Oct 4, 2017 at 12:43 pm #3494750
<p style=”text-align: left;”>Has anyone here done the Wilson-Dixon Southern Sierra High Route? I am curious how it compares difficulty wise to their Wind River High Route. I have watched one video that looks like it has some exposure.</p>Oct 4, 2017 at 2:45 pm #3494766Ben CBPL Member
I’ve done most of it, Brad. We modified it a little based on available permits, desired side trips, and a need to get back on schedule. https://backpackinglight.com/forums/topic/ten-days-in-a-new-land-with-2-old-friends/ Our Sierra trip was somewhat easier than the Wind River High Route, I thought. The weather was better. No glacier travel. Less talus hopping. More easy terrain. The biggest exposure we had was the mountaineers route up Whitney, but it was a really fun climb. After that, the climb out of Lake Tulainyo was intimidating from the bottom, but it never felt too bad to me.
Our route started in Big Pine and finished at Whitney, so it wasn’t exactly the same, but covered a lot of the route, and I think the hardest climbing spots. I think it has some class III. Maybe a little of Whitney might be called class IV by some. My friend got a little spooked on the final 400 feet of Whitney.
I highly recommend the trip. I liked our start out of Big Pine too. It was one of the highlights of the trip.Oct 5, 2017 at 2:05 am #3494882
Thank you Ben. I must have missed your trip report somehow, but thank you for sharing, I enjoyed it.
I am worried about some of the more scrambly areas and the video I have seen of the last 400 ft on Whitney look pretty intense. I have been a few places where I felt I was near the edge of my comfort level with exposure and am trying to gauge how these relate.
I have done both the northern and southern sections of the Wilson-Dixon Wind River High Route and had no problems with exposure on it at all.
I will look at your changes this weekend when I get some time and study it in Caltopo, as I will probably need to do whatever trip I do in a week and am looking at this one over a Skurka Kings Canyon High Route Section Hike Loop, Pfiffner Traverse, or Skurka WR High Route.
Any bugs in early August? I have been to the Sierras several times, but always at the end of August or early September and once the end of September. Due to work next year I know September will be off the table for me.Oct 5, 2017 at 2:59 am #3494887nunatak down gearBPL Member
I think you will be fine with your experience, Brad.
The WRHR (Dixon version) I would hesitate doing solo, but not rule out. Not because of technical issues (of which there are none) but the remoteness and sustained talus, plus Griz’es.
The Sierra feels different. Maybe I’m more at home there, with over 150 nights on the ground, but I’d do any of the established ‘high routes’ in the Range of Light solo. Full disclosure: not done Alan’s SSHR.
The weather is better. The bears are kinder. The talus friendlier. Even the mosquito swarms seem thinner.Oct 5, 2017 at 2:50 pm #3494967Ben CBPL Member
We had no bugs.
The WWHR seems a lot more remote. We saw no humans for several days. We had weather. The SoSHR spends more time on trail, so there are more people. The weather was perfect. The Winds had a lot more talus hopping, but the Sierra trip probably had more exposure. It’s hard to give an objective description of it in writing. Three of us were on the trip. I felt no real fear on the final 400 ft of Whitney. One of my partners did feel some fear and the other did not. Two young women climbed at the same time and had no issues. The climb is pretty straight forward ledge climbing. The off trail part from Forester pass to Whitney was my favorite part. I do like the Big Pine area too; beautiful lakes and sharp high peaks.Oct 20, 2017 at 8:51 pm #3497702
i don’t know if you’ve already hiked it or planning it for next year. Me and 2 friends hiked it this Aug 6-13. We hiked the entire route starting in South Lake and exiting at the Cottonwood Lakes TH.
We skipped the Mt Baxter “purple” section and stuck to the original route. It looked a little sketchy and we didn’t have the time to hike up and backtrack if we didn’t feel comfortable. We did do the “purple” section through 60 Lakes Basin and continued cross country to Glen Pass. It was my favorite section of the entire hike.
I’m pretty decent with map and compass nav and the route is fairly easy to navigate because the views are usually clear. I did create a .gpx file using Caltopo which was as good as any file I create by actually hiking a route. We split between GPS (iPhone Gaia) and paper map about 50/50. We used whatever was faster at the time.
Originally I was planning on 10 days but because of one of my friend’s schedule we changed it to 8 days. I usually hike about 12 hrs a day on my hikes and this was the same. We also had two 14.5 hr days to meet our schedule. I recommend 10 days depending on your fitness level.
I thought all of the scrambling was fairly tame. What we learned was that everything looks much more intimidating as you approach it but find it more manageable up close. The exceptions were an icy/snow traverse near the top of Shepard Pass. We had crampons (NOT Microspikes) and ice axes. It was quite unnerving to me. A gal would have been difficult to arrest even with an axe. The other section was the Mountaineer’s route. It’s not a scary as I imagined but it definitely kept me on my toes. There’s a class 2 option once you get to the Notch which looked easy if not for the snow. We went up the class 3 section. I found the scrambling not to be any more difficult than we had already encountered but it definitely had a lot of exposure. I had no real climbing experience and I’m kind of scared of heights and I still felt comfortable 95% of the time.
I highly recommend the route. I know it may be intimidating but once you finish you realize it wasn’t so tough. I had some off trail experience but my friends did not. Feel free to ask more questions. Let’s keep them on this thread so others can read. :-)Oct 20, 2017 at 8:58 pm #3497704
also, we had bugs about half the time in early Aug but I think it was only because of the high rain/snowfall we had this season. Usually Aug is pretty good.
If you’re on Instagram you can see some pics from my trip.
@wandering_bipedOct 24, 2017 at 1:12 am #3498107
Thank you Don! I assume Shepherd Pass wouldn’t be as sketchy in a normal snow year.
I need to figure out what I am going to do as I would probably need 10 days to do the route without pushing too hard, but may only have 8 myself.
I am looking at the SSHR vs a loop from Skurka’s Kings Canyon Basin High RouteFeb 16, 2020 at 7:02 am #3631542
I’m bringing this post back from the dead. Last year I tried to get permits for this route but was unable so I ended up doing a loop using the JMT and SHR (off trail passes were (White Bear Pass, Feather Pass, and Carrol Col/Puppet Pass), which was really nice. This year I woke up at 3am (noon pacific) when permits opened and was able to score permits for me to enter at South Lake and exit Whitney Portal, so I’ll be doing the first 75% or so of the SoSHR this year the first week of August!Feb 16, 2020 at 11:57 am #3631580idesterBPL Member
@doug-iLocale: The Cascades
Very cool. Looking forward to a trip report.Feb 17, 2020 at 8:09 am #3631704
Though I hate dropping down to Woods Hole (It wasn’t my favorite part of the JMT either – I look forward to it even less in early August with the heat and bugs) I’ve pretty much talked myself out of the Mt. Baxter alternate due to the nasty loose talus I read about on the south side, but has anyone done the 60 Lake Basin alternate to Rae Lakes? It looks like you leave the JMT at Arrowhead Lake and go over Basin Notch into 60 Lakes Basin and then over Rae Col to re-join the JMT on the climb up Glenn Pass.Apr 20, 2020 at 12:54 pm #3642265
Just saw this. I mentioned it above. We skipped the Mt Baxter section. We hiked near the start of the scrambling section and turned back to the JMT. We wasted about 5 hrs total.
We did do the 60 Lakes Basin alternate. It was my favorite section and in terms of difficulty it’s inline with other sections. There are a lot of mosquitoes in that basin though.Apr 20, 2020 at 3:17 pm #3642281
Thanks for the information. I think we’ll skip the Mt. Baxter section and do the 60 Lakes Basin alternate. To be honest, I just hope we get to do the trip with all that’s going on. It’s been a crazy couple of months.
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