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JMT/SHR Loop - Tuolumne Meadows to Thousand island Lake
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Hiking Malto
(gg-man) - F
JMT/SHR Loop - Tuolumne Meadows to Thousand island Lake on 10/04/2010 12:18:20 MDT Print View

Route Overview – PCT/JMT from Tuolumne Meadows to Thousand Island Lake. Use trail around lake and follow the Sierra High Route (Roper’s Book) over Glacier Lake Pass travelling by Twin Island Lakes and Bench Canyon before crossing Blue Lake Pass back into Yosemite. Continue cross country and pick up Isberg pass trail and head over Vogelsang Pass back to Tuolumne Meadows.

When 9/24-26/10

Distance – 58 Miles. 38 trail and 20 cross country

Elevation Gain - 9600'

Max Elevation - 11,300'

Lyell Canyon
Lyell Canyon looking south toward Mt. Lyell (13,114’) and Donahue Pass (11,040’)

Donahue Pass
Looking north from climb toward Donahue Pass at 10k’ – Lyell Canyon in center.

Mt Lyell
Mt Lyell from Donahue Pass

Mammouth Mountain
Looking south from Donahue Pass – Mammoth Mountain in center

thousand island lake
Thousand Island Lake (9850’) with Mt Banner (12,864’) and Ritter (12936’) in Background

glacier lake pass
Glacier Lake Pass from the east.

Mt Banner
Mt Banner with Lake Catherine (Glacier between Banner and Ritter)

twin Island Lakes
Twin Island Lakes

Bench Canyon
Bench Canyon Area

blue lakes
Blue Lake(s) from climb up Blue lake Pass

talus heaven
Talus Heaven? - Looking up at West side of Blue Lake Pass

clark range
West side of Blue Lake Pass – Clark Range in evening

merced drainage
Merced drainage with Clark Range in Background

vogelsang meadow
Overused trail from Vogelsang HSC to Tuolumne Meadows

Bradford Rogers
(Mocs123) - MLife

Locale: Southeast Tennessee
Re: JMT/SHR Loop - Tuolumne Meadows to Thousand island Lake on 10/04/2010 13:46:38 MDT Print View

Great Pics! Thanks for sharing, I really need to get to the Sierras someday.

Frank Deland

Locale: On the AT in VA
SHR Loop hikes on 10/04/2010 16:28:50 MDT Print View

Thanks, Greg, and ditto to Bradford's comments.

Fellow Sierra hikers should consider doing loop hikes including segments of the SHR. I completed one hiking north out of Tuolumne. (somewhere I posted a report here, I think)
For first timers on the SHR, as I was, I would suggest to plan for extra time, meaning more time than you would normally plan for a hike all on trails. Progress can be slow, because you often have to watch steps carefully, or bushwack. The terrain just dictates slower going. Note Greg's photo of the west side of Blue Lake Pass. The rewards are well worth the effort, but my daughter and I were both relieved when we got back on a trail. I cannot imagine any place more beautiful to hike than the Sierras!

Edited by rambler on 10/04/2010 16:33:56 MDT.

Jay Wilkerson
(Creachen) - MLife

Locale: East Bay
JMT/SHR Loop on 10/04/2010 16:30:07 MDT Print View

Nice pictures Greg! That's a great area to visit...Any bears cross your path?

Ken Helwig
(kennyhel77) - MLife

Locale: Scotts Valley CA via San Jose, CA
Re: JMT/SHR Loop on 10/04/2010 18:15:26 MDT Print View

Greg, how difficult was the terraing heading from Lake Catherine down past the waterfalls. I would love to do that loop, but from what I have read, the going is a little tricky with the route finding

Craig W.
(xnomanx) - F - M
Re: Re: JMT/SHR Loop on 10/04/2010 18:30:17 MDT Print View

Nice, thanks.
I've got my eye on a thru of the SHR in the next year...

David T
(DaveT) - F
shr. on 10/04/2010 18:32:29 MDT Print View


That section wasn't too bad. I was kinda expecting more class 2+ kinda stuff, and we didn't really have much of an issue. Might have just found the best way down by accident, but I'd say no big deal.


Amy Lauterbach
(drongobird) - MLife

Locale: San Francisco Bay Area
JMT/SHR Loop on 10/04/2010 19:12:59 MDT Print View

Nice route, nice photos, inspiring. Thanks.

Hiking Malto
(gg-man) - F
Re: JMT/SHR Loop on 10/04/2010 20:17:28 MDT Print View

No bears but a bunch of deer.

The route was very straightforward with two exceptions.
1) After twin Island lake you hit a lake referenced in the book at 10,200. Leaving the lake you go over a slight ridge and hit a small stream. The book is not real clear here. What it should say is to cross the stream and continue up the ridge.before traversing around and over to the dark bluff. I kept wanting to go down or straight around and lost a bit of time in that section. Once you hit the bluff it is very easy to find blue lake pass.
2) Finding the Isberg Pass trail is accurrately described in the book. I walked right over it and only found it by zooming in the GPS and wandering about.

There was no bushwacking on this section and this would make a great introduction to the High Route. Mile for Mile it was much easier than the southern 100 miles and likely you will have the place to yourself.

As far as how many days. I easily did it in three shortened days but I met someone on the Isberg Trail that was doing it in 8. There are so many great places to camp there, Bench Canyon, Twin Island Lakes, Lyell Creek, 1000 Island that you could take your time if you're more the relaxing type.

Craig, Take your time if you are going to thru hike it. My son and I did a 12 day attempt and bailed after 7 days and a little over 100 miles. It is mentally exhausting doing the multiple passes per day and it just stopped being fun after bushwacking from Evolution to Snow Tongue Pass, climbing down that gem and then crossing endless talus. Another day we crossed 4 passes with Mather being the easiest. It really wears on you. But it goes through some sweet terrain.

Craig W.
(xnomanx) - F - M
Re: Re: JMT/SHR Loop on 10/04/2010 21:19:59 MDT Print View

What you describe is exactly why I want to thru-hike it!

I'm certainly not underestimating it, it sounds tough.

I remember reading Andrew Skurka's report..."Mile for mile, the SHR is the most demanding 3-season hiking experience I have had." (From his website's SHR trip report). Given his resume at the time, I think that certainly says something.

Aside from fairly intensive training and planning, I think finding a partner of will pose one of the biggest challenges...not sure I'd want to do it solo.

Rick Dreher
(halfturbo) - MLife

Locale: Northernish California
Re: JMT/SHR Loop - Tuolumne Meadows to Thousand island Lake on 10/04/2010 21:30:26 MDT Print View

Beautiful Greg, well done!

I grazed the south end of your path (Isberg Pass and surroundings) late August and have to say, you had much better weather :-) Going to dig out the maps and figure out some details on your route, because I want to get back onto the high trail that parallels the Merced to the east, below Lyell. Spectacular and lightly traveled Yosemite backcountry--we went days between seeing other folks.



Steve S
(idahosteve) - F

Locale: Idaho
SHR info on 10/16/2010 16:53:32 MDT Print View

would like to get some more info on the SHR. Drop me a PM so I can pick your brain! Thanks!