Cross Country Route

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RoguePhotonic
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Re: Cross Country Route

Post by RoguePhotonic » Sun May 08, 2011 11:15 am

Yeah the physical element is what has always intimidated me before I would leave on these super long hikes. I am no hiking machine and generally am not in the best of shape. The 40 pounds of weight I lost last year hiking I put back on. And while others begin physical training 6 months in advance and work out like crazy I go hike 10 miles once or twice a week at best.

It makes for a very difficult start to the trip which is one reason why I planned less weight to begin with since I will resupply on day 4. But then some of my altitude gains are a bit intimidating to say the least. On day 2 I have a 4000 foot gain. Day 6 I have 5000 to gain. And although I will have been on the trail at least 25 days on day 25 I have a 6000 foot gain with 8 days worth of food on my back! I have my doubts about making that climb in one day.

Last year my largest single day gain was 4500 feet.

My plan will be to do what I have always done in the start and just take it easy with my pace. Don't pound down hill and take breaks allot to work myself up to the more extremes.








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Mike M.
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Re: Cross Country Route

Post by Mike M. » Sun May 08, 2011 6:52 pm

Rogue, are you still planning to start your trip on June 26th?

If so, I'm concerned about pieces of your early route. Colby Pass will be a snow slog. Where will you go from here? Down to the Kern? How will you get across the Kern? Water will undoubtedly be high, possibly dangerously high. Might be better to head up and over Milestone Pass instead. If you do that, expect lots of snow -- not unsafe, but hard trudging through snow fields high up the pass. Harrison Pass is guaranteed to have snow on the steep north side, and this snowfield is known for its icy conditions. I would carry an ice axe. (I have been up to Harrison Pass twice from the Lake South America side, and each time have balked at going down the steep north side; I'd feel better going up than down.) From Harrison Pass, where do you go? Down to Bubbs Creek, which you will have to cross without aid of a bridge. This water crossing can be treacherous in early July. Beware!! If it were me, I would forego Harrison Pass entirely and cross over the divide at Forester Pass, then head down to Bubbs Creek. This avoids the potentially difficult Bubbs Creek crossing (not to mention an iced-in Harrison Pass). There will be lots of snow on Forester Pass still, but the route should be well defined by PCT hikers by then.

One final note on your early route: snowy conditions mean it is much more difficult to make miles. I can't help but think some of the days in your early itinerary are overly ambitious.

Mike

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RoguePhotonic
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Re: Cross Country Route

Post by RoguePhotonic » Sun May 08, 2011 9:05 pm

Rogue, are you still planning to start your trip on June 26th?
So far yes.
Colby Pass will be a snow slog.
Yes I fully expect Colby to either be as bad or way more snow then it was in 2009 when I had to turn around on it. But at least this time I know where the pass is which I didn't before and I will have an ice axe.

Yes I do plan to go down to the Kern. Crossing will be one of those things I will have to deal with as I get there.

The suggestion to do Milestone pass might be a nice idea though. I have never done the trail from Colby Pass down to the Kern but then I haven't done the other route either. It probably has a trail on a good portion of it also because I took one by mistake last year that was heading up Milestone Creek in that direction.
From Harrison Pass, where do you go? Down to Bubbs Creek
Yeah that is the plan. I was warned about this crossing earlier in this thread. I'll just have to try and find a place to cross even if I have to head miles down stream.

The trouble with taking Forester is it is much further and I wanted to visit Lake Reflection. I have been over Forester North and South.

I do agree some of the miles in this section most especially have been making me consider how likely it is to fall behind schedule. What makes it worse is my dad planning to meet me at the end of this section to come along. I can give an update by calling at Lodgepole but then there is no more communication until Cedar Grove. To make it worse normally a layover day can be used to catch back up when you fall behind but I have it planned at Lonely Lake which is before I start any of the difficult sections. From Lonely Lake to Colby Lake I am 100% expecting 90% snow travel which like you said is slow moving. Then the issues with Colby Pass. Then the possibility there may be allot of snow coverage in the Upper Kern Basin. The possibility of crazy water crossings which could result in miles of bushwhacking to cross. None of it is a problem alone as I am ok if I fall behind but meeting someone just complicates things.

I considered doing a layover at Lodgepole but that is just a bad idea because I am supposed to arrive on Sunday July 3rd!


The Milestone Pass idea could solve some of this problem because it's only 5.5 miles from Colby Pass to the trail leading up the Kern vs about 14.6 by going down and up the Kern. I made the mistake though of looking up what I am missing on the other trail and this shot of Gallats Lake does not help!

Image

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Re: Cross Country Route

Post by Mike M. » Sun May 08, 2011 9:41 pm

Rogue, if you get to Bubb's Creek and find the water too high to cross, it would be best to look for crossings upstream, not downstream, as the water flow will only increase as you move downstream.

There is a good trail all the way down from Colby Pass to the Kern. Across the Kern is a substantial trail and just upstream is a junction with the Wallace Creek trail. Continuing up the Kern takes you to Milestone Basin. But getting across the Kern River to meet these trails might be a chore. If it is too high for your comfort, you might have to stay on the west side of the river and work your way up the canyon (quite a bushwhack) until you can find a safe place to cross. It's anybody's guess what kind of conditions you might encounter.

Gallat's Lake is not really a lake; it is a meadow with a lovely, winding stream that flows through it. It only looks like a lake when it's in flood!

Milestone Pass would be the quicker and safer route if you are worried about high water.

Regarding your worry about making your rendezvous with your dad: if you find yourself behind schedule, alter your route and take Forester rather than Harrison. It is a "known known" that avoids high water and a steep, icy snowfield.

Mike

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RoguePhotonic
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Re: Cross Country Route

Post by RoguePhotonic » Sun May 08, 2011 9:58 pm

Rogue, if you get to Bubb's Creek and find the water too high to cross, it would be best to look for crossings upstream, not downstream, as the water flow will only increase as you move downstream.
True but only .2 of a mile up stream the landscape begins to climb steeply.

I'll probably go with the Milestone Pass route because it will cut a day of hiking out which I can use as a possible catch up day or break up miles even more. One thing about the Bubbs Creek crossing day is I am supposed to make the 14 mile trek from Lake Reflection to Roads end and if I find myself bushwhacking down Bubbs Creek it will just make the day that much longer.

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Re: Cross Country Route

Post by East Side Hiker » Thu May 12, 2011 12:20 pm

I agree with slade's comment above about this being an informative exchange of comments. I'm amazed actually. Its going to be interesting to see what reports come in after summer.

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Re: Cross Country Route

Post by RoguePhotonic » Sun May 22, 2011 2:59 pm

A piece of planning that perhaps those of you that have spent more time camping in Yosemite Valley can help me with is my plans at one point are to arrive in Yosemite Valley and spend 2 nights before continuing on. I know there are a couple backpackers camps but generally how often are they full? I can easily imagine myself strolling into Yosemite Valley in the after noon to find no open camp sites. What then? Lounge around and spend the night sprawled out on a park bench some where? Dispersal camp illegally into the forest? And if I did get a spot in a backpackers camp they only allow one night.

I suppose the only real issue is night one because what ever I do I can get up early and get a site.

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maverick
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Re: Cross Country Route

Post by maverick » Sun May 22, 2011 4:05 pm

Get to Camp 4 as early as possible, it's first come first serve, and you should get a site
especially on a week day.
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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, a HST member: http://reconn.org

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Re: Cross Country Route

Post by markskor » Sun May 22, 2011 4:18 pm

Seems there is always room for 1 more in the Valley BP site (Stables) - anytime, but...
Wilderness permit and obvious backpacking gear are necessary, especially if trying to spend that second night.
Rangers usually will cut you some slack on the second stay overnight - (Buddy meeting me and he is running a day behind...bla bla bla?), but only if you have a permit, look the part, are amicable, and you do not abuse the system. FYI, I often see PCT'ers taking a zero day or two here, with no apparent consternation. Thus no 6-man, 2-story tents and no coolers.
Rangers daily do check closely.
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RoguePhotonic
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Re: Cross Country Route

Post by RoguePhotonic » Sun May 22, 2011 5:54 pm

Well i'll certainly look the part as if I make it that far without problem I will have been on the trail for 2 months.

I'll probably stroll into the valley around noon or so mid week.

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