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Jeffrey McConnell
(Catalyst) - F
Sierras - Onion Valley to Portal via Kearsage on 02/06/2012 11:33:47 MST Print View

I'll be backpacking with some friends to Whitney this coming September. Trying to decide whether to go via Horseshoe Meadows or Onion Valley (Kearsage). I've done Whitney via Horseshoe Meadows before. For the Kearsage Pass route any suggestions on where to stay along the way? I'm leaning towards that route since I haven't done it before. Probably going to take our time and and make a 4-5 day trip out of it.

Edited by Catalyst on 02/06/2012 18:58:51 MST.

Ken Helwig
(kennyhel77) - MLife

Locale: Scotts Valley CA via San Jose, CA
Re: Sierras - Onion Valley to Portal via Kearsage on 02/06/2012 13:31:01 MST Print View

I would hike to the Center Basin Junction from Onion Valley the first night....it is along Bubbs Creek and it has amazing views of Forester Pass, the second day would be possibly to Guitar Lake or around there....Depends on how many miles you would like to do per day really

Jim W.
(jimqpublic) - MLife

Locale: So-Cal
Re: Sierras - Onion Valley to Portal via Kearsage on 02/06/2012 14:03:41 MST Print View

I grew up at the turnoff to Onion Valley so I've done my share of trips from there.

Ken is right- Center Basin creek/junction is a good spot. Vidette is a known bear haunt but other than that has lots of good camp spots.

Here are some suggested iteneraries.

3 day:
1: Onion Valley to Center Basin Jct.
2: To Guitar Lake
3: Whitney and out to Portal.
(Altitude hits pretty quick!)

4 day:
1: Onion Valley to Vidette Mdw.
2: To Tyndall or Wright Creek.
3: To Guitar Lake
4: Whitney and out to Portal.
(Altitude slightly delayed and first night under 10,000' after crossing Kearsarge Pass)

5 day late start:
1: Onion Valley to Flower Lake. (super short first day, lets you drive up, get permit, etc.)
2: To Center Basin Jct.
3: To Tyndall or Wright Creek.
4: To Guitar Lake
5: Whitney and out to Portal.
(First day doesn't cross pass, sleep at 10,500'; Forester Pass 13,200' not till day 3)

5 day late start, early finish
1: Onion Valley to Flower Lake (Drive up, get permit, etc.)
2: To Center Basin Jct.
3: to Wallace Ck. or Crabtree Mdw.
4: Whitney and down to Trail or Outpost Camp
5: To Portal for breakfast. (Super short last day, finish up, have brunch, check out Lone Pine, etc)

I like to take the first day real easy. My 5 day "late start" itenerary works well if you're driving up, getting the permit, arranging a car swap, and starting the same day.

Ken Helwig
(kennyhel77) - MLife

Locale: Scotts Valley CA via San Jose, CA
Re: Sierras - Onion Valley to Portal via Kearsage on 02/06/2012 18:27:24 MST Print View

or you can start at Horshoe Meadow and go through Mitre basin if you ok with direct and not too hard cross country.

Jeffrey McConnell
(Catalyst) - F
Great suggestions - what if we factor in fishing? on 02/06/2012 19:02:58 MST Print View

@ Jim, thanks for all those suggestions. That's very helpful. I have a JMT guide book but its always nice to get recommendations from people on BPL.

@ Ken, I'm considering the Miter Basin route because I've heard its great and it would be a nice excuse to bag Langley on the way, but I'm going along with a friend who doesn't backpack much and I'm not sure how well he'd handle the cross country portion.

I'm also interested in doing a little fly fishing along the way. It looks like both routes have good spots for fishing. Have either of you fished in these areas?

Tom Kirchner
(ouzel) - MLife

Locale: Pacific Northwest/Sierra
Re: Great suggestions - what if we factor in fishing? on 02/06/2012 19:43:32 MST Print View

"I'm also interested in doing a little fly fishing along the way. It looks like both routes have good spots for fishing. Have either of you fished in these areas?"

If you go in from Horseshoe Meadow, via Sky Blue Lake, over Crabtree Pass, and on to Mt Whitney, both Middle and Lower Crabtree Lakes have excellent fishing; Middle Crabtree has the larger fish by far.

Wright Lakes and Wallace Lake also have good fishing, but are a bit out of the way if you are on a tight schedule.

Jeffrey McConnell
(Catalyst) - F
Re: Re: Great suggestions - what if we factor in fishing? on 02/06/2012 19:48:19 MST Print View

nevermind.

Edited by Catalyst on 02/06/2012 20:11:43 MST.

Tom Kirchner
(ouzel) - MLife

Locale: Pacific Northwest/Sierra
Re: Re: Re: Great suggestions - what if we factor in fishing? on 02/06/2012 20:10:01 MST Print View

"Do you know where I could find some info on that cross country route?"

Off the top of my head I'd recommend looking in Secor's "The High Sierra: Peaks, Passes, and Trails". It's pretty much the bible for Sierra off trail routes. If you have trouble, PM me and I'll walk you thru it, including a nice off trail shortcut to the Whitney Trail just below and east of Trail Crest Pass. It saves a lot of miles over going down to Crabtree Meadows, then over to the Crabtree RS and up to Guitar Lake, etc.