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Piute Pass, Humphreys Basin, July 15-23, 2017

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Piute Pass, Humphreys Basin, July 15-23, 2017

Postby rozim » Mon Jul 24, 2017 9:56 pm

I just returned from a 8 day trip with my 2 teenage daughters to Piute Pass and Humphreys Basin.
We did not do many miles overall - this trip was more about teen-friendly hours and enjoyment
and exposure to snow.

The places we stayed were
0. North Lake Campground, at end of the Road
1. Piute Lake
2. A bit over Piute Pass, unnamed area N. of Summit Lake
3. Above Marmot Lake, 12,000'.
4. Around Upper Desolation Lake
5. Around Upper Golden Trout Lake
6. Above Muriel Lake
7. Piute Lake

This is our first exposure to snow and we and no real problems, and on special gear.
We avoided stream crossings in Humphreys Basin however, but we did spend a fair amount
of time on snow fields walking through sun cups.

A note on sentiment: At the ranger station in Bishop they are very pessimistic, however all hikers we met
were optimistic about their experiences even when reporting on the waist to chest deep crossing of
Evolution Creek (but note: there is heresy -- we did not do that).

Scattered Gear notes, recommendations, and notes:
- Among the 3 of us we had sneakers, trail runners, and very lightweight boots. Among the, say, 20 or so people
we met, leather boots, lightweight to mid weight, were common.

- We did not have, nor really have the need for, microspikes, much less crampons and ice axe, with the caveat
on a couple of descents over snow fields just E of Piute Pass, I didn't feel that comfortable (5'11", 190#, with,
say, 30# pack at that point) however my daughters were fine.

- We all had hiking poles and I strongly recommend these for the snow fields.

- Sun protection, esp on the snow fields - this is an issue. Obviously you need sun screen and lip balm with an
SPF. I recommend 2 bandanas per person so you can cover your face, and next time would consider a balaclava.
I recommend a spare lip balm in case you lose the main one, along with some night time lip treatment like
Aquaphor. Of course some floppy sun hat is also a necessity.

- We were usually above 10,000 and slept one night at 12,000. I had some mild headaches and took aspirin
sparingly -- next time I'll try just taking 1 per day for the first few days.

- Clothing: we had "normal" summer clothing, lightweight hiking pants and long sleeve shirts. Occasionally
in the windy afternoons I would put on an undershirt and/or wind breaker. A few people had gaiters but I don't
think there was any point for us.

- Tent: 3 season tent - we never slept on snow, nor did we need to.

- Snow fields, again -- every day we crossed snow fields, probably distances of 10 to 100 meters - but there
was lots of dry ground too.

- Navigation: we were almost always XC and off trail and navitaging by going towards distant peaks.

- Weather: I don't know the exact temps, but pleasant during the day and around 7pm we would start to layer up.
We sleep w/o rain fly most nights -- it never rained and we didn't really need it for any kind of extra
warmth, nor for dew.

- Mosquitos: In Humphreys Basin there was almost aways a breeze while we were there, plus we tended to camp
"dry" and sleep away and above lakes, so skeeters were not an issue -- until the last night, at Piute Lake, when
it was annoying. I never used my headset, while my daughters did rarely.

- Water: Used Aquamira about 1/2 the time, and the rest of the times just drank fresh snow melt.

- Best Meal: Tried and enjoyed Skurka's Frito surprise:http://andrewskurka.com/2015/backpacking-dinner-recipe-beans-rice-with-fritos-cheese/

- The campground at the end of the road - our first time there - it feels like Friday by noon it can definitely
fill up. I would not plan on arriving Sat and getting a spot. The long term parking 0.7 miles away from
there, however, feels like it would always have a spot for 1 more car.

Before the trip we stayed 1 night at the Bishop Creek Resort.
After we stayed in Bishop at the Creekside Inn.
In Bishop we ate at the Pizza Factory, Village Cafe, and Great Basin Bakery.
We would do all of the above again though instead of the Pizza Factory I might try another place.

Hope this helps people on future trips.

- Dave

PS
Sorry if the formatting is wonky. This is my first long post and I am trying to get a handle on things while not delaying this too much.



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Re: Piute Pass, Humphreys Basin, July 15-23, 2017

Postby maverick » Tue Jul 25, 2017 7:28 am

Thank you for taking the time to write up your first post, it is sometime intimidating for the first time Dave, but you did a wonderful job, very imformative. Would say the only thing missing is some photos, which always speak louder than words. :)
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: Piute Pass, Humphreys Basin, July 15-23, 2017

Postby Alpinista55 » Tue Jul 25, 2017 8:48 am

Parchers Resort is another great place to stay and acclimatize before blasting off into the backcountry. Nice cabins and nice folks.
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Re: Piute Pass, Humphreys Basin, July 15-23, 2017

Postby SNOOOOW » Tue Jul 25, 2017 11:59 am

Thanks for the report. I am taking a group of friends basically on the same trip, but shorter, in less than 1 month so this was great to read. But like Mav said, pics would be awesome if possible :nod: . Either way, good info...Thanks :drinkers:
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Re: Piute Pass, Humphreys Basin, July 15-23, 2017

Postby japhy0508 » Wed Jul 26, 2017 8:09 am

Thanks so much for this TR. Several of us are headed up into the basin in a couple weeks and am now looking forward to any current information on the area. Hoping you all had an excellent time!
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Re: Piute Pass, Humphreys Basin, July 15-23, 2017

Postby rozim » Fri Jul 28, 2017 7:51 am

Well here's quick blast of belated pictures - sorry they're not fully annotated but they should help
a bit for anyone that's going out soon. The ones in Humphrey Basin may not be in correct chronological order...

Piute Lake with Piute Pass in the background.
Piute Pass has a snowfield leading up to it where, when ascending, you go from the bottom
right to the upper left - it is relatively short and not too steep.
There always seemed to be footprints leading the way.
IMG_9902.JPG


Piute Pass Ascent.
DSC00827.JPG


Mt Humphreys. Picture probably taken from 12,000', just above Marmot Lake.
DSC00872.JPG


DSC00901.JPG

IMG_0066.JPG

IMG_0211.JPG

IMG_0230.JPG

IMG_0333.JPG

IMG_0345.JPG

IMG_0531.JPG
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Re: Piute Pass, Humphreys Basin, July 15-23, 2017

Postby maverick » Fri Jul 28, 2017 9:00 am

Thanks for adding the pictures. :thumbsup:
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: Piute Pass, Humphreys Basin, July 15-23, 2017

Postby japhy0508 » Fri Jul 28, 2017 11:48 am

I second a big thank you for pictures!!! This gives me a good idea of what to expect on our trip starting Aug.10. Cheers!!!!!
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