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Bear Lakes Basin in the John Muir Wilderness
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Dan Magdoff
(highsierraguy) - F

Locale: Northern California
Bear Lakes Basin in the John Muir Wilderness on 06/18/2010 11:27:06 MDT Print View

Hey all!
I have a 16 day trip this summer into the Bear Lakes Basin in the John Muir Wilderness. the whole basin is off trail and there are a lot of lakes. We are gonna spend a week in the basin its self just exploring all the lakes, fishing and maybe summiting a peak or two.
I have been trying to get information about the area as far as which lakes are good to go to, good fishing, specific routes to take within the basin ect, and haven't been able to find much out. I have talked to several rangers, trail crews and the owner of the high sierra pack station...all said it is a pretty remote area and that they didn't have a lot of info for me.

I was wondering if anyone on here has been to that area, and if so do you have any useful information for me?

On a whole other note... does 19lbs for food per person for a 16 day trip sound reasonable?

Thanks everyone!

Ben Crowell
(bcrowell) - F

Locale: Southern California
Re: Bear Lakes Basin in the John Muir Wilderness on 06/18/2010 12:36:34 MDT Print View

Wow, sounds like that should be a great trip!

"does 19lbs for food per person for a 16 day trip sound reasonable?"
Depends a lot on how energy-dense your food is, but it sounds like the right ballpark to me. I weigh 140 lb, and I eat about 1.4 lb/day of food. A lot of people seem to have incorrect perceptions about the relative energy densities of different foods. Nuts and oils are the highest. Salami, cheese, ghee and pesto are pretty good. Granola and jerky are very low.

Chris Morgan
(ChrisMorgan) - F

Locale: Southern Oregon
Re: Bear Lakes Basin in the John Muir Wilderness on 06/18/2010 13:12:28 MDT Print View

"On a whole other note... does 19lbs for food per person for a 16 day trip sound reasonable?"

It depends - I would personally up that number to the 1.4lbs per person, per day to be on the safe side. I find that it is easier to do less food for a few days, but after a week or so, you're going to be wanting that extra food.

So maybe eat a big meal the first day, then do 15x1.4?

Mark Regalia
(markr) - MLife

Locale: Santa Cruz
Should have no problem seeing the whole thing on 06/18/2010 13:16:28 MDT Print View

With that amount of time you'll be able to visit every lake several times over. I would try to include all the rest of lakes in that area. Marie, Rose, etc etc. There are so many. The area is spectacular.

Which way are you going? Make a loop out of it, use the Bear Creek and S.F. San Joaquin trailheads. If you only have one car you can hitch and hike from Florence Lk to Bear Cr or vice versa. One time I exited at Florence using the ferry. I asked my fellow ferry passengers if I could hitch a ride to the road junction then hiked up to the Bear Creek trail head. Don't plan on driving to the Bear Creek Diversion dam unless you have 4WD.

Here is a link to an old report I just Googled up.
http://sekihiker.home.comcast.net/~sekihiker/BearLakes/index.html

cary bertoncini
(cbert) - F

Locale: N. California
was near there a few years back at couple o' the bears on 06/18/2010 13:50:29 MDT Print View

We went up Hilgard Branch and I think camped at Little Bear, just North over a Col from the main group of Bears (between them and Lake Italy)

There is very good fisihing in there for Golden Trout--lots of surface action and not much to mess with flycasting if you go that route unless it is really windy. Some of them have very large trout. But lake fishing is so hot and cold, hard to say which lakes will be "on" and which ones "off" at a given time.

Dan Magdoff
(highsierraguy) - F

Locale: Northern California
bear lakes on 06/18/2010 14:11:29 MDT Print View

Hey all!
Ya I am thinking of bring a very calorie dense meal every 4 days or so.

The trip I am gonna do is go out of Florence Lake with the Ferry...through Piute Canyon, through French canyon and then over Italy Pass. After Italy pass we are gonna cut over to the Bear lakes for a week or so. Finally we are gonna get back on trail around 7 gables. Then we are gonna cut across the JMT and over to Rose Lake and Rosebud lake. From there we are gonna go off trail again and try to scramble over to crazy lake and explore Chamberlin and Gordon Lakes. From there we are gonna hike out on an old indian trail down to the 4x4 hooper diversion road where we will have a car parked.

I have hiked all over that area...all over bear creek...(was able to drive to the bear creek diversion dam with my truck that isnt 4x4) and been to all the lakes around there except the bear lakes area.

Tom Kirchner
(ouzel) - MLife

Locale: Pacific Northwest/Sierra
Re: Re: Bear Lakes Basin in the John Muir Wilderness on 06/18/2010 17:26:30 MDT Print View

" find that it is easier to do less food for a few days, but after a week or so, you're going to be wanting that extra food."

+1

You should try to figure out approximately how many calories you burn/day, then subtract the amount of calories in the food you are bringing. The difference, if any, will come from body fat and muscle protein. Depending on body type and the amount of body fat a person has, they can usually get by for a week or more with a deficit of 1500-2000 dietary calories/day. After that, excess body fat may be exhausted and vital body fat surrounding organs plus muscle mass will be broken down and metabolized, with potentially dangerous results. I had this happen on a 16 day trip years ago and emerged weighing ~125#, a loss of ~13# of body weight. I was very lethargic toward the end of the trip and it took me a month or so of very high daily caloric intake before I got my weight and energy back. I learned afterward that this is a potentially very dangerous situation. I would recommend doing some homework on this one before you depart.

Paul McLaughlin
(paul) - MLife
Re: Bear Lakes Basin in the John Muir Wilderness on 06/18/2010 20:12:08 MDT Print View

I have only been in there on skis, so my knowledge is a little skinny on how it is in the summer. But it's gorgeous in the spring, and I have seen lots of photos of the area in the summer, and you really can't miss in there - it's all nice. I came over the ridge from Merriam lake by way of what is sometimes referred to as Ruskie Pass. Merriam Lake is very nice - if you want to go there I think the easiest way over in the Summer is by way of Feather pass. Lake Italy is pretty nice, and Italy Pass. Going up the Hilgard Branch from Bear Creek to Lake Italy is very nice.
If you check over on highsierratopix.com, you'll find lots of folks who have been in that area and can give you tips.

Dan Magdoff
(highsierraguy) - F

Locale: Northern California
bear lakes on 06/22/2010 00:56:50 MDT Print View

How do you figure out how many calories you burn a day. I started looking up all the calorie counts for all the food I eat to determine how much I take in. But how do I determine how much I burn. If I were to guess id say around 3,000...but i really got no idea.

I checked out that site for info on the bear lakes basin, but couldnt find much.

My plan was to go from Lake Italy to white bear lake, and then set up a base camp and hike, explore and fish White Bear, Black Bear, Big Bear, Little Bear, Ursa, and Bear paw Lakes for a few days, then move my base camp, hike and fish and and explore Vee, Claw, Tooth, Gruff and seven gables Lakes for a few days. I feel like that would be the best way to see just about all the lakes in the area. Any thoughts on that general route?
Tips ideas?

Jim MacDiarmid
(jrmacd) - MLife
Calories burned on 06/22/2010 06:29:31 MDT Print View

The Mayoclinic website gives estimates for calories burned/hour of a lot of activities, including backpacking, to get a general idea.

Edited by jrmacd on 06/22/2010 06:30:18 MDT.

Hiking Malto
(gg-man) - F
Sierra High Route on 06/22/2010 07:22:57 MDT Print View

Dan,
Order Steve Roper's "Sierra High Route." The route goes right through the area area you will be heading. I did this section last summer and it was a great trip.

The only negative was that there were several large groups all converging on Bearpaw lake. This included a group of 10 college students, two boy scout groups and a guided tour of what appeared to be novice hikers. Luckily we hiked from the Merriam Lake trail, over Feather Pass and Gabbott Pass (north of Lake Italy) in a single day and avoided all the crowds.

I can send you a gps route of the High Route if you want.

Edited by gg-man on 06/22/2010 07:24:38 MDT.

Dan Magdoff
(highsierraguy) - F

Locale: Northern California
bear lakes on 06/22/2010 09:37:33 MDT Print View

Ill def check out the mayoclinic website!

I have the book on the high sierra route...looked through it. It talks a little bit about the area...but just kinda breezes through it...

David Olsen
(oware)

Locale: Steptoe Butte
Re: Bear Lakes Basin in the John Muir Wilderness on 06/22/2010 10:27:56 MDT Print View

I love that area. My favorite climb is Bear Creek Spire.
If you bring a short dynamic climbing rope and a couple of
slings, your can climb the spire from the easy north east side.
Roper I think calls it 3rd class, but the exposure is great
so I would call it 4th class.

If you use the amazing cocoa and cheese diet, that should be
enough food. If you are packing just raw foods, you may need
more.

Oh, also for quick evac, look at Mono pass.

Edited by oware on 06/22/2010 10:28:57 MDT.

Dan Magdoff
(highsierraguy) - F

Locale: Northern California
coca and cheese diet? on 06/23/2010 20:16:31 MDT Print View

Whats the "amazing coca and cheese diet"?

David Olsen
(oware)

Locale: Steptoe Butte
amazing cocoa and cheese diet on 06/24/2010 09:17:16 MDT Print View

Bringing lots.