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Southern Sierra, mostly off trail
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Jim Sweeney
(swimjay) - MLife

Locale: Northern California
snow on 07/29/2013 19:19:00 MDT Print View

Virtually no snow at Longley, & definitely no cornice to worry about.

M G
(drown) - F - MLife

Locale: Shenandoah
Your route on 07/29/2013 19:55:25 MDT Print View

Hoping to reverse that route on my way to Roads End in September. If you get a chance to post any puctures I would love to see them

M G
(drown) - F - MLife

Locale: Shenandoah
Re: Your route on 07/10/2014 18:33:26 MDT Print View

Jim,

I know this is a long shot but would love some pics and a more complete report from your time up in this area last year

Jim Sweeney
(swimjay) - MLife

Locale: Northern California
Great route, but not complete on 07/10/2014 19:57:46 MDT Print View

Thanks for the nudge. Will try to come up with a complete trip report, with pictures, soon, but for now here's a short version.

Acclimated for 3 days in Sequoia, day hikes, then a rest day.

First day of trip to Sphinx Lake at 10.5 k ' via Avalanche pass trail and then offtrail following Sphinx creek. Never feel like I've found the elegant path for this section. This time I blundered around in the brush at the beginning before giving up and taking the south side of the creek.

Second day over Sphinx Col, through Brewer Basin, to lake at the base of South Guard. Great route section, beautiful, mysterious transition from Brewer Lake Basin to South Guard Lake basin.

Third day over Longley Pass -- sandy, and a bit of a slog, but not technical --to large lake two or three lakes below Thunder Mtn. Went high too soon in crossing over from the North base of Longley, had to do some climbing. Massive talus in the center of the creek coming down from T mountain. Should have stayed to the left of the creek. (Creek completely buried by the talus).

Fourth day, stayed high to the left in canyon approaching T mountain Col, was way above any ice. Not convinced I took the right exit at the headwall; ground very unstable, chicken feed, some of the moves in the slot that I chose a bit technical, had to clean a bunch of rock. Seemed like it hadn't been used before. Came out of the col 20 feet or so above a broad causeway, leading up to what might have been the proper exit, but that didn't look great either. Descended past a series of beautiful lakes and long slabs to a lake just a little short of the north-south trail in the upper Kern basin. (The northern limit of this trail is Lake South America).

Short 5th day to next campsite, just west of the creek near where the North-South trail bends East ( 1/2 mile + south of junction for the cross-over trail that leads East to the John Muir trail). Snow that night, so had a rest day on the 6th day, waiting for the snow to melt. Visited with the foxtail Pines.

7th day cross-country up to and over the pass left of Milepost mountain, to a lake just below Milepost bowl, above Colby Pass trail.

8th day trying and failing to find the proper approach to what would have been the next pass, Glacier Pass. Eventually gave up, and went over Colby Pass, on trail, to Colby Lake. Pretty lake, nice campsites, but the ground dirty from the charcoal of illegal fires. (If we spread the ashes around afterwards, why then we never really had a fire, did we?)

9th day down Cloud Canyon to Roaring River ranger station, then up Avalanche Pass trail to very park-like region below Avalanche Pass. Roaring River campground completely empty.

Next morning, over Avalanche Pass. Beautiful snow storm, but hands too cold to replace camera battery when needed. Though many other pictures from the trip. Down Avalanche to Bubbs and out to Road's End, where I passed a ranger deep in thought, and thanked him for a great summer.

Every day was cold, the air so clear. Only warm when moving or in my sleeping bag, and even then it was a bit dodgy. Late September.

Edited by swimjay on 07/10/2014 20:08:30 MDT.