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Contact Pass Info

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Contact Pass Info

Postby Kdada » Wed Jul 12, 2017 12:04 pm

Hello, new forum member - first post. I'm planning on heading up the South Fork of Big Pine Creek Sunday, and we are going to try to head up the off-trail part of South Fork to Contact Pass, and drop down from there to the Big Pine Lakes. Does anyone know if climbers have broken in a good trail up to Contact Pass (the pass just west of Temple Crag) from 2nd/3rd Lake? Clearly the first few hundred feet below the north (big pine lakes) side of Contact are snowed in from the recent July pics I have seen.
And if anyone has been up there, I'd love to know how the snow is around the pass. Also have not done the South Fork drainage - very open to suggestions on spots to visit/camp. Thanks!



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Re: Contact Pass Info

Postby maverick » Wed Jul 12, 2017 12:31 pm

Willow, Brainerd, and Elinore Lakes all have camp sites.
Do not have any recent info on Contact Pass, the northern side with snow, will definitely require an ice axe and crampons for sure, it is very steep.

PS Just found this: http://www.supertopo.com/climbers-forum ... e-crag-yet
I don't give out specific route information, my belief is that it takes away from the whole adventure spirit of a trip, if you need every inch planned out, you'll have to get that from someone else.

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: Contact Pass Info

Postby Kdada » Wed Jul 12, 2017 1:34 pm

Thanks, Maverick! Have really enjoyed referring to your site this season in getting ready for our trip.
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Re: Contact Pass Info

Postby cgundersen » Wed Jul 12, 2017 1:51 pm

Kdada,
A couple years ago, my pal from the East coast and I backed off from doing Southfork Pass (too nasty looking for us) in August of a low snow year and headed over to Contact pass. It's a pretty tight canyon heading up into the southfork area with lots of bushwhacking, but one occasionally hits remnant use trail from climbers heading up that way. There are occasional spots to camp on the way up, but the views really open up the higher you climb. If the conditions are compatible, I'd encourage you to keep heading up till you run out of gas, because the views and bugs will be better. We camped at the unnamed little lake below Contact and it was great. As Mav said, Contact will be a challenge, but if you like glissading, you should have a gas on the downslope. Cameron
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Re: Contact Pass Info

Postby maverick » Wed Jul 12, 2017 2:21 pm

CG wrote:
A couple years ago, my pal from the East coast and I backed off from doing Southfork Pass (too nasty looking for us) in August of a low snow year and headed over to Contact pass.


Yeah, Contact Pass is a breeze compared to Southfork Pass, that baby is super steep on its western side. :nod:
I don't give out specific route information, my belief is that it takes away from the whole adventure spirit of a trip, if you need every inch planned out, you'll have to get that from someone else.

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: Contact Pass Info

Postby cgundersen » Thu Jul 13, 2017 2:22 pm

Hey Kdada,
I just overcame inertia and posted the Contact Pass photos from late August 3 years ago; there'll be LOTS more snow now! If you get up there, please take some photos, because they'll certainly help embellish the stuff I put up!
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Re: Contact Pass Info

Postby Kdada » Thu Jul 13, 2017 9:40 pm

Thanks cgundersen! I have my ice axe and crampons ready and my buddy will have same. Those pics are killer to describe the terrain -if not the current (snow cuppy) conditions. I haven't found much info online about this route other than that its there.

Bushwhacking I can't say entices me, but the unknowns of the snow at the pass unsettle us. We last July did the amazing river route up to Grizzly Lake in the Trinities. Then went off trail above Grizzly along Deems Burton's TAHR high route (http://www.pbase.com/losthiker/talps_hi ... e&page=all) also check out Leor Pantilat's blog (https://pantilat.wordpress.com/2015/09/ ... -sawtooth/) - and I can attest it ain't easy - we made it, w/o any mountaineering gear, to what he calls "Man on Rock Pass" which is lovely but was so many steep post-glacial untrammeled snowfields past civilization that we pooped out there, trembling to do his "granite hwy" which - while visible below us on the far side of the pass - was smeared with big globs of snow and precipitous inclines below it - and led up to an unseen off-trail pass and descent to our next destination, Papoose Lake. So we camped at the pass, turned back and had an INSANE adventure for the next day and change visiting a - as far as we could tell - almost totally unknown watershed until after numberless bushwhacks, chaparral-ladder hillside descents, and bear trails later we made it back to the Papoose trail 28 hours of sometimes tense and exhausting USGS quad navigating later. Along the way we scared a mountain lion (accidentally) off a fresh killed doe, avoided baby bears, and discovered exactly one hunter's site, so old they were using the 70s style beer cans. And, as for humanity, that was it, but let me tell you the bushes and the tumbles bit. Hard. We were a mess by the time they were done with us. Looking for a more prepared, above treelike, saner version of that this year.
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