Baxter Pass vs the Others

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Retired Doc
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Baxter Pass vs the Others

Post by Retired Doc » Sun May 26, 2019 7:00 am

Hi Gang, How does going up Baxter compare to Shepherds/Taboose/Sawmill ? Planning a 5 night trip into Window peak lake mid September with plans to go up Baxter Pass and come out Sawmill. Have been up Taboose and Shepherds and down Sawmill. Swore I would never go up Sawmill with all the sand at the bottom. About me: 60 y/o with 45 years backpacking experience. Lots of cross country but don’t like class 3 or loose talus at this point. Hikers are all strong. Great forum, appreciate your thoughts !








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maverick
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Re: Baxter Pass vs the Others

Post by maverick » Sun May 26, 2019 9:33 am

Hi Doc,

Welcome to HST!
Have you tried using our "search" feature, it has numerous threads about Baxter, and there comparisons threads to the other big 3 too.
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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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Harlen
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Re: Baxter Pass vs the Others

Post by Harlen » Sun May 26, 2019 9:58 am

Hey Doc,
Welcome. Sounds like a great trip; we're interested in the same Window Peak area, so please let us know how it goes. You are asking about the trail comparison, and it's been too long for me to recall those details for Baxter Pass. However, I do remember that the view of Mount Clarence King from the high basin on the west side of the pass was fantastic- it looks like a white Matterhorn!* Good luck.

*i.e, the Swiss one.

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Retired Doc
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Re: Baxter Pass vs the Others

Post by Retired Doc » Sun May 26, 2019 11:36 am

Thanks Maverick. I did try that first but will do it again. When I typed in Baxter Pass I got all kinds of hits that really did not apply. Any search suggestions are appreciated. And again thanks for all the work you guys do to put this together!

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grampy
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Re: Baxter Pass vs the Others

Post by grampy » Sun May 26, 2019 12:24 pm

Retired Doc -
Try typing baxter+pass in the search window.

Also, I often find that searching our site from the OUTSIDE (i.e. in any web browser) yields results that are easier to sift through. Searching on ...
“Baxter Pass” “High Sierra Topix”
(simultaneously, with quotes) ... will yield good results. Just remember to log in to HST first, so contents (photos, etc) in the posts you find are fully accessible.

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thegib
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Re: Baxter Pass vs the Others

Post by thegib » Sun May 26, 2019 2:16 pm

I was last on Baxter 3 yrs ago - so perhaps conditions have changed. I rate it the same as Shepherds, same as Taboose (without the evil drive -in), and far easier than Sawmill - which I strongly dislike. The only issue I had was the first time up I messed up the stream crossing and made it harder than necessary. It's obvious which way the trail goes when you're going downhill. Window Creek area is a great place, enjoy.

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Re: Baxter Pass vs the Others

Post by radolphs » Sun May 26, 2019 2:23 pm

I would judge Baxter to be the hardest of all the ones you mention. It is very long, I think elevation gain is similar to Sawmill, and most importantly the trail is not maintained and hard to find in places. The trail is full of downed trees and in places more of a game trail than a hiking trail near the bottom, and on the west side of the pass it basically disappears after Baxter lakes. That said, there are beautiful places to camp in the meadow area at the east base of the pass, and also around Baxter lakes. But be prepared for route finding all along the "trail". Needless to say, this year you'll encounter lots of snow at the pass. Every time I've been up there I've seen bighorn sheep.

Cheers,
-Ralph

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Re: Baxter Pass vs the Others

Post by rightstar76 » Sun May 26, 2019 6:29 pm

Retired Doc wrote:
Sun May 26, 2019 7:00 am
Hi Gang, How does going up Baxter compare to Shepherds/Taboose/Sawmill ? Planning a 5 night trip into Window peak lake mid September with plans to go up Baxter Pass and come out Sawmill. Have been up Taboose and Shepherds and down Sawmill. Swore I would never go up Sawmill with all the sand at the bottom. About me: 60 y/o with 45 years backpacking experience. Lots of cross country but don’t like class 3 or loose talus at this point. Hikers are all strong. Great forum, appreciate your thoughts !
Here's a thread that compares all four passes:

viewtopic.php?t=9127

Enjoy! :)

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Re: Baxter Pass vs the Others

Post by Retired Doc » Tue May 28, 2019 5:07 am

Thanks Everyone appreciate the insight. I think we will go for it. Will report back after the trip. Hope to run onto some of you this summer in the mountains.

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Re: Baxter Pass vs the Others

Post by LonePine » Wed May 29, 2019 5:58 pm

I've been up all 4 passes so my choice as hardest would be Baxter. There is no maintenance program and it has lots of bushwacking where the trail disappears quite often. Also, the best camping is well beyond where Summit Meadow shows on the map. If Summit Meadow had a flat spot I couldn't find it. It took me 2 days to get to Baxter lake where I spent 2 days in total solitude. Saw the big horn sheep and a black bear on the last day. Lots of coyote chatter also. To get to the JMT you have to navigate a half mile of talas bolders. So it's hard work but the payoff is well worth it.

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