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#52872 - 04/10/18 09:56 PM Center Basin - Junction Pass route
Steve C Offline


Registered: 09/22/09
Posts: 7598
Loc: Fresno, CA


This picture from Paul W's Center Basin hike. Album link


A post in the facebook "John Muir Route" group, hosted by SaltyDog, inspired me to create this track.

This map is a track created using gmap4 (https://mappingsupport.com), of the old, no-longer-maintained alternate JMT route crossing Junction Pass, east of Forester Pass. (I believe it was the original route, before the Forester Pass route was blasted out of the side of the cliff.) The Cal Topo T4 map shows a "Center Basin Location Approximate" trail, which I used as a starting point, but then switched between that map and the aerial satellite view (where you can zoom in 4 more clicks), and marked the trail as well as I could.

I zoomed all the way in on the aerial satellite view, and marked off the trail wherever it was visible. If you use the track, the super-long strait lines are the sections where I completely lost any trace of the trail on the satellite view. Where there are short sections, you can see the trail when you zoom in. I purposely marked the line slightly off the trail so you can see in the satellite image on your screen what I saw to create the track. It is cool to see that the trail travels the ridge top to the north and west of Junction Pass.

If I were to try to travel this route, and wanted to use the old trail as much as possible, I would download the track to a gps unit so I could use it on the trip. You can download the gpx track here: CenterBasinJnctPass.gpx

Here's a small view of the map. To see the map better, open it in a new window


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#52875 - 04/11/18 07:02 PM Re: Center Basin - Junction Pass route [Re: Steve C]
Harvey Lankford Offline


Registered: 11/10/09
Posts: 1017
Loc: Richmond, Virginia
Steve, thanks!

This was very helpful so FYI....I tried following the path southbound on Google Earth. I could pick out bits and pieces as the trail climbed above Golden Bear Lake and then to the ridgeline west of lakes 3592 and 3685 and to the pass itself and a little bit of the descent before it gets steep. Then I lost it until the Pothole area/Shepherd Pass. Harvey

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#52876 - 04/11/18 10:28 PM Re: Center Basin - Junction Pass route [Re: Harvey Lankford]
Steve C Offline


Registered: 09/22/09
Posts: 7598
Loc: Fresno, CA
Harvey, I think what you can zoom into in Google Earth is the same satellite view that gmap4 enables, using the "Google Aerial Satellite" setting. As you saw, you can pick out the sections, but there are major parts where I couldn't see any trail at all, either. In those sections, I just clicked a straight line to the next point where I could see a piece of trail.

More on the Junction Pass route: I found this old link to the 1907 Mount Whitney Topographic Map. Zooming in on that map shows the trail -- again it is approximate -- but the major point is that there is NO Forester Pass, and no trail other than the Junction Pass route.

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#52879 - 04/12/18 09:56 AM Re: Center Basin - Junction Pass route [Re: Steve C]
Paul Offline


Registered: 09/22/09
Posts: 186
Loc: Santa Clarita, CA
I have hiked the Junction Pass Trail well over a dozen times, with 2 of those times descending down the backside to Upper Pothole where I continued up to Shepard Pass.

I'll write of some notes. I do have some pictures, however, Steve knows me pretty well in that I don't store my pictures on a universal device.

I'll send the pics to Steve and he can decide whether to post them.

Just a quick note. The old JMT trail is in remarkable shape, very visible after all these years from the JMT junction at Center Basin to the top of Junction Pass. The backside is a very different story with very little visible until you reach Upper Pothole. The decent is steep, on very loose scree and sand, with rocks and plants giving way.

By the way, Summitpost may contain info since many hikers use the Pass as access to Mt Keith.

paul

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#52893 - 04/14/18 10:31 PM Re: Center Basin - Junction Pass route [Re: Paul]
Steve C Offline


Registered: 09/22/09
Posts: 7598
Loc: Fresno, CA
I posted Paul's Junction Pass picture at the top of the thread.

The full album is here.

Here's Golden Bear lake:

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#52909 - 04/17/18 06:45 AM Re: Center Basin - Junction Pass route [Re: Steve C]
pcieluch Offline


Registered: 08/29/16
Posts: 43
Loc: duluth,mn
Steve:

After looking at this pictures to be this route is much more spectacular in term of scenery then the established route over Forrester. One wonders why more people don't use it. Also in term of mileage how much longer is it to when Shepard Pass trail reconnects with the JMT/PCT? Also how hard is it to find the first cutoff off of the JMT. Correct me if I'm wrong here but it appears these pictures were taken on a hike that went up the Jct Pass trail and then followed the ridge to Forrester? It would be one heck of option as the climb prior to Forrester on the current JMT route is not a pretty as this route. How many day/hours would it add to a hike ending at Whitney?

Peter

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#52912 - 04/17/18 11:38 AM Re: Center Basin - Junction Pass route [Re: pcieluch]
Paul Offline


Registered: 09/22/09
Posts: 186
Loc: Santa Clarita, CA
Peter.....

The pictures are from my day hike from the junction of the JMT and Center Basin Basin Trail to Junction Pass and back down. The picture from Forester Pass looking East was only as a reference point to show a different angle of the pass/route. I had camped at the junction of JMT and Center Basin trail. The day hike took about around 6.5 hours.

On 2 different occasions, I have hiked over Junction Pass down to the Shepherd Pass trail and then up over Shepherd Pass.

On the first occasion, after Shepherd Pass, I then proceeded up and over Rockwell Pass, dropping down to Wright Lakes. I then tried to locate a route to Wallace lake. That failed but I was still able to locate the Wallace Lake trail and headed down to the JMT at the Wallace Creek crossing. At a later date, I hiked to Wallace and camped, visiting Wales Lake, etc.

The second time, I left my campsite at the lake (see pic) and went over Shepherd Pass, ending at Tyndall Creek the same day. It was a long day but enjoyable.

There is no sign indicating the start of the Center Basin Trail. The actual point where it leaves the JMT is mildly visible. The actual point is next to the use trail that leaves the JMT and drops down to the campsite where the bear box is located. When you come to that point, just look to your left....there might be a few rocks there to indicate the start of the trail.

On many occasions, I just hike straight up from the Center Basin campsite, and meet one of several switchbacks just above the JMT.

I have a 1934 hard copy of the "Guide to the John Muir Trail" by Starr and he list the mileage from Center Basin to Forester Pass as 3.5 miles. From Forester to Tyndall, it's 5 miles for a total of 8.5 miles.

The book alludes to the distance from Junction Pass to Center Basin as 3 miles. I couldn't find the distance from Junction Pass to Upper Pothole, but estimate it as 2 miles or so. I believe that from Upper pothole to Shepherd Pass is 1.5 miles. And the distance from Shepherd Pass to Tyndall Creek is 5 miles. Totaling around 12 miles in by passing Forester. Hopefully, someone with more access to mileage will chime in.

paul

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#52913 - 04/17/18 07:18 PM Re: Center Basin - Junction Pass route [Re: Paul]
Harvey Lankford Offline


Registered: 11/10/09
Posts: 1017
Loc: Richmond, Virginia
Bear Box website is very helpful to find the turnoff from JMT to Center Basin Trail

shows JMT and CB trail, and creek ,and junction, and box. ALL

bear box map Center basin trail

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