Gardiner Basin Trip Report (August 1-5, 2019)

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Gardiner Basin Trip Report (August 1-5, 2019)

Post by alido2boord » Mon Aug 12, 2019 1:52 pm

My friends and I did Gardiner Basin Loop a week or so ago. I did some research looking at the old trip reports of what people have done similarly. The trip report done by richlong8 was VERY well done. You can find it here: viewtopic.php?t=17806

Here is the GPS tracking of the path that my group and I took: https://caltopo.com/m/0N9T

During the hike, I started to recall what he had said about not needing to stick close to Gardiner Creek to go up towards the Upper Gardiner Basin... and following the old map that he had provided was proven useful. I would say that what my friends and I did were more ambitious than anticipated, but it was worth the adventure. Would have loved to spend more time in Gardiner Basin area.

On Day 2, you can see that it was probably our most tiring day. At one point, I found myself knee deep in water after sinking through the vegetation that covered a marsh of some sort. That was scary because I just thought the ground was moist and mushy until my foot broke through after a couple steps. As noted by richlong8, we did not stick close to the creek (or cross it) in the lower elevations since it was all bushwhack and we found some nice (steep) ramps that we could go up and around to avoid any dead ends. Our second night wasn't our intended camping spot, but it was necessary as a lot of the members in the group were exhausted by evening time. It took us about 11.5 hrs to do 10.5 miles as a group. We found some okay camping spots that weren't too flat, but at least they were durable rocks.

You can see on Day 3, we tried going on the northern side of the Gardiner Lake at 11,407', but had to turn around. This was due to a steep snowfield crossing that the majority of the group (including me) did not feel comfortable crossing. This was an additional 1 hour detour as we were able to compare time with two of the group members decided to go high up on the snowfield to cross it because they did not want to backtrack. Quite risky in my opinion.

I also recall there was another trip report in regards to coming down from 60 Lakes Col. to 60 Lakes Basin area about a sketchy traverse where the ledge is only a foot wide or so. I found that part to not be too bad and was shorter than expected. It was actually an exciting spot for me because it added a unique experience to the hiking. You can catch a glimpse of that crossing in my video later in the post.

Overall, the off-trail section was very rewarding, and I would love to go back to it next time and spend more nights there. I love the solitude we had for two whole days.

I created a video for it too if you would like to see, although that may spoil some of the excitement of exploring the area yourself. I uploaded it here:

The person you see the most complaining in the video is my wife. And I will have to say that despite her complaints, she said she enjoyed it overall, but probably prefer to stay on trail. :)

If you have any questions, I am happy to answer!








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Re: Gardiner Basin Trip Report (August 1-5, 2019)

Post by cgundersen » Mon Aug 12, 2019 3:23 pm

Alido,
Congrats! That was a pretty adventuresome route requiring decent navigational skills; especially, finding Gardiner pass going in that direction. Nice job. Cameron

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Re: Gardiner Basin Trip Report (August 1-5, 2019)

Post by alido2boord » Mon Aug 12, 2019 3:49 pm

cgundersen wrote:
Mon Aug 12, 2019 3:23 pm
Alido,
Congrats! That was a pretty adventuresome route requiring decent navigational skills; especially, finding Gardiner pass going in that direction. Nice job. Cameron

Thanks Cameron! I think researching other people's trip reports helped with the navigation a little bit. 🙂

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Re: Gardiner Basin Trip Report (August 1-5, 2019)

Post by adornowest » Mon Aug 12, 2019 8:34 pm

Nice trip report. I had thought about doing this trip the exact same dates as you, but had opted for something shorter for a member of our group. But am glad to read about how much fun it was.

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Re: Gardiner Basin Trip Report (August 1-5, 2019)

Post by SSSdave » Mon Aug 12, 2019 8:58 pm

That's a rather strenuous itinerary for such a group that would work better adding a couple days.

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Re: Gardiner Basin Trip Report (August 1-5, 2019)

Post by sekihiker » Mon Aug 12, 2019 9:04 pm

Loved the video. Should be required viewing for anyone considering cross country hiking for the first time.
It was fun to see the hikers self confidence grow through the trip. Those was some pretty gnarly lines you took at times.
My favorite line from the video, "Maybe if if everyone else was [ready to go farther] I could be shamed into it."
Thanks for posting your log of an ambitious cross country adventure.

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Re: Gardiner Basin Trip Report (August 1-5, 2019)

Post by alido2boord » Tue Aug 13, 2019 6:44 am

adornowest wrote:
Mon Aug 12, 2019 8:34 pm
Nice trip report. I had thought about doing this trip the exact same dates as you, but had opted for something shorter for a member of our group. But am glad to read about how much fun it was.
Haha that would have been a party. You should definitely try this route next time!
SSSdave wrote:
Mon Aug 12, 2019 8:58 pm
That's a rather strenuous itinerary for such a group that would work better adding a couple days.
I don't disagree! I enjoy pushing people to their emotional limits sometimes though. As long as they're having fun in the end.. even if it's type 2 fun. 😁
sekihiker wrote:
Mon Aug 12, 2019 9:04 pm
Loved the video. Should be required viewing for anyone considering cross country hiking for the first time.
It was fun to see the hikers self confidence grow through the trip. Those was some pretty gnarly lines you took at times.
My favorite line from the video, "Maybe if if everyone else was [ready to go farther] I could be shamed into it."
Thanks for posting your log of an ambitious cross country adventure.
Thank you!! I'm so happy you enjoyed the video! I am always afraid of sharing such videos to strangers since it's not the same as viewing a videos of your own friends.

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Re: Gardiner Basin Trip Report (August 1-5, 2019)

Post by looks easy from here » Tue Aug 13, 2019 8:55 am

I love seeing family trips like this. Very inspiring. My kids are still a few years out from trips this committing, but I'm looking forward to when the time comes.

Also, if Bubbs Creek had been a little higher maybe my cousin and I would have run into you guys. But instead we went south instead of north, so I'm glad we were able to play a (indirect, very small) part in your solitude. :wink:

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Re: Gardiner Basin Trip Report (August 1-5, 2019)

Post by alido2boord » Tue Aug 13, 2019 10:10 am

looks easy from here wrote:
Tue Aug 13, 2019 8:55 am
I love seeing family trips like this. Very inspiring. My kids are still a few years out from trips this committing, but I'm looking forward to when the time comes.

Also, if Bubbs Creek had been a little higher maybe my cousin and I would have run into you guys. But instead we went south instead of north, so I'm glad we were able to play a (indirect, very small) part in your solitude. :wink:
Haha. As much as I love solitude, I enjoy sharing it with people who appreciate it also. I would not have minded meeting you in the backcountry! I enjoy meeting other people we come across during our cross country treks to see what they're planning on doing or where they came from. I'm always in awe.

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Re: Gardiner Basin Trip Report (August 1-5, 2019)

Post by wildhiker » Tue Aug 13, 2019 11:34 pm

Wow, this brings back memories. Thanks for posting. I did the exact same trip with a college buddy (based on the description in the original "Sierra North" from Wilderness Press) as my first multi-day backpack trip in the Sierra in September, 1970, starting on Labor Day. I still think of it as one of my best trips ever. And at that time, we saw few people. One memorable group we met at Charlotte Lake was about 8 college age or young 20s that included a mostly blind person. She was led by the others and said she was having a great time. And of course, one of them carried a guitar strapped to his pack for campfire singing. They were doing the JMT from South Lake to Mount Whitney! In 1970, there was actually a good trail from Charlotte Lake to Gardiner Pass and down to the big lake 2906 meters in west Gardiner Basin. From there all the way to Rae Lakes was cross-country.

We took food for 10 days (but did it in 8, including some side trips without packs), but due to our naivete, had no extra gear, just tied up our food bags in trees with parachute cord and never saw a bear, cooked on campfires, drank directly out of all streams and lakes (I still mostly do that), had a plastic poncho and simple plastic tarp, and so had packs under 40 pounds, even with the heavier gear of those days. Thankfully, nothing went wrong, not even any rain. It's only in the last few years that I've gotten back under 40 pounds again for long trips. In the intervening nearly 50 years, with more experience under more conditions, I added a lot more things to deal with potential emergencies, bears, weather and mosquitoes. Also, during the kid years, I had a really heavy pack carrying a lot of stuff for them. Thankfully, the gear has gotten lighter. My Sierra Designs down sleeping bag from that 1970 trip still has a place of honor in my closet, though I don't use it anymore because the fabric has worn thin and it leaks down. You wake up with little feathers all over you!

-Phil

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