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Sierra High Route and Whitney - September 1-14, 2011
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Gabriel Pramuk
(gpramuk) - F

Locale: West
Sierra High Route and Whitney - September 1-14, 2011 on 09/21/2011 00:59:59 MDT Print View

Twin Lakes to Mt. Whitney, including a SHR thru hike.
September 1-14, 2011 - ~250 miles

I have uploaded a video to youtube, and it isn’t a slide show. It actually has some walking and pans and info in it. There are also videos from other trips I have taken in the last couple years, such the Great Divide Mountain Bike Route from earlier this summer.

Sierra High Route video

San Gabriel's youtube channel

I had little time to complete this trek due to work. My hope was Twin Lakes to Whitney but didn’t know if I would have time.

I caught the bus from Reno to Bridgeport, chatting with a PCT08 horsepacker named Mendorider who was coincidentally on the bus catching a ride back to his trailer. I received an insanely quick from Bridgeport all the way to Mono Village where all the fun began.

The first week had beautiful weather every day, sun, warmth, pleasant nights, and bug free! Every view was epic, every pass dramatic. Sky Pilot Col was a personal favorite, dropping off steeply on both sides.
Bench Canyon was definitely one of my favorite spots and Catherine Lake one of the more starkly beautiful high altitude lakes I have passed with Ritter and Banner towering overhead.

During my second week, the weather was less than pleasant, with thunderstorms every afternoon including a full on rainy foggy day on Sunday the 11th. But still the route was amazing

Cartridge Pass

Grouse Lake, different place, same picture.

The area between Mather Pass and Road’s End feels remote. Marion lake, one of the more scenic lakes in this section, and on the whole trip, seemed unnaturally blue. My journey over Red, White, and Gray Passes was foggy, tough navigation but I made it through.

A quick trip to Whitney followed... which was awesome. It had snowed a few inches in the last few days so there was still a fresh layer. The clouds wafted by dramatically up top and the weather was once again pleasant on my decent. (east side...)

This trek has been on my list for a while. I was just waiting for a two week window, pretty much since I got home from my cycling trip in July.

A more complete summary of my trek can be found at trail journals:
Sierra High Route journal

Edited by gpramuk on 09/21/2011 09:02:08 MDT.

Hannes Horst
(Hochtourist) - F
Re: SHR and Whitney on 09/21/2011 01:54:05 MDT Print View

Hi Gabriel, great trip! You started the very day after I had completed by South-North thru-hike. We could have almost met in Bridgeport!

Thanks for posting these beautiful pictures. It is interetsing to see how much the snow cover changed within the short time between our visits.

In Southern Yosemite, I met a couple who were doing the same trip as you: SHR + Whitney. It appears as a very nice combination to me.

Congrats and Cheers

Eugene Smith
(Eugeneius) - MLife

Locale: Nuevo Mexico
"Sierra High Route and Whitney - September 1-14, 2011" on 09/21/2011 12:21:59 MDT Print View

Awesome Gabriel, I'm on my quick lunch checking these photographs out. Thanks for sharing.

Piotr Z.
(piotr) - F

Locale: SF South Bay
Sierra High Route and Whitney - September 1-14, 2011 on 10/06/2011 01:51:57 MDT Print View

Gabriel, I liked your YouTube video. The remote valleys away from trails look really awesome. You hiked the route in a short time and the video makes it look easy. Which parts of the route were the most challenging, aside from the weather. Was the navigation a problem? I am gathering info to prepare for the SHR next year.

Jason Picard
(jasonpicard) - F
nice! on 10/06/2011 21:47:09 MDT Print View

Great pics, and a really nice video! Well done.

Trevor Wilson
(trevor83) - MLife

Locale: ATL -- Zurich -- SF Bay Area
Re: nice! on 10/08/2011 10:25:33 MDT Print View

Really enjoyed the video! Looks like an amazing journey.

Mark Primack
(Bufa) - MLife

Locale: Cape Cod and Northern Newfoundland
Absolutely beautiful and well done too! on 10/08/2011 12:19:50 MDT Print View

Watched the video. What a beautiful place and so so different to my main stomping grounds in the White Mtns. of NH. Just stunning. And you did such a good job of narrating and videography. Were you just holding your camera at arms length when you are in the image? and what kind of camera? How did you keep it dry during the last week? Thanks for the video and thanks for answers.

Mike M
(mtwarden) - MLife

Locale: Montana
wonderful on 10/08/2011 14:40:08 MDT Print View

great trip report, pics and video!

SHR is definitely on my "to do" list :)

Gabriel Pramuk
(gpramuk) - F

Locale: West
SHR video, arms length, weather, challenges on 10/10/2011 12:30:13 MDT Print View

Piotr- The navigation was fairly straight forward really. Being above treeline most of the time, you can see where you are going much more easily than when under the forest canopy. As I went south, I chose not to use the Roper guide as his cues are northbound. The Skurka maps were great. I had them printed on 11x17 semi water resistant paper. Seemed like half my weight... I did have a GPS, but I couldn't seem to load the waypoints in. But it was helpful as an altimeter and to pinpoint my location on the map. I can't exactly remember anything that navigationally challenging. Even when it was super foggy near Marion Lake, Red Pass, White Pass... Careful in national parks and on trails, that is where I get lost. Hahaha...

Difficult? It was. Most of what I filmed was on the easier terrain. It is kind of hard to find a place to put your camera when wandering through a maze of bus sized boulders. Pretty much every pass, aside from the JMT ones, are scrambling, picking your way up scree or talus, then down steeply. That is what slowed me the most. The climb to Gabbot Pass near Lake Italy, schwhacking up a brushy hillside then boulders was probably the most challenging.

Snow at this time of season shouldn't be a problem. This was certainly heavier than normal. Whitebark and Gabbot Passes were a challenge. I had my ice axe but didn't really use it much. I normally have a 6-8 pound baseweight and hike 25-30 miles in a day... On the SHR it was more like 15-20. So it was definitely hard. This isn't an easy trek. a lot of varied terrain.

Mark- Camera stuff:
Plastic bag in my *gasp* camera case... yeah I carried a padded Lowepro camera case at 4 ounces. I figured I needed to protect against pointy rocks and branches. My camera as just a Nikon Coolpix L22 point and shoot, not even a compact. 640 video. On my GDMBR video, there are a couple clips from an other rider's iPhone at 720p. I found my cheapo thing better at defining clouds and focusing. And I held it at arms reach. I am told I have long arms, but I'm not like an ape or something... I just have a lot of practice pointing at myself, being the narcissistic ego freak attention hog that I am. I'll probably upgrade cameras next year, get something with 1080p and maybe even some prolonged exposure features, get some better photos in darker conditions. I'm thinking of doing the AZT or Hayduke and I want some better photos than this thing gets in dawn/dusk...

Thanks everyone for watching! Its fun to make these things! I mostly started doing it for family, but having other people watch is great! Happy to share here. Any tips or requests for future videos? [:


Jay Wilkerson
(Creachen) - MLife

Locale: East Bay
Sierra High Route and Whitney 9/1-14 on 10/10/2011 13:07:22 MDT Print View

Great stuff with a excellent video.

Piotr Z.
(piotr) - F

Locale: SF South Bay
Sierra High Route and Whitney 9/1-14 on 10/10/2011 22:46:26 MDT Print View

Gabe, thanks for the info. My trail/route speed estimate agrees very well with yours. I can do 20 miles a day on the trail, and estimate 2 weeks for the SHR.