Crabtree Pass

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bobby49
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Crabtree Pass

Post by bobby49 » Sun Jul 12, 2020 7:44 pm

From the satellite imagery, it seems as though Crabtree Pass is melting out nicely. I was intending to cross through there going north, then pass down along the Crabtree Lakes. It seems that the entire pass is 250 yards wide, but where is the best place to start the descent? I don't want to get cliffed out. The center of the pass seems to be the lowest, but that doesn't make it the best. The plan is to go around the north shore of the highest lake.








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notis
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Re: Crabtree Pass

Post by notis » Sun Jul 12, 2020 9:14 pm

@bobby49, don't know if this helps beyond what old TRs and the pass details provide. There are a few ways to go up/down the N side of the pass, all Class 2. Traveling N, if you're standing on top of the pass there are some slabs on your right side (east-ish) that you can descend on. There's also a wall to the left of that. And there's also a chute to the left of that. I've travelled the first two ways I mentioned--am risk-averse--and found them to be just fine. IIRC, traveling next to the wall is the way we gleaned from the pass details the first time we did it. This last trip I ascended the slabs. First time attaching a pic here, so I hope it works. Outlined in red the three ways I'm talking about, with the curved line the slabs, etc. Taken June 13th, 2020 from the upper Crabtree Lake (so looking at the N side of the pass).

Just looked at satellites and DANG it's melted out since I was there. The only part I had trouble with was that tiny vertical strip of snow on the NNE side of the lake. It's a steep chute that I was glad I had an axe for, but you might not need it now if you travel when the snow is sticky?
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bobby49
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Re: Crabtree Pass

Post by bobby49 » Sun Jul 12, 2020 9:21 pm

Thanks. Those were the three possibilities that I was considering. Right this minute, the westward one and the center one seem most logical to me, but I don't know what it will look like from the pass looking down north. The eastward one does look promising, though. I have been trying to make up my mind about carrying an ice axe (11 ounces) or microspikes (12 ounces). With the melt out, it doesn't look like either will be needed by the end of the month. I might just go with trekking poles.

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Re: Crabtree Pass

Post by Jim F » Thu Jul 16, 2020 10:17 pm

Bobby49,

Leave the spikes and axe at home!

I descended Crabtree Pass on this July 4 going north. Take an obvious class 2 chute on the left from the top of the pass and aim for the campsite perched just above the lake. A small steam passes by the campsite. To lower yourself from the campsite to the lake, just follow (carefully) the stream. This was done without crossing the numerous lingering snow patches.

I encountered no other hikers in the Miter Basin. The weather was superb. It was dry and felt like August.

Hope this helps.

Jim

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Re: Crabtree Pass

Post by bobby49 » Thu Jul 16, 2020 10:26 pm

The obvious class 2 chute... check. Campsite perched just above the lake... Uhhh, I didn't know there was one, but I can look for a small stream. In the photo above, there are three red lines. I was planning on going down the westward one unless I see a problem.

The conventional wisdom is that passing that highest lake on the south shore is not a good idea, and it is safer to go all the way around the north shore of the lake to avoid any snow. I was planning on heading for the middle lake of the three lakes.

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Re: Crabtree Pass

Post by Jim F » Thu Jul 16, 2020 11:09 pm

I believe I took the westward red line on July 4. It was all free of snow, just scree. A continuation of that red line would land right at the camping area. The stream is actually a trickle of water, but good enough for drinking, cooking, washing.

Descending about 50 feet from the camp puts one on the southeastern shore of the highest lake (where there is another small campsite). There is a sandy use trail from there along the northern shore of the lake. It takes about 20 minutes to get to the western shore of the lake, where the really good campsites begin.

On July 4 the southern shore was covered with a steep angle snow field dropping directly into the lake. Not the way to go!.

I ran into the Crabtree Ranger (Christine) a couple of days ago. She said she was on patrol in the Crabtree Lakes recently and heard quite of bit of rockfall coming off Chamberlin, which is actually nothing new. But that is maybe another reason to stay on the north side of the lakes.

What a great area!

Jim

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Re: Crabtree Pass

Post by Mocs123 » Mon Jul 20, 2020 12:18 pm

I haven't crossed it yet (should cross on ~8/7/20, but from the satellite images, there appears to be a use trail just south of the low point of the pass.

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Re: Crabtree Pass

Post by Jim F » Mon Jul 20, 2020 6:51 pm

Mocs123,

Once around Lake 12129, the approach to Crabtree Pass from the south is an easy walk, just as the satellite suggests. Several times I have camped at the tarn just south of the pass (and above Lake 12129). It is a couple of minutes to get to the top of the Pass from the tarn. It can get a bit more "interesting" descending the north side of the Pass.

Jim

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