Recommendations for Sierra Backpacking Trip

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Quasimodo

Trad climber
CA
Topic Author's Original Post - Jul 29, 2013 - 04:32pm PT
In the last two years I have backpacked with my son in August. The first trip was Tuolumne Meadows to Mammoth Lakes. Last year we backpacked from South Lake through Evolution Valley to North Lake. This year I am considering:

1) Loop from Mineral King over Franklin Pass to Little Five Lakes Basin and back over Black Rock Pass.

2) Hoover Wilderness; Twin Lakes to Smedberg Lakes and back through Matterhorn Canyon.

Is one better than the other? …any other suggestions?

I am looking for something more obscure and less crowded than say Kearsarge Pass, Whitney or Army Pass. I was thinking about Sheppard Pass but the low start makes this kind of a grunt.

Thanks for your suggestions!
Fat Dad

Trad climber
Los Angeles, CA
Jul 29, 2013 - 04:50pm PT
Both of those sound nice. Shepherd is a grunt, but if you can arrange a shuttle you can hike up over Kearsarge and then down Shepherd. There's the Woods Lake loop out of Road's End. There also a nice loop in Sequoia over Silliman Pass north of Lodgepole, up Deadman Canyon and back via the High Sierra Trail. So many places to go really...
QITNL

climber
Jul 29, 2013 - 06:18pm PT
I've never hiked out of Mineral King, but the area around Twin Lakes is real nice. Was looking at my maps this morning, might head up there soon myself. On your way out, you could head up Matterhorn Peak from Burro Pass, tag the summit and head down Horse Creek. Easy second class, a descent of 4500 ft.
Inner City

Trad climber
East Bay
Jul 29, 2013 - 06:59pm PT
So many incredible options to pursue. Trying to get a bit off the beaten track is more difficult.

We once did a Sierra traverse (east to west) that went over Taboose Pass, stayed a night at Bench Lake and then went down the Muro Blanco (the south fork of the Kings) This lets out to the Paradise Valley trail and down to Cedar Grove in Kings Canyon. Five day trip and was great. Car shuttle was a little harder to figure out..

I think that your Northern Yosemite route sounds appealing.
Sewellymon

climber
.....in a single wide......
Jul 29, 2013 - 07:16pm PT
I am planning a solo trip in 3 weeks and my buddy Ron has turned me onto 2 options worth pondering-

Red's Meadows to Superior Lake then X-C mostly along Sierra Hike Route to Iceberg Lake then trail out.

Onion Valley over Kearsarge and Glen Pass,then up to Dragon Lakes and X-C over Gould Pass, and back to Onion Valley.

Both are 3 days/ 2 nights

Both are killer loops. I like Mineral King but this is prettier country IMHO. Be mostly new terrain for me, too...
Spider Savage

Mountain climber
The shaggy fringe of Los Angeles
Jul 29, 2013 - 07:18pm PT
Terrible idea. Go to Colorado. Rockies better.
Cragman

Trad climber
June Lake, California....via the Damascus Road
Jul 29, 2013 - 07:38pm PT
I can HIGHLY recommend the trip through the Hoover Wilderness and down to Smedberg and back...with a nice, remote twist.

Not sure how many days you have, but here is the way I'd do it....

From Mono Village, head up to Barney Lake, then on up to Robinson Lakes, and bivy there...about a nine mile, fairly casual day. (Great bivy on the east shore of Robinson Lake)

Head up and over Mule Pass the next day, then drop down Big Slide Canyon. At the southern end of the canyon, bivy at Doe Lake.

From there, leave the trail, and descend Piute Creek Canyon just west of Doe Lake, following this all the way to Smedberg Lake....you will be treated to TOWERING walls on the west side of the canyon. Stay along the creekbed for easiest line of travel, boulder hopping when needed.

From Smedberg, head back to Matterhorn Canyon via the main trail. Be sure to bivy in the vicinty of Burro Pass....VERY spectacular....before heading up the south side of Matterhorn Peak via the gnarly talus field,(go tag the summit) then descend the couloir on the east side of the main summit of Matterhorn and cross the glacier. There is a FINE bivy about 1/2 mile below and slightly east of the glacier.

From there, it's an easy cruise back to your car in just a couple hours.

Enjoy!
Quasimodo

Trad climber
CA
Topic Author's Reply - Jul 29, 2013 - 09:34pm PT
Thanks for all the great suggestions. Would love to explore the Colorado Rockies or Sawtooth Range. Time is the big issue. I only have one week. The Hoover/Yosemite loop is likely our route of choice.
khanom

Trad climber
Greeley Hill
Jul 29, 2013 - 09:35pm PT
I am looking for something more obscure and less crowded...

If that's the case, just get out the topos. Go where your whim takes you.

You need an established trail far less than most imagine.
ruppell

climber
Jul 29, 2013 - 09:38pm PT
Sewellymon

Gould pass is a beast of a pass from either side. Did it last year to "save time" getting into the sixty lakes basin. It ended up costing time. Amazing place that I'm sure few have been. Go check it out and let me know whether I was just having a bad day. lol
johntp

Trad climber
socal
Jul 29, 2013 - 09:41pm PT
1) Loop from Mineral King over Franklin Pass to Little Five Lakes Basin and back over Black Rock Pass.

That is a good one, as is any hike over Kearsarge Pass.
QITNL

climber
Jul 29, 2013 - 10:06pm PT
Speaking of Kearsarge Pass, I plan to head up there for the first time next month, four nights. Any recommended scrambles or routes?
ruppell

climber
Jul 29, 2013 - 10:20pm PT
QITNL

I recommend Gould Pass on the way in. lol You can hit Mt Gould and Dragon peak from there. Here's a fun trip report I found on the interweb to confirm my belief that I actually wasn't having a bad day. I hiked up and over that thing with a 60lb pack full of climbing gear for four days of fun in the Clarence King area. I planned on stopping to tag both Gould and Dragon on the way in. It didn't work out that way. If your going in with just a hiking weight pack I think you should be fine.

Gould Pass(or not)?
Dr.Sprock

Boulder climber
I'm James Brown, Bi-atch!
Jul 30, 2013 - 01:45am PT
it's not the route, it is who you are with, sounds like good company to be in, have fun! rent a beacon in case you need more power bars,

QITNL

climber
Jul 30, 2013 - 02:00am PT
Thanks, ruppell, interesting. I think I might head in a little further on the trail before I shoot off, seeing as I'm a noob in those parts. But that gives me an idea of what lies in that direction. I'm still getting the lay of the land, that helps.
Wayno

Big Wall climber
Seattle, WA
Jul 30, 2013 - 03:32am PT
I had some nice uncrowded trips from Leavitt Meadows ending at Kennedy Meadows. Tower Peak and the Emigrant Wilderness and some nice lakes and plenty of back-country rock and fish were also involved.
Charlie D.

Trad climber
Western Slope, Tahoe Sierra
Jul 30, 2013 - 08:40am PT
My wife and I have been hiking the Sierra High Route in sections and got one more to go to finish. Steve Roper but it together in this book:

http://www.amazon.com/The-Sierra-High-Route-Traversing/dp/0898865069

There's some really cool sections mostly cross country hiking off established trails up at timber line or above. You'll love it, quintessentially hiking through the heart and soul of the Sierra.

Charlie D.
aguacaliente

climber
Jul 30, 2013 - 01:37pm PT
1) Loop from Mineral King over Franklin Pass to Little Five Lakes Basin and back over Black Rock Pass.

I did this loop in the opposite direction a few years ago with some friends. It was spectacular. We saw few people, not none, but nothing like the circus people describe on Whitney or the JMT. This may have been because it was marginally early season, or due to permit limits, I dunno.
ahughes03

Trad climber
Los Angeles, CA
Jul 30, 2013 - 01:57pm PT
Mineral King is the best!

I'd suggest heading over timber gap and up to hamilton lakes, over kaweah gap, and back via black rock... lets you walk through some giant sequoias, among other amazing sights.
Fat Dad

Trad climber
Los Angeles, CA
Jul 30, 2013 - 02:11pm PT
One trip I had planned several years back that I cut short was Road's End to East Lake, up the drainage toward Harrison Pass and over that (tagging Mt. Harrison along the way). South past Lake South America, tag Milestone Mt. and over Milestone Pass, back north thru Cloud Canyon and over Sphinx Pass back to Road's End. I got as far as Lake Reflection. I was by myself and it started feeling pretty remote heading toward Harrison. Still, terrific scenery and still on my to do list when I find a partner in crime (oh yeah, and get a pass from the wife and kids).
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