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Late August ~100 Mile Solo Hike - First Time In The Sierras

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Re: Late August ~100 Mile Solo Hike - First Time In The Sier

Postby Hobbes » Thu Jul 21, 2016 7:14 am

Am I allowed to hike through the area during the day without a bear canister, to pass through? Or does this requirement only apply to those camping overnight in that zone?


Speaking as someone who almost never takes a can - and figures out ways to work around it if I'm passing through a required area - you should just suck it up and use a can. Since this is your first trip, and you're traveling from out-of-state, it seems like you're putting a lot of time/hassle @ risk just for 2lbs.

As for passing through bear can areas, which I do fairly regularly on my trips, you should be aware that you can't "guard your food". That is, you can't take a nap or rest break with the food as a head rest/pillow, wrapped in your arms, etc, nor can you temporarily leave it out of your immediate control. For example, you can't put your pack on the ground and then fish, or explore a bit looking for good photo spots, etc.

Lastly, leaving out of the west side will consume around 2 days of your trip (driving in, hiking in, hiking out, driving out) just to get to the high Sierra. Since you're starting from Fresno, why not just drive into Yosemite? In fact, if you went to Tuolumne meadows, you could get a walk-in or cancellation and head to the back-country (for instance, where the HST meet-up is located). From there, you could take the SHR over to Mammoth, or depending how much time you had, perhaps even make it to Duck lake via the JMT or SHR. (Then walk back to Coldwater TH.)

Mammoth is actually pretty ideal - there are a zillion access/exit points and a ton of shuttle/bus options. From practically any TH, it's an easy ride back to town, then YARTS back to your car in TM.

Basically, you should try and keep it simple: take a can, start high, don't fret.



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Re: Late August ~100 Mile Solo Hike - First Time In The Sier

Postby MetalBackpacker » Thu Jul 21, 2016 3:01 pm

maverick wrote:
With all that said, your route is way to ambitious/optimistic for 7-8 days, more like maybe 10-12 days.


7 days would be cutting it close for sure, but I could do this in 8 or 9 days. I'm leaning towards 9. I've got options to cut it short if need be.


wildhiker wrote:MetalBackpacker,

Your trip plan is really ambitious! However, doing it counter-clockwise is good because it gives you several opportunities to cut the trip short if you are running behind schedule, or decide you like some area so much that you want to spend more time there. You can cut the trip in half by exiting down Evolution Creek, or at the 2/3 to 3/4 mark by exiting down from Humphreys Basin to Piute Creek and out.


It is ambitious, but that's what I'm looking for. I do 2 big hikes like this a year, one in the winter, in the desert, and one in the summer, in the high country. I definitely have some options to cut it short if need be, those are some good options.

Jimr wrote:It does seem very ambitious in the time alotted. Getting though Ionian basin is rugged. Have you thoroughly researched your route from Lamarck col to Piute pass?


Probably doing this in 9 days now. I haven't "thoroughly" researched any of this yet, it's basically a rough draft. That area between Piute and Lamarck Col does look tough. I'll be refining this route until the day I leave, lol. Of course, I'm open to any suggestions or advice regarding the route. I'm trying to achieve the best mix of stunning scenery and solitude, have it be challenging but not completely brutal. If there's a section of this route that is really difficult and has little reward for that effort, please let me know. Likewise, if there's a spectacular lake or valley nearby that I'm missing, providing it's not crawling with hundreds of other people, I'd like to know about it. I'm willing to change my route to make it better in any way possible.


Hobbes wrote:Speaking as someone who almost never takes a can - and figures out ways to work around it if I'm passing through a required area - you should just suck it up and use a can. Since this is your first trip, and you're traveling from out-of-state, it seems like you're putting a lot of time/hassle @ risk just for 2lbs.

Lastly, leaving out of the west side will consume around 2 days of your trip (driving in, hiking in, hiking out, driving out) just to get to the high Sierra. Since you're starting from Fresno, why not just drive into Yosemite? In fact, if you went to Tuolumne meadows, you could get a walk-in or cancellation and head to the back-country (for instance, where the HST meet-up is located). From there, you could take the SHR over to Mammoth, or depending how much time you had, perhaps even make it to Duck lake via the JMT or SHR. (Then walk back to Coldwater TH.)


It's not so much the weight of the bear canister, but the bulk. There's no way I could fit 9 days of food in one of those, I'd need two of them at least. And when the food is gone those things are not only going to be dead weight but a lot of bulk. I'm not really seeing the bear canister as an issue anymore, I'm just going to use my OPsaks and be done with it. Easy enough.

Florence Lake is only 90 miles, 2 hours 45 minutes from the Fresno airport, that's not bad at all. I appreciate the ideas but I've already spent quite a bit of time planning this route, and I'm pretty confident I can make a great trip out of what I've got so far.

AlmostThere wrote:I'll just say that bear canisters are ALWAYS taken by people I hike with, because badly habituated bears pay little attention to boundaries where canisters are required. And OPsacks are as odor proof as a regular ziplock, and do nothing special, according to drug sniffing dogs - there is an actual article about that, over at backpackinglight.com, and bears have much better noses than dogs. If you are not using actual bear resistant containers you're risking an abrupt end to your trip and potentially the death of a bear, since each food reward brings a nuisance bear one more step toward aggressive, and aggressive bears get shot.

That your food was never taken means nothing -- it's only bear resistant if it actually resisted a bear. And there is not a single wilderness area that does not require either a CORRECT (not lazy, five feet off the ground) bear hang or bear resistant container. Leaving it sitting around in a bag doesn't count.


Which method of storing food do you think will ATTRACT bears more though, the OPsaks or the bear canister? I've set an OPsak in a field infested with hundreds of rodents in the San Juans at night and they never touched the bag. A hiker I passed who camped there the night prior had his food raided in the same spot. I've tested it with food in the OPsak in front of several dogs. These things have worked well for me for years. Sure, if a bear walks right up to it, it might smell something. But I guarantee a bear can smell the food in your bear canister from a lot farther away. I'd rather decrease my chances of having a bear encounter in the first place by storing it in a bag that reduces it's odor and camping away from popular campsites. Most, if not all of my campsites besides my first night will be above treeline(where you can't hang your food anyways), and I'm not going to be doing any cooking(less odors in the air), bringing only dry food. I'll be fine!
Last edited by MetalBackpacker on Fri Jul 22, 2016 5:57 am, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: Late August ~100 Mile Solo Hike - First Time In The Sier

Postby Mike M. » Thu Jul 21, 2016 4:30 pm

MetalBackpacker,

I'm late to chime in here but wanted to add my comments to the discussion:

1. You say you chose to start your hike on or about August 20th because (you assume) there won't be as many people on the trail that late in the season, since school terms will be starting, etc. In fact, August 20th is right in the middle of high season for hiking in the high country. If you want to avoid crowds, it would be better to time your hike for after Labor Day.

2. Permits will be easier to obtain if you enter the wilderness on a weekday (Monday through Thursday) or after Labor Day.

3. You will encounter more people on weekends. The closer you are to a trailhead, the more people you'll see (especially on weekends and holidays).

4. if you are seeking solitude, limit your time spent on the John Muir Trail as much as possible. It attracts many hikers.

5. Your proposed route is extremely ambitious. Will it leave you enough time to explore end enjoy the Ionian Basin, for instance?

6. If you don't carry a bear canister, you risk having your food raided by bears. This is especially true at popular campsites and on highly-trafficked trails. If you choose not to carry a canister, you must hang your food. Even if you do carry a canister, you'll probably need to hang some of your food at the beginning of your trip, since it is likely not all of it will fit in one canister. Above treeline, hanging food is not an option, but bear encounters are fewer (but not unknown). Fortunately, the higher you are and the further you are from an established trail, the less likely you are to have your food raided.

7. Be mindful of how rigorous off-trail travel can be. While you might easily be able to make 8-10 miles in three hours on an established trail, expect the same distance to take you all day when traveling cross country.

8. Will the Florence Lake ferry still be operating when you start your hike? If not, you'll have to hike the length of the lake.

9. You might consider starting your hike at either North or South Lake from the east side (out of Bishop), which would give you a few more options should you have to alter your itinerary mid-hike. Rather than fly into Fresno, you could fly into Reno and save a little money. This option puts you into the high country right away. If you wanted to stick with Fresno, I'd rather drive to Bishop then hike the hot, dusty, and tedious trail to Blayney Meadows and on to the JMT junction.

Hope this helps and I wish you a fun trip. Be sure to post a trip report!

Mike
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Re: Late August ~100 Mile Solo Hike - First Time In The Sier

Postby Jimr » Thu Jul 21, 2016 5:13 pm

Looking at Google Earth from Lamarck col to Piute pass. That's some serious **** my friend. At best, a serious and precipitous string of talus chutes. I highly recommend offing that and re-routing. A great route would be after visiting Darwin Lakes, drop down to Darwin bench, then head N through the three lakes in that cirque, then either Alpine col (class 2) or the Keyhole (class 3). If you choose Alpine col, descend around the western shore of Goethe lake. It's longer, but it will save you from working through 3 1/2 to 4 hours of car size talus. From the outlet of Goethe, it's an easy stroll down the mountain side to hit the Humphreys basin area.
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Re: Late August ~100 Mile Solo Hike - First Time In The Sier

Postby MetalBackpacker » Fri Jul 22, 2016 10:05 am

Jimr wrote:Looking at Google Earth from Lamarck col to Piute pass. That's some serious **** my friend. At best, a serious and precipitous string of talus chutes. I highly recommend offing that and re-routing. A great route would be after visiting Darwin Lakes, drop down to Darwin bench, then head N through the three lakes in that cirque, then either Alpine col (class 2) or the Keyhole (class 3). If you choose Alpine col, descend around the western shore of Goethe lake. It's longer, but it will save you from working through 3 1/2 to 4 hours of car size talus. From the outlet of Goethe, it's an easy stroll down the mountain side to hit the Humphreys basin area.


You're right, that section is looking to be rather sketchy. Plus, the Goethe Lakes area seems to be more aesthetic. I'll likely reroute using Alpine Col. Thanks for that info about the talus on the eastern side of Goethe.
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Re: Late August ~100 Mile Solo Hike - First Time In The Sier

Postby Carne_DelMuerto » Fri Jul 22, 2016 10:36 am

MetalBackpacker wrote:I'll likely reroute using Alpine Col. Thanks for that info about the talus on the eastern side of Goethe.


There's still a good amount of talus on the west side, it's just much more manageable than the east. In fact, there will be a lot of talus from lake 11910 until lower Goethe Lake.
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Re: Late August ~100 Mile Solo Hike - First Time In The Sier

Postby Jimr » Fri Jul 22, 2016 5:23 pm

Yup, just know it will likely take you all day to get from Darwin Bench to Piute Canyon.
P8180337.JPG


East side of Goethe looks just like this.
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Re: Late August ~100 Mile Solo Hike - First Time In The Sier

Postby rlown » Fri Jul 22, 2016 5:28 pm

what Jimr said.. It starts out narly, and just gets worse.
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Re: Late August ~100 Mile Solo Hike - First Time In The Sier

Postby maverick » Fri Jul 22, 2016 5:41 pm

Go a little north and use Packsaddle or Lobe Pass, a little easier.
I don't give out specific route information, my belief is that it takes away from the whole adventure spirit of a trip, if you need every inch planned out, you'll have to get that from someone else.

Have a safer backcountry experience by using the HST ReConn Form 2.0, named after Larry Conn, a HST member: http://reconn.org
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Re: Late August ~100 Mile Solo Hike - First Time In The Sier

Postby rlown » Fri Jul 22, 2016 5:49 pm

actually , its not easier..
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