Sept Sierra backpack

Southern California and far-away places. Hiking, wildlife, cycling etc.

Sept Sierra backpack

Postby Ellen » Sat Oct 06, 2018 2:31 pm

Howdy All :)

The plan -- hike in over Bishop pass, follow the JMT and hike out over Kearsage in 6 days. We succeeded but this was much harder than expected. This is one of my favorite sections of the JMT. When I set up the itinerary, I did so based on my 2013 JMT fitness. However a lot has happened in five years :lol:

On Sept 11, Sister Sally, Miracle Marilyn and I left Sally's car in Onion Valley, then headed to Bishop. We had a lovely visit with the generous and legendary Laura Molnar at the Mountain Rambler brewery.

Day 1: Drove my car to the Bishop Pass TH. Nearly got knocked down when we got out of the car due to wind. We headed up to Bishop Pass -- didn't linger due to the wind. Descended to Dusy Basin and pitched in a protected area close to a water source.

Day 2: It was so cold in the morning that Sally's bandana froze when she used warm water to wipe her face :o We broke camp and headed down to the junction of the JMT/Bishop pass trail. From there, we went south along the JMT. Shortly after Grouse Meadow, the JMT turned east next to Palisade creek. By the time we reached the trees above Deer meadow, we'd had enough and pitched.

Day 3: The climb up the Golden Staircase was as beautiful and strenuous as I remembered. There's nothing like a 1,500 ft climb to get your heart started in the morning. Mother nature treated us to gorgeous clouds in all directions as we walked by the Palisade lakes. Then, Mather pass beckoned us to ascend and bask in her magnificence. After taking in the exquisite views and recuperating, we descended into the barren Upper Basin. After about 3 miles, we were back in the pine trees and Sally spotted a very small campsite. Sally's picture of our campsite looked like an advertisement for Big Agnes tents :wink:

Day 4: We descended until we crossed the South Fork of the Kings river, then started climbing up to the JMT/Taboose pass junction. That section was just a warm up for the 3.5 mile climb to Pinchot pass. I'd forgotten that this was a long climb but the terrific views hepled. At the pass, we took time to fuel and regroup before beginning the descent. At the JMT/Sawmill pass junction, we were very tired. I recommended continuing on as we were behind schedule. I also thought we could find a good campsite before reaching the JMT/Woods Creek junction -- I was wrong :? . Running on fumes, we reached the junction and camped on the north side of the suspension bridge.

Day 5: Had fun crossing the suspension bridge, then started climbing up to Dollar lake. Even in the cool of morning, this was a solid climb of 1700 ft. Took a long break, then continued hiking into the Rae Lakes basin. My words cannot adequately express the exquisite beauty of this area. As we were approaching the last Rae lake, we encountered a doe, her spotted fawn and older sibling. I wanted to weep with joy. Then we started up Glen pass. I think my "forgetter" (as Sally says) kicked in and erased my memory of this extraordinarily arduous climb. From the 60 Lakes Basin junction, the trail gained about 1,400 ft in 1.9 miles. I lost track of time. As with Pinchot pass, I kept expecting to see the pass around the next corner. When I thought I was close, I looked over at a ridge that seemed impossibly far away and saw what appeared to be ants :o :shock: An eternity later, I stood atop narrow, windy Glen pass with my sisters Sally and Marilyn. After resting and refueling, we started heading down. Compared to my previous hikes, there were very few tiny lakes/tarns for water. Sally found our camping site (I was brain dead) and we pitched.

Day 6: Broke camp once we warmed up enough and continued down the JMT towards the Kearsarge Pass junction. Then we started the climb up to the pass. Compared to the last two days, this was a civilized ascent -- good footing and not too steep. Took our time at the pass fueling and chatting with other folks. Overall, the descent was very nice as well. Still it was a relief to reach Sally's car. We picked up chilled beverages and snacks in Independence and drove back up to Bishop. Sally and Marilyn kindly retrieved my car while I was bathing. After six days of sunscreen. I had to soak a while :lol: Enjoyed breakfast at Jack's before heading home.

Miles of smiles,
Ellen
Last edited by Ellen on Mon Oct 08, 2018 3:31 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Photos

Postby Ellen » Sat Oct 06, 2018 4:46 pm

Howdy All,

Sally was the team photographer. I'm not sure if the photo sequence is accurate.

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Morning of day 2?

To be continued...
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Re: Sept Sierra backpack

Postby zippetydude » Mon Oct 08, 2018 1:35 am

"However, a lot has happened in 5 years." Funny how a 20 year old saying that means they have grown stronger and learned a lot about life, whereas people in my age bracket kinda just mean, "Oh, God, this was bad!"

Ummm, I was just getting going enjoying the post when it sputtered out at 2 pics! Looking forward to the next installment tomorrow. :wink: Glad you 3 had the chance to take such an adventure.

z
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Re: Sept Sierra backpack

Postby Ellen » Mon Oct 08, 2018 1:33 pm

Howdy All :)

More pictures, not in sequence, so I don't know the location of many of them :lol:

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Golden Staircase.

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Palisade lakes and climb up to Mather Pass

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Descending Mather Pass and our wee campsite.
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Re: Sept Sierra backpack

Postby Ellen » Mon Oct 08, 2018 2:16 pm

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Heading up Pinchot pass.
Last edited by Ellen on Mon Oct 08, 2018 2:32 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Sept Sierra backpack

Postby Ellen » Mon Oct 08, 2018 2:31 pm

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Rae Lakes
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Re: Sept Sierra backpack

Postby Ellen » Mon Oct 08, 2018 2:50 pm

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Glen pass

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Our campsite by a tarn near Glen pass.

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Kearsarge Pass
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Re: Sept Sierra backpack

Postby zippetydude » Tue Oct 09, 2018 4:18 pm

Very nice! Looks like it wasn't too cold (with all 3 in shorts) and you were fortunate enough to avoid an early snow...nothing obscures those faint high country trails like a few inches of snowfall. BTW, what was that tall narrow rock dome in the two pictures right after "Heading up Pinchot Pass"?

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Re: Sept Sierra backpack

Postby Sally » Tue Oct 09, 2018 8:08 pm

The tall narrow rock dome is called "Fin Dome" on my Tom Harrison map. It did indeed look like a shark's fin, and we couldn't help but attempt to hum our rendition of the famous ominous theme from the movie "Jaws."
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Re: Sept Sierra backpack

Postby Ed » Wed Oct 10, 2018 9:09 am

Thanks for the trip report and photos, Ellen and Sally. A pleasure to read and view, as usual. Fin Dome is unmistakable, I've never seen anything like it elsewhere.

I too once wanted to weep in the Rae Lakes / Sixty Lakes area. Because of the mosquitos! I decided that while lake basins are very cute on maps and when viewed from above, they best left to late-season trips, as campsites.

In my backpacking days, I found that there were two types of backpackers. One type sets up their tent every night. The other type never sets up their tent for a one-night campsite, unless they definitely need the protection. I was certainly in the latter group. I hated pitching a tent, and even more hated rolling and packing one in the morning. Particularly on the usual early-morning start, when the tent was dirty, damp and stiff. Perhaps tents are easier to handle today, but I still don't know why I would want to look up at tent fabric rather than the night sky.
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