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Mammoth Lakes to McGee Pass via Laurel Lake and Silver Pass 8/4-8/11 2013
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Richard Gless
(rgless) - MLife

Locale: San Francisco Bay Area
Mammoth Lakes to McGee Pass via Laurel Lake and Silver Pass 8/4-8/11 2013 on 08/21/2013 11:10:59 MDT Print View

We came up with this trip based on several things: photos of the Deer Lake Basin on the Sierra High Route that were posted at the local climbing gym (Berkeley Iron Works) showing the open, essentially treeless country between Mammoth Lakes and Deer Lake, as well as the desire to do a section of the Sierra High Route we hadn’t already done and a section of the John Muir Trail that my wife hadn’t done.

We started at Lake George in Mammoth, climbed up to the SHR and went south to Deer Lakes. From there we continued on the SHR which coincides with the JMT for a while then just beyond Tully Hole, climbs out of Horse Heaven to Izaak Walton Lake and then drops back down past Laurel Lake to the Mono Creek Trail. We then went down the Mono Creek Trail to pick up the JMT just East of Lake Thomas A Edison and then went north on the JMT over Silver Pass. We turned east at Tully Hole and exited the Sierras via McGee Pass. This is a very spectacular area. Unfortunately the smoke from a forest fire to the south resulted in hazy afternoons the first few days obscuring the views, especially later in the afternoon.

10a

Lake Mary and Lake George in Mammoth Lakes

26a

Crystal Lake and the Mammoth Crest

37a

Looking South on the Mammoth Crest

59a

Deer Lakes basin

70a

Alpen Glow at Deer Lakes. Roper's “conspicuous gap” in the ridge between Deer Lake and Duck Lake is at the left.

94a

Looking back to Deer Lake Basin and a hazy view of the Minarets and Mts Ritter and Banner

119a

Duck Lake

124a

Fireweed along the trail

160a

Purple Lake

173a

Camp above Virginia Lake

206a

Switchbacks down into Tully Hole. Note the haze from the forest fire.

217a

Horse Heaven

220a

View to McGee Pass from benches enroute Izaak Walton Lake

222a

Izaak Walton Lake

240a

Notch to Rosy Finch Lake from a tarn near Cotton Lake

252a

Red Slate Mountain

262a

What’s for dinner?

291a

View back from the Pass. Mts Ritter and Banner in the haze on the horizon

301a

View South to Rosy Finch Lake and Bighorn Lake, Notch to Laurel Lake

322a

Laurel Lake far below

331a

Laurel Lake basin

342a

View back up the canyon containing Laurel Lake

344a

View south into Mono Creek Canyon and beyond into the Second Recess

376a

View to First Recess

396a

View up canyon towards Mott Lake and Rosy Finch Lake

407a

Trail to Silver Pass

410a

View from camp below Silver Pass South to Granite Ridge and Selden Pass far to the South

452a

View North from Silver Pass

460a

Chief Lake

466a

Squaw Lake

494a

On the McGee Pass Trail

518a

Sunset at Tully Lake

534a

Trail to McGee Pass

561a

Looking back from the approach to McGee Pass

589a

McGee Pass

596a

Descending McGee Pass

649a

Big McGee Lake

678a

McGee Canyon has to be one of the more spectacular East Side Exits from the High Sierra

Edited by rgless on 08/22/2013 11:27:28 MDT.

Ike Jutkowitz
(Ike) - M

Locale: Central Michigan
re: Mammoth Lakes on 08/23/2013 16:54:13 MDT Print View

I enjoyed your trip report and pictures. What was for dinner?

Richard Gless
(rgless) - MLife

Locale: San Francisco Bay Area
Mammoth Lakes to McGee Pass via Laurel Lake and Silver Pass 8/4-8/11 2013 on 08/23/2013 17:31:24 MDT Print View

That particular night it was Backpacker’s Pantry Katmandu Curry and crystal-lite lemon ice tea. We think this is a good, filling, vegetable curry that is pretty lightweight.

Marc Eldridge
(meld) - MLife

Locale: The here and now.
Re: "Mammoth Lakes to McGee Pass via Laurel Lake and Silver Pass 8/4-8/11 2013" on 08/27/2013 23:44:27 MDT Print View

Nice trip Richard. That smoke must have been from the Aspen Fire. We encountered it on a trip out of Mammoth to Thousand Island Lake and Donohue Pass July 24-28.