TR: Great Western Divide + Extras Pt 1 8/31-9/10 2019

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TR: Great Western Divide + Extras Pt 1 8/31-9/10 2019

Post by Stanley Otter » Wed Jan 01, 2020 5:57 pm

As always, I am grateful for the trip reports everyone shares here. I acquired a case of Great Western Divide Fever after reading a series of TRs that came rolling off the presses in 2018, among them:

High Loop around Mt. Brewer by cgundersen
Circle of Solitude + Longley/South Guard by levi
Circle Great Western Divide by robertseeburger
Mount Brewer and Beyond by Flamingo
Sequoia solitude in Deadman, Cloud and Kern Kaweah by cgundersen
Soltiude in Deadman and Cloud, and Scouting the High Route by Harlen

Fever symptoms include an inability to concentrate on anything other than trip planning and haunting the recreation.gov site to check permit availability months before their official release date. I was on a leave of absence from my teaching job back home in Wisconsin, which enabled my first hikes in the Sierra during late summer and early fall. Sweet! My planned loop route was a monster: start at Horseshoe Meadow, over Cottonwood Pass, west to Coyote Pass, north along the GWD to Pants Pass, then some Glacier Ridge goodness, over Brewer Pass, south to Harrison Pass, further south to Crabtree Pass, and finally back to Horseshoe Meadow after 13 days. Ahem. :rolleyes: Reading through my trail diary, it was pretty clear I hadn’t fully recovered from my early summer jaunt along the PCT in Washington, and there were a few other challenges along the way as described herewith…

Day 1 — August 31
Good sleep in the ol’ minivan overnight at Horseshoe Meadow and on the sandy, well-graded trail by 7:45 AM. Pack is very heavy with two weeks of food and the cold weather gear I need as a “cold sleeper”. There are no cottonwood trees at Cottonwood Pass near as I can tell, so why the name? I abandon the trail at the SEKI boundary and go off trail through the Siberian Outpost meadows. Great views of the west faces of the mountains on the east front of the Sierra. It’s great to be back! Smoke from the fire to the south in the Golden Trout Wilderness was impacting the views earlier in the day, but the wind shifted and cleared it away. Low flow in the tributary stream to Siberian Pass Creek I am following southwest but lots of miniature wildflowers in bloom in the sandy meadows — lupine, buckwheat, phlox, others. Easy travel up the drainage and the climb to the Boreal Plateau is straightforward. Nice views of Rocky Basin Lakes from the plateau with smoke in the background. Camped on the ridge west of Funston Lake. Discovered that my phone has no USGS topo maps of the Sierra because I swapped them out for the Cascades last spring and forgot to put them back. ](*,) I have paper maps of my route, of course, but nothing of a zoomed-out nature in case something happens and I need to change my plans. Ahem. 14.5 miles.

Day 2 — September 1
Slept in and got a late start. Off trail route south to Little Whitney Meadow pretty straightforward with one difficult, rocky stretch about 1.5 miles south of Funston Lake. Otherwise, easy walking down forested slopes to the meadow with its luxurious expanses of grass and small streams running through it. Pick up the trail again and ford Golden Trout Creek. The trail leaves the creek when it begins its plunge to the North Fork Kern River. Nicely graded on the way down although pretty torn up by stock. Knees pretty achy after 4400’ descent to the river and feeling tired, so I set up camp on a shelf near the river north of the bridge. There’s a pair of socks hanging in a tree, so I’m not the first one through here… 13.2 miles.

Day 3 — September 2
Early morning thunderstorms roll through at about 5 AM, so I doze a bit before setting off at 7:15 AM. Walk past the ranger station, but do not see anyone. The Coyote Pass Trail starts off with a steep grade, so I am glad I did not continue on yesterday as originally planned. The tread is in good condition and lightly used with a covering of cones and needles. The trail is not always obvious, but leads where you would expect. The stream crossings are easy and correctly labeled on the map. Coyote Pass itself is very broad with rock outcroppings and many contorted foxtail pines. Had some trouble locating the trail which is high on the pass to the north. On the west side of the pass the trail is in good shape for the most part as it switchbacks down to Rifle Creek, which was dry. Beyond that, though, it was overgrown with white thorn and manzanita. That white thorn seemed to have fingers and kept untying my bootlaces. The trail contours in the 8800-9000’ range but was interrupted by enormous deadfalls and choked stretches. Pistol Creek and Shotgun Creek were flowing. I sat out an hour long bout of rain showers. The climb to Silver Lake was very difficult. The trail was impossible to follow until I had reached 10300’, so the first 1300’ of the climb was a bit of a bushwhack. It worked okay to follow the gravel beds between bushes, but it was steep, steep, steep. Silver Lake was worth it, though, in its pretty setting of foxtail pines and meltwater streams cascading down the granite walls. There’s a sock laying beneath a tree, so I’m not the first one through here… 14.6 miles.

Dennis
01 View East.jpg
02 Rocky Basin Lakes.jpg
03 Funston Lake.jpg
04 GWD from Funston Lake.jpg
05 Little Whitney Meadow.jpg
06 Peaks 11058 & 12016.jpg
07 At Coyote Pass.jpg
08 Vandever Mountain.jpg
09 Shotgun Creek.jpg
10 Silver Lake & Shotgun Pass.jpg
11 At Silver Lake.jpg
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Re: TR: Great Western Divide + Extras Pt 1 8/31-9/10 2019

Post by Stanley Otter » Wed Jan 01, 2020 6:43 pm

Day 4 — September 3
Cold morning and I didn’t want to get up. Managed to get on my way by 7:15 AM. The climb to Shotgun Pass was steep but easy to navigate, and the views from the top of Florence Peak and Rainbow Mountain were most excellent. The descent to Rattlesnake Creek was straightforward, although the trail was difficult to follow. No need to do so, really. Forester Lake didn’t appeal to me but Little Claire Lake was much more inspiring with the towering cliff behind it. A NPS packer came by with a string of six stock — the first person I had seen since the morning of day one. I descended the switchbacks below the lake to about 10000’ and then set off cross country. Feeling very low energy, but eventually topped the ridge east of Lake 10569 which drains to Soda Creek. I worked my way down and around the east side of the lake and climbed up the ridge south of Lake 10479 with the Great Western Divide and Needham Mountain as backdrop. I hiked around to the northwest of this lake and began the straightforward climb to Amphitheater Lake. It is in a rather barren setting at 11000’ with Sawtooth Peak and the ridge line to Needham Mountain providing a stark granite background. Crystal Pass looked very scary from below. I climbed to within 25’ or so of the top, but the nearly vertical rock faces at that point forced me to turn back. I was alone, I am not a mountain climber, and my fear of heights had returned after my fall in the Grand Canyon earlier in the year. Just too scary. I set up camp on a shelf well below Amphitheater Lake. I got the tent pitched just as thunderstorms with hail and heavy rain started. It rained for almost two hours. That gave me time to wrack my brain for memories of the trail system since I didn’t have paper maps that far off my planned route, and, as noted above, I had forgotten to load the USGS topos on my phone. ](*,) 11.4 miles.

Day 5 — September 4
Grumpy about having to detour — I’ll lose a day of my original itinerary at least, so there goes my planned excursion to Glacier Ridge. Anyway, on my way by 7:30 AM and slogging through the positively saturated ground — like walking on a sponge. Took about an hour to ramble down the slopes along Soda Creek and pick up the trail below Little Claire Lake. Wooded slopes, small streams, wet marshy spots, and some granite slabs with views. Further down, I met a NPS trail crew member who got me oriented regarding the trail to Lost Canyon. I had been worried I would need to descend all the way down to the North Fork Kern River. Whew! And what a beautiful place it is — so glad I was alive to see it… The trail up to Columbine Lake is reasonably graded and well maintained with some impressive bits of trail engineering. From Columbine Lake, the climb to Sawtooth Pass is a challenging combination of rocky ups and downs interspersed with steep gravel. But the views down-canyon and all the way to the eastern edge of the Sierra make it worthwhile. The west side of the pass is a sandy slip and slide. I descended about 600’ and followed a use trail to Glacier Pass, which continued right over the edge to a steep snow field about 75’ below. Class 2 scrambling with a difficult last bit because of the way the snow and rock met. The snow was soft enough to kick footholds, so I just took my time and kept three points of contact at all times. I ended up dismounting right at the spot where the use trail resumed from under the snow and hiked down to the bench high above Spring Lake and Cliff Creek. Spectacular views of the GWD, and the 2300’ of Black Rock Pass Trail switchbacks are clearly visible across the valley. Rained for a while and then cleared. 15.1 miles.

Dennis
01 Florence Peak.jpg
02 Trail to Rattlesnake Creek.jpg
03 Lake 10569.jpg
04 Lake 10479.jpg
05 Crystal Pass & Sawtooth Peak.jpg
06 Crystal Pass & Amphitheater Lake.jpg
07 Crystal Pass.jpg
08 Amphitheater Lake.jpg
09 Lost Canyon.jpg
10 Columbine Lake.jpg
11 Glacier Pass.jpg
12 Cliff Creek.jpg
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Re: TR: Great Western Divide + Extras Pt 1 8/31-9/10 2019

Post by torpified » Wed Jan 01, 2020 7:28 pm

I am so grateful for your exceptional recent outburst of delightful TRs! Given the brilliant photos in this thread, I'm also hoping that you used more sunscreen on this trip than you did on your enhanced PCT walk. I like trying to following TRs along on maps, and the way you describe how your trip fits together makes it very rewarding to do so.

But about the socks, which pose a LNT dilemma very different from the one posed by beers: what's your policy? Is there any point at which they become archeological relics it would be positively wrong to remove?? (I pack out the lighter/less gross things I come across. Also batteries, because GEEZ. Socks I'd probably leave. I'm asking because I'm curious about what norms are observed, and with how much variance. I guess this means I'm also asking what other people would do!)

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Re: TR: Great Western Divide + Extras Pt 1 8/31-9/10 2019

Post by Stanley Otter » Wed Jan 01, 2020 8:00 pm

torpified wrote:
Wed Jan 01, 2020 7:28 pm
I am so grateful for your exceptional recent outburst of delightful TRs! Given the brilliant photos in this thread, I'm also hoping that you used more sunscreen on this trip than you did on your enhanced PCT walk. I like trying to following TRs along on maps, and the way you describe how your trip fits together makes it very rewarding to do so.

But about the socks, which pose a LNT dilemma very different from the one posed by beers: what's your policy? Is there any point at which they become archeological relics it would be positively wrong to remove?? (I pack out the lighter/less gross things I come across. Also batteries, because GEEZ. Socks I'd probably leave. I'm asking because I'm curious about what norms are observed, and with how much variance. I guess this means I'm also asking what other people would do!)
torpified! I did indeed use more sunscreen, and was pretty darn happy to do so.

You can see my planned route here if that helps. I don't have an as-hiked map plotted out, but I think you can easily see what I did at each of the several points I was thwarted. Basically, you can lop off that northern blue and red loop. (Note the foreshadowing...details forthcoming.)

Yeah, other people's crap and what to do about it. I will admit I left the socks given that they are, well, socks, ya know? Plus it was the first half of the trip and I was weighed down with forty pounds of my own crap. I have brought out plastic bags, a birthday balloon, and other inorganic materials. Never come across batteries, though.
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Re: TR: Great Western Divide + Extras Pt 1 8/31-9/10 2019

Post by Stanley Otter » Wed Jan 01, 2020 10:44 pm

Day 6 — September 5
A frustrating morning — got caught with most of my gear out in a brief hail storm. That hurt. I followed the abandoned/use trail down toward Spring Lake for a while and then cut across to the Black Rock Pass Trail. Near the top there are views of Columbine, Cyclamen and Spring Lake all in a row. I don’t see how people are able to come down that route, but they do. Cold and windy at the top of Black Rock Pass and it is obvious rain is coming. Pitched my tent at Lake 10476 in Little Five Lakes Basin as the rains began. Continued to rain on and off all day with more bouts of hail thrown in for good measure. Reading, eating, napping, bemoaning my wet and dirty gear. 4.5 miles.

Day 7 — September 6
Slipped right into a stream first thing, so at all subsequent water crossings today I just bulled on through. But it’s a sunshiny day and the scenery as I clear the tree line on my way to Nine Lake Basin is outstanding. I ate a leisurely second breakfast and dried out a bit whilst basking in the sun on a granite slab. I marveled at Kaweah Gap as I passed on by. I ate lunch at the lake just below Pants Pass and contemplated my immediate future which appeared to involve a 575’ climb up a steep chute of talus and gravel. And so it did. The lower and upper parts were more stable than the central stretch, and I found the going easier on the left/north. The views from the top were great, as you might imagine, but the east side of the pass was horrifyingly steep. Another chute led down, this time about 875’, and apparently entirely at the angle of repose. I slid down about 175’ to 11600’ and abandoned the chute in an attempt to contour south — I could see snow further down the chute and the topos hinted at a possible alternate route down. I made two premature attempts to descend but was thwarted by cliffs each time and had to climb back up. I slipped and fell a couple times, but eventually made my way down the boulders to the Kern-Kaweah River. I’m not sure I have another Pants Pass in me… :( I followed the river for several pleasant miles through alternately marshy and rocky meadows and then crossed it where the stream from Milestone Bowl/Colby Pass enters. Climbed up to the basin and made camp at about 10900’. Cold when the sun went down behind the mountains. 12.3 miles.

Correction: See discussion further down-thread. I actually crossed over Piss in Your Pants Pass. Photo captions updated below. Sorry for the confusion. :o

Day 8 — September 7
Okay, show of hands — Who else has gotten caught by the change in scale on some of the USGS topos for this area? I’m talking about the brilliant decision to draw some of the 7.5’ quads using the metric scale so that the contour lines are at 20 meter intervals, or roughly 65 feet, which is a hell of a lot more than the usual 40 feet. So when I’m looking at the maps and planning cross country routes based on past experience the spacing looks reasonable and it’s “yep, yep, yep!” Then I get there, and the reality is it’s “nope, nope, nope!” That happened to me today. It’s a “shame on me” thing, though, because it’s the second time it’s happened. Sigh… :o

My somewhat ambitious goal for the day was to reach Brewer Pass by way of Colby Pass, Talus Lake and Thunder Ridge. I awoke quite chilled with a lot of condensation inside the tent, so I dilly-dallied and waited for the sun to peek over the horizon for some warmth and didn’t get under way until 8:30 AM. The Sequoia NP side of the Colby Pass Trail is not as well maintained as the Kings Canyon NP side which is highly engineered. Left the trail at the outlet of Colby Lake and contoured around the western ridge of Midway Mountain. The route up the stream south of Talus Lake involved some brush, some nice slabs, and lots of boulders and talus — slow going. I worked my way south and east of Talus Lake to the point overlooking the Table Creek drainage and Thunder Ridge and realized there was no way I was going to make it to Brewer Pass and back without running out of food given my current slow pace. Just too steep and rocky. So I turned around and crossed back over Colby Pass and pitched my tent in the same exact spot as last night. Quite a day trip — I only wish I had be slack-packing it… 11.3 miles.

Dennis
01 Columbine Cyclamen & Spring Lakes.jpg
02 HST.jpg
03 Nine Lake Basin & Kaweah Gap.jpg
04 Kern Kaweah River.jpg
05 Pants Pass.jpg
06 Kern Kaweah River.jpg
07 Colby Lake.jpg
08 Talus Lake Drainage.jpg
09 Thunder Ridge.jpg
10 Whaleback.jpg
11 Returning to Colby Pass.jpg
12 View East Colby Pass.jpg
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Last edited by Stanley Otter on Fri Jan 03, 2020 1:59 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: TR: Great Western Divide + Extras Pt 1 8/31-9/10 2019

Post by The Other Tom » Thu Jan 02, 2020 5:57 am

Nice report and pics. Thanks for posting

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Re: TR: Great Western Divide + Extras Pt 1 8/31-9/10 2019

Post by balzaccom » Thu Jan 02, 2020 8:11 am

I agree with torpified. Great reports here. And photos. I am impressed with how much ground you cover...for us, 10 miles is a big day....
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Re: TR: Great Western Divide + Extras Pt 1 8/31-9/10 2019

Post by Wandering Daisy » Thu Jan 02, 2020 12:25 pm

I am curious why you chose Coyote Creek trail and Shotgun Pass, rather than going up Rattlesnake Creek? Did you have information that the Rattlesnake creek trail was in very poor shape? I have also camped at Silver Lake but came in via Farewell Gap. Just looking at the map, the trail from Coyote Creek to Silver Creek does not look too scenic. Rattlesnake Creek trail seems like a more direct route, and possibly more scenic?

Thanks for the information on getting to Amphitheater Lake; I have always wanted to go there. Had considered dropping down on a day-hike from Monarch or Crystal Lakes. Do you think you would have done the pass if you were on a day hike with a small pack?

Long ago I read a route description on the internet, of a detour route for Pants Pass. I used it (coming from the unnamed round lake SE of the pass going south to Nine Lakes Basin). Since I was already camped at that lake it was an easy scramble directly west in a broad gully to the ridge. When I did it there was snow in the gully I ascended but it was not very steep. It is then an enjoyable walk over the top of the ridge, which is a bit exposed but not difficult but does involve an extra 350 foot gain; the only tricky part for me was downclimbing to the actual pass- which once I found the route was not hard at all. On the map the ridge looks harder. So if you "do not have another Pants Pass in you", perhaps the detour would change that.

I really had to smile when you said your Day 8 would have been nicer as a day-hike. I had a very similar experience a few years ago. I was going from Colby Lake over the pass like you did, heading for Brewer Basin, when I too turned around and found a camp at the small lake directly east of Colby Lake. This turned out to be a wonderful campsite right under the north wall of Pt 4032. Had I not turned back I would never have found this great campsite. However, I totally agree, lugging a full pack on a "day-hike" is annoying. I then went back down to Cloud Canyon, camped at Cement Table Meadows and up onto the bench to the east and then up Brewer Creek. Old Ranger has posted about this route; said he rode a horse up it decades ago (but what I went up, no horse would be able to do it, so obviously I missed the easier route). Once up on this bench, however, it is quite easy travel.

I am looking forward for your further installments. Great trip.

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Re: TR: Great Western Divide + Extras Pt 1 8/31-9/10 2019

Post by Stanley Otter » Thu Jan 02, 2020 12:30 pm

The Other Tom & balzaccom: Thanks for the comments. Here are the last bits...

Day 9 — September 8
A windy and cold night. On the trail down to the Kern Kaweah River by 7:30 AM. My goal for the day was to peek into the Kaweah Basin and come back down to the river. In hindsight, I should have stayed up there for the night at least. Next time… Anyway, I forded the river ENE of Picket Guard Peak maybe a quarter mile below the marshy pool marked on the map and made my way up the steep slope, taking advantage of rough granite slabs when available. At a spot overlooking the confluence of Picket Creek and the Kaweah Basin stream I got oriented and climbed the final 100’ or so to the lowest pool lake on Picket Creek (it’s really more of a tributary). Here I had to ford the stream before following it up to Picket Creek Pass. The pass is heather and rocks on the north side and more challenging talus and ledges on the south, but always straightforward Class 2 hiking. I descended to the mini-canyon that the basin stream flows through and made my way up to a pool lake where the views opened up. Just stunning. For some stupid, Type-A, goal-oriented reason I decided to head back down. Rather than backtrack I forded the stream and descended on the east side. This is highly NOT recommended. Very steep and complicated ledge system. At one point I ended up having to lower my pack down on a line. I reached the confluence of the Kern Kaweah River and the Picket-Kaweah Basin stream exhausted and trembling. Stubborn idiot. 9.6 miles.

Day 10 — September 9
Slow going given yesterday’s extravaganza. Forded the river and picked up the trail to Junction Meadow on the other side. Picked up the HST and joined the JMT/PCT which was covered in horse manure. Missed the trail to Crabtree Lakes somehow and ended up going cross country to the lowest Crabtree Lake at 11200’. Somewhere in this last stretch Boone lost his High Sierra Topix patch and the St Christopher medal some friends gave to us. Egads! When I asked him why he didn’t tell me about it when it happened he said something about wanting to hike naked… Gotta see about replacements. 14.3 miles.

Day 11 — September 10
Another cold night. Frost on the plants, ice covered pools and ice covered slabs under foot. The trail to the middle Crabtree Lake comes and goes, but it is obvious where I needed to go. The white granite wall south of the lakes was impressive in the morning light. Easy cross country striding to within a few hundred feet of the uppermost Crabtree Lake. Some ledges to climb and a few boulder sections to negotiate. From afar Crabtree Pass looks formidable, but upon closer approach it resolves into a steep but very doable Class 2 scramble. The talus was very stable with only a couple spots of gravel on the route I chose. The east side of the pass is simpler, consisting of ledges linked by step-downs. Further on toward Sky Blue Lake, however, are a series of walls that are much harder to climb down. Kind of a giant staircase — had to turn back several times to locate alternate routes. From there it’s an easy hike down Rock Creek to the meadows below New Army Pass. Speaking of which, that is one freakin’ bleak and joyless pass in my opinion. Wind was howling at the top. The relative comforts of the minivan beckoned, so I hustled on down the trail all the way to Horseshoe Meadow. 21.2 miles.

Dennis
01 Kern Kaweah River.jpg
02 Picket Creek.jpg
03 Picket Guard Peak.jpg
04 Kaweah Peaks Ridge.jpg
05 Upper Kern Canyon.jpg
06 Kern Kaweah River.jpg
07 Middle Crabtree Lake.jpg
08 Crabtree Pass.jpg
09 Upper Crabtree Lake.jpg
10 Sky Blue Lake.jpg
11 Rock Creek.jpg
12 Rock Creek.jpg
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Re: TR: Great Western Divide + Extras Pt 1 8/31-9/10 2019

Post by Stanley Otter » Thu Jan 02, 2020 1:01 pm

Wandering Daisy wrote:
Thu Jan 02, 2020 12:25 pm
I am curious why you chose Coyote Creek trail and Shotgun Pass, rather than going up Rattlesnake Creek? Did you have information that the Rattlesnake creek trail was in very poor shape? I have also camped at Silver Lake but came in via Farewell Gap. Just looking at the map, the trail from Coyote Creek to Silver Creek does not look too scenic. Rattlesnake Creek trail seems like a more direct route, and possibly more scenic?
To be honest, it was a "completeness" thing. When I planned this trip I really wanted to encompass as much of the GWD as possible, so I started as far south as I could. I was also totally unfamiliar with the southern and western reaches of SEKI, so it also serves as a scouting trip. I will certainly try to work Rattlesnake Creek into a future trip. It's all pretty darn spectacular to me given my local geography. :)
Wandering Daisy wrote:
Thu Jan 02, 2020 12:25 pm
Thanks for the information on getting to Amphitheater Lake; I have always wanted to go there. Had considered dropping down on a day-hike from Monarch or Crystal Lakes. Do you think you would have done the pass if you were on a day hike with a small pack?
Given your background, I am sure you would have no problem with Crystal Pass. And if you were there to guide me, I would certainly give it a shot. :thumbsup: On my own, not so much. I met a couple of gentlemen on the Lost Canyon Trail the next day who were my age and of similar experience who had climbed Crystal Pass from the west last year and wanted to drop down to Amphitheater Lake. They described their route to the top as a "cake walk", but turned around rather than risk the down climb. Here's my one other photo on the approach from the east. I was on a ledge left of the lowest point in the photo, thinking about going up and left, but couldn't justify the risk and as I mentioned some of my fear of heights has returned.
Crystal Pass.jpg
Wandering Daisy wrote:
Thu Jan 02, 2020 12:25 pm
Long ago I read a route description on the internet, of a detour route for Pants Pass. I used it (coming from the unnamed round lake SE of the pass going south to Nine Lakes Basin). Since I was already camped at that lake it was an easy scramble directly west in a broad gully to the ridge. When I did it there was snow in the gully I ascended but it was not very steep. It is then an enjoyable walk over the top of the ridge, which is a bit exposed but not difficult but does involve an extra 350 foot gain; the only tricky part for me was downclimbing to the actual pass- which once I found the route was not hard at all. On the map the ridge looks harder. So if you "do not have another Pants Pass in you", perhaps the detour would change that.

I really had to smile when you said your Day 8 would have been nicer as a day-hike. I had a very similar experience a few years ago. I was going from Colby Lake over the pass like you did, heading for Brewer Basin, when I too turned around and found a camp at the small lake directly east of Colby Lake. This turned out to be a wonderful campsite right under the north wall of Pt 4032. Had I not turned back I would never have found this great campsite. However, I totally agree, lugging a full pack on a "day-hike" is annoying. I then went back down to Cloud Canyon, camped at Cement Table Meadows and up onto the bench to the east and then up Brewer Creek. Old Ranger has posted about this route; said he rode a horse up it decades ago (but what I went up, no horse would be able to do it, so obviously I missed the easier route). Once up on this bench, however, it is quite easy travel.

I am looking forward for your further installments. Great trip.
I'll have to look into that route. I think coming *up* the east side would be an option for me in a year with low snow. Gotta keep my options open because I simply must come back for some Triple Divide Pass-Copper Mine Pass-Glacier Ridge explorations.
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