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#54825 - 03/20/19 09:56 PM Route finding questions (SoSHR/SEKI HBR)
Anton Offline


Registered: 08/02/17
Posts: 38
Loc: San Diego
I have two questions for experienced High Sierra backcountry folks. I am trying to stich together a route from Horseshoe meadows to South lake TH, which is basically a fusion of parts of SoSHR and SEKI High basin routes with summits of Mts. Langley, Whitney, Russell, Tyndall, Williamson and the short Palisade traverse along the way. Though I have been hiking and climbing in many of these areas for 10 years, there are two sections I am not sure about. So is it realistic/practical to:
1) Take a shortcut from the NW side of Charlotte lake (WL3165) to Gardiner lakes/basin, essentially shooting almost straight up N instead of using the used trail that loops around and passes near Charlotte dome and goes over Gardiner pass?
2) Take a shortcut from Deer Creek meadow (JMT, just below the Golden staircase) to Palisade basin or unnamed lake SE of Potluck pass by going straight up N or NE, following the Glacier creek?

Thanks in advance !

P.S.: I realize this may be more appropriate for High Sierra topix and will post there as well but also wanted to give it a try in this forum.

P.P.S.: Please refrain from replying with anecdotal info if you do not have first hand knowledge of these areas.


Edited by Anton (03/21/19 12:32 AM)

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#54828 - 03/21/19 03:51 PM Re: Route finding questions (SoSHR/SEKI HBR) [Re: Anton]
Steve C Offline


Registered: 09/22/09
Posts: 7880
Loc: Fresno, CA
Hi Anton,
About 10 years ago, I hiked from Florence Lk and Muir Trail Ranch on the JMT, leaving it at Charlotte Lake, and heading down Charlotte Creek. We joined the Bubbs Cr. trail and exited at Roads End/Cedar Grove in Kings Canyon. We talked with Ranger Durkee at the Charlotte Lk. R.S. and he advised us to keep to the N side of Charlotte Creek, but I don't think he'd ever gone down that way. It turned out to be a pretty gnarly x-c descent.

As we headed west from Charlotte Lake, I watched intently for any signs of trail. I found none; only signs that packers had possibly kept horses in the area for perhaps overnight stays. Anyway, I concluded that "Location Approximate" trail wasn't real. I have also scanned and looked at the area on satellite views, and surely cannot see any traces of a trail.

As for a "shortcut" northward from Charlotte Lake, the contour maps and satellite views look entirely possible to cross the 3640m (11,900') pass into Sixty Lake Basin, and from there head northwest into the Gardiner Basin. Man, the Gardiner Lakes are so remote, you can't detect even the slightest "fisherman's foot path" around the shores.

I am curious what route you might plan to take north from the Gardiner Basin, to get on with your northward trip.

Here's the CalTopo link for the maps and images I used to look at the area.

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#54829 - 03/22/19 10:23 AM Re: Route finding questions (SoSHR/SEKI HBR) [Re: Steve C]
Anton Offline


Registered: 08/02/17
Posts: 38
Loc: San Diego
Thanks, Steve! This is very helpful. From the Gardiner basin, the plan is to follow the SEKI High basin route to Woods creek.

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#54839 - 03/24/19 02:32 PM Re: Route finding questions (SoSHR/SEKI HBR) [Re: Anton]
Paul Offline


Registered: 09/22/09
Posts: 204
Loc: Santa Clarita, CA
Maybe Steve can post the pictures I sent him of Junction Pass, or find the link to the thread on Junction Pass.

The pictures could be helpful to you. I have traveled over Junction Pass twice, but going South.

paul

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#54853 - 03/24/19 08:23 PM Re: Route finding questions (SoSHR/SEKI HBR) [Re: Anton]
Steve C Offline


Registered: 09/22/09
Posts: 7880
Loc: Fresno, CA
Paul's Center Basin/Junction Pass info.

Anton, I saw where you are planning to start at Horseshoe Meadows. Old Army works if you go later in the summer. Earlier, there can be a snow bank near the top that is tough to get up. I saw the suggestion to climb west(east??) from Lake 5. Several years ago, I climbed west from the northern-most smaller lake, and it was just a slog up some talus. Wasn't too bad.

I summited Langley, and then wanted to descend into Rock Creek on the slope north of the Major General. Unfortunately, I didn't read the contours quite well enough, and didn't realize how high I needed to haul my backpacking gear. Secor reports it's an easy Class 2 climb of Langley from Rock Creek (Miter Basin area), so descending should be ok, if you can haul your backpack that high.

So I descended, all the way to Lower Soldier. Again, I missed reading before the trip, that there is an easily accessible route around the nose of Major General. You should at least take this route -- you don't need to drop to the second lake. First lake is only necessary if you need water.

Also: If you're taking Crabtree (Grabtree? ;-) pass, people have actually traversed up to Discovery Pinnacle without dropping to the upper Crabtree Lake. Link is here, just pretty old:
http://www.whitneyzone.com/wz/ubbthreads.php/topics/10812


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#54859 - 03/25/19 12:31 PM Re: Route finding questions (SoSHR/SEKI HBR) [Re: Anton]
Anton Offline


Registered: 08/02/17
Posts: 38
Loc: San Diego
Steve,

Thanks again - this is great info! So just to clarify:

1) The westbound shortcut from the small lake north of Cottonwood lake #5 is not technical ? I am only worried because I may need to do that section very early in the morning, when it is still dark.

2) It is possible to descend from Langley towards Miter basin following the line west north-west that goes north of Major General and towards Primrose or Sky Blue lakes?

I love the idea of not using the same path to go and down Mt. Langley, and cutting off travel on established trails even further.

The bypass of sandy slopes on the way up Discovery Pinnacle sounds like a good option.



Edited by Anton (03/25/19 12:39 PM)

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#54864 - 03/25/19 08:54 PM Re: Route finding questions (SoSHR/SEKI HBR) [Re: Anton]
Steve C Offline


Registered: 09/22/09
Posts: 7880
Loc: Fresno, CA
1) westbound climb from the northern-most lake (small lake N of CW Lk#5) was uneventful, just a scree climb. (If there is still icy snow, you would need crampons, etc, but nothing otherwise.) I spent the first night at that lake. What month are you planning to go?

I know So.BayMark on this board had climbed Langley that way with several friends. Worst part for me was getting TO the lake. From (or maybe before you get to) Lk#5, stay well to the east. I followed the stream line and got into a refrigerator-sized boulder maze. Then stay to the west side of the little lake.

2) If you can carry your pack up to the 4100M (13500') contour, here's what R.J. Secor wrote:
"West Face. Class 2. Climb a wide chute from the Rock Creek drainage. This chute ends approximately 1/4 mile north of The Major General. From the top of this chute, climb an easy ridge to the northeast which leads to the summit plateau."


Edited by Steve C (03/25/19 08:57 PM)

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