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Sierra High Route - How difficult to stake ground?

Posted: Sun Aug 25, 2019 10:30 pm
by litehause
I'm trying to decide what tent to bring for the high route - I bought a new single wall shelter that requires 6 stakes to set up properly. My previous tent required only 4, and you could use large rocks as substitutions for any of them in a pinch. The new tent is a little trickier, and there isn't an easy way to affix a rock to three of the guylines, so at a minimum I have to stake three into the ground.

I'm just curious how difficult it will be to find grassy spots with ground that can be staked out. Are large portions of the route just slabs of granite and boulder fields, or is that mostly just while you're crossing the passes?

Re: Sierra High Route - How difficult to stake ground?

Posted: Mon Aug 26, 2019 5:52 am
by TurboHike
litehause,

I stopped carrying tent stakes in the Sierra about 4 years ago. I would bring them and never use them, instead using rocks, so now I do not even carry the tent stacks. My current tent is not free-standing, it is a trekking pole tent.

I now modify all of my tents to be used with rocks. I purchased a tent a couple years ago that only had a loop on each corner for a stake. I added a LineLoc3 to each corner by tying the LineLoc to the corner loop with a small piece of cord. Then I added a guyline to each LineLoc3. On the end of each guyline I tied a small loop. I can feed the guyline back through the tied loop, which creates and even bigger loop, that I can then loop around a rock. I pile more rocks on top of the first rock, depending on wind. There are always rocks in the Sierra. I think I purchased the LineLoc3's and guyline cord from Zpacks.

Having LineLocs on each corner really helps to get a taut pitch. My current tent is silnylon, which stretches a bit, so the LineLocs are super helpful.

Dispersing the rocks in the a.m. to leave no trace takes only a minute or two.

Re: Sierra High Route - How difficult to stake ground?

Posted: Mon Aug 26, 2019 8:04 am
by Wandering Daisy
It all depends on where you choose to camp. There are lots of choices. If you WANT to camp on high rocky windy areas which are very scenic, then be prepared to use rocks. In my opinion tent stakes do not weigh that much and are handy to have. I take a variety of types- two channel types, two solid square ones (left over from my old MSR Micro-Zoid - these are good for rocky ground) and 2-4 very light round ones that came with my Tarptent. Often I will stake and then also back up with rocks.

It bothers me that the SHR, which was designed as a general, fluid route, has now been "defined" so tightly with GPS tracks and other information that impact has become concentrated because backpackers are not planning their own daily travel. Do it in 10 days, 30 days, or something in between, but make it YOUR route with campsites your choice.

Re: Sierra High Route - How difficult to stake ground?

Posted: Mon Aug 26, 2019 8:35 am
by commonloon
I like to camp at treeline, best views. Easy on the SHR because that's where it is most. I've found Ti shepherd hooks work best there; easy to get into the ground with lots of rocks to avoid. Sometimes something more stout is needed like a V-stake, but not often as I tend to backup my stakes w/ rocks. I too use rocks only about 1/3 to 1/2 of the time as well. A perfection loop at the end, a bit larger than needed for a stake, means I can make a lasso out of the guy line and sinch it around a large rock. Lineloc 3's help w/ adjustment.

Obviously, disperse the rocks when breaking down camp. LNT.

Daisy - lots of short use trails on the SHR now that weren't there 5 yrs ago. Bummer. On the bright side, it means more people are getting out.

Re: Sierra High Route - How difficult to stake ground?

Posted: Mon Aug 26, 2019 10:29 am
by MichaelRPetrick
Your choices are going to be more limited, but if you're flexible you can make it work.

I did the whole SHR with a Zpacks Hexamid and really only had one bad night due to crappy staking/camp choice (right on the shore of Lake Catherine - would avoid unless it's windless). There are a number of long stretches of many hours/miles where you can't stake anything comfortably without leaving a big old trace on sensitive meadows/flowers.

That being said, if I did it again, I'd bring a free-standing tent to have more options. I also camped lower than I would've liked a few nights due to the limits of tent I had though. I prefer to camp higher these days if I can, instead of on valley/canyon floors where there are more options for finicky tents.

BTW - You wouldn't happen to be the Lighthouse that thru-hiked the PCT in 2013, would you?

Re: Sierra High Route - How difficult to stake ground?

Posted: Mon Aug 26, 2019 11:56 am
by litehause
MichaelRPetrick wrote:
Mon Aug 26, 2019 10:29 am
Your choices are going to be more limited, but if you're flexible you can make it work.

I did the whole SHR with a Zpacks Hexamid and really only had one bad night due to crappy staking/camp choice (right on the shore of Lake Catherine - would avoid unless it's windless). There are a number of long stretches of many hours/miles where you can't stake anything comfortably without leaving a big old trace on sensitive meadows/flowers.

That being said, if I did it again, I'd bring a free-standing tent to have more options. I also camped lower than I would've liked a few nights due to the limits of tent I had though. I prefer to camp higher these days if I can, instead of on valley/canyon floors where there are more options for finicky tents.

BTW - You wouldn't happen to be the Lighthouse that thru-hiked the PCT in 2013, would you?
Hey! Sure am! Small community, eh? Haven't been back to the Sierra since 2013, so I'm really excited! I may just switch to a free-standing tent then. The last thing I want to deal with is fiddling with setup after a tough day. Though I have tried to plan my route to camp low/hike high, but that's obviously not always possible.

And don't worry Wandering Daisy, my route has little to do with Roper's route anyway. And I'm definitely not using anyone else's GPS tracks to navigate! Just wanted to get an idea of the terrain since my only Sierra experience is the PCT/JMT.

Re: Sierra High Route - How difficult to stake ground?

Posted: Wed Sep 04, 2019 5:28 pm
by Pietro257
Wandering Daisy wrote:
Mon Aug 26, 2019 8:04 am
It bothers me that the SHR, which was designed as a general, fluid route, has now been "defined" so tightly with GPS tracks and other information that impact has become concentrated because backpackers are not planning their own daily travel. Do it in 10 days, 30 days, or something in between, but make it YOUR route with campsites your choice.
Amen to that. It's more of an adventure without GPS devices.

Re: Sierra High Route - How difficult to stake ground?

Posted: Fri Sep 06, 2019 1:27 pm
by MichaelRPetrick
Hey! Sure am! Small community, eh? Haven't been back to the Sierra since 2013, so I'm really excited!
Ha, small world indeed. We met at VVR in 2013 and then when you were dropping of some trail magic in 2014. Hope you enjoy your hike!