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7-8 Day fishing/pack trip suggestions....

Posted: Thu Jul 27, 2006 5:10 pm
by Packtofish
"Hi, my name is Dave and I'm an addict"......,

I've been checking this board for the last few years and finally decided to join up cause I need some help. I'm in need of some trip suggestions and feedback for a 7-8 day pack trip out of Roads End in SEKI. I've never done any hiking down there and am the trip planner for two others going with me. Here's some of my criteria for the trip. 1. low public use. 2. Camps each night near water preferably a lake. 3. Near or in treeline for say 75% of the trip. 4. No bear cannisters required. 5. The more remote, trailless, miserable hike it is the better. I want to stay away from people as much as possible. Planning on at least two layoverdays depending on the fishing.

Oh, it should have been first on the list but, fishing and solitude is the primary goal. Maybe a peak to bag for a buddy that likes to climb.

I've been looking at granite lake to volcanic to state lakes? I've never hiked down in SEKI so I don't know how many people go in this area. All my experience is in the south yosemite park/ansel adams area and the San Joaquin river gorge. I'm not stuck on SEKI either I'm open to all westside approach suggestions.

Sorry for the long first post and thanks for all the good info over the years.


Posted: Thu Jul 27, 2006 6:26 pm
by giantbrookie
The wish you won't get in Seki is no.4 given that cannisters are required. Doing lots of no.5 will certainly guarantee you the solitude goal. As for west side entries out of Kings Canyon itself, I'm not a huge fan of that approach given that it takes a lot of hiking in order to satisfy criteria no.2. For example, up Copper Creek, Granite Lake is the first fishable lake and it's a long haul. Up Bubbs, maybe East Lake going one spur, and the Sphinx Lakes going another. Can these be reached in one day (I try to never have a hiking day without a fishing lake, myself)? Certainly, given that I and others here have, too, but these are kinda of long hauls to start your trip. In contrast if you enter, say, via Bishop Pass, Lamarck Col, or perhaps Piute Pass (if your goal is north of Seki, for example), you pass good fishing waters within an hour of leaving the car. My favorite trailess area is in the heart of the old Mt Goddard 15' quad including Ionian Basin, Goddard Creek, Goddard Canyon, Martha Lake, Davis Lakes, McGee Lakes, etc. However, many of the lakes of Kings Canyon are in fact fishless (everything in Ionian Basin, for example), and others such as the remote Lake 10212 at the head of Goddard Creek are overpopulated with small fish. There are still some premium big fish lakes in the area, though, and you can walk several consecutive days without hitting a trail. My wife and I did a "ring around Mt Goddard" trip once entering and leaving via Lamarck Col. and going through Darwin Cyn (of course), Evolution, Ionian Basin, Goddard Creek, Blue Canyon (this on a dayhike), Martha Lake, Davis Lakes, and McGee Lakes with peak bags of Reinstein and Scylla (didn't do Goddard because I had done it before). This is a mostly off trail route, so needless to say we hardly saw a soul. Another huge east side fishing-hiking trip we did was a Cottonwood to Symmes Creek shuttle, hitting the upper Cottonwood drainage, Miter Basin, the Crabtrees, Wallace Lake, Wright Lakes, and the upper Kern basins, with a peak bag of Mt Barnard thrown in. We also did a shorter Sawmill Pass-Shepherd Pass shuttle with all sorts of good extras thrown in including Window Peak Lake, Bench Lake, and three phenomenal off trail, unnamed lakes I will not post online details about. From the west side we did a 4 day trip to the Sphinxes, Brewer Basin, and South and North Guard lakes (the latter are fishless, however) and both agreed the trip would have been much less rushed, more enjoyable, and less death marchey if we'd taken 7 to 8 days (originally intended) instead. Someday I'd dearly like to do the basins west of the LeConte divide (just west of the Seki park bdy): Red Mtn basin, Bench Valley, and Blackcap Basin. One could plan a 7-8 day trip going to any of those three. Of course, the way I do things I'd like to try them all in one trip.

Posted: Fri Jul 28, 2006 1:17 pm
by SSSdave
Like gb, I wouldn't want to tackle Monarch Ridge. If you are so fit and light go at it. Otherwise like most folks that only leaves the Kings River or Bubbs Creek. All such big streams, always have lots of pan sized fish and occasionally some bigger ones. Beyond the first day on the streams, are the lowest lakes on trails, and they too have fish though the better waters are going to be those offtrail you can reach on the third day. Up Bubbs Creek there are a number of such nameless lakes, some have so many trout you have to beat them off with a stick to prevent them from attacking any presentation tossed into the water. Once such lake is Lake Wouldn't-you-like-to-know. Well I'm a firm believer of letting the hiker enjoy perusing over their topos and dreaming about how, "that remote lake must have some whoppers", and then getting the enjoyment of making an effort to climb up to the mystery water and finding out. Something gb obviously religiously enjoys. Sometimes one finds a lake full of puny stunted brookies. Sometimes a lake full of nice average sized goldens. Sometimes a lake with WOWWWW! And other times a lake full of just water. ...David

Posted: Fri Jul 28, 2006 2:26 pm
by cgundersen
Hi Dave,
Although the two preceding posts have touted the challenge of Copper Creek, I'd encourage you to consider it for the simple fact that it will satisfy the bulk of your criteria. In fact, there's a chance it'll satisfy them all: I say this because my wife & I spent 9 days up there from late June till early July this year. Although we now carry bear canisters out of habit (the Bearikades are not nearly as heavy as the Garcias), I was under the impression from the ranger (at Roads End) that owing to our planned route (first night at Grouse Lake and then a gradual high elevation transit to Marion Lakes/Dumbell area and back) that we were NOT required to have canisters (ergo, give 'em a buzz to check this!?!). That said, if you do plan to go that way, and include State Lakes in your loop, there definitely are bears around State, so I'd not risk going without a canister! But, if you stay high (we moved from Grouse to the ridge overlooking the upper Glacier Lake, and then went over to Kid Lakes, past Dougherty Peak on the way to Marion), you can avoid obvious bear country. Among the lakes we passed, the upper Glacier Lake had >10 inch browns, so it's a definite go for fishing. And, there are plenty of peaks available for bagging (most are easy, but you can up the challenge level at will). As for serenity, this trip set a record for us. We saw one guy on the way in and he was returning from an effort to bag Goat peak on a day hike. We did not see another soul the entire trip (not even on a day hike!). The likely reason is that the climb up the Copper Creek trail is a a kick in the butt, especially when you're loaded for a week. But Grouse Lake was unexpectedly pretty, and you could easily spend a day recovering there (I have no idea about fish in Grouse, because it was mostly still frozen when we went by). And, the other bonus is that this area gives you the best long-range panoramas I've ever seen in the Sierras (in part, I guess, because the peaks there tend to be lower). Mt Darwin (along with Goddard, Scylla, Charybdis, Black Giant, the Palisades, etc) is visible when you get the full northern view, and you can see down to the Kaweahs and Mineral King to the South. It's stunning, and makes the schlep eminently worthwhile. In my book, it beats the daylights out of the Rae Lakes loop. The only competition in that area would be (as GB pointed out) to do the loop up Bubbs to East Lake and Lake Reflection, then over Longely pass back toward Sphinx Lakes and back out Bubbs. Either way, you'll have a winner, but you'll get better views with fewer people going up Copper Creek (and, that all important misery factor).

Posted: Fri Jul 28, 2006 2:48 pm
by Packtofish
Thanks for the info! You were just the person I was looking to hear from. I'll look into going in from the east side, It looks like it may be worth the drive. I've always wanted to do some of the areas you have mentioned so this may be the time to give it a shot.

I noticed you are in Fresno. I grew up in Oakhurst just north of there so the area between the park and the San Joaquin river gorge is where I have done 99% of my packing and am just getting to the piont where I have feel I have explored the area pretty thouroughly. It's my old backyard so I have my favorite secret spots that have been a sure thing year after year. It's hard to give up a surefire thing and take a risk on new areas without some good local info.

Nice website by the way. I've been checking it out for ideas for a while now and you have some good stuf in there. If you ever want to trade a trailess secret spot PM me and I'd be happy to share one that's only a few hours from you and a good overnight trip if have a 4wd to get to the access point(you have to sign my confidentiality waiver though! ;). Awsome brook poplutaion only five miles off a logging rd with absolutely no pressure on them and not a soul around. Then again maybe you already know it....... :D

Thanks Again,


Posted: Fri Jul 28, 2006 2:59 pm
by Packtofish
SSSDave and Cgundersen,

Sorry did'nt notice your posts when I wrote GB back. Thanks for the heads up on lake "wouldn'tya like to know" it's one of my favorites! :D I'm not looking for any giveaways, just good general areas and you guys have definately provided me enough for a few hours of topo scouring.

Good info on the Granite lake route. Sounds like it might be nice. No better way to break in some new backpacking buddies than with a good death march! I just took one guy into Cassidy Crossing on the San Jouquin river and I though he was gonna kill me. Apparently "It's a real bi*tch" had a different meaning for him :puke:

Posted: Fri Jul 28, 2006 10:15 pm
by giantbrookie
Just a little note on Grouse Lake. It is in fact fishless. I found this out the hard way in Sept. 1980 when I hiked to it and found no fish and lots of MYLF polliwogs (wonder if it still has those). Funny thing was that unknown to me, a future academic friend of mine had taken his family there the same week and made the same finding, which was a big disappointment to him because way back in the day it had floated some big rainbows. I would meet this fellow 16 years later at a major geologic conference, and it wasn't until two years ago that his oldest son (who is about my age) figured out that we actually met on the Copper Creek trail that week.

Anyhow, the main point of relevance is that with Grouse L. fishless, the first trout-bearing lake up the Copper Creek trail is Granite Lake, which is a pretty harsh hike on the first day of a 7-8 trip with a fully loaded pack.

Posted: Sat Jul 29, 2006 1:47 pm
by Packtofish
I did some reasearch on going out of southlake over bishop pass and that looks like pretty easy access to the backcountry with a ton of options after that. I still haven't been able to find lamark col as I don't have the right quads for that area. I have found some pictures of the route on webshots and it looks like a fun climb and some fishing possibilities on the way up. So, long story short, despite my hatred for bear cans I think this is going to be our entry point.

I'm guessing that this is a heavily used route? GB, how is the fishing down through evolution basin?


Posted: Sun Jul 30, 2006 4:08 pm
by cgundersen
Just a warning on the Bishop Pass route: you're going to have to work a lot harder (than Copper Creek) to get away from the crowds, because it's a massively popular route into the Sierras. One quick way to leave some of the masses behind is to take Knapsack Pass out of Dusy Basin. Ages ago my wife caught some HUGE trout in the Barrett Lakes, but I think the same thing is happening there that happened to Grouse Lake (frog invasion). GB may have more up-to-date info, but the last time we were through there (4 years ago) we saw few fish and lotsa frogs. Anyway, from Barrett Lakes, you can hug the Palisades escarpment and work your way (south) over toward Palisades Lakes (the intevening "passes" are no more challenging than Knapsack), and that'll keep you away from most of the crowds and least till you hit the Muir trail and begin the loop back. Still, it's not a bad circuit, and there are incredible peak-bagging opportunities. CG

Posted: Sun Jul 30, 2006 7:11 pm
by giantbrookie
Yes the Bishop Pass trail is crowded, but once one departs for Knapsack Pass (or earlier to the uppermost Dusy Basin lakes), things get better. Regarding Barrett, others on this board have more current info than I. The cross country descent of Barrett Creek to Palisade Creek is one of the finest off trail routes in the High Sierra. Believe it or not, the best route stays nearly right on the creek until the last waterfall (where a small detour away from the creek is necessary). Once at the bottom, one can then ascend Cataract Creek to Amphitheater Lake and other potential adventures.