Forum Index » General Lightweight Backpacking Discussion » Harrison Pass, Millys or Lucys


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Ken Helwig
(kennyhel77) - MLife

Locale: Scotts Valley CA via San Jose, CA
Harrison Pass, Millys or Lucys on 07/01/2011 18:19:14 MDT Print View

Thinking about putting a trip together that starts with going over Kearsarge Pass, over Forrester Pass and here is where I throw a wrinkle in. I could exit over Sheppards Pass and maybe visit Center Basin??? Then shuttle back to Onion Valley. Or after crossing Forrester head over to Lake South America and either cross Milly Foot Pass, Lucys Footpath or Harrison Pass. I have heard that Millys and Lucys are pretty difficult class 2. Harrison Pass seems a bit more straight forward. If I were to cross Harrison it looks like I could cross country it back to Vidette, or I could head over to Lake Reflection, then to East Lake and back to Vidette Meadows. For those that have crossed any of these passes, what was your thoughts. This might be a question for Tom Kirchner or Bob Gross???

I should also preface this with the trip being in Sept. so hopefully the snow on the north facing areas would be minimized???

Edited by kennyhel77 on 07/01/2011 18:25:01 MDT.

Bob Gross
(--B.G.--) - F

Locale: Silicon Valley
Re: Harrison Pass, Millys or Lucys on 07/01/2011 19:30:21 MDT Print View

I've been interested in Harrison, Lucy's, and Milly's for some time, but I haven't been any closer than Vidette Meadow or else East Lake on the way up Mount Brewer... all west side stuff. Kearsarge Pass is pretty approachable from Onion Valley. Maybe revisit this when September gets closer.

"Difficult Class 2" is kind of an oxymoron. It can't be difficult unless you aren't paying attention and it surprises you.

Incidentally, an interesting jaunt is a Trans-Sierra Dayhike. Sleep at Onion Valley, hike over Kearsarge and down Bubbs Creek to Road's End... in about 9-10 hours. Forget the full pack.

--B.G.--

Ken Helwig
(kennyhel77) - MLife

Locale: Scotts Valley CA via San Jose, CA
Re: Re: Harrison Pass, Millys or Lucys on 07/01/2011 19:38:30 MDT Print View

Thanks for the reply Bob. I have always wanted to do a trans Sierra hike...someday! My party wants to go over Forrester and enter the Tyndall Crk. area. From there I am in charge of figuring out the exit route. I do not want to enter on the east and exit on the west so I have a few options ie Whitney, New Army Pass or back to Kearsarge. I have seen pictures of Harrison Pass and it looks a little steep with a lot of scree and snow on the north eastern side of the pass. That snow looks like it is a permenant field. I have done Lamarck, and some other smaller cols so Harrison doesn't seem to much of an issue. Though I could be wrong. From what I have seen, this area just looks amazing!!!!!!!!!!!

Bob Gross
(--B.G.--) - F

Locale: Silicon Valley
Re: Re: Re: Harrison Pass, Millys or Lucys on 07/01/2011 20:00:21 MDT Print View

If you've done Lamarck Col, then try Echo Col, and bring your Spiderman costume.

Trans-Sierra Dayhikes are good if you can get a proper group organized. Then you have one team enter from the west (e.g. Road's End) on Saturday morning, and they reach the east side (e.g. Onion Valley) by that evening. Team Two meets them with support, spends the night, and then heads from east to west on Sunday, reaching the first team's car by evening. Then everybody heads to some central location to trade cars back. The minimum group is about three going from each direction.

--B.G.--

Ken Helwig
(kennyhel77) - MLife

Locale: Scotts Valley CA via San Jose, CA
Re: Re: Re: Re: Harrison Pass, Millys or Lucys on 07/01/2011 20:08:27 MDT Print View

Nooooooooooo on Echo! I have seen pics and that is out of my comfort zone. Lol. I like your trans Sierra idea. One day...........one day!

Tom Kirchner
(ouzel) - MLife

Locale: Pacific Northwest/Sierra
Re: Harrison Pass, Millys or Lucys on 07/01/2011 20:27:12 MDT Print View

"I could exit over Sheppards Pass and maybe visit Center Basin??? Then shuttle back to Onion Valley."

A nice route, and the easiest way to do Shepherd Pass. Perhaps a bit more straightforward would be to visit Center Basin before going over Forester Pass, then make a beeline for Shepherd Pass. A nice little side trip would be to leave the Shepherd Pass trail just before you get to the pass and head south up a gradual slope a quarter mile or so to a saddle at ~12,400', just below Mt Tyndall. From there you can take a peek at the awesome East Face of Mt Tyndall and have a full on view of Mt Williamson and Williamson Bowl. You can't go any further legally during September because it is a Bighorn Sheep reserve and is closed to hiking then. It is a neat area seldom visited except by stealth climbers. A note on Center Basin: several years ago it was closed to camping due to bear problems. You might want to check with the rangers to get the latest beta on that situation.

"Or after crossing Forrester head over to Lake South America and either cross Milly Foot Pass, Lucys Footpath or Harrison Pass. I have heard that Millys and Lucys are pretty difficult class 2. Harrison Pass seems a bit more straight forward."

Harrison is by far the safer of the 3 alternatives. I checked them all out years ago and decided that since they were so close together, why not take the safer route. All 3 will get you to East Lake in more or less the same time. I have crossed Harrison 4 times, south to north, in both August and September and never encountered any snow to speak of. However, this is a heavy snow year, and that definitely may not be the case this year. There are a couple of awkward moves right at the top, but from there on down it is basically a talus/boulder hopping affair. Take it slow and easy, and you shouldn't have any trouble. Another possibility is a little known pass between Lucy's and Milly's called Joe's Pass that Cola Vaughan referred to in a recent thread on crossing the Kings Kern Divide. It is reputed to be easy class 2 and basically snow free. You might want to PM him and get more details before making a final decision.

"If I were to cross Harrison it looks like I could cross country it back to Vidette, or I could head over to Lake Reflection, then to East Lake and back to Vidette Meadows."

East Lake is the long way, but all on trail from the small lake below and north of Mt Ericsson(Golden Lake? Golden Trout Lake? My memory is hazy and I don't have a map in front of me). The cross country route you mention over Deerhorn Col is one I never got around to, basically because I was fed up with Bubbs Creek, the crowds and the bears. Still, I look at it wistfully on a map from time to time. It is a very attractive route and I have some regrets. If you go that way, would you let me know what you think of it?

John Kays
(johnk) - M

Locale: SoCal
Echo Pass on 07/02/2011 17:38:16 MDT Print View

@Bob

you suggested Echo pass as another hike inferring a similarity to Lamark Col. I have done Lamark several times and would like to avoid Darwin Basin. I have been up to the East Side of Echo Col on a short weekend and curious regarding the possibilities of a shortcut to Muir Pass and Evolution Valley. Have you been over it? Would you please describe the west side descent? Feel free to start a different thread so as not to hijack Ken's OP. Thanks, John

Bob Gross
(--B.G.--) - F

Locale: Silicon Valley
Re: Echo Pass on 07/02/2011 17:46:45 MDT Print View

I don't think you meant Echo Pass, which is up at Highway 50. I referred to Echo Col, which is the shortcut to Muir Pass in Kings Canyon. Let me dig up some photos and start a new thread here.

--B.G.--

obx hiker
(obxcola) - MLife

Locale: Outer Banks of North Carolina
Harrison Pass, Millys or Lucys on 07/02/2011 17:59:20 MDT Print View

My only experience with this region is behind the wheel of a mouse, but this guy: Piero Scaruffi, thinks this pass is a good alternative for crossing the Kings Kern Divide http://www.scaruffi.com/travel/reflec.jpg and The name "little Joe" comes from the website and reports of Bill Finch. http://sekihiker.home.comcast.net/~sekihiker/ThunderCol/tj17.html

I keep hoping someone cruising this forum will have some first hand info.

Scaruffi really dislikes Lucy's Foot and says it is dangerously loose. I think I've read there was a recent serious injury on Milly's involving a fairly experienced hiker/climber and some loose rock.

While you read warnings about Harrison most reading/reports I've found from experienced hikers seem to feel that route is fine as long as the snow is gone as it should be by Sept.

It seem like Harrison is the more direct route if coming from the area of Tyndall Creek while Little Joe might be a good bet coming from/going to the upper Kern or if heading towards Longley by Reflection Lake. Also Little Joe seems to melt out faster with a western exposure. That's all I've got until @ September 12th

Cola

Bob Gross
(--B.G.--) - F

Locale: Silicon Valley
Re: Re: Echo Pass on 07/02/2011 18:30:28 MDT Print View

"Let me dig up some photos and start a new thread here."

I posted a map with text about ten minutes ago, and it hasn't shown up. Due to the funkiness of the BPL server, I'll give it an hour and then start all over again.

--B.G.--

John Kays
(johnk) - M

Locale: SoCal
Echo Pass on 07/02/2011 20:14:54 MDT Print View

Come on Bob. You know what I meant. There is only one Echo Pass/Col putting into the Muir Pass area. I don't need no #%^& * map. Have you been over it? If so please describe. T

Edited by johnk on 07/02/2011 20:16:43 MDT.

Bob Gross
(--B.G.--) - F

Locale: Silicon Valley
Re: Echo Pass on 07/02/2011 20:44:17 MDT Print View

"Have you been over it?"

That was in my text with the map. Did you read it, or was that not what you wanted?

--B.G.--

John Kays
(johnk) - M

Locale: SoCal
Echo Col on 07/02/2011 23:14:27 MDT Print View

your post hasn't shown up yet.

Both the map and the on-site visual observation from across the lake west of it looks pretty knarley. I have posted inquiries before about this short-cut that is described Wilderness Press High Sierra Guide #10, Mt. Goddard, p.63, and have drawn a blank which suggests that wiser folks take the longer way around. However Robinson describes the descent west of the Col as "easy classIII."

Bob Gross
(--B.G.--) - F

Locale: Silicon Valley
Re: Echo Col on 07/02/2011 23:21:58 MDT Print View

"your post hasn't shown up yet."

That would not be accurate to say.

I included a map for those readers who might find it handy.

The tricky part is on the west side of the notch, for sure.

Finding the correct notch isn't that hard once you get within a quarter-mile of it. By comparison, Lamarck Col has several notches scattered over a hundred yards, and it doesn't matter too much which one you use.

--B.G.--

Kevin Sawchuk
(ksawchuk) - BPL Staff - MLife

Locale: Northern California
Re: Harrison Pass, Millys or Lucys on 07/06/2011 15:23:03 MDT Print View

I've been over all three passes. They're all easy from the south. Harrison's is the easiest, Milly's is loose on the north side and Lucy's is a steep and loose narrow col that poops you out with a long talus field to cross to Lake Reflection.

obx hiker
(obxcola) - MLife

Locale: Outer Banks of North Carolina
"Harrison Pass, Millys or Lucys" on 07/06/2011 18:42:33 MDT Print View

"They're all easy"

Yes but you hang bear bags from a crescent moon evidently using guided missiles ;)

I've seen the video!

Tom Kirchner
(ouzel) - MLife

Locale: Pacific Northwest/Sierra
Re: "Harrison Pass, Millys or Lucys" on 07/06/2011 19:59:41 MDT Print View

""They're all easy"

Easy and safe are two different things. I've been on a lot of easy stuff, mostly of the loose and fairly steep to steep variety, down through the years that really concentrated my mind, including a couple where I came close to getting brained by loose rock. As a result, my personal policy has become always to take the safer way, if one is available. If not, sometimes I will go for the dicier route and sometimes I will decide it just isn't worth the risk and go do something else, mostly the latter as I get older. I know personally of three climbers who got killed on "easy" routes, and one non climbing friend who spent 12 hours in the O.R. getting his head put back together, sort of, after getting nailed by loose rock in a gully similar to Lucy's. My 2 cents based on my own personal experience. Others will invariably approach and evaluate situations differently. HYOH, as always.

Ken Helwig
(kennyhel77) - MLife

Locale: Scotts Valley CA via San Jose, CA
Re: Re: "Harrison Pass, Millys or Lucys" on 07/06/2011 20:15:53 MDT Print View

Tom makes some valid points. I for one love cross country travel and the sense of taking on something like a col or pass without a trail. It makes your trip seem more, dare I say "wild"??? But safety is a concern, and for me, I am 47 and want to keep enjoying the outdoors for as long as I can walk.

Some people's comfort zone might not match others. So, something that is easy might now be so for others. That is why I believe informed discussions on something like Milly's or Lucie's are quite valuable. Everyone has different skillsets