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.
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!