HST damage - alternate route

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westmatt
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HST damage - alternate route

Post by westmatt » Fri Aug 02, 2019 9:00 am

Hi

We have a permit with an entry date of 9-15 for the HST @ Crescent Meadow. Reading about the trail damage above Hamilton Lakes, and not being interested in becoming a cautionary tale, I am thinking that we need to take an alternate route. I think we could leave the HST at Bearpaw, camp at Pinto Lake, then cross Black Rock Pass, descend and rejoin the HST at Big Arroyo. I think any other options are going to be too much for our group.

I know this is going to extend our mileage quite a bit, and I've read that Black Rock Pass is strenuous, but should I feel confident we can make this work in the same number of days (Crescent to Kaweah Gap to Big Arroyo vs. Crescent to Black Rock Pass to Big Arroyo)? Is my existing permit going to allow this? I would be super-disappointed to cancel this trip after so much planning and preparation.

Any advice much appreciated.

-Matt








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toejam
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Re: HST damage - alternate route

Post by toejam » Fri Aug 02, 2019 9:37 am

The climb over Black Rock Pass is strenuous, but the climb over Kaweah Gap is also strenuous. It's a good trail and not that much further. I'd guess it will cost most hikers maybe half a day. This won't invalidate your permit. There's a bonus Sequoia grove along the way.

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westmatt
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Re: HST damage - alternate route

Post by westmatt » Fri Aug 02, 2019 10:17 am

Thank you for putting my mind at ease! I am all for less-seen sequoias - that will be a nice bonus. I have seen so many pictures of Hamilton Lakes, Precipice, Kaweah gap, that this might hopefully be a little bit of serendipity - take a less-travelled route, see something different.

I appreciate your help.

-Matt

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Re: HST damage - alternate route

Post by TDLockwood » Fri Aug 02, 2019 10:41 am

I am planning a similar trip in September and have been considering the exact same alternate route. I found one trail journal that says the HST is passable (but dangerous?) above Hamilton Lakes:

"After lunch I came to my last trail concern, a 10 foot section of trail slipped. So, you had to climb down 6 ft and walk along a ledge then up the other side. The best way I found alone was drop pack, jump down move my pack to the other side then climb up. POW! Just like that....and don't look down."

(https://www.trailjournals.com/journal/entry/618464)

But that has been the only description I have found of the trail damage (besides the Sequoia Trail Conditions). I hear there are details and possibly photos on the High Sierra Trail Facebook Group, but I have not been given an invitation to join and see the photos/posts. Have you found any additional info about the trail damage?

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Re: HST damage - alternate route

Post by westmatt » Fri Aug 02, 2019 11:19 am

There is a similar post here that has pictures and links to video of the spot: viewtopic.php?t=19734

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Re: HST damage - alternate route

Post by TDLockwood » Fri Aug 02, 2019 12:08 pm

Thanks Matt!

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tie
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Re: HST damage - alternate route

Post by tie » Sun Aug 04, 2019 11:35 am

Follow the Facebook group. People report that more has slid away since the video was made. Which means (1) it's harder now, and (2) it could slide when you're on it.

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Re: HST damage - alternate route

Post by creekfeet » Wed Aug 07, 2019 11:19 pm

I just got back from a trip in which I went over the blowout. Personally I didn't think it was anything crazier than you encounter every five minutes or so going over a x-country pass. It sounds like most people have been going down the shoot, but I skirted over the small remaining rock ledge.
There were great hand holds, and the footing was solid. I didn't feel at all uncomfortable doing it with a pack on, but there's always the option of lowering it with rope too.

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