Longley Pass and Cunningham Creek Route

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BigSea
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Longley Pass and Cunningham Creek Route

Post by BigSea » Thu Jun 28, 2018 1:43 pm

I have a trip planned for the end of July and have a question about getting from Junction Meadow (Bubbs Creek version) to Cloud Canyon. I'm basically doing a variation of the Circle of Solitude out of Onion Valley and the route to Lake Reflection, up over Longley Pass, then down Cunningham Creek looks a lot more interesting to me than the hike down Bubbs Creek and up over Avalanche Pass. However, the cornice on Longley Pass could potentially put that route out of my comfort zone.

I noticed a couple recent updates to the Longley Pass thread in the Cross Country Passes Forum: http://highsierratopix.com/community/vi ... =31&t=8466

Walking below the cornice from the north side to the south side and then crossing over there seems pretty reasonable and in my comfort zone based on the pics in RoguePhotonic's initial post, but not so much in cgundersen's more recent post. However, since I do not plan to be there until July 30th (about 6 weeks after cgunderson was there), is it reasonable to assume the cornice will melt down significantly by then and end up being closer in size to RoguePhotonic's pics? I understand it would be a guess at this point and I'll hopefully get some more recent beta closer to the trip, but thinking some of you might be able to provide a more educated guess than I can at this point.

On the map, it looks like the final descent down cunningham creek to cement table meadow is pretty steep, but from what I've read it's not too challenging and there is a use trail on the north side. Can anyone confirm this? Any additional words of wisdom for that route?

Thanks,

Chris

What level of backpacking experience do you have?
Level 3- Numerous backpacking trips, some x-country travel
Comfortable with Class 2 terrain/pass/x-country








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maverick
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Re: Longley Pass and Cunningham Creek Route

Post by maverick » Thu Jun 28, 2018 2:23 pm

However, since I do not plan to be there until July 30th (about 6 weeks after cgunderson was there), is it reasonable to assume the cornice will melt down significantly by then and end up being closer in size to RoguePhotonic's pics?
Yes, it will definitely be easier by the time of your trip BT.

On the map, it looks like the final descent down cunningham creek to cement table meadow is pretty steep, but from what I've read it's not too challenging and there is a use trail on the north side. Can anyone confirm this?
Yes, there is a cow trail on the northern side of Cunningham Creek.
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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: Longley Pass and Cunningham Creek Route

Post by levi » Thu Jun 28, 2018 3:42 pm

I'm headed out on a very similar trip tomorrow (Circle of Solitude variation from OV, counterclockwise, Reflection over Longley, descending to Cloud Canyon either via Cunningham or possibly Talus), and I should be able to provide another data point (and photos) on the state of Longley Pass within a little more than a week. Fingers crossed cgunderson's steps in the cornice will still be there, but I think there may also be the option of a short unexposed scramble off to the side, depending on cornice height. Since cgunderson also had a slip on ice/snow near Sphinx col, I'm definitely bringing my microspikes... but that shouldn't be much of an issue by late July anywhere along the route, as far as i can tell.

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Re: Longley Pass and Cunningham Creek Route

Post by BigSea » Thu Jun 28, 2018 4:43 pm

Thank you both.

levi - that would be great if you could get some additional photos. I'm definitely interested in seeing how much more of the longley pass cornice has melted since cgundersen was there, but also curious about the terrain on the cunningham creek descent if you go that route. So far I've only read a few brief descriptions, but not many pics.

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maverick
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Re: Longley Pass and Cunningham Creek Route

Post by maverick » Thu Jun 28, 2018 4:57 pm

curious about the terrain on the cunningham creek descent if you go that route. So far I've only read a few brief descriptions, but not many pics.
Sorry, but as you see in my signature, won't give out detailed descriptions, but will say, that it is within your indicated ability levels. :)
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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: Longley Pass and Cunningham Creek Route

Post by BigSea » Thu Jun 28, 2018 5:09 pm

Sorry, but as you see in my signature, won't give out detailed descriptions
I can certainly appreciate that! Don't want to take all of the adventure out of it.
but will say, that it is within your indicated ability levels. :)
I suppose that's all I really need to know. Thanks again!

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Re: Longley Pass and Cunningham Creek Route

Post by CAMERONM » Thu Jun 28, 2018 5:48 pm

I did not know about the cow trail and went down the south side of the creek. Major bushwhacking, unpleasant, but I did it.

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Re: Longley Pass and Cunningham Creek Route

Post by oldranger » Thu Jun 28, 2018 8:31 pm

As maverick said just keep on the n. side of cunningham. If it gets dicey just zig zag and you should find the old cowboy trail tread.
Mike

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Re: Longley Pass and Cunningham Creek Route

Post by sekihiker » Fri Jun 29, 2018 10:22 am

Cunningham Creek is not difficult. Last time I was there, I saw an engineered switchback.
For more info see: http://www.sierrahiker.com/RoaringRiver/index.html

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levi
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Re: Longley Pass and Cunningham Creek Route

Post by levi » Mon Jul 09, 2018 10:22 am

Longley Pass was a piece of cake, super fun, thanks a million to cgunderson (cornice had melted enough to climb over rocks on its southern edge). I'll upload my pics in the next few days. Our descent down the north side of Cunningham Creek, on the other hand, involved a lot more bushwhacking than expected. There are two significant steep sections where the creek becomes a series of waterfalls, and we had to traverse/bushwhack pretty far north to find a safe place to descend. We got cliffed out once and had to climb back up about 50ft. It's possible that we benefited from a few very short segments of the "cowboy trail," but I can't say I'm confident we ever found it. Lots of manzanita, lots of aspen. Getting from the bottom of the last steep section back to the trail also required some bushwhacking. Getting back to trail never felt so good, even with all the mosquitos! That said, we didn't lose too much time, I just might consider continuing xc over to Talus Lake and descend/traversing to Colby Lake instead next time.

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