Emigrant. Crabtree- Wire Lakes Planning

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Re: Emigrant. Crabtree- Wire Lakes Planning

Post by larree0 » Mon Apr 15, 2013 8:22 am

ok, next time I'll hit the 'preview' button first!

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Re: Emigrant. Crabtree- Wire Lakes Planning

Post by DoyleWDonehoo » Mon Apr 15, 2013 10:38 am

These last few years I have been breaking in a friend and noob backpacker who after a lifetime of knowing him, begged me to take him on some trips. I have been concentrating on the easier things (we have yet to travel in the hardcore backpacker paradise that is the SEKI area), and I have been saving a lot of the Emigrant Wilderness for my "old age". My friend has good endurance but is painfully slow, but improving every trip as he learns that he can't take a picture of every rock and tree he sees. It is a lesson in patience. But I think the Emigrant would be a great wilderness experience for him, so I have planned a 7 day or so trip that would cover some few areas that I have not been to. So I wrote a thesis with maps so he would know what he was getting into, his longest trip yet. In my analysis I learned a few things.
For what we want to do and where we want to go in our Grand Tour of the EW, the Gianelli Cabin trail-head is by far the easiest entry point. It is only 2 miles to the first camp at Powell Lake, and I have hiked this section of trail by night as well as day. The TH is the highest of the area at about 8600 feet, and the whole trip I am planning out as far as Maxwell Lake averages about 8600 feet, only occasionally going slightly above 9000 feet and below 8000 feet. (The same is true for a trip to Wire Lakes.) There is a climb to Burst (birth) Rock from Gianelli Cabin, but it is at the beginning of the hike when you are fresh, gains altitude quickly and over with fairly quickly. From Burst Rock, the rest of the way to almost anywhere else is pretty easy. The only real butt-burner is a long long hill that seems to go on forever just after the Chewing Gum Lake trail junction: It is one of the few places along the route to Long/Wire Lake that goes over 9000 feet. But it has wide open views featuring Three Chimneys to the north, and the climb is only about 400 feet in gain.
If you wish to avoid the level walking to Whiteside Meadow and are heading for the Toe-Jam Lake ridge, at the Y-Meadow Dam junction you can go easy cross-country SE through open forest, dry meadows with a winding seasonal stream. With good route-finding, the climb up to the Toe-Jam Lake ridge is easy. You can also use this route to hit the Toe-Jam trail (and XC to the main trail). If you can work a map and compass, no worries. Beyond Toe-Jam, the hiking couldn't be easier until you get into the area of the big lakes, and even then it is still averaging about 8600 feet on the trail.
Crabtree Trailhead I think is best for exploring the southern EW, like the Big Lake area.
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Re: Emigrant. Crabtree- Wire Lakes Planning

Post by shuteye » Fri Apr 19, 2013 12:37 pm

Y Meadow Dam Lake (an easy first-night camping spot from Gianelli) to Leopold Lake through Tom's Canyon is also a fun, open, beautiful, cross-country route.

Leopold, being trail-less, and something of a dead end on its ridge is definitely not crowded, and addresses the sky in the way I like mountain lakes to do.

Leopold's outflow goes southeast to Cherry Creek. Following down slabs and hanging meadows south of the outflow (which did not feel dangerous with a 30-pound pack, though I did use my hands some) can take you to where the main trail crosses Cherry Creek. From there it's not too far to Wire Lakes.

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