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TR: Deadman-Cloud Canyon 8/14-19

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TR: Deadman-Cloud Canyon 8/14-19

Postby zacjust32 » Tue Sep 12, 2017 3:47 pm

This trip came to being very suddenly, the day I got my permit. I knew I wanted to go to Deadman Canyon and Cloud Canyon, but how was another question. It was only when I actually got my permit that I roughly lined out the itinerary for Ranger Sierra. I decided on this loop: Wolverton --> Pear Lake --> Big Bird Lake via Tablelands --> Deadman Canyon --> Roaring River --> Cloud Canyon --> Copper Mine Pass --> Horn Col --> Moose --> Wolverton via Alta Peak. But as we all know, plans are just that, plans. I decided to cut out Moose Lake and go out the HST from Elizabeth when I was at the pass, more on that later.

Image
Map can be found HERE

Day 1: Wolverton - Pear Lake
I got my permit Sunday afternoon and started Monday after work. The great thing about working in Sequoia is that I can start hiking 30 minutes after work! I made it to Pear before 8 and grabbed one of the sites high on the southwest side of the lake overlooking the basin.

Day 2: Pear Lake - Big Bird Lake
Tuesday morning I headed up to the Tablelands as I did the weekend before. I should note that these pictures are actually from the weekend before, I covered the same terrain and didn't feel it necessary to take more pictures. Plus I wanted to save my battery. I took the use trail east up and over the hill right past the "Matterhorn". Continuing up the drainage I soon found myself overlooking Moose Lake. I headed NE over the "sky bridge" between Table Meadows and Moose Lake drainage before aiming for the Kings-Kaweah Divide. It was along this route that I found my first Sierra balloon!!! I had lunch at a great little lake right on the divide with awesome views to the east. Heading down to the lakes above Big Bird was straight forward, although getting down to Big Bird itself was not. A couple times I had to backtrack as I got cliffed out but eventually made it to the outlet. I didn't see any immediate campsites on the water, but found a fantastic spot overlooking Deadman Canyon. The sun set early inside those steep canyon walls and I welcomed sleep as I awaited the next day.

ImageTokopah Valley by Zachary Just, on Flickr

ImageAster Lake by Zachary Just, on Flickr

ImagePear Lake by Zachary Just, on Flickr

ImageLooking down on Pear Lake by Zachary Just, on Flickr

ImageMeadow above Pear Lake by Zachary Just, on Flickr

ImageLower Tablelands by Zachary Just, on Flickr

ImageMoosePano1 by Zachary Just, on Flickr

ImageTarn in Tablelands by Zachary Just, on Flickr

ImageUpper Buck Creek by Zachary Just, on Flickr

Image"Frog" Lake and Table Meadows by Zachary Just, on Flickr

ImageTablelandsPano1 by Zachary Just, on Flickr

ImageTablelandsDividePano by Zachary Just, on Flickr

ImageBigBirdPano by Zachary Just, on Flickr

ImageBigBirdPano2 by Zachary Just, on Flickr

ImageSouthern GWD by Zachary Just, on Flickr

ImageDeadman Canyon by Zachary Just, on Flickr

ImageMy first Sierra Balloon by Zachary Just, on Flickr

ImageView from Kings-Kaweah Divide by Zachary Just, on Flickr

ImageGWD from K-K Divide by Zachary Just, on Flickr

ImageLake on Kings-Kaweah Divide by Zachary Just, on Flickr

ImageLakes above Big Bird Lake by Zachary Just, on Flickr

ImageLakes above Big Bird Lake by Zachary Just, on Flickr

ImageBig Bird Lake by Zachary Just, on Flickr

Day 3: Big Bird Lake - Cloud Canyon
Wednesday morning I found my way down the slabs towards the trail following the creek from BB lake. I crossed upstream of it's confluence with Deadman Canyon creek because of all the underbrush. It was at this time that I made a banana out of my trekking pole. A quick bend and I had it straightened out, but it no longer collapses, making setting up my tarp a little more challenging. But I perservered and soon regained the trail and all that comes with it. On the north side of Ranger Meadow I met the Roaring River Ranger (Cindy? Kathy?) and a couple of cowboys out doing trail brushing/logging. And once at Roaring River I met another park employee doing invasive species studies. Heading up Cloud Canyon I met 5 trail workers and 1 civilian, bringing the total up to 9 NPS employees and 1 non. Cloud Canyon certainly lived up to its name that day as it continually looked like rain up until about 7 when it cleared up. I wanted to camp at the "Grand Palace Hotel" (the junction between Cloud Canyon and Colby Pass trail) but the mosquitos were a 5+ so I took off up Cloud Canyon. The off-trail travel here was easy, and I soon found a flat spot at the upper end of the canyon with a nice breeze and few mosquitos. Again I watched the shadows grow long and went to bed early in the darkness of the canyon.

ImageDeadman Canyon by Zachary Just, on Flickr

ImageDeadman Canyon by Zachary Just, on Flickr

ImageDeadman Canyon by Zachary Just, on Flickr

ImageBent my trekking pole by Zachary Just, on Flickr

ImageUp Deadman Canyon by Zachary Just, on Flickr

ImageUp Deadman Canyon by Zachary Just, on Flickr

ImageDeadman Canyon by Zachary Just, on Flickr

ImageRanger Meadow by Zachary Just, on Flickr

ImageWild Currants by Zachary Just, on Flickr

ImageDeadman Canyon by Zachary Just, on Flickr

ImageGrave marker by Zachary Just, on Flickr

ImageCloud Canyon by Zachary Just, on Flickr

ImageCloud Canyon by Zachary Just, on Flickr

ImageUpper Cloud Canyon by Zachary Just, on Flickr

ImageUpper Cloud Canyon by Zachary Just, on Flickr

ImageUpper Cloud Canyon by Zachary Just, on Flickr

ImageLion Pass by Zachary Just, on Flickr

Day 4: Cloud Canyon - Buck Creek
Thursday was another day of x-country: over Copper Mine and Horn Col to Lonely Lake. I briefly read OldRanger's description in an older post but neglected to confirm that the pass was on my Tom Harrison map, which it wasn't. I found some switchbacks in a Foxtail grove as expected, but they trickled out and I decided to head straight up. I was confused which notch was the true pass and ended up crossing North of peak 12345. The east side was class 2-3 up to the top. I'd say 3 just because it was so soft it required some handholds. The west side was solid 3-4 soft, unstable talus chute with the last 30 feet having some sketchy exposure. I had to lower my pack and position myself above a snowpatch just in case. Not recommended. The snow on the west side made traversing to Elizabeth slower than anticipated and slightly frustrating. I ended up looking at the trail sign for 1 1/2 hours as it beckoned me closer. But I finally made it to the pass and enjoyed lunch there. It was here that I decided to deviate from my planned course. I could see it raining over Moose Lake and the clouds did not look good. The weather reports a hiker I met got on his InReach said that storms were likely at higher elevations. I decided to head down Elizabeth and go out the HST. Although I tried to avoid the rain it did end up raining on me between the Tamarack junction and Bearpaw. Met the ranger at Bearpaw and talked for a bit. I mentioned that I was planning on camping at Buck Creek and he gave me a tip on an old trail workers' camp. It was pretty nice to have some logs to sit on.

ImageUpper Cloud Canyon by Zachary Just, on Flickr

ImageGWD by Zachary Just, on Flickr

ImageGWD by Zachary Just, on Flickr

ImageCloud-Deadman Divide by Zachary Just, on Flickr

ImageDeadman Canyon by Zachary Just, on Flickr

ImageMoose Lake/Horn Col by Zachary Just, on Flickr

ImageGWD by Zachary Just, on Flickr

ImageMe on Deadman/Cloud Divide by Zachary Just, on Flickr

ImageMe on Deadman/Cloud Divide by Zachary Just, on Flickr

ImageDeadman Canyon Headwall by Zachary Just, on Flickr

ImageDown Deadman Canyon by Zachary Just, on Flickr

ImageView from Elizabeth by Zachary Just, on Flickr

ImageElizabeth Pass by Zachary Just, on Flickr

ImageTamarack Lake Drainage by Zachary Just, on Flickr

Day 5: Buck Creek - Crescent Meadow
My last day was an easy walk back to Crescent Meadow, boring and dull. I made it back by 1 and took the shuttle back to my truck at Wolverton. A slice of pizza and a burger were welcome sights at the Lodgepole market before taking a shower and a nap. A great trip through some awesome terrain.
Hiker, adventurer, fabricator, tinkerer, theologian, and occasional student. http://www.zacjust.blogspot.com



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Re: TR: Deadman-Cloud Canyon 8/14-19

Postby sambieni » Tue Sep 12, 2017 8:13 pm

Nice TR! Amazing - I did Deadman Canyon loop 2 weeks after - interesting to see how you had a bit more snow than I in your shots, even down in the canyon.
Cindy is RR ranger. Really nice.
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Re: TR: Deadman-Cloud Canyon 8/14-19

Postby giantbrookie » Tue Sep 12, 2017 10:03 pm

Nice report and beautiful photos.
Since my fishing (etc.) website is still down, you can be distracted by geology stuff at: http://www.fresnostate.edu/csm/ees/facu ... ayshi.html
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Re: TR: Deadman-Cloud Canyon 8/14-19

Postby cgundersen » Wed Sep 13, 2017 9:11 am

Zac,
Wow, incredible compilation of photos, very cool loop and for how other webcams were looking, you did not get terribly smoked out! Great report! Cameron
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Re: TR: Deadman-Cloud Canyon 8/14-19

Postby cslaght » Wed Sep 13, 2017 10:28 am

Great trip Zac!
"The mountains are calling, but can't find my phone"

Charles
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Re: TR: Deadman-Cloud Canyon 8/14-19

Postby sekihiker » Wed Sep 13, 2017 10:45 am

Thanks for the report. Amazing amounts of snow.
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Re: TR: Deadman-Cloud Canyon 8/14-19

Postby maverick » Wed Sep 13, 2017 11:50 am

Enjoyed the TR and pictures! To bad about the trekking pole. :(
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: TR: Deadman-Cloud Canyon 8/14-19

Postby zacjust32 » Wed Sep 13, 2017 5:00 pm

Thanks everybody! The snow was a bit annoying, but not enough to keep me away. I was bummed not to see the mine, but I'll have to go back again.
maverick wrote:Enjoyed the TR and pictures! To bad about the trekking pole. :(
Time for an upgrade :)

Sent from my SM-T280 using Tapatalk
Hiker, adventurer, fabricator, tinkerer, theologian, and occasional student. http://www.zacjust.blogspot.com
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Re: TR: Deadman-Cloud Canyon 8/14-19

Postby maverick » Wed Sep 13, 2017 5:47 pm

Time for an upgrade.


Let me know if I can help. :)
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: TR: Deadman-Cloud Canyon 8/14-19

Postby jeremiahkim » Fri Sep 15, 2017 8:09 am

Wonderful photos, but care to enlighten me about what a Sierra balloon is? Is that a thing?
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