Pterodactyl Pass from Lone Pine Creek to the Tablelands

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webdweeb
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Pterodactyl Pass from Lone Pine Creek to the Tablelands

Post by webdweeb » Sun Jun 25, 2017 11:13 am

I'm looking at this pass as a possible east-west route from the Elizabeth Pass trail to the Tablelands for a loop trip from Wolverton and back via Bearpaw Meadow and Tamarack Lake. I read the description in the Passes subforum but would like to get more details if they are available. If any with experience with this pass have any comments regarding the ascent from Lone Pine Creek and/or the descent into the Tablelands (to Moose Lake), I would be very interested in them. Thanks in advance!








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Re: Pterodactyl Pass from Lone Pine Creek to the Tablelands

Post by AlmostThere » Sun Jun 25, 2017 11:30 am

It's a steep one any way you look at it. We came down to the trail - there is a stream that crosses the trail, the outlet of Lonely Lake, we friction-walked steep slabs down from the pass to the creek then followed it down to the trail. Not a difficult route once you're there.

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Re: Pterodactyl Pass from Lone Pine Creek to the Tablelands

Post by webdweeb » Sun Jun 25, 2017 12:01 pm

Thanks for the info. I did a "flyover" using Google Earth just to get a feel for the steepness of the pass, and from that perspective it looked to be about the same as Elizabeth Pass, which I am told is a difficult one (understand that Google Earth is no substitute for seeing and crossing it in person!). My hiking buddies and I are currently baselining a loop from Wolverton to Bearpaw, then to Deadman Canyon, returning to Lodgepole via Sugarloaf Valley, Belle Canyon and Ranger Lake. The descriptions I've read of Sugarloaf and Belle Canyon are not too appealing (hot and dusty seem to be the common theme for both), hence my interest in Pterodactyl Pass-the Tablelands sounds like a marvelous place to explore, so if we can get comfortable with Pterodactyl Pass as a shortcut, we may drop Deadman Canyon in favor of a Tablelands route. FWIW, this trek would be in early August (a little over a month away), which will probsbly present additional challenges (snow & ice, high runoff), so all options are on the table now so we have a couple of alternative plans in our back pocket.

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Re: Pterodactyl Pass from Lone Pine Creek to the Tablelands

Post by AlmostThere » Sun Jun 25, 2017 12:11 pm

No, it's steeper than Elizabeth Pass. I would suppose one could find a winding route that would be less steep but walking down steep granite worked for us. Elizabeth has switchbacks down the steep scree/talus on the south side. Walking down the rest was a cakewalk compared to the slab coming down from Pterodactyl.

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Re: Pterodactyl Pass from Lone Pine Creek to the Tablelands

Post by webdweeb » Sun Jun 25, 2017 12:30 pm

Thanks-it's good to get first-hand perspective for a cross country pass or route, since it is easy to underestimate its difficulty by just reading ratings and looking at a map. Just to be clear-the granite slabs you refer to are on the east side of the pass (ie, approaching from Lone Pine Creek), correct? The granite slabs for the ascent will probably work if it is not snow covered or wet, which I think would make it pretty treacherous; otherwise, we would be better off with a longer winding route. I think we will have a discussion at Tamarack Lake (our second night) on which route to take, so thanks for the details.

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Re: Pterodactyl Pass from Lone Pine Creek to the Tablelands

Post by sparky » Sun Jun 25, 2017 2:54 pm

just be mindful once you cross the pass and descend into table lands. For Pterodactyl->Moose contour high above the lakeletts until you hit the stream that feeds Moose from the north. This area is undulating terrain with many features too small for the topo to show, but makes for difficult travel if you are too low.

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Re: Pterodactyl Pass from Lone Pine Creek to the Tablelands

Post by webdweeb » Sun Jun 25, 2017 3:37 pm

Thanks for the tip-I will make a note of your Moose Lake approach recommendations. Looking at Google Earth, I can see a couple of lesser "ridge" lines that we could take that circle Moose Lake to the north before descending south toward the lake-is that what you are talking about? I can definitely see that going SW straight from the pass to Moose Lake would be the most difficult route, and that staying high will give us less overall up and down before the final descent (and short climb) to the lake.

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Re: Pterodactyl Pass from Lone Pine Creek to the Tablelands

Post by Bluewater » Tue Jun 27, 2017 6:50 pm

I have been over that Pass a few times, with full snow coverage and when it was dry during the summer, and in both directions. The upper section on the east side is steep but i was able to pick a route through the slabs that felt fine. Coming from Lonely Lake it was necessary to lose some elevation before starting the climb up to the Pass, but it is all line of sight and open. The west side is much easier and as it has already been said it was important to stay high while contouring towards the Tablelands. I liked staying almost at the top of the ridge and exploring around the small lake (located along the top of the ridge, to the west and way above Big Bird Lake) then dropping into the Tablelands. The route done into the Tablelands is fun and there are endless places to explore throughout that Basin. I did a trip report with a map, photos and some descriptions here:

http://seatosummitultralight.blogspot.c ... .html#more

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Re: Pterodactyl Pass from Lone Pine Creek to the Tablelands

Post by sekihiker » Wed Jun 28, 2017 12:18 pm

How could I have missed this superb report? Your photos are the best! Really enjoyed a virtual trip through some of my favorite country. Thanks for posting.

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Re: Pterodactyl Pass from Lone Pine Creek to the Tablelands

Post by Bluewater » Wed Jun 28, 2017 9:33 pm

sekihiker wrote:
How could I have missed this superb report? Your photos are the best! Really enjoyed a virtual trip through some of my favorite country. Thanks for posting.

Thanks for leading the way! Your TR's provided much of the inspiration to explore that area. I have read and re-read your "Triple Divide Loop I" and "Triple Divide Loop II" TR's more than a few times :nod: From all of the online research I've done your website is the first one that provided good detailed descriptions, photos and maps in the High Sierra.

I'm heading back to do Lion Rock, Lion Lake and Triple Divide passes later this summer, and hopefully Triple Divide Peak along the way.

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