possible “loop” trips through Deadman Canyon

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grampy
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possible “loop” trips through Deadman Canyon

Post by grampy » Sun Feb 03, 2019 3:01 pm

Seeing the recent “SEKI Roaring River camping” thread (but not wanting to “hijack” it) spurred me to post my own inquiry.

I am a 59 year-old “Level 2” hiker with limited off-trail experience (have done only short x/c segments of 1/2 mile or so). Also not ready to do serious x/c passes (Coppermine Pass, for example. Comfortable doing about 10 -12 miles/day on “big” (for me, anyway) elev gain trails; for example, Roads End (up Bubbs Creek trail) to Center Basin (round trip) took me 4 days, not counting a layover day in C.B.

I’m interested in doing a loop trip through Deadman Canyon. My tentative itinerary is Rowell Meadow T.H. (Sugarloaf Trail) > Roaring River ranger station > upper Deadman Canyon (maybe visit Big Bird Lake) > Elizabeth Pass to the High Sierra Trail (camp at Buck Creek ?) > Wolverton/Lodgepole (via Panther Gap) > Rowell Meadow T.H. (via JO Pass). I figure 5 days (but okay with 6; would pack food for 7) to do this. Likely a solo trip.

Questions:
1. Is my loop direction - clockwise- “up” Deadman Canyon and then over Elizabeth Pass - the way to go, OR would it be better in the opposite direction (CCW) ?
2. I’m guessing the Rowell T.H. permit would be easier to get, versus one starting at Wolverton (or Crescent Meadow). Am I wrong about this ? By the way, I am including the Wolverton/Lodgepole to Rowell Mdw segment to avoid a car shuttle (in case I do the trip solo).
Any better variations/suggestions would be much appreciated. Thanks!
Grampy








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Re: possible “loop” trips through Deadman Canyon

Post by Wandering Daisy » Sun Feb 03, 2019 4:04 pm

I have gone up and down Deadman, and I always feel I see more going up. It is a gentle grade so the elevation gain will not wear you out to the point of not enjoying the scenery. As for over Elizabeth Pass- either way seems OK and scenic.

It is a shame to be so close to Tamarack Lake and Hamilton Lake without seeing them too. That is unless you have been to both so many times it does not matter. See if you can work in one of these or both.

Big Bird Lake is really pretty in the early AM. I camped at an established campsite just on the lip of the upper meadow (9200) and day-hiked up to Big Bird. I think you could do it if you go slow and do not haul a big pack. There is some tricky route finding involved. The map below shows the route I did- not saying it is the best but it works. It gets cliffy near the creek the upper 200 feet or so. The upper lakes are really nice too. The dashed line is my route.
BIg Bird Route.JPG
A_Big Bird Merged.jpg
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Re: possible “loop” trips through Deadman Canyon

Post by grampy » Sun Feb 03, 2019 5:58 pm

Thank you, W.D. !!
I appreciate your feedback, esp. on the Big Bird Lake side trip - though I’d likely declare victory ;) upon reaching B.B. , and skip the smaller lakes above it. Yes, will certainly add Tamarack Lake to my route. I’ve been to Hamilton (gorgeous !); will include it if my son goes with me.

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Re: possible “loop” trips through Deadman Canyon

Post by oldranger » Sun Feb 03, 2019 10:28 pm

I'd prefer to start and end in lodgepole/giant forest area. Mainly because I'm not sure about camping in lodgepole in the middle of the trip. Also never thought J.O pass to Rowell was especially interesting. Going over Silliman Pass provides a better view of the Great Western Divide compared to the Sugarloaf entrance. Which direction? Rather go down dusty Sugarloaf than up it. Interested in what others have to say.
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Re: possible “loop” trips through Deadman Canyon

Post by wildhiker » Sun Feb 03, 2019 11:08 pm

Your loop as planned may require a second wilderness permit for the Lodgepole to Rowell Mdw segment. Generally, with the exception of Pacific Crest Trail thru-hiker permits, a wilderness permit is for a single continuous trip in the wilderness and does not allow you to exit the wilderness to a developed area and then reenter for more overnights. Check with the SEKI permit office. If you need a permit anyway starting from Lodgepole, then I think doing the loop from there makes more sense, as suggested by OldRanger.
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Re: possible “loop” trips through Deadman Canyon

Post by AlmostThere » Mon Feb 04, 2019 7:16 am

We have started at Wolverton and exited at Lodgepole or Crescent Meadow then rode the shuttle back to the car. This of course requires coming out when the shuttle is still running, and parking at THs that are not in Sequoia NF instead of the park.

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Re: possible “loop” trips through Deadman Canyon

Post by grampy » Mon Feb 04, 2019 12:09 pm

All - thanks for the feedback!
I should have said pass THROUGH Lodgepole (not staying the night), but will graciously accept your correction on the rules (or at least check first). My thought to go over JO Pass was only due to lack of knowledge of the x-c route beyond Silliman Pass. So, will likely change my permit request to start at Wolverton. Regarding a Silliman Pass route, (thanks, Oldranger !), supposing I go over the pass (eastbound) and drop down to Ranger Lake. Should I continue down to (or just above) Horse Creek and generally follow it to intercept Sugarloaf Trail (maybe just east of Comanche Meadow), or is there a better route ? I don’t fish, btw.

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Re: possible “loop” trips through Deadman Canyon

Post by oldranger » Mon Feb 04, 2019 1:37 pm

grampy wrote:
Mon Feb 04, 2019 12:09 pm
All - thanks for the feedback!
I should have said pass THROUGH Lodgepole (not staying the night), but will graciously accept your correction on the rules (or at least check first). My thought to go over JO Pass was only due to lack of knowledge of the x-c route beyond Silliman Pass. So, will likely change my permit request to start at Wolverton. Regarding a Silliman Pass route, (thanks, Oldranger !), supposing I go over the pass (eastbound) and drop down to Ranger Lake. Should I continue down to (or just above) Horse Creek and generally follow it to intercept Sugarloaf Trail (maybe just east of Comanche Meadow), or is there a better route ? I don’t fish, btw.
I don't follow your reference to horse creek since that would be accessed from Tokopah valley and it looks like a really nasty uphill slog. Your best bet if you head over Silliman Pass is to stick to the trail all the way to Sugarloaf Valley. Heading east from Ranger lake down to Crowley Canyon can be done (I have done it) but can involve brush and talus. The bottom of Crowley used to be delightful off trail travel but there have been a couple of fires since I last visited the canyon and I can't guarantee that you wouldn't have to negotiate a pickupsticks kind of downed logs. Anyhow the trail is mostly gentle downhill and not difficult. Also suggest either a short detour to Lost Lake or even by passing Ranger Lake along its eastern shore then from the north end do a short down then up cross-country jaunt to Lost lake where I would much prefer to spend the night on the hills on the east side of the lake.
Mike

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Re: possible “loop” trips through Deadman Canyon

Post by grampy » Mon Feb 04, 2019 3:03 pm

Oops :rolleyes: - I was using my Gaia GPS app for route planning; Gaia mis-identifies S Fork Sugarloaf Creek (Crowley Canyon) as “Horse Creek” AND totally omits the relevant trail(s) beyond Silliman Pass. My Tom Harrison map (mis-placed, now found) AND your explanation clear up everything. Lesson learned - map apps are useful, but not always reliable. Anyway, thank you for your reply; especially the “first night at Lost Lake” tip.

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Re: possible “loop” trips through Deadman Canyon

Post by maverick » Mon Feb 04, 2019 3:38 pm

As OR mention, Lost Lake is the gem in that entire region, one of the better lakes on the western side with a trail to it.
Oh, before I continue, when are you planning to do this trip? This could be a major issue depending on the dates, we may have a big snow year this year.
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