Apr 19, 2010 at 12:05 pm #1257890
We (myself & two others) are planning an August (leaving Aug. 5th) trans-Sierra hike. We are planning to leave from South Lake (near Bishop) on the Bishop Pass Trail and our trip will take us through the John Muir Wilderness and Kings Canyon Natl Park. Unfortunately, 60% of the permits for that area have already been allotted (leaving the other 40% for walk-ups on the day before their hike). They start giving out these “walk-up” permits for the following day at 11:00AM. Unfortunately we cannot be there at this time and the ranger my friend spoke to said that they run out quickly.
Here is our situation: My friend’s wife is going to take us from Fresno to Bishop on Friday where we will stay the night before we hike out. She will then drop us at the trailhead on Saturday morning before returning to Fresno. Unfortunately, she can’t leave early on the day before our hike because she has to work. We thought about making two drives from Fresno to Bishop on the day before our trip (driving to get the permit, then returning to Fresno and riding back to Bishop w/my friend’s wife). We also thought we could have her bring a friend to drive back our car; that way she could meet us in Bishop and her friend could drive our car back, but we would like to avoid this as well.
Does anybody have any experience with how fast these permits go? Would we be taking too great a chance if we were to get there later in the day on Friday? Is there any way to “get around” this and get someone else to pick up a permit for us (maybe pay them to do so)?
We have our hearts set on leaving from this point, but we are willing to consider alternate access points on the eastern side of the Sierra.Apr 19, 2010 at 12:17 pm #1599565
I can't tell you anything concrete about that specific wilderness permit office, although I have dealt with it a few dozen times in the past. Many permit offices start issuing the walk-up permits the day before the start day, typically around 10-11 a.m. If you are shooting for the Bishop Pass Trail, either you get there early the day before, or you seriously take your chances on getting zero. I have shown up on the start day to get a permit, but I was standing first in line from pre-dawn hours in order to get what was left from the day before. Backpackers have been trying to "game" that permit system for years and years.
As for alternative entry points, it kind of depends on where you intend to finish. There is Paiute Pass. You could start at North Lake and go over Lamarck Col. You could start at Sabrina and go over Echo Col (class 3, I believe). You can shift your start day by a day. Shifting away from a weekend start is to your advantage.
–B.G.–Apr 19, 2010 at 4:28 pm #1599670
"We have our hearts set on leaving from this point, but we are willing to consider alternate access points on the eastern side of the Sierra."
Once you get over Bishop Pass, what is your intended route? Alternate entry points depend on where you are going to some degree.Apr 19, 2010 at 4:53 pm #1599686
After crossing over Bishop Pass we are planning on linking up w/the JMT for a short distance, then going off trail to do a summit of Mt. Goddard. After summiting Mt. Goddard, we will hike out of Kings Canyon NP via Hell for Sure Pass (into Red Mountain Basin).
We have considered the Piute Pass trail, but we really would prefer to spend some time in Dusy Basin.Apr 19, 2010 at 5:03 pm #1599691
"We have considered the Piute Pass trail"
That is what I would have suggested. Another thought occurred to me: Reverse your trip and come out over Bishop Pass. Permits should be easier to get for trips into Red Mountain Basin and on over Hell For Sure Pass. It's a straight shot from there up to Martha Lake at the base of Mt Goddard. From there you've got several options for going off trail over to the JMT and on to Dusy Basin.Apr 20, 2010 at 8:50 am #1600009
I think we are going to end up reversing our route. Thanks to everyone for the help and advice!Apr 20, 2010 at 12:07 pm #1600074
Another idea if you are heading to Mount Goddard is to go from Lake Sabrina and cut through Echo Col directly to the JMT, then over to Goddard.
Once I went from Florence Lake, up Goddard Canyon past the Pig Chute, past Martha Lake, and up the standard route on Goddard.
There's going to be a lot of snow up there this summer.
–B.G.–Apr 20, 2010 at 7:04 pm #1600224
Have a great trip, Ryan. You've chosen a very scenic route.
One last thought occurred to me. If you camp at Martha Lake, and you have a slack day in your schedule, it would be very much worth your while to hike up to Reinstein Pass for a look down the valley drained by Goddard Creek. It is beautiful almost beyond description. You might even find yourself hiking on down to the lake at the head of the valley. It is a longish day hike but well worth the effort.
I can think of perhaps 2 other places I have been in the Sierra that are comparably beautiful, IMO. I just had to put that out there, not meant to be pushy. Best of luck.Apr 20, 2010 at 8:49 pm #1600277
SWEET! Thanks for the recommendation Tom! That is the type of information that I LOVE getting from these forums. We will definitely consider making that part of our itinerary.
I am glad to hear that we have chosen a "scenic" route as well. That was the primary criteria for this trip and we kept that in mind while searching out an area to hike in.Apr 20, 2010 at 9:17 pm #1600285
@drongobirdLocale: San Francisco Bay Area
If in the end you decide not to switch directions…
From South Lake (correction from NORTH LAKE) go over Lamarck Col (class 1 and easy class 2) – that almost always has permits available. Then Darwin Canyon down to the JMT. There are numerous routes from there into the Ionian Basin – either via McGee Lakes or from near Muir Pass.
Enjoy your climb up Goddard – it's a hell of a nice peak.
And, when you are up on Mt Reinstein looking south down Goddard Creek (which is different from Goddard Canyon to the north), don't get so tempted by its beauty that you decide to descend all the way down to Simpson Meadow, unless you're prepared for a dang tough trip – the upper part is straight forward, but the section below the confluence with Disappearing Creek is a major thrash.Apr 20, 2010 at 9:25 pm #1600287
"If in the end you decide not to switch directions…
From South Lake go over Lamarck Col (class 1 and easy class 2) – that almost always has permits available. Then Darwin Canyon down to the JMT."
That would not be South Lake. It would be North Lake that lines up to Lamarck Col.
–B.G.–Apr 21, 2010 at 8:25 am #1600397
+1 on Lamarck Col and Darwin Bench. One of my favorite areas,Apr 21, 2010 at 4:18 pm #1600618
"There are numerous routes from there into the Ionian Basin – either via McGee Lakes"
I'm a little confused, Amy. How do you enter Ionian Basin via McGee Lakes Basin?Apr 21, 2010 at 5:22 pm #1600653
@kennyhel77Locale: Scotts Valley CA via San Jose, CA
agree on Lamarck and Darwin Canyon and Bench…wow! There is an amazing campsite at Darwin Bench that overlooks Evolution and the northern portion of the Black Divide…it is right next to Darwin creek. Amazing stuff
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