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Feedback wanted: Rae Lakes Loop
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George Suchand
(fastnlight) - MLife

Locale: Southern California
Feedback wanted: Rae Lakes Loop on 07/10/2012 09:09:48 MDT Print View

Leading a group on the Rae Lakes loop counterclockwise. First time doing this loop. Going in on Fri, 8/31 and exiting Thursday 9/6. I basically took the trip from the book Sierra South (Wilderness Press), reversed itand did some minor tweeking. Proposed trip itinary is as follows:
8/31 Roads end to Charlotte Creek, 7.5 miles, 2165 gain
9/1 Charlotte Creek to Charlott Lake, 9 miles, 3170 gain
9/2 Charlotte Lake to Rae Lakes, 5.5 miles, over Glen Pass at 11,978.
9/3 Layover at Rae Lakes
9/4 Rae Lakes to Woods Creek Crossing, 7.1 miles, loss of 2053
9/5 Woods Creek Crossing to Middle Paradise Valley, 8.2 miles, loss of 1552
9/6 Middle Paradise Valleyy to Roads End, 6 miles, loss of 1905.

Mileage and elevation gain/loss are estimates taken from a Tom Harrison map. Elevation gain the first three days is about 7000. Total miles are 43.3.


Where are the bear lockers on this loop?
I heard the bear lockers were reserved for JMT hikers, is this true?
On the way in, I am bipassing the tradional overnight of Viddette Meadow and going to Charlotte lake? What do you think?
Recommendations for the layover day? Peaks to bag, etc.
Where are the best fising locations?

Thanks for your help.

christopher smead
(hamsterfish) - MLife

Locale: hamsterfish
Rae on 07/10/2012 10:54:41 MDT Print View

Hi Goerge,
You will not be disappointed. This is a beautiful loop. The mileage you have listed is very conservative. I think you may end up being ahead of schedule. I did this in 4 nights at a moderate to leisurely pace. From Rae lakes back to roads end it's all downhill. The only hard part of your trip looks like Charlotte Creek to Charlotte Lake. That will be a bit tough because of all the uphill, but very doable.

Near Rae lakes is Sixty lakes Basin. That might be worth checking out. Lots of beautiful lakes and peaks over there. I've always wanted to climb fin dome, but never got around to it.

There are bear boxes at Sphinx junction, Charlotte creek, Rae lakes, arrowhead lake and in upper paradise for sure.
I'm not sure about Charlotte lake. I'm sure someone else could chime in. I've used them without issue to store food that would not fit in my bear canister on extended trips.

All creek crossings are very easy now, and glen pass is melted out, so no ice gear is needed. Mosquitos were only moderate as of late June, but it's possible they are in full force now so bring deet/headnet etc.

christopher smead
(hamsterfish) - MLife

Locale: hamsterfish
One more thing on 07/10/2012 10:59:08 MDT Print View

Rae lakes is packed with fish. You will have no issue there. But they are small trout. Most no bigger than 8" or so.
Also you can't have fires at Rae lakes, so it might be good to be prepared with some alternative cooking method.

George Suchand
(fastnlight) - MLife

Locale: Southern California
Good stuff! on 07/10/2012 11:33:45 MDT Print View

Thanks Christopher. Bear boxes at Charlotte Creek! That could be a game changer. They probably have them at Charlotte Lake. The ranger station is there. Like you said someone will chime in or I'll just make a call to the wilderness office. Are they at Vidette Meadow? So Rae Lakes is the only place fires are not allowed? Will be bringing Tenkara for fishing. Sounds like I can count on eating fish for some meals. Haven't checked yet but there must be good recipes on one of these forums. I'll search.

Hobbes W
(Hobbesatronic) - F

Locale: SoCal
Sierra Bear Box Map on 07/10/2012 11:51:38 MDT Print View

This website has a complete list of all bear boxes in the Sierra, along with Topo & GPS waypoints. Here's a link to RLL south; check the link for the northern section.

In my conversations with rangers, the boxes aren't necessarily 'reserved' for PCT/JMT hikers, it's just bad form to take up available space. Also, I believe you still need to have a bear canister. The PCTers are only in the bear region for a few days, so they cut them some slack. But if you're coming in local, then you're expected to be covered.

Edited by Hobbesatronic on 07/10/2012 11:55:25 MDT.

George Suchand
(fastnlight) - MLife

Locale: Southern California
Bear boxes on 07/10/2012 12:28:53 MDT Print View

Awesome site. Thanks. They do have two at Charlotte Lake and at every place we will be overnighting, but there is verbage on the site that says they are still required unless your on the JMT.

Ken Helwig
(kennyhel77) - MLife

Locale: Scotts Valley CA via San Jose, CA
Re: Bear boxes on 07/10/2012 13:02:07 MDT Print View

Why are you going counter clock wise?? That is the harder way to go.

Christopher is correct on all accounts...I cannot remember if I saw a bear box at Charlotte Lake. There is a ranger station there though :)

Sixty Lakes basin is worth checking out

Edited by kennyhel77 on 07/10/2012 13:03:48 MDT.

Art ...
(asandh) - F
Re: Feedback wanted: Rae Lakes Loop on 07/10/2012 13:05:16 MDT Print View

I will be doing the Loop this summer also, a bit earlier than you.

Can someone comment on mileage discrepancies.

SEKI web site gives the loop 46.0 miles (Roads End to Roads End)
George's mileage is 43.3 miles
and my mileage is 41.4 miles - based on the Tom Harrison Kearsarge Pass-Rae Lakes Loop Map.

George Suchand
(fastnlight) - MLife

Locale: Southern California
Mileage on 07/10/2012 13:22:39 MDT Print View

My mileage difference may be because I am going to Charlotte Lake, which is about 1.5 off the main trail and will require a backtrack, so the extra 3 miles. I chose to do this instead of the recommended stay at Viddette Meadows as the route described in the book Sierra South.

George Suchand
(fastnlight) - MLife

Locale: Southern California
Counterclockwise on 07/10/2012 13:33:19 MDT Print View

Why? Because it can be done! LOL. Actually, when I got the permit I assumed (ass out of you and me) that if you entered on Bubb's Creek you could go either way. Later found out that clockwise is from Woods Creek Trailhead. Thought about trying to change it, but decided to stick with it and inflict misery on myself. LOL! I should have known that something was wrong when I got my first choice (over Labor Day)on my permit application. The problem now is finding people that are in good enough shape to do it!

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

Locale: Silicon Valley
Re: Feedback wanted: Rae Lakes Loop on 07/10/2012 14:04:30 MDT Print View

I've always done this in 3.5 or 4 days including a detour into Sixty Lakes, and I have always gone clockwise. How long it takes you kind of depends on wildlife sightings. There are peaks to bag, but all of that depends on your capabilities.


christopher smead
(hamsterfish) - MLife

Locale: hamsterfish
Rae on 07/10/2012 14:56:23 MDT Print View

There are 2 sites with bear boxes in Vidette, but they are farther up, past the turnoff for Glen pass. The first is less than a mile past if you don't mind the slight detour.
There's only one box at Charlotte creek. The others are right, you are better off just bringing a bear can. They had plenty of Bearikade weekenders (2lbs)for rent at the roads end station a few weeks ago. But ya might want to call and double check.

I actually like going counter clockwise because it's a bit more dramatic that way. Lots of climbing, and then BAM! You're on top of Glen pass with amazing views. Then you get to drop down into Rae lakes and it's all down hill from there.

I'm pretty sure the actual mileage is 46, but since you are going to Charlotte lake you will add a few miles there.

Here's some photo's I took on this exact route last year:

And here's some photo's/video I took just last month where I was on part of that route.
Forgive the terrible camera work. It was a $100 camera and I barely knew how to use it. :)

Edited by hamsterfish on 07/10/2012 14:57:33 MDT.