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Early Season 2010 40 to 50 miler in Sierras
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Bruce Tolley

Locale: San Francisco Bay Area
Early Season 2010 40 to 50 miler in Sierras on 11/29/2009 13:06:39 MST Print View

I am looking to plan a hike for a mixed crew of Scouts aged 12.5 and above with some previous backpacking experience. On the agenda should include fishing, peak bagging (class 1 or 2) and perhaps a mid trek food re-supply. Since I am off to Asia in August, I need to do this trip early, perhaps starting the last Thursday in June to avoid the permit lotteries.
Options I am investigating:
- Southern Sierras: Horseshoe Meadow to Mount Whitney via Cottonwood Pass/Rock Creek. 60 miles in and out from the trailhead. Ascent of Whitney via the Mt Whitney Trail could be optional.
- Mono Divide High Country: Vermillion Valley/ Lake Thomas Edison to Tully Hole as a loop trip, back to Vermillion cross country over Red and White Mountain.
- Cherry Lake to Sonora Pass/Pacific Crest in Emigrant Wilderness as a shuttle trip. Exit at Sonora Pass to Highway 108.

Thoughts, comments, other ideas welcomed.

Edited by btolley on 11/29/2009 13:07:34 MST.

Paul McLaughlin
(paul) - MLife
Re: Early Season 2010 40 to 50 miler in Sierras on 12/12/2009 15:03:15 MST Print View

Glad to hear you're getting those boys out there. If you're thinking of the Emigrant (and by the way, no permit issues there - no quotas), may I suggest starting at Gianelli trailhead. You start in along a ridge with views almost right away. Plenty of lakes in there - I can't speak for the fishing in most, but I can recommend Toejam Lake as a pretty spot that sees fewer visitors. Wire lakes looks nice, and Pinto lakes are pretty. Granite Dome amkes a real easy walk-up peak with great views, as does Blackhawk Mtn. You can get over to Emigrant basin from there, try visiting Lost Lakeafter you get over Brown Bear pass. High Emigrant Lake has had great fishing in the past. Grizzly Lake is just off the trail near Grizzly meadow, beautiful spot.

Scott Bentz
(scottbentz) - MLife

Locale: Southern California
I can comment on 2 on 12/17/2009 15:39:25 MST Print View

I am familiar with 2 of your suggestions:

Horseshoe Meadows to Whitney: That's a nice hike. We did it with a group of my nephews, bro. and bro. in law a few years back. First day from Horsheshoe over Cottonwood to Rock Creek. Next day to Crabtree and then above the little lake above Guitar. Summit and out Portal.

It sounds like you want to do a longer trip. If so, you can cut the days shorter, especially the first two days. In order to go out of Whitney Portal you will need to have an exit permit for Portal. Not easy to get. You can back track and go out over New Army for a bit of a change. You could also spend a night at Cottonwood Lakes. No resupply on this route. You could also descend the west side again and then go out the next pass up, Shepherd's.

My experience with the Mono Divide is my JMT thru hike last summer. If you went up the Mono Divide you could hike from one side to the other and back again. You could resupply at Vermillion for a change of pace. Adds cost but it's fun to eat at a restaurant. It also gives the scouts something to shoot for. You can then head back and hit some other lakes on the way out.

Makes me jealous. Whatever you do have a nice trip.


Jim W.
(jimqpublic) - MLife

Locale: So-Cal
Re: Early Season 2010 40 to 50 miler in Sierras on 12/19/2009 23:50:45 MST Print View

High country probably means significant snow- be sure to take that into account when planning gear and pace. As I recall the Horseshoe trip doesn't have any steep passes that would be a problem.

My main point of advice is to provide adequate acclimation time for the altitude. I used to get hammered from altitude as a teen- and knew many in the same boat. I suggest camping a night out on the drive over- perhaps near Mammoth. Do a good day hike up high. Make the first backpack day short and easy. My advice is that the first day should be about 1/2 as much distance/gain as your average.

Bruce Tolley

Locale: San Francisco Bay Area
Early Season 2010 40 to 50 miler in Sierras" on 03/11/2010 23:31:33 MST Print View

All good suggestions.

And yes the teenagers are more prone to altitude sickness than us older folks.

Many thanks.