Window Peak Lake from JMT Sobo

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ColoradoCoHi
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Window Peak Lake from JMT Sobo

Post by ColoradoCoHi » Thu Nov 02, 2017 10:02 pm

Hello everyone,
I'm a Colorado backpacker looking to return to the Sierra next summer to revisit some of my favorite spots and see some new ones. I'm going to join the JMT from Bishop Pass and head south from there, but I was really hoping to add a side trip to Window Peak Lake. I was wondering if anyone has done this/could shed some light on the best way to get there. I'm an experienced backpacker on trails and a climber but I have very little off trail hiking experience. It looks like the best way to go is to hop off the JMT about a mile before the Woods Creek junction and follow the creek up, but how challenging will this be? Am I better off doing something different, or even nixing it as part of my JMT endeavor and trying it from a different access point after I finish the trip and drive to another trailhead?

And while I'm here, along with a side trip to Bench Lake and Window Peak Lake, anything else I shouldn't miss that'll be within a days hike of the southern half of the JMT? Secluded lakes or high peaks class 3 and below welcome! Thanks so much for any tips!

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Re: Window Peak Lake from JMT Sobo

Post by maverick » Fri Nov 03, 2017 12:57 pm

Hi ColoradoCoHi,

Welcome to HST!
I'm an experienced backpacker on trails and a climber but I have very little off trail hiking experience.
What does this mean, please clarify? Have you done any crossountry travel, do you have good navigational skills, any experience over rugged, bushy terrain? Will you be carrying a SPOT, Delorme, or PLB? Do you have survival or wilderness first aid training?
The route up to Window Peak Lake is a 1800 ft climb, the terrain is pretty rugged, steep in some places, not a starter route, for someone with no crosscountry experience.

While in the Bench lake area, you should consider visiting Striped Mountain Basin (west of Striped Mtn), quite beautiful, and relatively easy to access. Woods Lakes is also very pretty, and while staying at Rae Lakes, visit Dragon Lake and Sixty Lakes Basin.
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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, an HST member: http://reconn.org

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Re: Window Peak Lake from JMT Sobo

Post by ColoradoCoHi » Sun Nov 05, 2017 8:13 am

Thanks so much, Ill definitely add those onto my agenda.

As far as my experience, I I have wilderness first responder training and will have a SPOT. my navigational skills are decent, but the extent of my cross country travling is largely in the form of following a trail into a basin and having to figure out my own way to a summit from there. I'm not a beginner hiker, but I guess my question extends to: do you essentially follow the creek all the way up to the lake or will I find easier terrain elsewhere?

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Re: Window Peak Lake from JMT Sobo

Post by Wandering Daisy » Sun Nov 05, 2017 6:15 pm

Window Lake.JPG
Here is the approximate route I did. It is mainly a bushwhacking puzzle. Some of it is quite steep.
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Re: Window Peak Lake from JMT Sobo

Post by ColoradoCoHi » Mon Nov 06, 2017 7:00 pm

Thank you, I really appreciate the help.

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Re: Window Peak Lake from JMT Sobo

Post by Wandering Daisy » Mon Nov 06, 2017 7:26 pm

I was coming from the bridge across Woods creek. If coming from the north, you may find a better start farther up the trail.

The route is on a south facing slope that is very dry and brushy, including some sage brush and manzanita. Some of the steep slope is loose scree and dirt. It is not technical but a bit miserable. Long pants are a good idea- some of the brush is thorny. Thankfully, it is short. Going will be slow so be sure to have some water with you. It gets cliffy mid-way near the creek so you have to be sure to go high above these cliffs before you get to the creek. I did a day-trip up the drainage; quite pretty. Good protected campsites at the lake and fishing is also good. I ran into a herd of mountain sheep when I was there. Definitly worth the misery.

Be aware that the map shown is a metric unit map. Contours are about 67 feet, not the normal 40-foot contours.

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Re: Window Peak Lake from JMT Sobo

Post by CAMERONM » Mon Nov 06, 2017 9:38 pm

Both Bench Lake and the Sixty Lakes Basin are great nero-zero-day options. Sixty Lakes Basin is also just a way better option than the Rae Lakes where in some months you might feel like you camped alongside a highway, along with with some intense elbowing for spaces.
Bench Lake:
john-muir-trail-2014-bench.jpg
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Re: Window Peak Lake from JMT Sobo

Post by gdurkee » Thu Dec 07, 2017 8:43 pm

Hi: I'd be less enthused about the route drawn by WD though it'll definitely work but she's right about the brush. I've done it several times and just start up the creek, keeping off it when necessary and staying a little higher. No brush there. No real navigational issues though pay close attention to your map. I think there's one place where, if you get to high on the east side, you're kinda cliffed out (memory is hazy but I may have done that once but just descended back to the creek, then up the creek to Window Peak Lake).

Like any XC route, you're totally screwed if you fall and break something but if you're on something technical or exposed, you're in the wrong place (!!). The whole thing should be 2nd class if you're doing it right.

All that said, it's a really terrific area and a nice side trip.

Have a great time.
George

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