Circle of Solitude with more solitude? (route suggestions)

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commonloon
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Circle of Solitude with more solitude? (route suggestions)

Post by commonloon » Fri Aug 10, 2018 10:31 am

Hello all!

I'm working on mapping out a hike for later this season. Level 4 backpacker w/ lots of X-country. Fine with class 3, but prefer to avoid loose stuff. Would like to avoid as much possible bushwacking as well. May try to bag 1 or 2 peaks along the way. Planning on bringing my good camera and Tenkara rod, etc. also.

Here is what I have so far:

https://caltopo.com/m/7N4H#

I'd appreciate any advice on the best route to get up into the Brewer area cirque(s). Sphinx creek? Down to East Lake or Lake Reflection; I just climbed Ericsson and Longley Pass looked pretty cool from below. Any epic campsite suggestions. Best peaks along the way for views. Streams or lakes of note. etc. etc.

Thanks!








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zwoij
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Re: Circle of Solitude with more solitude? (route suggestion

Post by zwoij » Fri Aug 10, 2018 2:48 pm

I planned on a circle around Brewer a couple years ago, but because of my friend's altitude sickness we stayed put at Lake Reflection, which is a wonderful spot. (I got on HST to finally post the trip report, but now it's getting too late). The plan was to take Longley Pass to Big Brewer Lake, and from there travel down Moraine Ridge to the Avalanche Pass trail. From what I have read, that is much preferable to Sphinx Creek, especially if you're trying to avoid bushwhacking. Poke around and you'll find info on the Moraine Ridge route. People say it's easy.

Your route from Rockslide Lake up to Kaweah Basin looks very tough. Your route down from the lake on Picket Creek (not to be missed!) is probably a better way up and worth the slightly longer distance. I can't tell you anything about the rest of your route.

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Re: Circle of Solitude with more solitude? (route suggestion

Post by levi » Fri Aug 10, 2018 3:29 pm

Seconding the Moraine Ridge suggestion... it looks more pleasant than what I experienced going from South Guard Lake down Cunningham to Cement Table (lots of brush), at least based on topo lines. I think Cgunderson had a helluva time getting down the Sphinx drainage, too, also with bushwhacking. The next time I am in that area I will probably use Moraine Ridge and save my energy for peak bagging.

Longley Pass by now should be pretty easy in either direction, though I think it's easiest heading from Lake Reflection to South Guard Lake, rather than vice versa. (Also South Guard is an easy sandy ascent from Longley Pass of just 1000', and is littered with polemonium \:D/ for a guaranteed peak bag.)

My favorite campsite, by far, was on Bighorn Plateau. Lake Reflection and South Guard Lake also provided great campsites.

Many of the other XC routes you've mapped (Kaweah, Center basins, Vidette canyon) are on my bucket list for the area in the future... I'll be curious what you find out there :) enjoy!

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commonloon
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Re: Circle of Solitude with more solitude? (route suggestion

Post by commonloon » Fri Aug 10, 2018 3:34 pm

Thanks Zwoij, that is exactly the kind of info I was hoping for.

Thanks also Levi. I was camped at Lake Reflection recently also (Little Joe's pass, then climbed Ericsson from there), one of my favorites as well. I'll post a TR after my return.

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Re: Circle of Solitude with more solitude? (route suggestion

Post by creekfeet » Sat Aug 11, 2018 6:30 pm

I'd highly recommend camping in Center Basin for a night. There's tons to explore out there, and there's spectacular views in all directions for sunset. Also the NPS is doing a frog restoration project in the lakes, and there are thousands of them hopping around in the first lake that's just north of the route. The little buggers are quite entertaining to watch. However, if you're looking to fish this certainly isn't the place to be.

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Re: Circle of Solitude with more solitude? (route suggestion

Post by kursavwilage » Sun Aug 12, 2018 2:02 am

Back in the 1980s I did a trip into the Kaweah basin by climbing along the south west side of the creek draining into Rockslide Lake with not too much trouble. The bushwhacking wasn't too terrible but, that was 40 years ago.
In 2009 I went up Cunningham Creek to Longley Pass by staying on the south side of the lower part of Cunningham Creek until the angle relaxed and then we crossed to the north side of the creek. On the lower part of the south side of Cunningham Creek the bushwhacking was horrendous consisting of mostly manzanita. You could avoid that whole area by traveling up from Colby Lake to Talus lake and getting to the Cunningham Creek area and Longley pass via Talus pass. This might help you avoid the Bushwhacking of lower Cunningham all together...
Sounds like a great trip.

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Re: Circle of Solitude with more solitude? (route suggestion

Post by kursavwilage » Sun Aug 12, 2018 2:06 am

One more thing : after Talus pass you would have to use Thunder ridge to get into Cunninham Creek....

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Re: Circle of Solitude with more solitude? (route suggestion

Post by commonloon » Sun Aug 12, 2018 9:08 am

Thanks creekfeet & kursavwilage, good info.

Sounds like I have a lot of options over there. I read in another (old) post by oldranger than there may be a cow/use trail on the North side of Cunningham also.

creekfeet -- gone by Center Basin numerous times but never been in it looking for to it.

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Re: Circle of Solitude with more solitude? (route suggestion

Post by thegib » Sun Aug 12, 2018 10:34 am

Crossing the shoulder of Thunder Mtn is easy and let's you descend Table Ck, which is a much nicer way down to the trail. Of course camping at 10400' next to Whaleback is a primo spot. One of my favorite spots is the outlet of Wales lake. It's very high 11700' but the view of Whitney over Hale and the wall with Carl Heller is spectacular.

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Re: Circle of Solitude with more solitude? (route suggestions)

Post by commonloon » Tue Aug 14, 2018 8:06 am

Thanks thegib. I'll check that out...

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