All great suggestions and I’m printing out this thread to take on my lunch hour with my Harrison map to see what’s doable. I should have asked this question two weeks ago so I’d have more than two evenings to plan.
I don’t shoot for high mileage days, they just end up happening. Partly because I’m just more comfortable moving than I am sitting still. Also because until I get back to California(lived in SF from 2005-2009) from NYC, I have 8-10 days a year walk the Sierra and so I have to balance seeing as much as possible with doing too much and never relaxing. Side-trips and getting to know a particular area is quite appealing though, vs. just making forward progress. I do have a thing for loops though, and finishing them on foot.
As tempting as a Whitney summit is, which is something I hadn’t even considered(hadn’t looked at a map to see how close it was, or known I could get a permit outside the lottery), I think that’ll have to wait till next years trip. At this last minute, I think it would feel too squeezed in to my existing itinerary. I’d definitely want to do an overnight, and I wouldn’t have time on this trip, even with the day saved by skipping the Sabrina Basin.
I’m definitely set on exiting via Lamarck Col now. Paul Richins covers this as an alternative route in Backpacking California, but for some reason, I had it in my head that it was too difficult. But researching online, it seems that it falls within my modest xc skillset.
Right now, I’m thinking of Dusy Basin on Day One, with about 5 hours to explore, and then perhaps Ionian Basin on Day Two, via Black Giant Pass. Then I’d backtrack via Black Giant on Day Three, hit Muir Pass and spend the night on Darwin Bench. Day Four over Lamarck Col and to North Lake, where I’d pick up with my original itinerary, spending the night at one of the lakes south of Sabrina, before hiking out on Day Five. I If I end up intimidated by the xc route via Lamarck Col, or I just decide I want to spend an extra day in Dusy, Ionian or on Darwin bench, I have time to make it an out-and-back. It’s good to have a lot of ideas in my head as I tend to change my mind by the moment.
Thanks for all the input, and I certainly welcome more.