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#52165 - 09/14/17 10:33 AM Horseshoe Meadows to Whitney Portal 9/15 - 9/18
psykokid Offline


Registered: 07/28/15
Posts: 52
Loc: Pasadena, CA
No, its not the future smile Just putting this here as a placeholder. Heading up to Lone Pine from LA at noon today to grab a permit and wait for my hiking partner to show up at Whitney Portal. Plan is to head up over OAP from Cottonwood Lakes, into the Miter Basin, over Crabtree pass to Discovery Pinnacle and to Trailcrest, summit Whitney and then down the MR to the Portal.

planned route: https://caltopo.com/m/JT82
inreach mapshare link: https://share.garmin.com/psykokid

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#52166 - 09/14/17 11:35 AM Re: Horseshoe Meadows to Whitney Portal 9/15 - 9/18 [Re: psykokid]
Steve C Offline


Registered: 09/22/09
Posts: 7209
Loc: Fresno, CA
psyko: Good luck!

Maybe Harvey can chime in here (but I think he's out there right now). Your planned route up the stream channel just sw of "The Major General" troubles me. I came down (bushwhacked) from the upper lake last summer, and maybe I was too tired to try--so I set my eyes on the lower lake. I found a use-trail heading nw out of the lower lake (cross-hairs here) and that worked pretty well. I have also been told that if you climb up several contours above the upper lake, you can walk around the Major General "nose" to that stream channel. I was too low coming from that upper lake, and the route from my vantage point was too "cliffy".

I recall Harvey wrote somewhere that the stream channel in the upper "flat" area has a sweet camping spot. Unless you know that your route will work, I would follow my use-trail route, and then head to the stream channel area once I topped out on the ridge.

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#52169 - 09/14/17 01:11 PM Re: Horseshoe Meadows to Whitney Portal 9/15 - 9/18 [Re: psykokid]
John Sims Offline


Registered: 04/20/12
Posts: 524
Loc: Sunnyvale, California
psykokid,
Just so you know, the route up to Army Pass (Old), does not go counter clockwise around the lake "5". Once at the west end of the lake It never goes east of the west end of the lake (your map shows "5", other maps may vary). From the west end of this lake the route is above where you show your route, and then goes west a bit, turns south, and then switch backs up and out. You will see this when you are there.
Enjoy!

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#52170 - 09/14/17 09:11 PM Re: Horseshoe Meadows to Whitney Portal 9/15 - 9/18 [Re: John Sims]
WanderingJim Offline


Registered: 02/09/15
Posts: 184
Loc: California
Actually, his route around the western Lake 5 (on his map - my map calls it Lake 4) and up Old Army Pass is similar to my track from last year.

https://flic.kr/p/KevcTQ

His map also calls Lake 3 on my map Lake 4.

So are those lakes just randomly numbered by Map makers? smile smile


Edited by WanderingJim (09/14/17 09:25 PM)

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#52172 - 09/14/17 10:19 PM Re: Horseshoe Meadows to Whitney Portal 9/15 - 9/18 [Re: WanderingJim]
Steve C Offline


Registered: 09/22/09
Posts: 7209
Loc: Fresno, CA
Well, he's spending the night at Horseshoe Meadow, stopped at the Visitor Center at 4 PM, so he's on his way, and not going to see this thread until he returns. It will be fun watching his progress.

I really like his InReach track -- even at Whitney Portal, it picked up the right locations (most of the time). I'm guessing he hired (or got someone) to give him a ride to HM. So his car will be waiting at Whitney Portal on his return. Better than my Horseshoe Fire fiasco last summer. mad

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#52175 - 09/15/17 05:38 PM Re: Horseshoe Meadows to Whitney Portal 9/15 - 9/18 [Re: Steve C]
John Sims Offline


Registered: 04/20/12
Posts: 524
Loc: Sunnyvale, California
Looks as though Jacob made it just as the sun was setting. Guessing he is happy to be inside and out of the cold. Full day. 8:00 AM until 5:30 PM

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#52180 - 09/15/17 09:36 PM Re: Horseshoe Meadows to Whitney Portal 9/15 - 9/18 [Re: John Sims]
Steve C Offline


Registered: 09/22/09
Posts: 7209
Loc: Fresno, CA
Wow! Long day!!

...and he took my route up from the upper Soldier lk. Only he made the 200' climb in 10 minutes. No way I could keep up with that guy.

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#52191 - 09/16/17 05:54 PM Re: Horseshoe Meadows to Whitney Portal 9/15 - 9/18 [Re: Steve C]
John Sims Offline


Registered: 04/20/12
Posts: 524
Loc: Sunnyvale, California
Not sure what Jacob is going to do, but if it were me I would be thinking about spending the night in the Hut.

Another long day, with massive climbs. Enjoying watching his progress.

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#52192 - 09/16/17 09:22 PM Re: Horseshoe Meadows to Whitney Portal 9/15 - 9/18 [Re: John Sims]
WanderingJim Offline


Registered: 02/09/15
Posts: 184
Loc: California
Originally Posted By: John Sims
Not sure what Jacob is going to do, but if it were me I would be thinking about spending the night in the Hut.


Who would be crazy enough to stay in a hut with no door? smile wink

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#52193 - 09/16/17 11:10 PM Re: Horseshoe Meadows to Whitney Portal 9/15 - 9/18 [Re: WanderingJim]
Steve C Offline


Registered: 09/22/09
Posts: 7209
Loc: Fresno, CA
The summit isn't bad if there's little wind. NOAA shows it should be about 28 F there tonight.

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#52200 - 09/17/17 02:45 PM Re: Horseshoe Meadows to Whitney Portal 9/15 - 9/18 [Re: Steve C]
WanderingJim Offline


Registered: 02/09/15
Posts: 184
Loc: California
Originally Posted By: Steve C
The summit isn't bad if there's little wind. NOAA shows it should be about 28 F there tonight.


Just my attempt at a little self-depreciating humor since I also stayed overnight in that doorless hut a month ago. smile


Looks like he's almost at the Portal.

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#52202 - 09/17/17 09:31 PM Re: Horseshoe Meadows to Whitney Portal 9/15 - 9/18 [Re: WanderingJim]
Steve C Offline


Registered: 09/22/09
Posts: 7209
Loc: Fresno, CA
> Just my attempt at a little self-depreciating humor since I also stayed overnight in that doorless hut a month ago. smile

Got it. good stuff.


> Looks like he's almost at the Portal.

...and he's home now. Quick Trip!!

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#52215 - 09/18/17 11:39 AM Re: Horseshoe Meadows to Whitney Portal 9/15 - 9/18 [Re: Steve C]
psykokid Offline


Registered: 07/28/15
Posts: 52
Loc: Pasadena, CA
It's always funny reading the posts that were made in my absence. Trip went well, three long days covering a lot of amazing country.

As far as the map, I let caltopo snap the lines of the route to OSM track data where available. While not precise, it gives a general idea of where I was heading. Nothing beats reading the terrain while you're on ground and choosing your route accordingly. My mapshare page and the route on caltopo are updated wit my actual tracks recorded while i was out there.

I'll post up a full report when I have a chance to go through all my pics but here's a synopsis -

Thursday evening I drove up to the visitor center and picked up a walk in permit, filled the up the truck and then drove up to the portal to wait for my friend to arrive. We left his truck at the portal and then headed up to the walk in campsites at the Cottonwood Lakes trailhead and camped for the night.

Friday morning we headed out and made good time through Cottonwood Lakes, over Old Army Pass, where we stopped for lunch right before the turn off to Soldier Lakes. After lunch we went up the planned route and found, as Steve described, a soggy wet bushwack at the east side of lower Soldier Lake. We turned around, went around the south side of the lake, and then found the use trail at the north west corner. We went up the ridge and then going cross country to stay mostly level on the ridge line until we could see the use trail coming up from Rock Creek. From there we dropped down and picked up the use trail which dropped in and out through the basin all the way to the waterfalls below the outlet of Sky Blue Lake. We followed the path of least resistance up to Sky Blue Lake where we set up camp.

Saturday morning we got going and headed up to Crabtree Pass with little trouble. We went to the east side of lake 12129 as the route looked easier from near the bench above the outlet. From the top of Crabtree Pass it was decision time. Drop all the way down to the upper lake, to the west end and then up the hill or cut around the cirque and through the cliff bands. We chose the latter. It was slow going as advertised, but we kept a steady pace and made it from the pass to Discovery Pinnacle in 3 hours. The slog up the sand hill really took it out of me and I just trudged along the last stretch from Trail Crest to the summit. When we got to the top we agreed that it was too late to try and descend the MR so we would just bivy at the top. It was cold, but fortunately the weather was good and the low clouds that had descended right as we summited cleared by midnight. Never have the stars been that bright!

Sunday morning we woke early to catch the sunrise, we were joined by one PCT hiker who had come up from guitar lake, a sobo JMTer, and a woman whom had hiked up from trail camp. We sat around watching the sunrise until the cold got the best of us then we made breakfast, packed up our gear and checked out our options for descending the MR. Looking at the final 400 from the top with loaded packs it appeared a bit more spicy with some icy bits that made it a nogo. So we walked down the edge to check out the easy walk off. There was a duck right at the edge when we got to the approximate area so we started down, donning microspikes and helmets. There was quite a bit of icy snow, so having the extra traction seemed like a must for us. The route finding was pretty mellow until right before the notch. There was a patch of high angle snow that made traction tricky. We descended and crossed near the bottom of the patch, kicking in a few small steps across. I had tried kicking in some steps above, but it was too much work with just microspikes. Only time on the trip I would have been glad to suffer the weight penalty for an ice axe. Safely across we made it up to the notch where we began our descent in earnest. The MR was pretty clear until about halfway down, where there is a stretch of icy snow that requires microspikes at a minimum to negotiate safely. Once past the snowy bit it was a steady decent picking our way down the rest of the MR, sticking to the east buttress approach route vs the main gully which still held lots of snow. We stopped at Iceberg lake to eat and fill our water then made the trudge back down the North Fork of Lone Pine Creek route to the Portal. Got back to My friends truck by 4:30, to my truck at 6:00 and home by 9:45.



Edited by psykokid (09/18/17 11:40 AM)

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