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#12115 - 03/27/11 07:31 PM Pants Pass
saltydog Offline


Registered: 02/03/11
Posts: 1563
Loc: Valley Ford CA!!!!
One possible variation on the HST trip I am planning (now for July) is a quick (45 mi or so) return from MW to Crescent Meadow via Pants Pass. There is an OK TR of this posted at

http://www.people.fas.harvard.edu/~glauder/Lauder_extracurr.htm.

Anyone ever done this pass? Any tips, especially on level of difficulty?
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#12117 - 03/27/11 09:12 PM Re: Pants Pass [Re: saltydog]
Steve C Offline


Registered: 09/22/09
Posts: 7680
Loc: Fresno, CA
I believe Ernie (CMC2) has done it. Hope he can write some.

If I ever get to doing the HST, that is the route I'm planning to take.

I've seen that trip report, and it is the one that has me convinced to take that route. My favorite line from that report:  "This lake had some nice big trout in it, probably from a hatchery, unfortunately."

I chuckle wondering how huge hatchery fish could ever be planted in such a remote lake. I'm definitely taking fishing gear when I go that way.

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#12138 - 03/28/11 08:00 PM Re: Pants Pass [Re: saltydog]
CMC2 Offline


Registered: 11/04/09
Posts: 160
Loc: CO
I have no pictures. I previously posted in response to Saltydog under the heading of Trip Planning: HST shuttle on 2/06/11 as 8:36 am. The trip report you cite has great pictures and route descriptions including maps and should be more than enough for you to plan your Pants Pass crossing. I again refer you to Secor who has a description and a picture in his book. My trip was in 1957 and I am sure the pass has gotten worse in the 50+ years. We did the higher pass both ways but I think the TR you cite has a good idea of traversing from the one pass over to the other to descend assuming you are going East to West down into 9 lakes basin.

I can confirm that the 9 Lakes Basin has excellent fishing as we caught all we wanted in 1957 and in 1958 for our group, but who knows what the fishing is like now.

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#12170 - 03/30/11 07:20 AM Re: Pants Pass [Re: CMC2]
saltydog Offline


Registered: 02/03/11
Posts: 1563
Loc: Valley Ford CA!!!!
I have the relevant Secor pages, but I wish I knew where that photo of PP from the East was taken. Secor doesn't say. I also have what I think is a really interesting note on this. I got in touch with one of the authors of that Pants Pass TR, and asked him specifically about his route to Junction Meadow. You will note on his GPS track that he took Tyndall Creek from the JMT/PCT down to Junction Meadow, and I asked him why he took this longer route (at least 5 miles) rather than Wallace Creek. He insists in his reply that there is no trail along Wallace Creek. All my maps and guides show the HST on Wallace creek and only a secondary trail on Tyndall. Anybody of any reason to doubt the trail along Wallace Creek? I know it is a south-exposed slog, but aside from that? On the other hand, he was very encouraging about his more southerly approach to PP itself as well as the advantages of crossing E to W. ANd I will definitely be after collecting Salmonid specimens in Nine Lakes Basin.


Edited by saltydog (03/30/11 07:22 AM)
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#12177 - 03/30/11 11:38 AM Re: Pants Pass [Re: saltydog]
RoguePhotonic Offline


Registered: 12/08/09
Posts: 558
Loc: Bakersfield CA
The trail up Wallace Creek is the final bit of the High Sierra Trail and is as good as class 3 (the best). They must be confused on which creek you asked about.
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#12180 - 03/30/11 01:31 PM Re: Pants Pass [Re: RoguePhotonic]
Steve C Offline


Registered: 09/22/09
Posts: 7680
Loc: Fresno, CA
I noticed that odd loop up to Tyndall Cr. too. I just think they put the dots in the wrong place, because the Wallace Cr trail was omitted from THAT particular map.

If you look on this satellite view, it is pretty easy to see the trail. Play with the map: switch to MyTopo view, back to satellite, zoom in. When zoomed in, the trail is unmistakable.

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#12181 - 03/30/11 01:41 PM Re: Pants Pass [Re: RoguePhotonic]
saltydog Offline


Registered: 02/03/11
Posts: 1563
Loc: Valley Ford CA!!!!
That's what I thought, on both counts. But no, their track clearly bypasses Wallace for Tyndall,

http://www.people.fas.harvard.edu/~glauder/Lauder_extracurr.htm

and the email was explicit on taking Tyndall vs Wallace.
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#12183 - 03/30/11 01:45 PM Re: Pants Pass [Re: saltydog]
Steve C Offline


Registered: 09/22/09
Posts: 7680
Loc: Fresno, CA
> their track clearly bypasses Wallace for Tyndall

All I see is dots on a bright green map. Where is their "track"?


...unless they provide us with the gps data file, I am doubting that map.



Edited by Steve C (03/30/11 01:47 PM)

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#12185 - 03/30/11 02:41 PM Re: Pants Pass [Re: Steve C]
saltydog Offline


Registered: 02/03/11
Posts: 1563
Loc: Valley Ford CA!!!!
I don't think its too large an assumption that their track is the broken line (trail symbol) connecting the dots (up to the point where they leave the Colby Pass Trail at Gallats Lake. Pretty small scale map and big dots, for sure, but if you compare it with a decent topo, you can identify Wallace Creek well to the south of their route and match their dots with the trail down Tyndall. Four of the dots are clearly well to the north of Wallace, and one is smack in the middle of the Tyndall trail, next to the Tyndall ranger station symbol.

They also wrote to me "I don't think that you can get to pants pass by going down Wallace Creek, but you could check out that possibility. There is not a trail there and you would have to descend the creek itself which would be
quite slow as I recall. I think that we did the route we did to stay
on a clearly defined trail for as long as we could which allowed us to
jog a bit too"

Add to this the later good tracks from their Pants Pass approach and crossing, and the text describing the success of their GPS nav work, and I surmise that the GPS data they had are good and that this string of dots is an accurate, if not precise record of their route. If not strictly speaking a "track". It may be that they are confusing Wallace Creek and Whitney Creek (to which their description would apply), but any way you slice it, its pretty clear that they just missed Wallace Creek and hiked the extra six or so miles required to go north to Tyndall and then back south to Junction Meadow.
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#12195 - 03/30/11 10:05 PM Re: Pants Pass [Re: saltydog]
Steve C Offline


Registered: 09/22/09
Posts: 7680
Loc: Fresno, CA
Here's what I am thinking: They are hustling north on the JMT, and come to a trail junction and a sign, saying Junction Meadow and pointing to the left. They take it. The trail is so well defined, they go, without looking at any map or GPS.

After the trip, while preparing the trip report, they put dots on a small scale map, following some dashed line.

Another way: Looking at their times:
   Trail Crest      -  8:41 am  13,602'
Crabtree Meadow - 11:00am 10,800'
Junction Meadow - 3:02 pm 8,086'
Gallats Lake - 6:15 pm 10,033'

The four hours from Crabtree Meadow to Junction Meadow via Wallace Creek is about right looking at the distances and comparing to the other legs that day. It would have required twice the time to go all the way up to Tyndall Creek.

Ask your contact what map he was using. Better yet, invite him to join this discussion.

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#12196 - 03/30/11 10:16 PM Re: Pants Pass [Re: saltydog]
RoguePhotonic Offline


Registered: 12/08/09
Posts: 558
Loc: Bakersfield CA
Not knowing where you are or where you have been in the mountains isn't a good thing. wink
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#12200 - 03/31/11 04:49 AM Re: Pants Pass [Re: RoguePhotonic]
saltydog Offline


Registered: 02/03/11
Posts: 1563
Loc: Valley Ford CA!!!!
Steve: That's a possibility, and sure would make sense for you or me carrying a full pack. But these guys were going ultralight. Portal to Crescent Meadow in about 40 hours, one cold camp in KK Basin and jogging where they could. In order to match their times with the Wallace Creek route, they had to slow their pace from about 2.4 mph (descending to Crabtree) to 1.9 mph from there to Junction Meadow, a leg in which they record that they jogged where possible. That seems too slow for a 2000 ft descent, especially considering they record about 1.6 mph uphill from JM to Gallats. On the other hand, to do the extra 5.7 miles for Tyndall, they would have increased their pace from 2.4 to 3.3 mph.

Then again, its hard to square their total recorded mileage to KK Basin (30 mi) with either route.

My contact is out of touch for the next week or so (Spring Break at Harvard, I guess) but I will send him an invite when he gets back.
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