trail there for most of the way down. I didn't do that for most of the pass, and I found the direct route down the huge talus to be perfectly stable, if annoying.
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