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SHR Loop from South Lake Suggestions? ~ 50 miler

Posted: Sat Feb 11, 2017 7:03 am
by wvbrad
Hello All,

What a great site, I've been lurking for a while trying to plan this trip. I'm looking for a 5-7 day trip starting from the Bishop Area starting August 12 or 13. We are coming from the east coast, and will be flying into Vegas, driving to Lone Pine to get permits and going from there. I would love some feedback or suggestions on the route i have in mind. The loop might seem a little wonky, but please keep in mind we have not done much 'intentional' cross country hiking, especially in the Sierras. However, we are pretty fit guys in our mid-40s that race mtn bikes and do ultra trail run races, and have done many week long hiking trips on the AT and elsewhere.

Ok, thinking of starting at South Lake and hiking up to Bishop Pass and camping for the nite. This would be after flying out, getting passes, etc. a 6 miler to get started. The second day,drop to JMT, go south to palisades area and then pickup SHR to palisades lake area, about 14 miles, most of those on the JMT. Next day up through Palisade and Dusy Basin, backtrack the bishop pass trail to JMT, go north and camp somewhere around Helen Lake, about 10.5 miles. Next day up and over Muir Pass and camp somewhere before or after leaving JMT in Evolution Basin and heading up, approx. 8-9 miles. Last full day of hiking, up through Darwin area towards snow tongue pass and camp around Piute pass area, About 6-7 miles, all SHR. Last morning hike down to North Lake and hitch to South Lake and get the car, drive to Vegas and fly out, or hike down, that day and wrap it up.
A 57 mile hike, 4 miles of backtracking, and 25 miles of the JMT. Without doing a shuttle, with our non-experience in the Sierras and where we are to start, are there any other better options?
Thanks for any and all feedback!!


Re: SHR Loop from South Lake Suggestions? ~ 50 miler

Posted: Sat Feb 11, 2017 8:14 am
by SSSdave
Day 2-3 don't need to repeat route. From Dusy Basin go south over Knapsack etc to Palisade Lakes. Then day 3 down JMT and north. Cross country to Palisade Lakes is difficult to stay at class 2 or below unless one carefully does topo satellite GE homework. Likewise any CC route over Glacier Divide due to ugly large talus.

Re: SHR Loop from South Lake Suggestions? ~ 50 miler

Posted: Sat Feb 11, 2017 1:30 pm
by balzaccom
I was just thinking the opposite. Yiuve given yourself an easy out it day two gets too hard. I worry about a trip that is this tightly scheduled. If you start to fall behind (just one member of the group suffering from altitude) and you're really in a pickle.

I'd leave in that backtrack, at least as an option for day three.

As for the last day, six miles over Piute Pass is Upper Golden Trout Lake-lots of good campsites there-vut not so many closer to the trailhead. You've got a jam-packed last day, and I hate hiking on a deadline, worrying about catching a ride, making a flight.

You might want to make the trip a bit shorter, plan to hike out the day before, and if you do, day hike up to Lamarck Lakes or check out something on the way back to Vegas.

Re: SHR Loop from South Lake Suggestions? ~ 50 miler

Posted: Sun Feb 12, 2017 7:02 am
by wvbrad
Guys, thanks for the info. I agree the schedule is too tight- but what loop could give me high quality on and off trail hiking that is in the Palisades, Darwin Bench area, Evolution area, etc? I guess I could leave out the JMT / Palisades loop and go straight up and over Bishop and spend more time in Lamark Lakes, maybe a side trip in Darwin Canyon and the areas in Golden Trout Lake?
Any better loops in this area without a shuttle in the 40-50 mile range?

thanks again, Brad

Re: SHR Loop from South Lake Suggestions? ~ 50 miler

Posted: Sun Feb 12, 2017 7:47 am
by steiny98
If you are willing to leave from North Lake you can create a loop going over lamark col, up evolution canyon to Muir pass and then back down, catch McGee Lakes Pass and go through mcgee canyon, hop back on the JMT to the junction with piute pass, go up piute pass trail to humphreys basin, and then back down to your car. This should be right under 50 miles.

You can also cut down on some of your miles by not going up to muir pass but it seems like that it something you would like to do. Just my opinion, but I agree with what others said about having a tightly packed itinerary and having to hike out in order to make a same day flight, I'd suggest having a one day buffer on either side. For me at least, flying the 5-6 hours from the east coast into Las Vegas, renting a car, driving to Lone Pine (4.5 hours?), getting permits, driving another hour and a half to the trailhead and then hiking six miles seems like a lot to do.

Re: SHR Loop from South Lake Suggestions? ~ 50 miler

Posted: Sun Feb 12, 2017 10:47 am
by Wandering Daisy
Since the person posting said they have not done much "intentional off-trail" in the Sierra, I think some of the above suggestions may be too difficult. One question is navigation competency; the other snow travel experience. Lamark Col is sort of borderline with those not used to off-trail passes. It likely will have snow this year in August. I definitely think the Sierra High Route (Knapsack-Cirque-Palisade Lake) is pretty difficult for a first time off-trail experience in the Sierra. Strong guys can do a lot of on-trail miles, and this group seems very capable of that. I really do not see a 12-mile or so day much of a problem if on trails. It is not a long trip so packs will be light. Off-trail walking in Humphreys Basin is a good first try at Sierra off-trail. You do not need to go over Lamark Col to do a side-trip and wander around Darwin Basin. From Golden Lakes you can off-trail up to Goethe Lakes and Muriel Lake instead of staying on the trail.