Maverick's 2016 Annual HST Meet-up | High Sierra Topix  

Maverick's 2016 Annual HST Meet-up

A forum to initiate member meet-up. Looking for a hiking/climbing/fishing/skiing/etc. partner, or are you planning a trip where you wouldn't mind having some company? Last minute invites can be just as fun as a well-planned group trip (sometimes even better) so don't be shy! And be sure to post a trip report to the appropriate forum when you get back.

Re: Maverick's 2016 Annual HST Meet-up

Postby Hobbes » Sat Oct 31, 2015 10:35 am

It seems like the most straightforward and logical route out of Mammoth would be to simply follow the SHR northbound. Depending on mood & conditions, the return could go over Roger's pass to the PCT. However, Roper mentions a loop back to Mammoth by continuing north on the SHR to Vogelsang, cut over @ Evelyn to regain the PCT, and then back south to the TH. Or, just hike to Tuolumne and catch the shuttle back to Mammoth.

Knowing myself, going north on the SHR while enthused & energetic would be the obvious choice. Leaving the the meet-up spot, I'd probably begin to lose interest in any more challenging x-country and want to get home fast, safe & sound. Both Rogue's & Mark's warning about Roger's pass doesn't go unheeded; nor does Roper's general comment:

Straightforward X-country between Blue lakes pass and Tuolumne meadows proves impossible because of the Mt Lyell's group radiating western ridges, most of which harbor steep, snowy north sides unpleasant and even dangerous to the backpacker.


Hmm, I may be dumb but I don't think I'm stupid. LOL. But seriously, think about it for a moment: the dude who stitched together the premier x-country path through the High Sierra decided to route it along a heavily traveled, crowded horsepacker trail from Blue lakes pass to Tuolumne. ??? Well, he states the reason out loud in the quote above.



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Re: Maverick's 2016 Annual HST Meet-up

Postby Hobbes » Mon Nov 02, 2015 9:30 am

[Mav, I'm just thinking out loud here trying to jot down some initial impressions. Let me know if this isn't the right space.]

So, my initial thoughts are a loop out of Agnew Meadows (Mammoth). The key (and long) day would be crossing both Glacier & Blue lakes pass to reach the meet-up spot, so I'd want to be camping west of TI lake to get an early morning start.

It's a 6 hr drive to Mammoth from OC, so I could get there by 10am if I left my house @ 4am. If I got going by noon, doing the SHR from Devil's PP to TI would probably take 1.5 days, which would put me below Glacier for day 3. Alternatively, I could just head up the river trail from Agnew on day 1 and get to the west-end of TI for dinner, saving a day & energy.

After hanging out with the HST crew, I'd probably head out for Vogelsang/Evelyn lake after lunch. It looks to be around 20 miles from Evelyn back to Agnew meadows via the PCT, so I'd probably just book it all the way back to the TH.

This route would be an interesting hike, because it combines a very remote area with **the** most heavily trafficked trail during absolute prime time. Hmmm. A possible alternative would be to simply hike to Tuolumne Mdw from Vogelsang down Rafferty creek to catch the shuttle back to Mammoth. But that involves getting there on time, getting a long bus ride (including the side trip to June lake, 'natch), sitting around for another bus ride down Minaret back to the car, then turning around and driving home. It seems like it would be a lot more fun just to walk back, even if it was packed with earnest, overloaded SOBO JMT hikers, rather than deal with planes, trains & automobiles.

Besides, unless we miss this year, we typically go on our annual east side road trip/RV camping extravaganza to TM in June, where I get to do some fun day hikes like this one: viewtopic.php?f=1&t=12987

As I'm typing this and looking through my maps & considering the logistics, I'm beginning to lean very heavily towards Roper's suggestion, which is to stop thinking too hard & just do the (damn) loop.
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Re: Maverick's 2016 Annual HST Meet-up

Postby oleander » Mon Nov 02, 2015 12:09 pm

Karl,

Some miscellaneous feedback on your route questions - (keeping in mind that my feelings about some of these trails is pretty subjective, in part):

Hobbes wrote:The key (and long) day would be crossing both Glacier & Blue lakes pass to reach the meet-up spot, so I'd want to be camping west of TI lake to get an early morning start.


I'm sure you (being a very fast person!) may be able to pull this off in a day, but do you want to? This stretch is what I call the Magical Kingdom section of the SHR. It doesn't get any better than this. It is something to savor. There are plenty of camping options along this stretch. I should mention also that even for a fast person, this section can be very slow going. Top of North Glacier Pass is long slow talus slog; Catherine to the southernmost Twin Island Lake is steep and very convoluted (typical confusing metamorphic landscape); navigation from there to Blue Lakes is not straightforward.

Starting points: You bring up the idea of starting from Agnew or Devils PP onto the SHR, but you don't mention where exactly you would intend to join the SHR. Lots of options here - listed from south to north:

1. Devils PP to Beck Lakes. I haven't done this, but ask around here about Nancy Pass. (Slow?)
2. Devils PP to Minaret Lake. The stretch from Minaret Lake onward is magnificent, of course. However, I don't find the trail to Minaret Lake to be interesting at all. And that's a long trail approach, longer than what's indicated on most maps. (9 miles?)
3. Agnew up the Shadow Creek Trail to Ediza, then join SHR towards Nydiver Lakes. Wonderful all around. The Shadow Creek Trail is beautiful. Crowded till Ediza.
4. Agnew to River Trail to cutoff up to Garnet Lake. Turn Garnet around its north side, to reach the basin west of Garnet and under Banner Peak. (There is a little lake up there.) Join the SHR there. Personally, if my goal was to reach western end of TI Lake by Night 1, I'd probably go this way. You lose the people faster, and you get to see that great basin west of Garnet, and the bump from there into the TI basin is very easy going.
5. Agnew to River Trail to TI Lake as you mentioned.

As for your exit:

I enjoyed the Isberg Pass Trail (which compromises the first ~5 miles of trail that you'd do). I was there during high season (early August) and we did not see one single other person the whole way to Lewis Creek. The trail is narrow and not heavily trodden. Just how I like it. From Lewis Creek to the JMT it is also not very crowded. This is not a super-heavily-trodden area of Yosemite. Mostly just some folks at Vogelsang.

If you then go southbound: Let's say you need to return to Agnew Meadows. From TI Lake, you could take the "High Trail" (the PCT) instead of the River Trail or the JMT. You'd lose the JMT crowds, and get much more spectacular views than on the River Trail.

Rafferty Creek Trail. Plus: Very fast walk out. Minus: About the least scenic trail in Yosemite. Wide, forested, mule poop, etc. etc.

- Elizabeth
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Re: Maverick's 2016 Annual HST Meet-up

Postby Hobbes » Mon Nov 02, 2015 6:34 pm

Lisa, thanx for the tips & info. I've done bits & pieces of each on the Mammoth side, but haven't connected anything into a single trip. I imagine that since you've been up there two years in row with Mav & crew, you've had a good chance to spec out the highlights.

So you think it would be best to spend two days getting from Glacier to the meet-up spot rather than rush? What would you drop if you had to lose a day? Beck/Nancy pass, the trail to Minaret? The simplest option would be to write-off Mammoth and just hike the PCT high trail from Agnew to the west end of TI in the afternoon after arriving to save time/energy. That would free up a slower pace over a next few days to the meet-up spot in prime back country.

Glad to hear the Isberg/Merced HSC/Vogelsang HSC trail up Lewis creek isn't that busy. Not sure if it's worth shuttling cars or taking the bus from TM if the remainder along Rafferty is like the PCT through the same type of dusty, flat, forested area northbound along Lyell after the Evelyn/Ireland junction. If I did decide to hike back to Agnew, it would be along the PCT high trail as you suggested.

That would mean taking the river trail up to TI - not going up the SHR through Minaret/Cecil/Iceberg means the other option would be northbound on the JMT from Shadow. Just the thought of passing dozens of SOBOs, each expecting a cheerful hello, could turn me into a curmudgeon. I mean, it's fun to run into the random person now & then, but the full onslaught of the JMT in prime time would be a little too much.

The other option is Rush creek, but I've been up that trail enough times to last awhile.

The more I think about this, it seems like if I don't have the extra days to properly do the SHR from Devils PP to Blue lakes pass, I should focus on just getting myself to TI, slow down from Glacier to the meet-up, enjoy the Isberg trail, take the spur to Evelyn, then back over Donohue, and stick to the high line south.

What are your plans on getting to spot X?
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Re: Maverick's 2016 Annual HST Meet-up

Postby SSSdave » Mon Nov 02, 2015 7:44 pm

Upper basin peaks, Mount Lyell, Rodgers Peak, Electra Peak, Mount Ansel Adams, Mount Florence, Mount McClure. Each peak has a Summitpost page with a few images and here is one of them.

http://www.summitpost.org/mount-ansel-adams/831970

The below page has a lot of images of the zone and the climber was very impressed by the basin. Some of the lakes would be aquamarine late season due to glacial powder but unknown if so end of July when a lot of snow may be melting diluting that.

https://pantilat.wordpress.com/tag/lyel ... ced-river/

I went over analyzing that basin years ago and decided I would never bother with a visit. For this person would be a minimum of 3 days to backpack in and same returning so a lot of effort much like Maverick's other remote group trips. The 9.5k area is photographically aesthetic for this person but higher areas suspect not. Generally am not a fan of high rocky barren landscapes like Ionian Basin and the like although am quite aware peakbaggers and climbers get wide-eyed. Tend to prefer lake areas down at timberline where there is a lot more greenery and wildflowers. The one place in the upper Merced areas that I've had possible plans for is the Mount Clark zone and would do that crosscountry from Mono Meadows.

Best of luck for any of you going on the big group trip, ought to be an adventure.
-------------------
For this coming summer IF we get decent winter snows, I have a list of other destinations of interest with much easier photographic pickings. Mid July through mid August is also when I am going to want to be at the most aesthetic destinations on my list. Leaning towards late July going back to upper Fish Creek and west of Kearsarge Pass, both of which are easy efforts with top photography scenery. And maybe up and over Taboose or Shepherd in early August. I still work a m-f 8-5 hi tech job in Silicon Valley so have limited PTO days although who knows, I could retire any time I want. With big desert rains recently and more El Nino weather pointing at the Mojave, may use up a lot of my PTO late winter into spring in the desert. Our desert areas after big winters are mind boggling. Usually do a short relatively easy warm up backpacking trip in late June maybe 2 or 3 days. Would enjoy a chance to meet some others on the board so maybe if any others here have an interest we can discuss something informal here later in May with simple logistics though will probably start with a Friday evening night hike in haha.

David
http://www.davidsenesac.com/2015_Trip_C ... les-0.html
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Re: Maverick's 2016 Annual HST Meet-up

Postby oleander » Mon Nov 02, 2015 7:54 pm

Karl,

Do you see how you could take the River Trail from Agnew Meadows a few miles northbound, then catch a connector trail that goes west up Garnet's outlet creek to Garnet Lake? That connector trail is very little-traveled, and is not on every map, but it's easy to follow. You lose the people the instant you leave the River Trail. Once at Garnet you only have to hike about 1/4 mile of the JMT before getting off-trail again, circling Garnet along its north side to the basin to the west, then crossing the low saddle from there north into the TI basin, dropping you right down to the west side of TI Lake. That would take somewhat longer than just hustling up the River Trail directly to TI, but someone in your condition could handle this easily, even with just an afternoon.

If it were me, and I had to cut a day: There is no doubt I'd drop the SHR section south of Garnet or TI from my itinerary, in favor of more time along the SHR (and nearby basins) from Catherine Lake westbound. Catherine westbound is just way more remote, and is also more alternate-universe. Just an incredibly interesting area. And if you find that you have time on your hands out there, you can take a side trip to check out Ritter Lakes, or else the basin draining into Twin Island Lakes from the north.

My friend and I took a whole day to hike from Blue Lakes to the southernmost Twin Island Lake; it was not technical but it was slow going. We then took a second day to get from TIL up to Catherine Lake, including a (highly recommended) side visit to Ritter Lakes. We moved camp all of two miles that day, but mentally it wiped us out. That section between Catherine and Twin Island Lakes is basically closely following/paralleling two thousand vertical feet of waterfalls through rough metamorphic stuff. Even the trek from one Twin Island Lake to the next is not straightforward. I'm sure we'd be much faster the second time around now that we know the routes of least resistance. But then again - maybe not. It's spectacular and you just want to whip your camera out all the time to "wow" at yet another orange-and-black polka-dot rock.

The SHR from Minaret Lake to Garnet Lake is spectacular too. But it's much more easily accessed. That means you could go back and do that section on a 3-day weekend some day. As for the section of the SHR from Beck Lakes over Nancy Pass to Minaret Lake, well, no one ever seems to have anything good to say about it, so I may never do it.

An option nobody has mentioned - if you prefer a return by trail - is to go southbound from the meet-up, around Iron Mountain and down to Devils PP. I haven't been down that way at all, so we'd have to ask others here what that would be like. Should be easy enough to whip out a map and count out how many miles it is.

I don't have any definitive route yet. There are just too many different interesting pockets back in there, more than I can visit in one weeklong trip. For instance, I'd like to see Lyell Glacier sometime soon, as I just read an article that it's expected to disappear completely within the next 5 years! But I'm not inclined to do what it takes to get from the meet-up to Lyell Glacier - all the options (north along Isberg Trail; or over Lyell Col; or Rogers Pass) seem to have big drawbacks. So I'll go there on a 3-day weekend someday.

- Elizabeth
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Re: Maverick's 2016 Annual HST Meet-up

Postby Hobbes » Tue Nov 03, 2015 7:08 am

oleander wrote:SHR from Minaret Lake to Garnet Lake could be done on a 3-day weekend.


That's what I'm thinking - just eliminate the lower SHR between DPP & TI and leave it for a quick & dirty fast pack over a 3-day weekend. I'm familiar with all the various spurs between/to Garnet/TI, but if I want to keep it simple and straightforward, while saving both time & energy, then I'd probably just head to TI via the river.

I hate to waste a day just getting set, so it would be a rush-rush situation to drive up to Mammoth early, get going by noon, arrive below Glacier pass before 5pm, and chill and rest up for the next couple of days. I think Glacier pass to Blue lake on day 2, then over Blue lake pass to the meet-up on day 3 would be a comfortable schedule. Then, after the meet-up, do some big mile trail days to get back to Agnew.

The other alternative, which Dave & you mention, is to tackle the more difficult approaches over the Cathedral/Ritter ranges. But that could require taking equipment like boots, crampons, ice axe, etc. for a more mountaineering experience. BlueWater, Schmalz, Jim and myself are contemplating a Lamarck to Kearsarge hike along the PCT in late May that would involve just that - including 5am alpine starts - so that's why I'm leaning towards a more UL free-form hike for the summer meet-up.
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Re: Maverick's 2016 Annual HST Meet-up

Postby Shhsgirl » Tue Nov 03, 2015 1:51 pm

My husband and I are going to try to get there.
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Re: Maverick's 2016 Annual HST Meet-up

Postby maverick » Tue Nov 03, 2015 2:26 pm

My husband and I are going to try to get there.


Wow, that would be great! :nod:

Looking forward to reading your TR from Sept. ;)
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: Maverick's 2016 Annual HST Meet-up

Postby calipidder » Tue Nov 03, 2015 2:29 pm

Once again I'm putting this on the calendar and once again I'll keep my fingers crossed that I don't have to travel for work at that time again this year (last year I was eating waffles and sipping beer in Brussels, so it's not like I can complain, but still - every year some stupid work trip has overlapped with the meetup). I've never made it back there but it's been high on my todo list for a while. I think I can make a fun loop out of it!
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