Humphreys in orange-sherbet veils of rain. I strip for a quick baptism to wash off the 6,400 feet of climbing and five passes I've crossed since joining the Sierra High Route at Kings Canyon two days ago. On this burly, 200-plus-mile traverse, which crosses 33 passes and barely touches established trails, you can find Alaska-size scenery, complete solitude, and just enough risk to keep things interesting. He's podcasting once a day from his evening camp, and we'll be updating this map daily with a new waypoint showing where he's pitching his tent. However, the grandeur of these stark basins will reveal itself as we hike unencumbered by heavy packs. Please do not make non-refundable travel arrangements until notified to do so by the trip leader. The Mammoth Lakes Welcome Center (2510 Hwy. All along this last leg, I've been worrying about Stanton Pass, the last big crossing. Watch your step on Utah' Highline Trail. If you would like the list before signing up, let the leader know and he will send you a copy. We expect to travel about 6 miles, with 2,000 feet of ascent and 2,300 feet of descent. I sleep better, feel fitter, worry less, laugh more. It is our goal to feed you well so that you are well-fueled for our days of hiking. For Kings Canyon start: Apply via mail/fax ($15). Sleeping there will give us a night to acclimate to the high elevation and finish preparations for our journey. Participation in this outing requires that you be experienced, very fit, and have reasonable expectations for the trip. '", He didn't want it to start at Whitney ("too high, too crowded, too much talus"), so he spent the summers of 1978 to 1980 reconnoitering the route. How aggressive is doing headwaters (devils Postpile to tuolumne meadow) in 3 days? Hiking the High Sierra Trail. I've barely begun this trek, and already things are feeling surreal. Check on-line for current information. More than a dozen Forest Service and BLM campgrounds are in and around Mammoth Lakes (760-924-5500 info; 877-444-6777 reservations). Visit High Sierra. Yet every inch is also achingly beautiful. The immersion has been calming, purifying. This is some big, bad wilderness. Try climbing the standout Banner Peak, just around the corner from Mammoth Lakes. The High Sierra Trail Route - Sequoia National Park. We have the option to stop in Bishop to have dinner together. Permits Walk-in at Mammoth Welcome Center (see resupply, above). Descending on easy trail, high on fresh air, I reflect on the Sierra, the most beautiful of ranges. Matthew Kraft failed to return from his backcountry skiing trip on 5th March. We will explore Humphreys Basin on our way to Puppet Pass, our first cross-country pass. Downloading offline maps to a device is an alternative. Trip members arriving from other parts of the country can explore the option of flying to one of these major cities and sharing a rental car or arranging to ride with other hikers. The cold is a predator now, dogging my tracks, nipping my fingers every time I pause too long. Sequoia/Kings Canyon National Parks: (559) 565-3341; nps.gov/seki. Most evenings, we will discuss past and current issues affecting the Sierra, including mining, climate change, drought, and fires. "Climbing and hiking get you out into nature and away from these horrible f***ing cities, all that traffic and war and pestilence and sh**," he tells me when I call him for pre-trip beta. Sierra High Route & Southern Sierra High Route Southbound Itinerary ENTER at Horse Creek Trailhead in Mono Village on September 4,, 2019. However, we need volunteers to help setting up a car shuttle starting around 3 p.m. that day. limit; 559-249-4000; edisonlake.com). So I lace my boots tighter, cinch my pack, and begin inching north once again. Reluctant to retreat so soon into the journey, I test the terrain by downclimbing the top section without my pack. By now the pattern may be apparent: relatively short mileage over rugged terrain that will make for short backpacking days if the easiest route is found, conditions are good, and the group is moving quickly. "I was with my wife and sister-in-law," he recalls. Trip members will be divided into cook crews to assist preparing meals and washing the pots and pans afterward. And at least 10 million outdoorsy Californians live within a day's drive of the trailheads here. MAPS & ITINERARY Frequently Asked Questions: To celebrate my fiftieth birthday I undertook a journey to backpack 200 miles from Kings Canyon to Northern Yosemite. This tour was created from Steve Roper's Sierra High Route using Andrew Skurka's maps and points and takes the route northbound as described in the guides. Most of the days involving rugged high cross-country passes are only about 4-6 miles if a direct route can be followed. Published by The Mountaineers. Question. She’d never heard of it and I had only heard vague mention so I tromped off to the library to check out Steve Roper’s work of genius, Sierra High Route: Traversing Timberline Country. https://www.backpacker.com/trips/hiking-the-sierra-high-route I hiked the Sierra High Route with 2 friends as an alternate to the John Muir Trail while hiking the Pacific Crest Trail Southbound in 2017. There is surprisingly little written up on SP about trans-Sierra traverse via the High Sierra Trail. I'd hiked the hardest trails in America's wildest parks, and–humility be damned–I didn't find much challenge in them anymore. As 5 rated trips go, this would be considered an "easy" 5 because of the relatively short mileages on most moving days, compared to other trips with a 5 rating. It avoids the JMT crowds, the landscape is more spectacular, and the travel more challenging. The birds and marmots are silent until noon, when the sun briefly thaws the landscape again for a few hours. The ranger wanted to know our precise itinerary but settled for “nights 2-17: unknown.” But this route is the real deal. Driving directions will also be sent after we reserve specific campsites for the group. 203, 760-924-5500) is located a quarter-mile east of the PO. Check back soon. Join us if you're looking for spectacular scenery, solitude, and a cross-country adventure with like-minded hikers! Some of the group equipment is relatively bulky, particularly pot sets and bear canisters. Section 3 Mammoth Lakes to Twin Lakes Distance 77 miles; 8 to 10 days. We have the option to stop in Bishop to have dinner together. Bishop is located on the east side of the Sierra Nevada, about 200 miles from Reno, 265 miles from either Las Vegas or Los Angeles, and 300 miles from San Francisco. Right under Yosemite's nose is an extra-burly route that gave our battle-scarred veteran more than he bargained for: more scenery, more solitude, and more jaw-tightening risk. of sheep horns colliding. Food. We plan to hike 4 to 10 miles on travel days and intend to take one layover day. And then, suddenly, the weather turns warm and I spend an hour lounging on sun-baked slabs in Bench Canyon, watching miniature trout weave through rivulets pouring across the polished rock. Surrounded by granite, these lakes are remnants of the mighty glaciers that sculpted this remote landscape. Pioneered by Dave Beck in 1975, this ski tour became an instant classic. Trip members arriving from other parts of the country can explore the option of flying to one of these major cities and sharing a rental car or arranging to ride with other hikers. Section 1 Onion Valley to Bishop Pass Distance 64 miles; 7 to 10 days. It is a truly awesome route, but I couldn't help but think that since I'd already be in the high Sierra and so close […] Take US 395 and CA 203 through Mammoth Lakes to Mammoth Mountain Ski Resort and park. On the ascent, I run into the first person I've seen off-trail in 100 miles of hiking. Your pack should be sufficiently large to carry an item about the size of a full paper grocery bag (alternatively, four or five one-gallon milk jugs) in addition to your personal gear. At Soldier Lake, I'm only a day from trip's end. ). It's day nine, time for my first resupply. Whoops! Our objective is to enjoy spectacular landscape while completing the trip safely as a group. That will be for you to decide as we hike cross-country over the next six days to enjoy our above timberline alpine world leaving the crowds behind. Despite the protection of this area under the 1964 Wilderness Act, air pollution, logging, grazing, road building, and other threats to surrounding areas have a spillover effect. Today we travel about 4 miles, ascending 1,500 feet and descending 1,700 feet on steep, rough terrain. We hope to not only discuss the problems conservationists face but also to suggest specific actions that we can take to help solve or prevent them from becoming worse. Our hiking schedule is not rigid. If getting to the pass has not been too difficult, we may choose to climb either of these 13,000-foot peaks to eat lunch on its summit while we enjoy the stupendous views. Joffrey and I were initially intrigued with the Sierra High Route (SHR) after reading Alan Dixon’s description of his South Sierra High Route Extension.. Participants are encouraged to arrive a day or two early to more fully acclimatize to the high elevation encountered at the start of the hike. Sierra High Route Stage 5 This stage takes us by my favorite mountain in the range, Mt. The question doesn't even seem weird to my oxygen-starved brain, still ditzy from clambering across 11,500-foot Red Pass. Please note that the trip dates have changed from what was originally published. Steep, rocky, and often hazardous, it's thru-hiked only half a dozen times each year and requires more self-reliance and routefinding skill than the average trail hiker possesses. Here we’ll find waterfalls, stunning vistas, and a population of California Golden Trout inhabiting the pristine, brisk waters. The next day we cross Shepherd Pass before descending Tyndall Creek to If you have questions, please contact us. We will send a trip roster to all participants well before the trip in order to help facilitate ridesharing. Pretty psyched about it. ", Roper's nonchalance belies an almost religious passion for the region's history and landscape. Before the pass, we’ll head up into the Fourth Recess to enjoy our last lakeside camp, perched in a cirque surrounded by granite cliffs. So, having a strong start is essential. Enjoy. I blow through Yosemite on good trail. Participants are encouraged to arrive a day or two early to more fully acclimatize to the high elevation encountered at the start of the hike. The spasm of uncertainty is ironic, because the JMT is just three miles back, and I'd encountered 65 people on it in just three hours. These sections can be tiring and demanding. These sections are not for the faint of heart requiring focus, concentration and sure footedness. Resupply Use the post office on CA 203 in Mammoth Lakes, or Motel 6 (760) 934-6660, which is next door and will hold UPS/FedEx parcels. Lights on. Fall-you-die country. Forget what CNN and Your Daily News say about Yosemite's crowds and crime and traffic. Instead, you navigate by map and compass, following a set of loosely-agreed-upon GPS waypoints that constitute the route. If all goes well, after setting up camp, we will have time to explore, fish and relax. Additional lodging info: 888-466-2666; visitmammoth.com. Challenge, scenery, wilderness–the bar has been raised on all of them. The window of my Torrey, Utah, office looks out on a hedgerow. A waning moon paints a shimmering silver path across the black water. On Day 3 the Sierra High Route leaves the idyllic camp and ascends 600ft to Nancy Pass (10,200’), the conspicuous gap west of Peak 10,531. Surrounded by granite, these lakes are remnants of the mighty glaciers that sculpted this remote landscape. Best Maps I used the detailed and nicely illustrated Tom Harrison Kearsarge Pass, Kings Canyon High Country, Mono Divide High Country, Mammoth High Country, Yosemite High Country, and Hoover Wilderness maps. We will not do any technical rock-climbing using ropes and climbing aids; however, a short rope may be used to lower packs over a particularly difficult section. Your message will be delivered to John Plander and Mike Bolar. Leaving Bear Lakes Basin, we will work our way over the Mono Divide descending the Second Recess, one of four imposing glacier-carved hanging valleys that once terminated in an icefall, that dumped huge ice blocks and chunks of granite into the main valley below. A Berkeley boy who became a Yosemite dirtbag climber, he betrays a bit of hippie still, sprinkling his sentences with 'mans' and frequent profanities. Southern Trailhead See South Lake above. Flexibility is important. On this burly, 210-mile traverse, which crosses 33 passes and barely touches established trails, you can find Alaska-sized scenery, complete solitude, and just enough risk to keep things interesting. We'll draw upon resources such as the Sierra Club Bulletin and the writings of John Muir, Wallace Stegner, and others to gain inspiration and an appreciation of the history of wilderness conservation action. Giving your body an extra couple of days to adjust to high elevation can often make a big difference between enjoying the first days of the trip, or merely just enduring them. We chat and compare notes, two kindred spirits, but soon branch off, anxious to be back in our own spaces. Descending Gabbot, we head to another stunning campsite at Lower Mills Creek Lake. The High Sierra Loop is an adventure into some of the prettiest country in the entire Sierra Nevada Range and highlights the best of Yosemite's high country in just four days! Better go to Alaska. Low clouds hover above, creating an apocalyptic sky washed in deep blue. Lacking an ice axe or crampons, I cross the Glacier Divide via bouldery Alpine Col rather than steep, icy Snow Tongue Pass. 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