TR: Cathedral Range July 7-16 2018

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TR: Cathedral Range July 7-16 2018

Post by Stanley Otter » Fri Aug 10, 2018 10:17 pm

Hello Everyone,
This is the successful (!) version of the first half of the "epic fail" trip I took last year. My goal was to wander close to the crest of the Cathedral Range and add my little variation to Roper’s Sierra High Route by hiking through the Hutchings Creek and Lyell Fork drainages instead of the canonical Blue Lake Pass-Vogelsang Pass-Tuolumne Meadows route. I had completed a north-to-south version of the SHR to Humphreys Basin two years ago as part of a longer trip, and I wanted to see some of the more remote and hard to get to terrain I had bypassed.

As always, thank you to everyone who contributes to this forum, offers advice and writes up their own trip reports. This is a lovely, lovely resource and you are lovely, lovely people. For those who recall my gastro troubles on past trips and helped to troubleshoot that particular issue, I seem to have the upper hand for now with a revised diet and Daddy’s Little Helpers — lactase for mac & cheese nights, galactosidase for bean burrito nights, nothing extra (!) for TJ’s Harvest Grains and soup mix nights, acidophilus every morning, and calcium carbonate/anti-diarrheal if things start arumblin’. I also eliminated my Grape Nuts with Nido in the morning in favor of standard rolled oats (not quick) with golden raisins and dried dates — boring as hell, but it does give the stomach something substantial to work with for a while, and by adding enough brown sugar I managed to force it down each morning. Enough background and history — on to the good (?) stuff…

July 6 — Planes, Trains & Automobiles… and a Missed Bus, Too
My wife and youngest daughter drove me to the regional airport at the crack of dawn. Flight to Chicago uneventful. Slept much of flight to San Francisco. When I recovered my backpack at baggage claim it was apparent TSA had been through my food with a vengeance. It’s their new thing, apparently. They lost or confiscated my olive oil and left everything else in total disarray. Repacked in the baggage claim area. Took the Bay Area Rapid Transit downtown to the Transbay Temporary Terminal. The lunch time burrito from Senor Sisig truck was very good. Amtrak Thruway bus to southbound San Joaquins train at Emeryville uneventful, but they had a malfunctioning engine right out of the gate. Arrived late in Merced and Amtrak would not honor my YARTS ticket to YNP. If I had purchased the YARTS ticket through Amtrak they would have taken me to YNP by taxi as they did four others. Who knew? As it was, I spent the night at the Slumber Motel a mile and a half from the depot. $60.50 with tax tells you everything you need to know.

July 7 — Oof!
Up at 4:30 AM to walk to the depot to catch the first bus to YNP. The YARTS driver accepted my ticket from yesterday because he could not get the scanner to work to see if the computer would accept it. He saved me $14. A couple of Loud Talkers boarded at the first stop, so I got no catnap on the way up. Picked up my permit at 8:45 AM, thus not losing too much time versus having spent the night at the Backpackers Camp. Bought stove fuel and coffee and had some breakfast. On the trail by 10:00 AM. Incredibly difficult climb up Yosemite Falls Trail. Just brutal — I knew within 30 minutes this was going to be a different experience than any I had before. Not enough sleep? “Sudden” elevation change to 4000’ that morning? Pack too heavy at 43+ lbs with ten days rations? Aging? All of the above? Took four hours to reach the top, if you can believe that. Thirsty and winded the whole way up. I crashed and took a two and a half hour nap right on the rocks by Yosemite Creek — just laid my head on a pad and I was out. When I awoke and sat up, I scared the daylights out of a couple who had come up to sunbathe on a nearby rock in the stream while I was taking advantage of nature’s Slumber Motel — apparently I blend in well with the surroundings. Climbed to Yosemite Point and then down to 7000’ at Indian Canyon Creek where I made camp. Mosquitoes were not a problem.
0701 Half Dome -- Yosemite Pt.jpg
July 8 — Ugh!
On the trail by 8:15 AM. Hiked to North Dome with nice views of Yosemite Valley, Half Dome, and Clouds Rest. Hiked Indian Ridge to the “Natural Arch” which is a seriously funny, tiny little thing. Banged cross country 1600’ downhill to Snow Creek in about thirty minutes, watered up, and then climbed to the ridge north of Mt Watkins with nice views of Clouds Rest and Tenaya Canyon. Not feeling the love of the altitude all day. Having real trouble uphill. Hiking right next to the Tioga Pass Road was not so great in terms of a wilderness experience. More good views of Clouds Rest, Half Dome and Tenaya Canyon from Olmsted Point. Camped at 8100’ off-trail on the west bank of Tenaya Creek.
0801 Natural Arch.jpg
0802 Clouds Rest -- Olmsted Pt.jpg
July 9 — D’oh!
On my way at 8:15 AM for a short cross country jaunt to catch the trail to Sunrise Lakes. Very slow going again when gaining elevation. Just no get up and go. Nothing in the tank. Whatever. Pass by the Sunrise Lakes and have lunch at Sunrise High Sierra Camp. On the way into the maze that is SHSC, a very belligerent man with his son wants to know where I came from. Water spigot not running, so I climb well above sites to get some tannin saturated water. The same man comes by a little later with his friend who I had seen washing his feet in one of the Sunrise Lakes and asks me if I know that I am sitting on the trail, which happens to run by the sitting area with a fire ring where I am having lunch. Is it the altitude affecting my perceptions, or are these people just nasty? Cannot wait to get further off trail and away from the masses later today. After lunch I am on the JMT going north for one half mile and then I go east on the Echo Creek trail after saying hello to a packer leading her empty train back down from the camp. Get a good breathing rhythm going up and over to the Cathedral Fork of Echo Creek. Then off trail up the outlet stream of Matthes Lake. Nothing technical, just a mix of rocks, slabs, and grassy slopes — Class 2 hiking all the way. Really struggling, though, so even though it is only 2:45 PM I throw in the towel and make camp near the lake at 9600’. Spent the afternoon and evening reading and laying around admiring Matthes Crest and the meadow where I am camped.
0901 Cathedral Fork Echo Creek.jpg
July 10 — Off Trail: Matthes Lake to Evelyn Lake
On my way relatively late at 8:45 AM. Winded and dizzy in camp even before setting out. The 200’ climb to the ridge east of Matthes Lake just about did me in. Don’t know what is wrong, but the short hike and extended rest yesterday didn’t do it’s hoped for magic. I took the same route down the other side of the ridge as I did last year, no problem. Stopped at Nelson Lake for water and second breakfast. Stopped at Reymann Lake, too. Once I was over the pass and on the saddle northeast of Rafferty Peak I could see Evelyn Lake across the valley. Went straight down the slope, encountering very old stacks of cordwood which struck me as weird. Bit of a struggle going up the other side, so when I got to the outlet of Evelyn Lake I took another nap — only 45 minutes this time. All off trail from Matthes Lake to Evelyn Lake was simple Class 2 hiking. I intended to go on to Ireland Lake via the trails, but I just couldn’t continue past the unnamed lake to the east of Evelyn at elevation 10440’. Called it quits at 3:45 PM. Broke the dang flushing syringe for my Sawyer Seize (oops, I’m sorry — Squeeze). Doesn’t matter, it doesn’t clean up right and the flow is painfully slow. I suppose this is my fault — after all, before I read the directions I did happen to look into the wrong end of it once. Going to toss the thing when I am done with this hike and save myself 6 oz. Drank unfiltered/untreated water for the rest of the trip without incident — kind of liberating. I had Aqua Mira as a backup in case I thought conditions warranted its use.
1001 Matthes Crest.jpg
1002 Reymann Lake.jpg
1003 Fletcher & Vogelsang Peaks.jpg
July 11 — Off Trail: Ireland Lake to Maclure Lake
On my way at 8:30 AM. Not having much luck getting going early. Was winded and dizzy again this morning in camp and had some trouble maintaining a decent pace on the trail. As I approached Ireland Lake things got a little better. A couple was camped at the lake and was just getting back from a morning hike, so I waved to them from a distance — they were the last people I would see for five days. It took me two hours to get to the ridge top south of Amelia Earhart Peak. About a mile and a half and 900’ elevation gain over Class 2 hiking terrain. Ridiculous. Had lunch at the top. Unfortunately it started to cloud over — little did I know that this was the first of many an overcast and stormy afternoon to test me in the days to come. The descent was also easy Class 2, and I dropped a little low as I tried to contour around to Lake 11275’. The views of Mt Maclure and its glaciers were impressive despite the cloudy conditions. I had reached the ridge above Maclure Lake and had decided to press on to Russell Pass when I heard thunder coming from the north. That pretty much decided against the attempt, so I descended to the lake and set up camp very early at 11450’ on the shore of Maclure Lake. Water from the snowmelt was too cold to even think about washing up with. Some light rain. I also decided to stop taking my blood pressure pill, finally making the connection between dizziness and blood flow to the brain.

Dennis
1101 Pano South from AEP Ridge.jpg
1102 Lower Maclure Lakes.jpg
1103 Mt Maclure.jpg
1104 Maclure Lake.jpg
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Re: TR: Cathedral Range July 7-16 2018

Post by Stanley Otter » Fri Aug 10, 2018 11:22 pm

July 12 — Off Trail: Into Hutchings Creek Drainage
On my way at 7:45 AM. The ascent to Russell Pass makes its way through boulder fields and across snow fields. It was slow going again for me — it took 2 hours to get 800’ up to the top. As has been true since the start of the trip, I’ve got no reserves. The only potentially sketchy bit was the last 150’ or so, which was a steep talus slope that turned out to be quite stable. Class 2 scrambling required in a couple spots. The views from the top were great, and so was the cliff that dropped right off the other side. There was also a lone cluster of Sky Pilot right at the top. I thought I would have to retreat, but about 50 yards south of the low point next to some reddish colored rocks there was a safe way down. Safe-ish. The west side has a lot of loose sand and gravel between more stable areas of rock — I resorted to a couple Class 2 scrambles/down climbs near the top. The way to head down is just as Secor says, which is to the southwest. Lots of sliding around. The spot to head for from the west side of the pass is quite distinctive — there is a notch at the south end of the lowest point on the ridge. The red rocks stand out clearly from many vantages on the slopes below. I had a couple episodes of dizziness on the way down after sudden exertion. It took me an hour to descend to Lake 11572’ where I had some lunch. I spent the next couple hours wandering down the slopes to the lowest large lake in the Hutchings Creek basin. The clouds had rolled in again so I took photos of wildflowers instead of the mountains, hoping that tomorrow would be sunnier on my way up Hutchings Creek to Sluggo/Ingraham Pass. More thunderstorms to the south this time, so I made my way to the lake at 10250’ and set up my tent just in time to spend two quality hours waiting out the rain. Sups, then more rain.
1201 Mt Maclure.jpg
1202 Russell Pass.jpg
1203 Upper Hutchings Creek -- Russell Pass.jpg
1204 Russell Pass.jpg
1205 %22Lake 10250%22 Hutchings Creek.jpg
July 13 — Off Trail: Into Lyell Fork Drainage
On my way at 8:15 AM. Made my way up the Hutchings Creek drainage. Very scenic despite mostly overcast conditions. Lots of bear scat, no bears. Wandered around the lakes until there was no choice but to tackle Ingraham Pass. The approach is grassy with boulders strewn about. The way steepens quickly and consists of stable talus. I followed a wall on the left /northeast until I reached a steeply sloped slab of bare rock. At that point I crossed over to a chute with consolidated snow and a nice gap between it and another rock wall. At this point, instead of the route up the chute you could go up the rock slope, which is steeper initially and might require some scrambling. Further along I had to abandon the chute as the gap had narrowed and the snow field was too steep to attempt without crampons. A little higher up at about 11400’ there is a shelf that gives a nice resting spot before the last 100’. There is a handy wall that leads up and to the right that I took to the top. No Sky Pilot at the top, although there was a healthy specimen of columbine. The views over the middle reaches of the Lyell Fork drainage are impressive from the top. The entire arc of mountains from Mt Lyell to Mt Ansel Adams can be seen. Descending is simply a matter of choosing your path. There are two small flat areas with meadows that make good intermediate goals. There is a very nice lunch rock not too far beneath the second that has nice views. The remainder of the descent is typical Class 2 terrain consisting of boulders and talus. One or two spots required scrambling for the path I chose. After reaching the lakes at the base of the Pass I decided to take a tour of the upper reaches of the Lyell Fork drainage. Lots of typical Class 2 hiking to attain various vantage points. At the top you can enjoy being overshadowed by the peaks looming above Lake 11311. Quite a show. Following the creek down was challenging in spots because of steep cliffs that form short sections of narrows. At about 4:30 PM it started to rain and there was no suitable site for a tent. By the time I found a high gulley just below Lake 10999’ it was pouring rain. Eventually I got the tent pitched and everything inside. My hiking gear was saturated but my sleeping bag and spare clothes were fine. As I did my best to keep wet and dry separate it began to hail and pour down in earnest. Supper, reading, worrying about the weather, and finally sleep. Felt good and strong all day today — it only took me a week to acclimate!

Dennis
1301 Middle Hutchings Creek Drainage.jpg
1302 Middle Hutchings Creek Drainage.jpg
1303 Sluggo-Ingraham Pass.jpg
1304 Sluggo-Ingraham Pass.jpg
1305 Middle Lyell Fork Drainage.jpg
1306 Lyell Fork -- Lake 11311.jpg
1307 Lyell Fork Merced.jpg
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Re: TR: Cathedral Range July 7-16 2018

Post by Stanley Otter » Sat Aug 11, 2018 9:26 am

July 14 — Off Trail: Over Foerster Ridge and Blue Lake Pass
On my way at 9:30 AM because I waited for the sun to peak over the mountains to help dry my stuff. Way too late to be starting given this weather pattern, as we shall see. I continued down the Lyell Fork drainage and eventually left the stream because it entered some cascades. Views of individual lakes and back across to Ingraham Pass were excellent. Crossed the main stream where it becomes braided at about 10400’ and then climbed back up to see the waterfalls. Eventually left the lake system to climb to the Foerster Ridge crossing. From afar it certainly did not look Class 2, but that proved to be an illusion due to some cliffs that obscured the actual crossing point. I approached from the northwest over low angled boulder fields that increased in steepness but were very stable. A high meadow was the goal for the first stage. From there it was steep Class 2 hiking on talus. After crossing a ridge of rubble that separated my route from the main drainage, the angle of ascent decreased and the boulders became quite large. A little scrambling was required to follow the stream up into the cirque. Once there, I could see the Class 2 route over the top was legitimate. For the last push, I chose to go up on the far left/south, aiming for a ledge that I could follow across the face of the ridge. This way quickly turned into a Class 2 scramble that was quite steep. But the slope consisted of nice sized (according to me) and very stable boulders. From the bottom, it seemed other routes up to the ledge were possible, but they appeared to consist of looser talus and gravel. After crossing over on the ledge, the last 50’ or so was a very steep scramble but never with significant exposure. The other side is a walk off into a gently sloped boulder field with a few patches of grass. As I rounded the northwest shoulder of Foerster Peak it started to rain lightly. I put my rain gear on and a short while later there was a lightning strike less than a quarter mile away. How do I know? “<FLASH!>Holy sh<BOOM!>” lasted well under one second. By the time I found a suitable spot to pitch my tent I was being pelted with pea size hail accompanied by heavy rain. I managed to pitch the tent awkwardly and get everything inside to sit it out. At that point I noticed I was in the middle of a drainage path — a river was soon running under and around my tent. After the hail stopped, I moved the tent and gear to a better spot, but once again I was soaked. The storm passed over in about an hour, and after reading the skies to the south and west I decided to press on to Blue Lake Pass. For once, I made the right call and the crossing was no problem. The view of Banner, Ritter and the Minarets socked in by heavy weather was spectacular. Very Mordor, if I do say so myself. From my previous trip through the area, I remembered to stay high after crossing the pass and found the chute down to the upper lake without flailing about. Camped at Blue Lake. Dried clothes, watched marmots, had sups. Definitely making it an early morning tomorrow to avoid another foreshortened hiking day.

Dennis
1401 Lake 10702 Lyell Fork.jpg
1402 %2210400 Lakes%22 Lyell Fork.jpg
1403 Sluggo-Ingraham Pass from the east.jpg
1404 Foerster Ridge from Lake 10217.jpg
1405 Foerster Ridge from hanging valley.jpg
1406 Foerster Ridge at the top.jpg
1407 Peak 12113 & Lake 10217.jpg
1408 Mt Ansel Adams from Foerster Ridge.jpg
1409 View West from Foerster Ridge.jpg
1410 Banner Ritter & Minarets.jpg
1411 Banner Ritter & Minarets.jpg
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Re: TR: Cathedral Range July 7-16 2018

Post by Stanley Otter » Sun Aug 12, 2018 9:21 am

July 15 — Off Trail: Upper North Fork San Joaquin River Basin
On my way at 7:00 AM, wanting to make sure to get as much hiking in before any potential storms brewed up. Within yards of camp, I slipped on wet granite and landed right on my ass. Hurt for more than a week. Bench Canyon was beautiful in the morning sun. I took a different route over the southeast ridge of Peak 11537 than I did two years ago to avoid my nemesis Old Man Willow. This time I went northeast up to a ledge that took me over the trouble spot, rather than a more gradual easterly approach. My theoretical goal for the day was to cross saddle between Peaks 3551 and 3528 on Electra Peak’s southeast ridge line in order to descend the North Fork San Joaquin River basin. (This undoubtedly has a name, but I could not locate it in my copy of Secor — Boone wants to claim discovery and call it Boone’s Saddle. I am trying to temper his enthusiasm until I can confirm.) From a distance it looked formidable, but I decided to get close enough for a good inspection. Turned out to be doable as a Class 2 scramble. I ascended a river of boulders to the head wall and then turned right/east to a higher point that does not require technical climbing. Views from the top are spectacular and well worth the effort. Descent is steep and stable talus at the very top followed by loose gravel and sand at a lower angle. Further down I was able to hop on a large snow field and “ski” my way down. Views of lower lakes from atop higher cliffs were also impressive. Crossed to the east side of the river as soon as practical to avoid crossing lower where additional waters contribute to the flow. Successful route down the east side with nothing more difficult than an occasional Class 2 scramble. Nice view of North Twin Island Lake on approach. My intended route was down the North Fork San Joaquin River valley to Dike Creek. The waterfall on the stream that drains the Ritter Lakes was going full tilt from the recent rains. I needed to get across the stream in order to access the unmaintained trail on the other side. I eventually got pinched out at the confluence of the Ritter/San Joaquin flows and had to backtrack to a spot where it was possible to do a wet crossing. Waters were swift, cold and knee deep. Eventually I picked up the trail, which appears and disappears until fairly far downriver where it is more heavily traveled. Passed through Stevenson Meadow which was aswarm with mosquitoes. Finally set up camp at Slide Creek after a 12+ hour day. Exhausted. Few bugs. Supper and bed.

Dennis
1501 Bench Canyon.jpg
1502 Boone Saddle.jpg
1503 Boone Saddle.jpg
1504 Boone Saddle.jpg
1505 Boone Saddle.jpg
1506 Boone Saddle.jpg
1507 Upper NFSJ Basin.jpg
1508 Electra Peak.jpg
1509 Upper NFSJR Basin.jpg
1510 Upper NFSJR Basin.jpg
1511 Upper NFSJR Basin.jpg
1512 Upper NFSJR Basin.jpg
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Re: TR: Cathedral Range July 7-16 2018

Post by Stanley Otter » Sun Aug 12, 2018 11:12 am

July 16 — Death March: Literal & Figurative
On my way at 7:00 AM. Message came in last night that my youngest daughter’s guinea pig was dying. Daddy’s presence via FaceTime was requested to console my daughter and say goodbye or perhaps strengthen the spirits to the point of recovery of Arwin (sic — inspiration from Tolkien, but alt spelling clearly demonstrates teenage independence). A room at the Cinnamon Bear Inn had been reserved for tonight, and my task was to get to Devils Postpile in time for last shuttle to Mammoth Lakes at 7:45 PM. Right-o. So I started by falling into Slide Creek right outside of camp — just my usual morning goof :derp: and merely fell onto my knees. I left the trail before Hemlock Crossing to cut over the ridge below Peak 2543 to access the Dike Creek drainage. Then I fell into Dike Creek :rolleyes: — a full sit down this time up to mid-belly and got my phone and camera wet. Both survived. Ascended Dike Creek on the right/southeast side, most often well away and above the water. Steep. Locating the stream coming down from McDonald Pass is a simple matter, but the climb to the small basin just below the pass is extremely steep. First through meadows and then more rocky terrain. I began on the right/southwest side and then crossed over to the left/northeast at a spot that shall not be described for the sake of marital accord. Basically a small pool between one free-fall cascade and another. Not wide, not technical, just a long way down. Gulp. :eek: Views of the Minarets were superb all the way up. Near the lip of the basin there is a notch to follow on the left/northeast, parts of which are like climbing one extension ladder after another. From the basin it looks as though there are two options to go over the pass, one left/north and the other right/south. I took the south option, which put me on a descent path that looked significantly less steep than the north route. During the final stage of the ascent I made use of a snowfield to make relatively rapid progress and then crossed a boulder field to the top. The views of the Iron Creek basin from the top showed the sweep of the valley. Across the way, Beck Lakes Pass is clearly visible. A small herd of deer bounded away down below as I began my descent. Talus and boulder fields lead down. All Class 2 hiking and many options with stable surfaces. I tried to contour around the head of the valley as best I could. Probably did as much additional up and down as taking a more direct path right across the valley. Going up had been incredibly slow all day long. I was acclimated to the elevation but my leg muscles were just fatigued. Absolutely no reserves, and I tried to ration my dried fruits through the day. What I really wanted was handfuls of jelly beans or some such pure sugar. None to be had, and I could not stomach the peanut butter and tortillas that I had left. Beck Lakes Pass from the west is pretty straightforward. You can take advantage of ramps in many places and keep the boulder hopping to a minimum. The east side is steep with some loose talus and gravel near the top. I kept near the wall of the chute on the left/east for the upper portion. There is a reasonably large flat area that overlooks the upper Beck Lake that I did some Class 2 scrambling to access. From there I descended steep grassy slopes eventually making my way to the north shore of the lake. The lower Beck Lake can be passed on either the north or the south. I chose the north and found a use trail that fades in and out. There is a long section of the shore that consists of a steep boulder field leading directly into the lake. Eventually I emerged and followed the outlet stream to Superior Lake. Partway down the use trail becomes reliable. Very long march down to Devils Postpile — just dragging along, pushing myself. Met my first people in five days on the JMT. Noticed haze and smelled smoke from the Ferguson Fire for the first time — it had started while I was out and about. Made it to the ranger station at 7:35 PM, rinsed my head and put on a clean shirt just before the shuttle arrived at 7:50 PM. Shivered and shook the whole way down from exhaustion. Because it was the last run of the day, the driver took me beyond the ski park and into town just a half block from the Cinnamon Bear Inn for which I was extremely grateful. Made contact with the fam at the same time as trying to check into a room that already had a French couple installed in it. Confusion prevails as I learn the guinea pig had died that afternoon. Mammoth Brewing kitchen was closed by the time I arrived, so I grabbed a four-pack of IPA 395, and had a small pie at John's Pizza Works and a salad instead. Excellent. Showered, tried to rinse some of the horror out of my socks and went to bed. RIP Arwin. :(

The End.
Dennis
1601 Dike Creek.jpg
1602 Climbing toward McDonald Pass.jpg
1603 Dike Creek.jpg
1604 Chute near McDonald Pass basin.jpg
1605 McDonald Pass.jpg
1606 Minarets.jpg
1607 Iron Creek.jpg
1608 Beck Lakes Pass.jpg
1609 Minarets.jpg
1610 Beck Lakes Pass.jpg
1611 Upper Beck Lake.jpg
1612 Upper & Lower Beck Lakes.jpg
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Re: TR: Cathedral Range July 7-16 2018

Post by giantbrookie » Sun Aug 12, 2018 8:42 pm

Quite the epic. I was waiting for all the parts of this trip to be posted. Terrific story, including the account of getting to the kickoff point by public transportation. That is some marvelous country. I've been over much of this, but over the course of multiple trips from different trailheads. I particularly like the Lyell Fork. That is a really special place and I don't ordinarily rank a fishless drainage so high on my list. That was part of one of my favorite layover dayhikes of all time: a loop that began at Blue Lakes went over Foerster, then to the Lyell Fork, then over Electra, then back. I also very much like the "west side" views of the Ritter Range from Blue L. to the N. Fork. The Ritter Range are among the few Sierra ridgelines that are as impressive from the west as they are from east (the Palisades is another one).
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" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

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Re: TR: Cathedral Range July 7-16 2018

Post by mrphil » Sun Aug 12, 2018 9:00 pm

That's a really unique TR. I enjoyed it and find myself wanting to replicate it. Beautiful pics and comments for route analysis, too.

I'm wondering what made you start down in the Valley though instead of up at TM someplace like behind Elizabeth Lake and up through the slots below Cockscomb to get up to Nelson and Reymann? It almost seems anticlimactic and an unnecessary evil in the bigger scope of your trip.

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Re: TR: Cathedral Range July 7-16 2018

Post by wildhiker » Sun Aug 12, 2018 11:58 pm

Thanks for the report on your epic trip! Your timing was impeccable - just before the Ferguson and Lions wildfires started smothering Yosemite Park and surroundings in smoke.
-Phil

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Re: TR: Cathedral Range July 7-16 2018

Post by Stanley Otter » Mon Aug 13, 2018 12:01 am

giantbrookie wrote:
Sun Aug 12, 2018 8:42 pm
Quite the epic. I was waiting for all the parts of this trip to be posted. Terrific story, including the account of getting to the kickoff point by public transportation. That is some marvelous country. I've been over much of this, but over the course of multiple trips from different trailheads. I particularly like the Lyell Fork. That is a really special place and I don't ordinarily rank a fishless drainage so high on my list. That was part of one of my favorite layover dayhikes of all time: a loop that began at Blue Lakes went over Foerster, then to the Lyell Fork, then over Electra, then back. I also very much like the "west side" views of the Ritter Range from Blue L. to the N. Fork. The Ritter Range are among the few Sierra ridgelines that are as impressive from the west as they are from east (the Palisades is another one).
Thanks for the note. I know from reading some of your previous posts you are an avid fisherperson, so your appreciation of the Lyell Fork drainage is high praise indeed. I hope to get back there some day when the sun shines more reliably, and I wouldn't mind trying my talus-hopping boots at one of those other cross-country passes that you must have used. Did you return to Blue Lake over Old Bones Pass?

I am working on my second half TR where I put some SHR and SoSHR bits together in SEKI, and based on what you say I think I will have to explore the east side of the Palisades sometime soon. My Dusy Basin to Palisade Basin day this summer was a little under the weather, too, but I had a pretty sweet day going over Mather Pass again. Maybe I can do a west-side/east-side thing -- I will look into that.

I remember a post of yours on the Beyond the Sierra board about leading a geology field trip to Newfoundland or New Brunswick a year or two ago. I have been meaning to follow up and will do so -- I spent a couple summers working on a radar glaciology project back in college, but like an idiot I went straight into physics in graduate school instead of switching to geology and maybe going to the south pole to study ice streams like some others involved in the project. I have an abiding what-if soft spot for geology and go to as many of the seminars on my campus as possible in order to absorb as much as I can. So here's one that I am going to ask my geology colleagues the next time we are out for Friday beers: what's a quartzite (I think) outcropping like this doing in a place like this on the south slopes of Foerster Peak near Blue Lake Pass?

1412 Outcropping.jpg

The contrast to what surrounds it is striking to me, but what the heck do I know? Everything else around seems to be the usual granitic rocks, so to the untrained civilian eye this is way out of place. Do you think this a remnant of all the other top layers that have eroded away? Or is it the result of some more complex geologic event? Any undergraduate level explanations would be appreciated. :nod:

Dennis
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Roaring in my ears,
the mountain temple's silence.
Nobody else here!
-- Edith Schiffert

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Re: TR: Cathedral Range July 7-16 2018

Post by Stanley Otter » Mon Aug 13, 2018 12:26 am

mrphil wrote:
Sun Aug 12, 2018 9:00 pm
That's a really unique TR. I enjoyed it and find myself wanting to replicate it. Beautiful pics and comments for route analysis, too.

I'm wondering what made you start down in the Valley though instead of up at TM someplace like behind Elizabeth Lake and up through the slots below Cockscomb to get up to Nelson and Reymann? It almost seems anticlimactic and an unnecessary evil in the bigger scope of your trip.
Thanks. There are a few reasons I started in the Valley: 1) The biggest reason is I have a "I have to earn it" thing, which is part of my stereotypical midwestern upbringing. As another example of this, three years ago on my alt-JMT trip when I "discovered" the Sierra, I started in the Valley and hiked up to Glacier Point in order to satisfy my Illilouette entry point and continued on to Red Peak Pass and Vogelsang Pass over the next couple days before dropping into Lyell Canyon (I didn't win one of the Golden Tickets from Happy Isles, but I did *just* sneak under the wire before the Donohue Pass exit quota was instated, and I got a day and a half of complete solitude on the trail). 2) It also helps (or this year, it didn't seem to help at all) with acclimating to high elevation hiking. I live at a whopping 800' above sea level, and I have found I need to ease into it. 3) My public transportation connections coming from the midwest mean I have to suffer the intense anxiety of a mere 30 minute layover in Phoenix for a flight to Reno that gets me on an ESTA bus to Mammoth Lakes that enables me to take the YARTS bus the next morning to Tuolumne. Been that way for years now, with the loss of a couple minutes of layover each time I make the trip. I wanted the "safety" of the SF option, and you can see how that worked out. :rolleyes: 4) I did the Reno thing last year on my failed trip, so I had been through the Budd Lake region and over the Echo Peaks once before. Since I have only been to YNP a couple times before I thought I would see some other parts I have not visited, which are not remote but still turned out to be worth the time.

But you are correct: it took me much longer than anticipated to get to Matthes, Nelson and Reymann Lakes. I had originally intended to explore some of the Clark Range on this trip, but my shortened days due to acclimation issues at the start, and the shortened days due to a few days of early, heavy rain meant I had to give that up. TMI, I know, but there you have it. Thanks again.

Dennis
Roaring in my ears,
the mountain temple's silence.
Nobody else here!
-- Edith Schiffert

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