Gardiner/ 60 lakes Basin

Posted by: Yoseman

Gardiner/ 60 lakes Basin - 02/13/18 07:46 AM

I'm looking for some insight on 60 Lakes/Gardiner Basin. I am planning on spending a day there as I pass by on my nobo thru hike. I'm thinking about heading in from Charlotte lake. But I am looking at anything from Charlotte lk. on, and meeting back up with the JMT around Dollar lk. maybe? any help would be appreciated!
Posted by: Steve C

Re: Gardiner/ 60 lakes Basin - 02/13/18 08:08 AM

Yoseman, that area is some really good backcountry. I've not come across anyone who has hiked over the pass a mile west of Glenn Pass. But it certainly looks like it wouldn't be too difficult for an off-trail route. Most people just want to hike the trail and be done with it.

Ten years ago, I hiked down the Charlotte Creek drainage, and it was one crazy bushwhack farther down the canyon. But you wouldn't encounter that section.

Salty Dog on this forum is interested in some JMT-alternate routes, and maybe he has researched more of the Sixty Lakes section. I hope he can add some help here.
Posted by: saltydog

Re: Gardiner/ 60 lakes Basin - 02/13/18 09:27 AM

Oh yeah. I am looking at that SoBo this year, so here is what I have. There are two ways into 60 Lakes along the lines of what you have described; the long way and the short way. For the long way, you bang a left at the Kearsarge/Charlotte junction and find your way to Gardiner Pass. The short way is to proceed over Glenn Pass from Kearsarge JCT and bang a left at the 60 Lakes junction at the base of Glenn just before crossing the isthmus between upper and lower Rae Lakes. Both routes meet up on mapped trail in 60 LB, and then (after a litlle XC, maybe) with a use trail that returns to the JMT in the area of Arrowhead Lake. The long route adds something like ten miles, bypassing about 6 miles of JMT including Glenn Pass (a main and worthy goal for me). The short route does not add much if anything and bypasses a couple of miles one of the most crowded and popular sections of trail, another main and worthy goal. I am having a lot of fun piecing together these routes from a number of sources, and I am not going to spoil your fun by simply giving them to you. But if you are good with the USGS 7.5' quads, Tom Harris and CalTopo, you'll do fine. That said, know that Lizzy Wenk did the long NoBo route last summer, with her kids, and that the "shared maps" function on CalTopo is cheating. I'll be glad to supplement this info as I refine it for my trip this summer. If you are interested in any other alt routes, let me know. I am mapping out Pine Creek Pass to Cottonwood with only about 38 miles on the JMT.
Posted by: bobpickering

Re: Gardiner/ 60 lakes Basin - 02/13/18 10:08 AM

Or you could just dayhike them. Bago is straightforward via Kearsarge Pass. For Gardiner, hike over Kearsarge Pass and turn north on the JMT shortly before Charlotte Lake. When the JMT turns right at about 11,100 feet, head NW across an obvious bowl. Climb out of the bowl and continue NW to "Charlotte Col" at the south end of Sixty Lakes Basin. Drop down about 300 feet into the basin using the chute just west of the low point. There is much loose rock on this descent. Traverse directly to Sixty Lakes Col without losing or gaining elevation. This traverse has surprisingly decent rock. Climb down into Gardiner Basin and head for Mt. Gardiner. This approach saves considerable mileage and elevation gain over following the JMT all the way to Rae Lakes before reaching Sixty Lakes Basin. The cross-country travel is strenuous, so not everyone will prefer this route to the trail.
Posted by: Yoseman

Re: Gardiner/ 60 lakes Basin - 02/13/18 11:36 AM

I will, I'm sure I will hit you up again as I piece together my trip. Thanks!
Posted by: Yoseman

Re: Gardiner/ 60 lakes Basin - 02/13/18 11:38 AM

good info thanks Bob! I'll look at that.
Posted by: Yoseman

Re: Gardiner/ 60 lakes Basin - 02/13/18 11:50 AM

you mentioned rejoining the JMT around Arrowhead lk. is that because it was the best option you found or you wanted to get back to the trail. The reason I'm asking is I am thinking about xcountrying all the way to Palisade Basin area. But I only glanced at it on a map so far. Lake Basin looks amazing at first glance.
Posted by: Yoseman

Re: Gardiner/ 60 lakes Basin - 02/15/18 01:54 PM

dayhike might be a good alternative
Posted by: John E

Re: Gardiner/ 60 lakes Basin - 02/18/18 07:16 AM

The trip from Charlotte Lk over Gardiner Pass, through the seldom travelled Gardiner Basin and out 60 Lks Basin is well worth it. The summit traverse on Mt Gardiner is very memorable.
Also the Lakes Basin is beautiful and access over Cartridge Pass, besides the history of it being the original JMT route, provides easy access to Mt. Ruskin, a seldom talked about but wonderful climb from the pass. There are many ways to leave Lakes Basin but Frozen Lake Pass to the JMT to Palisade Lks then into the lakes basin under the west side of the Palisades and out Bishop Pass, climbing North Palisade on the way is a great way to end.
Also, in between those two areas the routes up the White Fork (amazing rock color in the creek) or the Window Pk Lk drainage and a climb of Pyramid Pk are good choices both exiting via xc passes to Bench Lk.
Have a great trip.
Posted by: Yoseman

Re: Gardiner/ 60 lakes Basin - 03/20/18 02:42 PM

thanks John!