TR: Partial North Lake - South Lake Loop 8/1,3-4

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jhfowler
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TR: Partial North Lake - South Lake Loop 8/1,3-4

Post by jhfowler » Sun Aug 12, 2018 10:05 am

I've just posted a full trip report of an aborted attempt at the North Lake - South Lake loop here:

https://jimmyjamhikingclub.wordpress.co ... ge-saddle/
https://jimmyjamhikingclub.wordpress.co ... usy-basin/
https://jimmyjamhikingclub.wordpress.co ... sack-pass/

Our first day we planned to do the trail from Tyee Lakes Trailhead to Sabrina Lake and then the road walk up to North Lake and then on to Lower Lamarck Lake. But we got caught in such a monsoon we ended up aborting and heading back down to Bishop at the end of Day 1 and taking a zero on Day 2 when it was still monsoonal in the mountains.

One thing that may be of interest to folks here is that we did some cross country to avoid the long flat exposed top of Table Mountain during a thunderstorm. The saddle between Tyee Lakes and George Lake is about 200 feet lower and it is also more or less continuously forested, so we felt a little safer dealing with the lightning risk.

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Cross country traverse to Tyee-George Saddle

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The beautiful last Tyee Lake below the saddle

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George Lake from the saddle

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Easy class 1/2 on the way down

The only problem we encountered was that the bog above George Lake was immediately adjacent to a very large boulder field. So our choice was swamp, willows, or boulders. And of course that was the peak of the downpour! It took us about an hour to get through that part (it felt like two!).... But on a good weather day it would probably have been trivial to deal with.

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We took the high road

After that it was all trail down to Sabrina Lake and we hitched a ride from Sabrina campground back to Bishop.

Lessons learned from Day 1: I should get my wife an umbrella (like mine -- I hook it to my pack for hands-free movement and my clothes and pack were much less wet) and she should bring her rain pants next time!

On Day 3 we headed back, this time to the Bishop Pass Trailhead. We took the scenic route on the way up, past Bull Lake and the Chocolate Lakes, then up to Ruwau Lake.

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Bull Lake

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Following a steep faint use trail above the last Chocolate Lake

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Down to Ruwau Lake

After that we did some cross country, heading to the east side of the Timberline Tarns.

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Chocolate Peak from the ridge southwest of Ruwau Lake

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Ruwau Lake from the south

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Timberline Tarn from the ridge south of Ruwau

We then hopped back on the Bishop Pass Trail, passing the now-infamous "death zone" below the pass and then over into Dusy Basin where we camped at the precipice of a tarn just below the outlet of the large lake at around 11,350.

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The Death Zone

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Bishop Creek basin from the top of the switchbacks

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The lake just below Bishop Pass and Mount Agassiz

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Our tarn

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Home sweet home!

In the afternoon we did a little cross country day hike through meadows down to the string of lakes below Knapsack Pass and then followed the Bishop Pass trail back up towards our campsite.

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Lakes below Knapsack Pass

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Mount Agassiz reflection

On Day 4 we did a cross country day hike over Thunderbolt Pass through Palisade Basin and back over Knapsack Pass. This was for me the absolute highlight of the trip!

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Camp visitor

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Spectacular shadows on Lake 11,400+

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Thunderbolt Pass

The approach to the pass is all class 1/2 -- the main challenge is the large boulder field just below the pass.

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The last bit takes time

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Barrett Lakes and the Palisade Basin from Thunderbolt Pass

Coming down from Thunderbolt Pass was pretty easy, but it would have been easier if we had stayed out of the large boulders in the main stream. Try to stay to the granite benches just to the west of the low point.

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Thunderbolt Pass from Palisade Basin

There were a nice series of benches at about 11,700 feet that we traversed to get over to the flat granite slabs on the ridge between the Barrett Lakes.

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Barrett Lake 11523

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Barrett Lake 11468

We then traversed to the base of Knapsack Pass at about 11,400 feet.

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Meadows below Knapsack Pass

Knapsack Pass was very easy class 1/2 - just follow the grass. There's always an easy way from one bench up to the next.

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A grassy bench

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Almost there

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Dusy Basin from Knapsack Pass

We had to drop all the way down to 11,200 feet before heading back up to the lakes in Dusy Basin where I swam in a delicious tarn.

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Below Knapsack Pass

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Delicious!

When we got back to camp we packed up and headed out. The 8 miles back to Bishop Pass trailhead were hot (and a little long) but straightforward. I can see now why this trail is so popular and why so many people love Dusy Basin!

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windknot
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Re: TR: Partial North Lake - South Lake Loop 8/1,3-4

Post by windknot » Mon Aug 13, 2018 8:45 am

Thanks for the report! Great photos and nice job salvaging the trip in spite of less-than-ideal weather.
A few backcountry fishing pictures: http://wanderswithtrout.wordpress.com/

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Re: TR: Partial North Lake - South Lake Loop 8/1,3-4

Post by SSSdave » Mon Aug 13, 2018 12:03 pm

Enjoyed reading and photos of your trip, thank you. One of my favorite areas to base camp in the range. Good to see you are one of the minority of us that have no problem jumping into cool waters. It is surprising how few groups in Dusy Basin bother to site camps near any of the lower lakes except trail side 10742.

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Re: TR: Partial North Lake - South Lake Loop 8/1,3-4

Post by kpeter » Mon Aug 13, 2018 8:57 pm

Nice report! I believe I camped in your Dusy Basin campsite a decade ago, and dayhiked Dusy from there. It is a such a friendly place for ambling!

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Re: TR: Partial North Lake - South Lake Loop 8/1,3-4

Post by xcountry rider » Mon Aug 13, 2018 10:53 pm

Great trip report and photos! I really enjoyed the read. Thank you for sharing. I haven't been to Dusy Basin and over Bishop Pass since 2000. What a beautiful area. Your report brings back great memories when I was last there.

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Re: TR: Partial North Lake - South Lake Loop 8/1,3-4

Post by jhfowler » Tue Aug 14, 2018 1:08 pm

Thanks for the feedback everyone! I love HST!

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Re: TR: Partial North Lake - South Lake Loop 8/1,3-4

Post by levi » Thu Aug 16, 2018 12:12 pm

Wonderful trip report and photos — I'm hoping to do something like this in Dusy Basin in the early fall, particularly that loop around Thunderbolt and Knapsack Passes, and I'll definitely be eyeing your beta :)

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Re: TR: Partial North Lake - South Lake Loop 8/1,3-4

Post by gary c. » Fri Aug 17, 2018 2:28 am

Great report and pictures. Thanks for putting it together for us.
"On this proud and beautiful mountain we have lived hours of fraternal, warm and exalting nobility. Here for a few days we have ceased to be slaves and have really been men. It is hard to return to servitude."
-- Lionel Terray

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