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#45910 - 04/25/16 09:29 AM Crabtree pass NOBO vs SOBO
britonwhit(ney) Offline


Registered: 03/06/14
Posts: 59
Loc: UK
I've got a short 3.5 day trip from Kearsarge Pass to Horseshoe Meadows at the end of July. I'm contemplating routing via Crabtree Pass/Sky Blue lake. Any route-finding or specific challenges I should be aware of going SOBO over Crabtree rather than the more "normal" NOBO?

Cheers

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#45917 - 04/25/16 08:57 PM Re: Crabtree pass NOBO vs SOBO [Re: britonwhit(ney)]
Steve C Offline


Registered: 09/22/09
Posts: 7191
Loc: Fresno, CA
I hope to do Crabtree Pass NOBO before the end of July, so maybe I can look over my shoulder and check for any issues someone might encounter.

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#45919 - 04/25/16 11:10 PM Re: Crabtree pass NOBO vs SOBO [Re: Steve C]
britonwhit(ney) Offline


Registered: 03/06/14
Posts: 59
Loc: UK
Thanks. If you're out there 28-31st July give me a shout!

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#45924 - 04/26/16 07:06 AM Re: Crabtree pass NOBO vs SOBO [Re: britonwhit(ney)]
saltydog Online


Registered: 02/03/11
Posts: 1535
Loc: Valley Ford CA!!!!
The Southern Sierra High Route crosses Crabtree SoBo, and there is as good a description as you may need Here This route tags whitney and descends to Crabtree Lake from Discovery Pinnacle, but would also apply if you are coming up from Crabtree meadow, picking up at the upper end of the lake. The SSHR description does not indicate any particular difficulty in doing Crabtree Pass SoBo, except for the expected route-picking, and offers pretty detailed guides to getting from the Pass to Sky Blue, which seems to be the real crux of the route.



I believe Steve did Crabttree Meadow to Discovery Pinnacle fairly recently, so could offer route infor from Carbtree Meadow to about where the above picture was taken.
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Wherever you go, there you are.
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#45925 - 04/26/16 07:16 AM Re: Crabtree pass NOBO vs SOBO [Re: saltydog]
Harvey Lankford Offline


Registered: 11/10/09
Posts: 980
Loc: Richmond, Virginia
picture from the opposite end of the lake, also looking at my feet, with Crabtree pass straight ahead


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#45926 - 04/26/16 07:26 AM Re: Crabtree pass NOBO vs SOBO [Re: Harvey Lankford]
Harvey Lankford Offline


Registered: 11/10/09
Posts: 980
Loc: Richmond, Virginia
going SOBO, route is straightforward, just go up to obvious chute up the pass. Class 2


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#45927 - 04/26/16 07:33 AM Re: Crabtree pass NOBO vs SOBO [Re: Harvey Lankford]
britonwhit(ney) Offline


Registered: 03/06/14
Posts: 59
Loc: UK
Thanks very much for that Harvey. Looks pretty simple.

Edited to add - the SoSHR looks really interesting. Might squeeze a bit of that in... maybe from Wallace creek onwards.

But do I need a Whitney permit to do the last bit of the MR that is included in the SoSHR? I can't tell if I end up in the forbidden zone on the way...


Edited by britonwhit(ney) (04/26/16 07:42 AM)

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#45928 - 04/26/16 07:34 AM Re: Crabtree pass NOBO vs SOBO [Re: Harvey Lankford]
RenoFrank Offline


Registered: 08/06/11
Posts: 411
Loc: Reno, NV
Originally Posted By: Harvey Lankford
going SOBO, route is straightforward, just go up to obvious chute up the pass. Class 2



After seeing your previous post (11 minutes earlier) I was going to ask the route up to the pass. By the time I signed in, there it was. Thanks. I've seen and heard Crabtree Pass mentioned before but never gave it a second thought. However after seeing your picture I am now interested. What possible trip would that be? Horseshoe Meadows to Whitney Portal? I like the pics I've seen of Precipice Lake, is that nearby?

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#45929 - 04/26/16 08:18 AM Re: Crabtree pass NOBO vs SOBO [Re: RenoFrank]
saltydog Online


Registered: 02/03/11
Posts: 1535
Loc: Valley Ford CA!!!!
Horseshoe to Whitney Portal over Crabtree would be NoBo, i.e coming down the traced route, rather than going up, a tricky traverse and slog up the beach to Discovery Pinnacle. The route pictured is looking SoBo, could be part of Portal to Horseshoe.

Precipice Lake is far from here, on the Western third of the High Sierra Trail. You could pick up that trail west of here, at Crabtree Meadow, and take it 40 miles west over Kaweah Gap, but no, its not near here.


Edited by saltydog (04/26/16 08:19 AM)
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Wherever you go, there you are.
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#45931 - 04/26/16 08:43 AM Re: Crabtree pass NOBO vs SOBO [Re: RenoFrank]
britonwhit(ney) Offline


Registered: 03/06/14
Posts: 59
Loc: UK
My planned route (which the pics above address) is:
Kearsarge to Crabtree meadows along the JMT as per usual
Just before upper crabtree ranger station, head east on a possibly non-existent use "trail" to lower/middle/upper crabtree lakes (mainly because I want to see the beach at middle crabtree!)
From upper crabtree lake, over crabtree pass (Harvey's route diagram, which is exactly what I was after), then down past sky blue lake (another of Harvey's pictures) to Soldier Lake.
Our to Horseshoe, either via the Cottonwood Lakes, or via Chicken Spring lake.


Edited by Steve C (04/26/16 10:41 AM)
Edit Reason: Cottonwood

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#45932 - 04/26/16 09:04 AM Re: Crabtree pass NOBO vs SOBO [Re: britonwhit(ney)]
saltydog Online


Registered: 02/03/11
Posts: 1535
Loc: Valley Ford CA!!!!
Good plan, except for the last entry: You will have already passed the Crabtree Lakes.
_________________________
Wherever you go, there you are.
SPOTMe!

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#45933 - 04/26/16 09:19 AM Re: Crabtree pass NOBO vs SOBO [Re: saltydog]
Steve C Offline


Registered: 09/22/09
Posts: 7191
Loc: Fresno, CA
I'm planning on coming in via an old abandoned trail from Horseshoe Meadows -- along the South Fork Cottonwood Creek (Some maps show the old trail), then over New Army, maybe tag Langley, then on to Sky Blue. I'm planning on doing some fishing there and in upper Crabtree. Wish me luck!

BritonW, from the Crabtree ranger cabin, I headed south and a little eastward, and eventualy picked up the non-maintained trail up to lower Crabtree lk. It disappears in some big boulders at the lake's outlet, but climbing over those to the shoreline, you will find it again. I lost it again near the middle lake, but I see I was too far south. I spent a night on that sandy beach. smile

I caught one fish in the middle lake, but it was windy there, and I'm not a very good fisherman. The fish were hungry in the little pond between lower and middle Crabtree.

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#45934 - 04/26/16 09:46 AM Re: Crabtree pass NOBO vs SOBO [Re: Steve C]
psykokid Offline


Registered: 07/28/15
Posts: 48
Loc: Pasadena, CA
Originally Posted By: Steve C
I'm planning on coming in via an old abandoned trail from Horseshoe Meadows -- along the South Fork Cottonwood Creek (Some maps show the old trail), then over New Army, maybe tag Langley, then on to Sky Blue. I'm planning on doing some fishing there and in upper Crabtree. Wish me luck!


I'll let you know how the conditions are on that trail next month- that's the route we plan on taking back to the trail head from Cottonwood Lakes.

I've thought about taking a similar route and then making the slog up the sand hill from Crabtree Lakes to Discovery Pinnacle to summit Whitney. It sounds a lot better going down the sand hill from Discovery Pinnacle and then up Crabtree Pass into the Miter Basin.

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#45936 - 04/26/16 10:18 AM Re: Crabtree pass NOBO vs SOBO [Re: Steve C]
Harvey Lankford Offline


Registered: 11/10/09
Posts: 980
Loc: Richmond, Virginia
Originally Posted By: Steve C
from the Crabtree ranger cabin, I headed south and a little eastward, and eventualy picked up the non-maintained trail up to lower Crabtree lk. It disappears in some big boulders at the lake's outlet, but climbing over those to the shoreline, you will find it again. I lost it again near the middle lake, but I see I was too far south. I spent a night on that sandy beach.


Coming NOBO (the opposite of what Steve said) that use trail starts at a horse tie up spot near the lake with the beach. One time we stayed on that trail NOBO all the way to Crabtree area, another time somehow lost it and bushwacked a bit and still ended up near the Crabtree Station. That use trail is on some maps.

Again, coming NOBO... Looking for campsites after Crabtree Pass.
(A) There is a very, very sparse single one at the base of Crabtree Pass/high end of the lake.
(B) On the lower end of the lake near the gulch that people go up to to do Sand Hill/Discovery Pinnacle, there are two sites on a promontory about 20 feet vertically above the lake (where I took the picture with Cheetos). Note that there are two routes to get from Whitney to Crabtree SOBO: From TrailCrest over Discovery Pinnacle, down SandHill to lake, or (2)from Crabtree Ranger Station area up the string of Crabtree lakes.
(C) Again, going NOBO: There are two campsites in between the lake and the next lower lake that has the beach. It does not look like anything is there. Look for some sparse trees, off the trail a few minutes.


Now I forget which way you are going. We went NOBO over New Army Pass, dropped down on ridge to Army Pass, did NOT pick up the trail headed west, but continued on the use trail toward Langley, turned left on use trail and last gulley on left at base of Langley. This lead down to small lake at base of Major General. Stay on the right near the treeline, You will wrap around MG to a small lake and access to Miter Basin. This saves a bit of altitude change.

Steve- in 2014 I posted some maps about this but I cannot find it on SEARCH. If you can find it , that would be great. There might be one error on it. I may have drawn the route on the lake above Sky Blue as one direction, whereas either direction will work.

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#45937 - 04/26/16 10:30 AM Re: Crabtree pass NOBO vs SOBO [Re: Harvey Lankford]
Harvey Lankford Offline


Registered: 11/10/09
Posts: 980
Loc: Richmond, Virginia
This picture is taken from high end of lake at base of Crabtree Pass, looking downstream. Footprints here and there along the north shore on the right as shown here as trail. At the Gulley, the trail becomes more apparent. The green triangle is a two tent campsite at the promontory. The red line going up the gulley and turning steeper up Sand Hill is one way to get to Discovery Pinnacle. I watched some boyscouts come down that way . There is a lot more of that red line out of sight! Have never been there myself.


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#45938 - 04/26/16 10:32 AM Re: Crabtree pass NOBO vs SOBO [Re: saltydog]
britonwhit(ney) Offline


Registered: 03/06/14
Posts: 59
Loc: UK
Originally Posted By: saltydog
Good plan, except for the last entry: You will have already passed the Crabtree Lakes.


Sorry, I meant cottonwood lakes!

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#45939 - 04/26/16 10:47 AM Re: Crabtree pass NOBO vs SOBO [Re: Harvey Lankford]
Steve C Offline


Registered: 09/22/09
Posts: 7191
Loc: Fresno, CA
Originally Posted By: Harvey Lankford
... Steve- in 2014 I posted some maps about this but I cannot find it on SEARCH. If you can find it , that would be great. There might be one error on it. I may have drawn the route on the lake above Sky Blue as one direction, whereas either direction will work.

Here you go:  Miter Basin to Whitney and north

My search method:
keywords: +major +general
"in body"
name: Harvey Lankford
Newer than 4 years
Older than 1 year

By the way, that red line in Harvey's picture above starting up to Discovery Pinnacle is really not a bad way to go. I climbed toward that from the west (middle Crabtree Lk), and got way too high too soon, and completely missed where the upper end of the red line cuts back to the northeast. But I would not hesitate to go that way. Yes, it is a bit of a sandy slog, but it isn't bad as it might seem, where people say "two steps up, slide back one". Granted the decomposed granite is soft, but when you actually climb that stuff and pay attention, you don't slide back much at all. I think it is only marginally worse than climbing the 99 switchbacks.

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#45940 - 04/26/16 10:53 AM Re: Crabtree pass NOBO vs SOBO [Re: britonwhit(ney)]
Harvey Lankford Offline


Registered: 11/10/09
Posts: 980
Loc: Richmond, Virginia
This is what I would consider the only "crux" of the route

This is one of the lakes above Sky Blue. We had come thru here NOBO, so this is looking back as if one were going SOBO. We took the lower red lines on our two trips. A bit of a dicey ledge, versus a 6 ft corner drop. Would be harder going up.

Instead, the green line is better-looking. There is a faint trail to it for you going SOBO

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#45941 - 04/26/16 10:58 AM Re: Crabtree pass NOBO vs SOBO [Re: Steve C]
Harvey Lankford Offline


Registered: 11/10/09
Posts: 980
Loc: Richmond, Virginia
Thanks Steve.
everything is there except carrying your pack!

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#45959 - 04/27/16 11:25 AM Re: Crabtree pass NOBO vs SOBO [Re: Steve C]
Hobbes Offline


Registered: 03/28/14
Posts: 109
Loc: The OC
Originally Posted By: Steve C
I'm planning on coming in via an old abandoned trail from Horseshoe Meadows -- along the South Fork Cottonwood Creek (Some maps show the old trail), then over New Army, maybe tag Langley, then on to Sky Blue.


I did that exact trip - including taking the old SF trail & tagging Langley along the way - around 5 years ago. There's a short-cut down from Langley to upper Soldier if you don't mind glissading on your feet through shin high sand & scree:



Actually, it was sort of dumb to do in trail runners; mountaineering boots + knee gaiters would have been ok. The normal route is to descend back towards the Army passes, then turn east down to upper Soldier.

I think all this discussion about Crabtree pass is making it seem more involved/difficult than it actually is. I've been over it two times, and it's really pretty straightforward with easy ramps and solid rock. IMO, the last 1/2 mile of Shepherd pass (which I've been over a handful of times) is at least 2x as difficult, and it's technically an (unmaintained) trail. It's just that it's really loose boulders & scree, and pretty steep.

Crabtree seems to be increasingly popular. The last time I was there, there were a bunch of tents parked right on the top of the pass (there's a very big plateau on the Sky Blue side) that a boy scout troop had left. My guess was they were summiting Whitney via Discovery.

This shot looking down makes it seem steeper than it is. The ramp route down is to the right of the photo. It's an obvious route to the north-east edge of the lake, by which you traverse around the north side of the lake itself:






Edited by Hobbes (04/27/16 11:28 AM)

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