Tyndall Creek - "John Dean Cutoff" Trail

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Captain Slappy
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Tyndall Creek - "John Dean Cutoff" Trail

Post by Captain Slappy » Sun Jul 14, 2019 7:05 pm

I've been looking at using the Tyndall Creek cutoff trail for a trip next month to Kaweah Basin from Shepherd's Pass. It had been on my itinerary last year, but I wasn't able to make it that far.

There are a couple of reports I've found of people using the Tyndall Creek cutoff trail. One piece of advice I found in these was that the trail was usable downhill but very difficult to do uphill. I seem to recall that Tom Kirchner had written something about the trail, but it's almost like everything he wrote on the BPL site has vanished (which would be a huge loss).

I guess my questions are: (1) Does anyone have any info on how usable this trail is? (2) Is it difficult to find? (3) Is it a dangerous trail to use?

Thanks!








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Re: Tyndall Creek - "John Dean Cutoff" Trail

Post by Jimr » Sun Jul 14, 2019 8:33 pm

The only info I have is I was considering heading up it to get out of the Kern trench a few years ago. We heard that it was not visible from the Kern. I could see it high up on the wall climbing out of the trench, but could not locate where to intercept it cross country, so I elected to follow the Kern up to it's headwaters instead.
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Re: Tyndall Creek - "John Dean Cutoff" Trail

Post by kpeter » Sun Jul 14, 2019 11:08 pm

I bailed on it last year when I tore my meniscus. But the intersection was clear to me. I was coming down the JMT from the north and found it just after crossing Tyndall Creek. It is the sign for the ranger station.
DSC03356.jpg
I did not take the trail, but met an old timer who had taken it a few years ago and said he had no problems. Hopefully there will someone with more recent experience who will chime in.
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Re: Tyndall Creek - "John Dean Cutoff" Trail

Post by Mike M. » Sun Jul 14, 2019 11:47 pm

I went down the trail in mid August 2013. It is a pretty route, taking you down past the stone ranger cabin, through timber, past a pretty meadow, then over a low ridge, then down a steep slope towards the Kern. The trail here is washed out in places, but is easily followed. It crosses a dry ravine, then enters an open slope covered with manzanita. The trail traverses this slope for a while, then switchbacks down to the Kern. In 2013, there was a cross-shaped stick monument where the trail intersects the trail coming up from Junction Meadow.

It's an old-school trail. Coming up would be harder than going down -- the traverse and switchbacks are in open terrain and it can be hot. Best to do the climb in the early morning.

On my hike, I ran into the ranger at the ranger station, plus a herd of horses and mules belonging to a trail crew working on the Forester Pass Trail. There are a number of ancient log cabins along the way, and more old cabins on the trail down to Junction Meadow, before the junction with the Wallace Creek trail.

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Re: Tyndall Creek - "John Dean Cutoff" Trail

Post by Captain Slappy » Tue Jul 16, 2019 4:59 pm

Mike M. wrote:
Sun Jul 14, 2019 11:47 pm
I went down the trail in mid August 2013. It is a pretty route, taking you down past the stone ranger cabin, through timber, past a pretty meadow, then over a low ridge, then down a steep slope towards the Kern. The trail here is washed out in places, but is easily followed. It crosses a dry ravine, then enters an open slope covered with manzanita. The trail traverses this slope for a while, then switchbacks down to the Kern. In 2013, there was a cross-shaped stick monument where the trail intersects the trail coming up from Junction Meadow.
Thanks for the intel everyone. I'll definitely give it a shot going down and then assess if it's worth going back up on the way out.

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Re: Tyndall Creek - "John Dean Cutoff" Trail

Post by agfhst » Thu Jul 18, 2019 6:30 pm

If you had a moment to report back on this thread afterward, that would be great. I'm planning to head up that trail from the Kern with a group around September 2.

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Re: Tyndall Creek - "John Dean Cutoff" Trail

Post by SSSdave » Thu Jul 18, 2019 9:11 pm

Just looked at it via the Google satellite view and most of it's deteriorated condition is visible. Would not trust the dotted line path on the topo. If I were going to use a route like that would use the Windows 10 Snipping Tool to copy as a jpg, then print out the satellite image for that section and use a highlighter atop the route as it is likely hard to follow when actually there with usual use paths one ought not follow. Also might turn on the Contours option.

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Re: Tyndall Creek - "John Dean Cutoff" Trail

Post by Captain Slappy » Sat Jul 20, 2019 10:00 am

agfhst wrote:
Thu Jul 18, 2019 6:30 pm
If you had a moment to report back on this thread afterward, that would be great. I'm planning to head up that trail from the Kern with a group around September 2.
Will do. The trip has a green light at this time, and I'm looking forward to checking out the cutoff.

In researching this route, it has been interesting reading some of the ranger reports from Tyndall and I'd speculate whether local feedback had anything to do with moving this trail off some of the recent park maps.
SSSdave wrote:
Thu Jul 18, 2019 9:11 pm
Just looked at it via the Google satellite view and most of it's deteriorated condition is visible. Would not trust the dotted line path on the topo. If I were going to use a route like that would use the Windows 10 Snipping Tool to copy as a jpg, then print out the satellite image for that section and use a highlighter atop the route as it is likely hard to follow when actually there with usual use paths one ought not follow. Also might turn on the Contours option.
I'll have a map and a couple of GPS' (one backup) with me but will give a close look to an aerial and contour before I head out. I have some vague recollection of reading a report where a hiker found the beginning of the trail obfuscated at the north end and an easier time further in.

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