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#54295 - 09/20/18 07:35 AM HELP-Onion valley to Mt. Whitney portal, via Harrison Pass?
kedward777 Offline


Registered: 09/20/18
Posts: 4
Loc: New York
Hello,

I am leaving onion valley Sept 22nd and exiting Whitney portal Sept 27. There are 14 of us. Mostly experienced.

How good/hard/technical is the Harrison Pass Trail compared to the JMT (Forrestor pass)? Exposure? packed path or scree? Pro/Cons HPT vs JMT?

Was going to take JMT, but The Harrison Pass Trail would take us to East lake or Reflection lake, which would be cool.

Thank you for any and all help!
Ked

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#54296 - 09/20/18 07:49 AM Re: HELP-Onion valley to Mt. Whitney portal, via Harrison Pass? [Re: kedward777]
RenoFrank Offline


Registered: 08/06/11
Posts: 428
Loc: Reno, NV
Originally Posted By: kedward777
I am leaving onion valley Sept 22nd and exiting Whitney portal Sept 27. There are 14 of us.


How the heck did you get Whitney Portal exit permits for 14 people?

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#54297 - 09/20/18 08:23 AM Re: HELP-Onion valley to Mt. Whitney portal, via Harrison Pass? [Re: RenoFrank]
kedward777 Offline


Registered: 09/20/18
Posts: 4
Loc: New York
Like I said, we are experienced :-)

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#54299 - 09/20/18 08:44 AM Re: HELP-Onion valley to Mt. Whitney portal, via Harrison Pass? [Re: kedward777]
Snacking Bear Offline


Registered: 08/09/11
Posts: 499
Loc: Saugus, CA
Originally Posted By: kedward777
Like I said, we are experienced :-)


laugh
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#54301 - 09/20/18 08:51 AM Re: HELP-Onion valley to Mt. Whitney portal, via Harrison Pass? [Re: Snacking Bear]
kedward777 Offline


Registered: 09/20/18
Posts: 4
Loc: New York
Experienced, except I urgently need info on what Harrison Pass Trail is like to cross. How steep? Well marked path? Exposure?

Compared to JMT/Foresster Pass ??

Ked

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#54302 - 09/20/18 10:14 AM Re: HELP-Onion valley to Mt. Whitney portal, via Harrison Pass? [Re: kedward777]
Steve C Offline


Registered: 09/22/09
Posts: 7600
Loc: Fresno, CA
Wow! I hadn't seen anyone write about Harrison Pass until now, so I went looking. I see it is an alternate route -- you would continue down Bubbs Creek to Junction Meadow, then climb south to East Lake, continuing up toward Lk Reflection, then heading east and south up toward Harrison Pass.

Using a Cal Topo map and also Google Maps with satellite view, I can see a faint trace of an old trail in a very few places. But you would be mostly hiking cross-country between East Lake and Lake South America. I think trails to East Lake are ok, and I am sure from Lk S.A. the trail is good.

I am sure it can be done, but travel would be slow. I seriously doubt your group of 14 would agree to do that. Maybe several hardy members might like to go for it.

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#54303 - 09/20/18 10:53 AM Re: HELP-Onion valley to Mt. Whitney portal, via Harrison Pass? [Re: Steve C]
saltydog Offline


Registered: 02/03/11
Posts: 1559
Loc: Valley Ford CA!!!!
If you post on the Mt WHitney and JMT FB groups you are sure to get exactly the info you need. Secor describes it briefly. Difficult, steep loose rock. Large talus to cross above Reflection, then either slabs toward Mt Ericsson and back to the pass or straight up a scree chute. North side is steep either way and south side easier. In any event from East Lake on it is cross country and you will need to split up your group: no more than 12 going XC in SEKI, 8 in the Mt Whitney management area and in a large area southbetween Junction Meadow (Kings) and the Crest, which may include your route, and this includes travel and camping. The map SEKI provides in its trip planner section on group size is not very well marked, but its something you will want to check out. https://www.nps.gov/seki/planyourvisit/upload/NoYear-Wilderness-Trip-Planner-Final-3.pdf Page 5


Edited by saltydog (09/20/18 11:13 AM)
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#54304 - 09/20/18 11:30 AM Re: HELP-Onion valley to Mt. Whitney portal, via Harrison Pass? [Re: Steve C]
saltydog Offline


Registered: 02/03/11
Posts: 1559
Loc: Valley Ford CA!!!!
I think Steve is correct about the trail to East Lake. THere was a trail crew stationed there this past summer and I would not be surprised if it were recently maintained . Bubb's Creek section is of course part of the Rae Lakes Loop and will be first-class, and yes the trail from Lake South America is maintained.
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#54306 - 09/20/18 12:07 PM Re: HELP-Onion valley to Mt. Whitney portal, via Harrison Pass? [Re: saltydog]
Scott Barnes Offline


Registered: 03/27/17
Posts: 5
Loc: California
On the north side of Harrison Pass there is the vestige of a trail for maybe 20-30 feet, and then nothing until you're past most of the boulder field at the bottom.

In terms of steepness, it's relatively steep and somewhat close to the angle of repose. From experience, I found the edge near the west side easier where there was more rock and less sand. I didn't find the sand to be hard packed, but if it were for some reason, then it would not be a fun route because of the steepness.

I've got some pictures of the general area, including Harrison Pass, Milly's Foot Pass, Weyman's / Little Joe's, and maybe Lucy's Foot Pass here.

Hope that helps.

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#54307 - 09/20/18 03:05 PM Re: HELP-Onion valley to Mt. Whitney portal, via Harrison Pass? [Re: Steve C]
pcieluch Offline


Registered: 08/29/16
Posts: 43
Loc: duluth,mn
the more I read and look at these off trail routes the more I envy you guys who live out there. I met a group that was at Center Basin for a number of days. I guess they killed all the fish in the lake for the frogs. Anyway there's just so much to see and so many different routes one can do. Coming in from MN I'm limited in the time I can spend out there. I would love to do a off trail trip next season but would not want to do it solo. Maybe I can find someone who would drag be off trail for 10 days or so to see the sights not seen by many. The pictures on some of his intended route are stunning.

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#54308 - 09/20/18 05:17 PM Re: HELP-Onion valley to Mt. Whitney portal, via Harrison Pass? [Re: pcieluch]
John Sims Offline


Registered: 04/20/12
Posts: 543
Loc: Sunnyvale, California
If you want to do some "arm chair" cruising, I recommend the following web site: https://www.flickr.com/photos/roguephotonic/albums/with/72157631590954986

This is Christopher Ryersons' Flickr "Albums" page, and you will find trips from 2016 back to 2012 grouped by week.

Not sure how many, but likely over 500 days hiking/camping in the Sierras. Normally a map at the beginning of each week that shows that weeks travel. Many, many pictures. Well documented hikes.

His trip reports can be found here on the Whitneyzone. Search for RoguePhotonic. These trip reports supply the text that goes with the photographs.

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#54311 - 09/20/18 08:15 PM Re: HELP-Onion valley to Mt. Whitney portal, via Harrison Pass? [Re: pcieluch]
Steve C Offline


Registered: 09/22/09
Posts: 7600
Loc: Fresno, CA
pcieluch, you will find many of the people doing those off-trail trips are going solo. I've done a few myself. If you plan it out, it can be fun and rewarding.

The one thing I always take along, though, is a satellite tracking unit. I started with a SPOT, but moved on with an InReach. For me, it is the insurance that, in the rare chance that I get incapacitated, people will be able to find me. I have family at home that wants the reassurance that I'll be coming back. Mine has certainly been the key to unlocking some really good trips.

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#54314 - 09/21/18 03:41 PM Re: HELP-Onion valley to Mt. Whitney portal, via Harrison Pass? [Re: Steve C]
John E Offline


Registered: 01/20/14
Posts: 12
Loc: June Lake, CA
Sounds like a fun trip. The Harrison Pass trail hasn't been maintained for years and in many places it is hard, if not impossible to find including where it takes off the trail to Lk Reflection. The top is steep and can be ugly if frozen. Someone else mentioned Lucy and Milly's foot passes which are similar and go to the same place.
Another possibility, and shorter xcountry route is via Vidette Lakes, over Dearhorn Saddle then a short descent and over the top part of Harrison Pass. It's through beautiful, seldom traveled country but there is some talus hopping.
Have a good trip.

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#54377 - 10/03/18 02:17 PM Re: HELP-Onion valley to Mt. Whitney portal, via Harrison Pass? [Re: kedward777]
pcieluch Offline


Registered: 08/29/16
Posts: 43
Loc: duluth,mn
Any trip report on this route you may have to offer?

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#54408 - 10/10/18 09:25 AM Re: HELP-Onion valley to Mt. Whitney portal, via Harrison Pass? [Re: pcieluch]
kedward777 Offline


Registered: 09/20/18
Posts: 4
Loc: New York
Hello,

My group of 14 completed the 50ish miles from Onion Valley Campground to Whitney Portal Campground Sept 23 to Sept 27th. We took Forester Pass. My research indicated Harrison Pass was too risky for a group of our size and mix of abilities.

Besides, Forester pass was simply splendid. The climb and descent were unique and beautiful. The backside trail has a few hundred yards of narrow trail with minor exposure.

The overall trip was stunningly beautiful. Perfect weather, zero rain. My backpack group does a western hike each year. We have done Grand Canyon R2R2R, and Maroon Bells 4 Pass loop. Whitney was our favorite. It should be at the very top of any bucket list backpack trip list. Climbing Whitney was so incredible, and doable for our group of middle aged guys. You do have to watch where you step as the trail can be narrow, with exposure.

BTW, we were permit checked, and the Rangers seem to take compliance with the rules very seriously. Make sure you have bear canisters and a valid permit with the right route.

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#54412 - 10/10/18 02:58 PM Re: HELP-Onion valley to Mt. Whitney portal, via Harrison Pass? [Re: kedward777]
pcieluch Offline


Registered: 08/29/16
Posts: 43
Loc: duluth,mn
We exited over Trail Crest and their were two rangers where everyone drops their packs. They checked everyone and were writing down the permit numbers for future use. I met a lot while hiking and it seems like with your pack and your moving they don't ask.

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#54437 - 10/16/18 09:40 PM Re: HELP-Onion valley to Mt. Whitney portal, via Harrison Pass? [Re: kedward777]
PeteK. Offline


Registered: 03/07/17
Posts: 17
Loc: CA
I did this route in a day 5 years ago at the tender age of 56. I clocked the route at about 43 miles with +- 10K elev gain...quite the day hike/run!! I only met 1 ranger that day as I ascended the trail up to Trail Crest...he asked me for a permit and, of course, I didn't have one. He asked where I had come from that day, smiled when I told him and told me to "get out of here" ha ha.


Edited by PeteK. (10/16/18 09:43 PM)

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#54443 - 10/18/18 12:10 PM Re: HELP-Onion valley to Mt. Whitney portal, via Harrison Pass? [Re: PeteK.]
pcieluch Offline


Registered: 08/29/16
Posts: 43
Loc: duluth,mn
Would not a exit permit over Trail Crest be required even for a day hike? Or if your in and out in 24 hours no permit is required. This summer I met a couple doing the North South Loop in a day. They had left at midnight that day, they passed me around 10 AM, and were doing it all in 24 hours or less. I believe it was my third day on the trail. On my second day I met the JMT off of Piute Pass and had camped at the bridge about 3 mile past the Jct. So I'm guessing I may have done 25 mile of the N/S loop. My trip was planned for about 136 exiting at the Portal.

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#54444 - 10/18/18 12:34 PM Re: HELP-Onion valley to Mt. Whitney portal, via Harrison Pass? [Re: pcieluch]
Steve C Offline


Registered: 09/22/09
Posts: 7600
Loc: Fresno, CA
> Would not a exit permit over Trail Crest be required even for a day hike?

Yes, that would still be a requirement. Since he was stopped on the way up to Trail Crest, that would have been a SeKi ranger, and in the National Park, day hiking does not require a permit.

It would have been a different story if he had met a ranger within the Whitney Zone, east of Trail Crest.

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#54474 - 11/01/18 06:21 AM Re: HELP-Onion valley to Mt. Whitney portal, via Harrison Pass? [Re: Steve C]
pcieluch Offline


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

I noticed goldenscott has not posted here since 9/17. I always enjoyed reading his trip reports and pictures of all the trips he has made. Any where he was this season?

Thanks

Peter

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