TR: Matterhorn Canyon, Spiller Creek Canyon, Little Slide Canyon, August 2019

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LMBSGV
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TR: Matterhorn Canyon, Spiller Creek Canyon, Little Slide Canyon, August 2019

Post by LMBSGV » Tue Jan 14, 2020 1:01 pm

Here is the trip report and photos from my trip last August to Matterhorn Canyon, Spiller Creek Canyon, and down Little Slide Canyon, including my accident that required helicopter rescue. Due to the blow-by-blow (pun intended) description of my accident, this report is extremely long. I hope the details may aid others if unfortunate enough to be in a similar situation. For those interested only in the account of the accident, that begins on page 20.

Inputting the scattered pages and pages of notes from my journal, I realized some of them could be interpreted as premonitions of the trip’s final day. I left those to stand as originally written.

The report is here:

http://laurencebrauer.com/Images/TripRe ... ler-19.pdf

For the photos, scroll down from here:

http://laurencebrauer.com/ASITHSTripReports.html








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Re: TR: Matterhorn Canyon, Spiller Creek Canyon, Little Slide Canyon, August 2019

Post by balzaccom » Tue Jan 14, 2020 2:52 pm

That's a really great story, Laurence. Thanks for posting it. Your enthusiasm for the scenery, and your gratitude for the people who helped you make it really lovely.

And your doctor's name really was Sierra???
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Re: TR: Matterhorn Canyon, Spiller Creek Canyon, Little Slide Canyon, August 2019

Post by wildhiker » Wed Jan 15, 2020 1:06 am

Thanks for the beautiful and very informative trip report. And such lovely photos! I agree that Matterhorn Canyon is really beautiful and felt lucky to camp in the open alpine bowl back in 2006. Your report makes me want to go back, and also to visit Spiller Canyon - the only one of the big northern Yosemite canyons that I have not seen (I've hiked the upper parts of Jack Main, Tilden, Stubblefield (truly magnificent), Thompson, Kerrick, Slide, Matterhorn, and Virginia canyons). I have the same problem you describe, however: I'm not as spry as I used to be, and most of these canyons are a long hike from anywhere!
-Phil

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Re: TR: Matterhorn Canyon, Spiller Creek Canyon, Little Slide Canyon, August 2019

Post by LMBSGV » Wed Jan 15, 2020 9:24 pm

Thanks balzaccom and wildhiker for your kind comments. Yes, the emergency room doctor’s name was Dr. Sierra Bourne. According to the bio on the Mammoth Hospital website, she grew up in Mammoth Lakes. My theory on why all the people at Mammoth Hospital were so excellent is that all the people have chosen to live there and work there. That was certainly true of all the doctors and nurses I met. And wildhiker, I found Spiller Creek Canyon a true hidden wonder and so definitely worth a visit. I’m hoping to get back there in late September by going out of Green Creek or Virginia Lakes.

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Re: TR: Matterhorn Canyon, Spiller Creek Canyon, Little Slide Canyon, August 2019

Post by stevet » Thu Jan 16, 2020 8:52 am

Laurence,
Awesome pictures and an inspiring tale of compassion, care, and graciousness. Thanks for sharing. All the best in your recovery and planned return to the Sierra this summer.

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Re: TR: Matterhorn Canyon, Spiller Creek Canyon, Little Slide Canyon, August 2019

Post by LMBSGV » Sun Jan 26, 2020 3:14 pm

Thanks. Steve.

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Re: TR: Matterhorn Canyon, Spiller Creek Canyon, Little Slide Canyon, August 2019

Post by kpeter » Sun Jan 26, 2020 10:11 pm

One of the most riveting trail reports I have ever read. Your photography is as lovely as your prose. And your desire to see just a few more places in the Sierra that you have missed--while your body will permit--closely parallels my own sentiments. I appreciate each trip so much more now than when I was a young man.

How fortunate that there were so many able to help you after your fall. I too fell dangerously in a creek once and I will never forget the sensation. Thank goodness you survived and are recovering, and no doubt plotting a way to get back to the Sierra.

By the way, I wonder if you considered going over Horse Creek Pass back to Twin Lakes rather than backtracking and taking Ice Lake Pass. I've never been in the vicinity--was just looking at the pass description on the HST Map, and Horse Creek Pass sounds attractive.

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Re: TR: Matterhorn Canyon, Spiller Creek Canyon, Little Slide Canyon, August 2019

Post by LMBSGV » Mon Jan 27, 2020 11:43 am

Thanks, kpeter. I thought about Horse Creek Pass, but decided not to go that way for several reasons. The first was I wanted to hike both directions and have two nights at a different location in Matterhorn Canyon. Also, the descent from Ice Lake Pass to the Barney Lake Trail is about 2,500 feet versus 3,600 feet for Horse Creek Pass down to Twin Lakes. My knees appreciate the shorter descent. The snow field at the top of Horse Creek Pass can be quite nasty difficult and I figured this year due to all the snow, it might have required crampons, which I don’t own or know how to use. From the other trip reports, Little Slide Canyon seemed really interesting and fun, which it was until I had my accident. The area around Ice Lake Pass I camped at the final night was incredibly gorgeous and unique.

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Re: TR: Matterhorn Canyon, Spiller Creek Canyon, Little Slide Canyon, August 2019

Post by Wandering Daisy » Mon Jan 27, 2020 2:02 pm

I have done both routes. Descent from Ice Lake is exceptionally scenic but the route is VERY tricky, and more technical. I did it with my daughter and we both had ice axes, cannot really remember if we used them. We DID use them on Burro? Pass (the one at the head of Matterhorn Canyon). We also had to wade the creek at the bottom which was pretty deep but not swift.

Horse Creek Pass is more strenuous but less technical and the route is obvious. I ascended Horse Creek Pass late season of a high snow year and the only issue I had was that I had to wait an hour for the snow to soften enough to kick a step. I did not take an ice axe, because the Ranger said I would not need one when I got my permit. The switchbacks up from Twin Lakes are well graded. Since I started late in the day I camped half way up, which broke the ascent into two parts.

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