Nov 28, 2010 at 11:01 am #1265988
As permit season is approaching in a few months, I'm thinking about planning a short trip to the Sierras this summer, and I thought I'd solicit some advice from the experts.
I think I'll have about 4-5 days, and would be comfortable doing 15-25 on-trail miles a day. Ideally it would be mix of on trail and off trail, with perhaps some lesser seen off-trail areas, but nothing more difficult than scrambling. I did the JMT two summers ago, and was especially fond of Evolution through Forrester – so something in SEKI maybe?
Thanks!Nov 28, 2010 at 11:29 am #1668625
Sierra High Trail??? Roads End head south and cross Colby Pass and back around to the JMT and back to Roads End could be another optionNov 28, 2010 at 1:12 pm #1668658
North Lake to South Lake out of Bishop is a nice semi-loop. It's about 55 miles and takes in Piute Pass, Humphreys Basin, Evolution Valley, Muir Pass, LeConte Canyon, Dusy Basin, and Bishop Pass. Lots of options for side trips and cross-country travel along the way. There is a local shuttle service that will drive you between trailheads. The Rae Lakes loop is another classic.Nov 28, 2010 at 1:22 pm #1668664
Ken 2, if you were to extend that loop to, say 100 miles, what would you add?Nov 28, 2010 at 2:18 pm #1668681
Both trips Ken suggested I have done and both are excellent trips that are in the range 40-45 miles. If you did South Lake to North Lake, there are some off trail options that would make the trip more fun. One would be for the South Lake to North Lake you would head over Knapsack pass in Dusy Basin head around the Palasades and back to the JMT and then head north to North Lake…The High Sierra Trail is around 50-60 miles???Nov 28, 2010 at 3:34 pm #1668709
to extend the loop some extra miles you could turn north at Piute Pass and head in Humphreys Basin. There are use trails that will take you to Paradise Valley. Though you would need a shuttle for that. Another option is once you finish the hike you can add another 20 or so by hiking use trails back to your original trailheadNov 28, 2010 at 4:11 pm #1668720
"Roads End head south and cross Colby Pass and back around to the JMT and back to Roads End could be another option"
Another way to do the last half would be to come up the Kern Canyon from Junction Meadow, coming off the Colby Pass Trail. Hike north out of Kern Canyon, through the Upper Kern Basin, and on out over Harrison Pass back to Road's End. That would take you through some very beautiful country without revisiting the JMT, and also give you a taste of off trail going over Harrison Pass.Nov 28, 2010 at 4:21 pm #1668724
Tom, how tough is Harrison Pass??? I have hear differing accounts of the degree of difficulty. I have done Lamarck Col and was contemplating that very hikeNov 28, 2010 at 4:45 pm #1668734
"Tom, how tough is Harrison Pass???"
Secor rates it class 2, and I would concur. It is basically a wide gully filled with talus, with a blocky scramble at the top for about 30-40 feet that I would call perhaps class 2+. It is a bit strenuous, but if you are comfortable on talus, it is no big deal. If you had no difficulty with Lamarck Col, you will find Harrison Pass very doable. It is a very nice exit from the Kern which avoids some of the crowds and bear issues on the upper Bubbs Creek/JM Trail by joining the Bubbs Creek Trail down low at Junction Meadow. If you started early from a campsite in the Upper Kern, ideally at Lake South America, you could be back at your car by mid-late afternoon. If you did decide to spend an extra night, there is a small lake(Golden Lake, Golden Trout Lake?) a mile or so after you exit the Harrison Pass gully that offers excellent camping and is not likely to have the crowd/bear problems you will encounter down at East Lake.Nov 28, 2010 at 5:02 pm #1668743
Thanks Tom, I appreciate the info. Secor is usually dead on too! ThanksNov 28, 2010 at 5:45 pm #1668768
Ken 2, if you were to extend that loop to, say 100 miles, what would you add?
Turn around and do it again the in other direction! :)
Instead of exiting over Bishop Pass, you could continue south on the JMT over Mather, Pinchot, and Glen Passes to Charlotte Lake and exit over Kearsarge Pass to Onion Valley. That should get you to right around 100 miles. The shuttle cost would be higher, of course.
You could also start from a trail head farther north, but I think it's better hiking to the south.
Since you've already done the JMT, instead of extending the end-to-end distance you might want to think about using the extra time for off-trail side trips. There are many great areas to explore in that region. Humphreys Basin, Darwin Canyon, Goddard Basin, Ionian Basin, Palisade Basin to name a few.Nov 28, 2010 at 5:59 pm #1668774
Order Steve Roper's Book "The Sierra High Route". In addition to the actual route there are a number of alternates. Some of my favorite places, Darwin Basin, Marion Lake and the High Route Section just north of Kings Canyon. If you plot the High route and overlay it onto a trail map of Kings Canyon you will finds there are infinite possibilities. Some of the best will be those that aren't marked. A great example of this is a loop I did from Sonora pass to Tilden lake that then went cross country at the headwaters of the streams that feeds Tilden to form a nice loop.Nov 28, 2010 at 6:23 pm #1668789
These are all great suggestions, thanks!
My initial thought was just to do a chunk of the SHR, but I thought I'd see what else was out there. As, always, too many options and not enough time!Nov 28, 2010 at 6:28 pm #1668792
"Thanks Tom, I appreciate the info. Secor is usually dead on too! Thanks"
My pleasure. I hope you do that trip. It covers some very special country and I think you'll have a heckuva good time.Nov 28, 2010 at 10:32 pm #1668905
I've been following this attentively. As an aspiring Sierra walker I am going to be examining all my maps tomorrow and probably doing a version of one of these next spring as my first Sierra hike. 40-50 miles seems just about right for a first go.
Thanks guys for helping, albeit indirectly!!Nov 28, 2010 at 11:40 pm #1668923
@b-g-2-2Locale: Silicon Valley
Keep in mind that springtime will be around June. Some of the high passes might be difficult even in July if it is a big snow year.
–B.G.–Jul 5, 2011 at 9:33 pm #1756351
I thought I'd resurrect this thread.
Edit: Just scrapped the loop idea that I had originally.
So now I'm basically looking to do a section of the JMT from Piute to Kearsarge, taking some detours through Huphries, Dusy, Darwin, etc. I know I can use the Crest bus to get from town to town, but how hard is it to hitch from the trailheads to the Crest stops? (Assuming mid-August?)
ChrisJul 5, 2011 at 9:48 pm #1756358
@b-g-2-2Locale: Silicon Valley
Some of the route I can figure out. How do you propose getting into Darwin Canyon? From the east or from the west? I never found Darwin Canyon, itself, to be that beautiful. However Darwin Bench is quite nice if you hit the wildflower season right, but this year I would expect it to be slightly earlier than mid-August. That is the first two or three miles off the JMT.
If you are into Dusy Basin, then that sounds like you are coming over Bishop Pass.
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