TR North Fork Big Pine 5/15-5/16

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TR North Fork Big Pine 5/15-5/16

Post by nightowl » Thu May 17, 2018 3:50 pm

Just got back from an overnight trip to third lake at North Fork Big Pine and thought I'd share the conditions up there! Barely any snow on the trail up to Lake 3, didn't get a chance to continue past Lake 3. Didn't experience any mosquitoes, or people really being midweek and so early in the season.

We grabbed walk in permits at the station and hiked in late in the afternoon on Tuesday. In total we only saw two other backpackers and about 8 day hikers in total over the entire two days! Love how quiet early season hiking is!
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The climb up to the lake basin never gets easier, and the waterfall was flowing nicely on the way up. We were hoping to see the lakes frozen underneath Temple Crag, as we had heard some trip reports of the lakes still being frozen, but Lakes 1-3 were all completely thawed out. They still haven't developed their characteristic turquoise color yet, but had a nice dark green tint this early in the season.
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We headed straight to Lake 2 and pitched our tent to enjoy the sunset. Temperatures weren't too unbearably cold, perhaps around mid to high 30s? The next morning we headed back onto the trail for about 10 minutes until we reached Lake 3. We hung out here for a little, eating breakfast and enjoying the other face of Temple Crag.
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We then attempted to scramble up the rocky slope opposite of Temple Crag to try to get a view of all Lakes 1 to 3. We weren't able to get high enough to see all three of the lakes, but we were able to see 2 and 3 under Temple Crag.
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After heading back we hiked out to head to Alabama Hills for another night of camping!
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Overall it was nice to get back into the mountains with my first backpacking trip of the season. This is my third visit here, and it always surprises me how different the lakes and Temple Crag look each time I visit. I didn't write up a full trip report with mileage for this trip because of how short and casual this trip was, but if you're interested in more photos, mileage, and info on the trail I have a full trip report on my blog here: http://www.backcountrycow.com/blog/2014 ... ackpacking
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Re: TR North Fork Big Pine 5/15-5/16

Post by maverick » Thu May 17, 2018 4:59 pm

Thanks for the TR and pictures! :)
Thought there would be a little more snow.
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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, an HST member: http://reconn.org

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Re: TR North Fork Big Pine 5/15-5/16

Post by hikerdude87 » Thu May 17, 2018 10:33 pm

Thanks for the report and great pics!

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Re: TR North Fork Big Pine 5/15-5/16

Post by Harlen » Thu May 17, 2018 11:14 pm

Nightowl,

That is a great trip you made! I have never been to Summit Lake, but now I really want to get there. Thanks for the trip Report and the fine photos. I checked out your other site- the website/blog, and that was a lot of fun too. Nice work! the Harlens

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Re: TR North Fork Big Pine 5/15-5/16

Post by tmesko » Fri May 18, 2018 6:54 am

Amazing the difference a week and a half makes. The Lake 1 & 2 ice melted quickly. Here's a couple pictures from 05/05
BIG PINE NORTH FORK LAKE 1.jpg
TEMPLE CRAG 05-05-18.jpg
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Re: TR North Fork Big Pine 5/15-5/16

Post by nightowl » Fri May 18, 2018 7:41 am

Wow thanks so much! That entire area is incredible, would love to summit some of the peaks nearby as well!
Harlen wrote:Nightowl,

That is a great trip you made! I have never been to Summit Lake, but now I really want to get there. Thanks for the trip Report and the fine photos. I checked out your other site- the website/blog, and that was a lot of fun too. Nice work! the Harlens

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Re: TR North Fork Big Pine 5/15-5/16

Post by nightowl » Fri May 18, 2018 7:45 am

Nice photos! We really wanted to see the lakes frozen and thought we would catch them, but I guess they melted faster than anticipated. What a whole different look the frozen lakes give!
tmesko wrote:Amazing the difference a week and a half makes. The Lake 1 & 2 ice melted quickly. Here's a couple pictures from 05/05
BIG PINE NORTH FORK LAKE 1.jpg
TEMPLE CRAG 05-05-18.jpg

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Re: TR North Fork Big Pine 5/15-5/16

Post by Love the Sierra » Sat Jun 02, 2018 1:08 am

Thanks for the great trip report!

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Re: TR North Fork Big Pine 5/15-5/16

Post by Harlen » Mon Jun 04, 2018 4:51 pm

Nightowl wrote:
Wow thanks so much! That entire area is incredible, would love to summit some of the peaks nearby as well!
Great Idea Nightowl and friends! A really fine high route/climbing trip is to carry on up the North Fork Big Pine Creek from about where you guys were, up over the Winchell-Agassiz Col, then you can go slightly down and the then up Agassiz along the easy class 3 west face, or much harder (still 3-4) up Winchell's convoluted west face (Winchell is much easier from the south east side- "east arete route.") There's beautiful camping and wandering around in the upper Dusy Basin, and several bc passes to reach Barrett Lakes under the wild west faces of Thunderbolt, North Pal., and Polemonium Peaks- take your pick, or try the classic traverse of them all. You can cross back east via the U-Notch (class 4), above the Pal. Glacier, but if you have time, follow the High Route to Palisade Lakes, then briefly on the JMT, and then peel off up to Southfork Pass. My climbing buddy and I still reckon that route- Winchell-Agassiz Col to South Fork Pass* to be our favorite high circle. There's lots to climb along the way- the class 3-4 north eastern gully route on Middle Palisade is great fun, but at least for us, one roped belay in the over-steepened lower cliff section felt right.
That's just one of many climbing trips you could enjoy up there. If you want to stay on the east side, check out the Swiss Arete on Mt. Sill, and endless routes on Temple Crag.
We wish you the best of luck it whatever you all choose to do up there.

*Depending on the time of year, South Fork Pass can be dicey, I even managed to locate a proper blue-ice crevasse 20' deep by nearly glissading right into it!

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Re: TR North Fork Big Pine 5/15-5/16

Post by nightowl » Tue Jun 05, 2018 9:40 pm

Wow thanks for the tips! I did the HST last year and have since been intrigued by the HSR, and your insights are really helpful. Never have been to Dusy, but I've always heard great things about that area!
Harlen wrote:Nightowl wrote:
Wow thanks so much! That entire area is incredible, would love to summit some of the peaks nearby as well!
Great Idea Nightowl and friends! A really fine high route/climbing trip is to carry on up the North Fork Big Pine Creek from about where you guys were, up over the Winchell-Agassiz Col, then you can go slightly down and the then up Agassiz along the easy class 3 west face, or much harder (still 3-4) up Winchell's convoluted west face (Winchell is much easier from the south east side- "east arete route.") There's beautiful camping and wandering around in the upper Dusy Basin, and several bc passes to reach Barrett Lakes under the wild west faces of Thunderbolt, North Pal., and Polemonium Peaks- take your pick, or try the classic traverse of them all. You can cross back east via the U-Notch (class 4), above the Pal. Glacier, but if you have time, follow the High Route to Palisade Lakes, then briefly on the JMT, and then peel off up to Southfork Pass. My climbing buddy and I still reckon that route- Winchell-Agassiz Col to South Fork Pass* to be our favorite high circle. There's lots to climb along the way- the class 3-4 north eastern gully route on Middle Palisade is great fun, but at least for us, one roped belay in the over-steepened lower cliff section felt right.
That's just one of many climbing trips you could enjoy up there. If you want to stay on the east side, check out the Swiss Arete on Mt. Sill, and endless routes on Temple Crag.
We wish you the best of luck it whatever you all choose to do up there.

*Depending on the time of year, South Fork Pass can be dicey, I even managed to locate a proper blue-ice crevasse 20' deep by nearly glissading right into it!

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