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Wallowas next week. Lil help.
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Jason Filcman
(BlarneyStoner) - F
Wallowas next week. Lil help. on 08/05/2010 13:49:15 MDT Print View

Hey all,
Am leaving next week for a five-day Wallowa trip. Our planned route has us following the West Fork Lostine to Minam Lake, over Ivan Carper Pass to Mirror, then to Moccasin Lake and over Glacier Pass to Glacier Lake, and finally down the West Fork Wallowa to the Wallowa Lake trailhead. If everything goes according to plan (which it never does) we plan to make Minam the first night, Mirror or Moccassin the next, Glacier Lake the following night, and camp somewhere near Six-Mile Meadow on the fourth night. This mileage and elevation gain is well within our abilities at lower elevations, but we’re relatively inexperienced at altitude, and I was wondering if this route raised any red flags for anyone. Anyone been up that way recently and have any reports on snow remaining in the passes? This will be our first trip to the area, and any advice beyond what I’d find in Barstad’s book would be appreciated. Anyone have any experience hiking with dogs in this area… are bears/horses a problem? Thanks in advance.

Matt Mioduszewski
(water-) - F

Locale: pacific nw
go for it! on 08/07/2010 21:31:57 MDT Print View

that is an awesome loop! the distances and mileage seem totally fine to me. We've been there twice in the lakes basin area you'll be visiting. I think the distances will give you plenty of time to take in all the eye candy and have fun.

200~ miles east on the cascade volcanoes there is a lot more snow up high later into the summer than in the past few years. That said I would highly suspect you will be fine in the wallowas. I would not expect you to find any significant snow, if any, on the paths you are doing, but it will be maybe to the side of the trail or very tiny patches you can go around. you will see some semi-permanent snow fields and areas that are still snow covered but your travel plans should be excellent.

I would only include climbing eagle cap. I think there is a high cut-off trail that would go from ivan carper pass over to the trail up Eagle Cap--you would save perhaps 1000ft of elevation to cut over and do it, possibly leaving heavy packs at the junction. It is an awesome and easy trail to the top. My old man dad even did it when we got him to mirror lake. the views from the top will give you a nice birds-eye capstone view of where you've been and where you're going. hell, if you have water, the top is big and flat enough, with enough small trees you could plop down there!

Edited by water- on 08/08/2010 00:49:30 MDT.

Mary D
(hikinggranny) - MLife

Locale: Gateway to Columbia River Gorge
Wallowas next week. Lil help on 08/07/2010 22:37:43 MDT Print View

The trail to Eagle Cap doesn't go from Ivan Carper Pass but from Horton Pass.

Matt Mioduszewski
(water-) - F

Locale: pacific nw
correct on 08/08/2010 00:48:57 MDT Print View

Righton, tho I could have swore I've seen a scramble path traversing the ridge over from Ivan Carper. that is what I was referencing, not specifically horton pass.

As you are knowledgeable about the area do you have any additional information to offer the OP? either in additional confirmation of what I've said or other suggestions?

John Nausieda
(Meander) - MLife

Locale: PNW
Wallowas next week on 08/08/2010 20:23:01 MDT Print View

I'm in a similar situation. ANY info on skeeter pressure, people or horse pressure anywhere in the Wallowas most welcome. We've been hoping for this all summer , but considering shifting to the Central Cascades if we have to. Would prefer a one week trip in the Wallowas. Have been there before and loved it 15 years ago. Weather is looking like daily T-storms. No recent info out there at NW hikers etc. Any suggestions of good trips lately welcome all the way to Glacier appreciated. Introducing our daughter to her first real backpacking trip-she's 16. We've hit the Cascades every summer since she was 4 day hiking. Thanks, John

Edited by Meander on 08/08/2010 20:26:40 MDT.

Matt Mioduszewski
(water-) - F

Locale: pacific nw
bugs on 08/09/2010 00:20:02 MDT Print View

so hard to tell. there are a lot of types of mosquitos. some of those alpine/snow kind can be horrid, but they also die quickly. last weekend of July in 2009 was barely tolerable, well, it wasn't actually--cept for on the top of eagle cap/when there was a breeze. it was just a 2-3 day trip with my father and fiance so we left a bit early the one day. mosquitos were actually a lot better lower along the lostine river than they were up in the lakes basin, for that one.

Mid-August 2008 was pretty bad on day one, but it got progressively better, to the point that 4 nights later we were barely seeing any in the same area.

that said, keep your eye on any TR's at nwhikers or pdx hikers. the wallowa reports start to come in in waves around this time..

as for horses, yes there can be a lot of them, in the sense that i rarely, if ever, see them anywhere else in oregon, so seeing 5-10 there in 5 days is a lot, but by and large any horse-camps tend to be in the valleys and big and away from where other people camp. I've also seen some folks with pack lamas there, a couple, they had about 6 llamas. i wouldn't let it deter you one iota.

the distances (two pan to minam lake) (minam to mirror) (mirror to glacier) (glacier to 6 mile meadows) (6 mile meadows to wallowa TH) are all quite doable. minam to mirror and mirror/moccasin to glacier over glacier pass are both relatively SHORT days, with a serious climb being the brunt of it. They will be nice days to relax. if it is hot out jump in the lakes--swimming is great, just be prepared to not catch your breath once you go into glacier lake. moccasin has some nice jump-in spots.swimming in glacier lake

in conclusion, you should go there and enjoy the scenery, see something new, as beautiful as the north cascades are.

Jason Filcman
(BlarneyStoner) - F
Thanks. on 08/09/2010 17:20:58 MDT Print View

Thanks for the advice. Man, this last day or two of work is going to be brutal. In my head, I'm already there.

John Huth
(apacherunner) - F

Locale: New England
Try Eagle Cap on 08/09/2010 17:49:17 MDT Print View

I'd definitely try Eagle Cap. I was there two years ago and I saw a 65 year old climb it. We did it about the same time you're going - perhaps a week earlier. The view from the top is amazing.

The mosquitos - it depends on where you camp. Near some of the lakes with bogs, it can get a bit buggy, but it's not too bad.

I guess my only caution is that it can get quite crowded and there's a lot of pressure on the alpine regions - so bad that the forest service has had to close down some campsites. There is supposedly a limit to 12 people to a party, but we saw scout troops with 30 kids in it, human scat out in the open (not buried). It's a bit sad and we ended up thinking that the forest service might have to close the whole alpine region down for five years to give it a chance to recover. It's taking a real beating.

The lower elevations are more robust, but the region around Eagle Cap has taken a big hit.

Still, it's beautiful and worth the trip.

Edited by apacherunner on 08/09/2010 17:50:56 MDT.

John Nausieda
(Meander) - MLife

Locale: PNW
Eagle Cap on 08/09/2010 19:38:57 MDT Print View

I have great memories of the Wallowas . The issues were there even 15 years ago. Very limited sites. Going in we were passed by a horse camp group carrying lawn chairs and bored teenagers with makeup-and of course asked to step aside so we didn't spook the horses. Then we got the sermon from Cowboy Bob.He said "Next time consider going the civilized way in." It's very similar in the Central Cascades. Hell, it was this way my first backpack in Big Bend on the East Rim . They passed us and shat but went down at 4 and our night was Holy.I do find the human pressure the biggest deal . I'm coming from my daughter's first real backpack . But it's all fluid-weather , gear , trip reports , etc. Last time in this mode I hit Arches and Canyonlands. Thanks much on the input.

Mary D
(hikinggranny) - MLife

Locale: Gateway to Columbia River Gorge
Wallowas next week. Lil help on 08/09/2010 22:49:22 MDT Print View

Recent trip report: http://www.portlandhikers.org/forum/viewtopic.php?f=8&t=5795

No trip reports, but answers to snow/bug questions from this year:
http://www.nwhikers.net/forums/viewtopic.php?t=7984374&postdays=0&postorder=asc&start=15