A friend pointed me towards this website recently and it is indeed very helpful; thank you all.
I am seeking your advice on lower-elevation backpacking trips. Our original plan was to go from Cottonwood Lakes Trailhead (Golden Trout Wilderness) around to Crabtree Meadow, Mt. Whitney, and then to exit at the Portal. Along the way, we were to summit Langley and possibly Muir. We had all the right permits and have done this same trip several times in the past. This was for mid-late June (cannot change the dates).
After all the snow began falling, I cancelled our permit and looked for something lower in elevation. Agnew Meadows to Mono Pass (north) via Gem Pass and Koip/Kuna Pass was a trip I've always dreamed of walking and there were permits available. Great, reserved a permit. We were going to start off slow around Ediza, Garnet, and Thousand Island Lakes before heading north and bagging Koip/Kuna, Parker, and Mt Gibbs. But at this point, I'm worried that the snow may be too high for us to have an enjoyable and safe trip here too. One of my friends has already asked about this possibility in thread 19428 and the group provided us with some good advice.
So, are there any lower-elevation hikes that you would recommend for mid-late June? Here are some considerations:
- Trip should be 35-55 miles (ideally there would be a few spots we could stay at the same campsite twice in order to do some day-trips/exploring)
- Group size is 10 people
- A loop or point-to-point trail is preferred, we'd like to avoid too much backtracking
- We'd like to summit several peaks during the trip
- We'll have a few amateur photographers along the trip who were really looking forward to Garnet and Thousand Island Lakes
- Our trip leaders have a fair amount of experience with off-trail navigation and other backcountry skills
- In general, the higher the better but we're not ready to be mountaineering through the snow for a week
- A couple days in the snow would be fine (even fun), but this should not be a ski trip on boots
- Obtaining a permit this late may be difficult