Dixon’s website points out that the SoSHR has 14 passes over 11,000’ in elevation, compared with the JMT’s 4, and the SoSHR crosses the Sierra Crest 8 times, compared with the JMT’s single crossing. Along Bubbs Creek on the way up Forester Pass. Eventually, we reached Kearsarge Lakes and made camp at one of the obvious campsites near the second highest lake. Fortunately this didn’t impact us too significantly. Each time, I’ve found it to be a long climb with great views. Day One: Crescent Meadow to Nine Mile Creek – 8.8 miles, 1,410′ ascent. August 15, 2020 - August 24, 2020. The view over the larger Glacier Creek Lake as the storm cleared. Despite the low mileage measured by GPS, we had done a pretty full day and slept well. Fortunately, we rose to only partly cloudy skies and beautifully clear air. The access is roughly equivalent as well, permits are sort-of difficult to get in both places, and you can easily reach all trailheads involved in a few hours drive in a standard rental car from a nearby airport. We found some difficult, but very fun climbing along the ridge to the summit. The beautiful blue sky over Mount Mallory was a welcome relief from the haze that had blown over us over the past few days. As we passed above the small lake due west of Palisade Lakes, we were treated to a stunning reflection of Norman Clyde Peak, Middle Palisade, and Disappointment Peak. Ready to climb Mount Whitney! Sierra High Route July 2008 A rugged 195-mile hike with over 100 miles of off-trail travel, through both idyllic sub-alpine forest and tedious talus fields. We searched for a cave to hide in, but had to make do huddling under a large tree. On our way down the Dusy Basin Trail, we ran into a lone hiker, Cameron, who was getting off the Sierra High Route to pick up a resupply. The view of the switchbacks on the Mount Whitney Trail below Mount McAdie, Arc Pass, and some of the crest peaks to the south (Mount Mallory, Corcoran, LeConte, Langley, and Cirque Peak) from near the summit of Mount Muir. In retrospect, I think this may have been from a Pyrocumulonimbus cloud which grew above the SQF Complex (more on this later...), but I don’t know if the timelines line up exactly. As the rain passed, a beautiful rainbow framed the lakes and mountains behind. View of the setting sun over Lower Palisade Lake and Devil’s Crags on the horizon. If you’re out there in the summer, you should expect to see lots of people as you pass through these areas. We made it back to camp in mid-afternoon as it tried to thunderstorm all around us. This one has the South Face Right Side route which climbs the talus (and probably sand) gully to class 3 terrain on the headwall. Views of the impressive north face of Junction Peak. We ascended more or less directly up the middle, as described in the guide. Treasure Lakes will require you stay one day just off the Bishop Pass Trail before heading off. This section was high, beautiful, featured long stretches of easy cross-country travel, and was very quiet except for the Whitney Zone. We took advantage of the cell phone service on the summit to check the weather forecast and the status of the fires, finding nothing too threatening. Enter the Sierra High Route (SHR). Yosemite National Park has 5 High Sierra Camps arranged in a 49-mile loop. Tomorrow we would be presented with a choice between following the JMT or the Mount Baxter alternate. Want to explore our route in detail? Unfortunately, it was getting later in the day and some clouds had begun to move in. Bishop and Saddlerock Lakes, and even Mount Humphreys, from Bishop Pass. who are you? We briefly lost the trail when it hit the headwall just below Iceberg Lake, but it was easy enough to figure out which way to go (up!) The mosquitoes attacked from dusk ’til morning. The view north to Window and Pyramid Peaks. Compared to the John Muir Trail (JMT), the SoSHR is higher and more remote. So starting from Tuolumne Meadows, you can complete the circuit in 6 days’ hiking. Andrew Skurka: Sierra High Route Mapset & Data Book. To the east of the Dusy Basin trail rises the fourth highest mountain in California: North Palisade, and several of its 14,000’ neighbors. For more on the High Sierra Trail, including getting permits, read High Sierra Trail Trip Report. It was pretty obvious to us that we were being smoked out and it was time to get out of the mountains. At this point, we just had to follow the trail up and over New Army Pass. National Geographic Adventure Magazine chose the Sierra High Route as one of the Best New Backpacking Trips. We came down the upper sand hill trending descender’s right until the rock band, where we cut hard descender’s left until we were back on the sand. Quickly, we were greeted with a large field of enormous boulders which slowed progress to a crawl. Mount McAdie from Arc Pass. Views down Woods Creek. The High Sierra Trail has two great ascents – the first one over Kaweah Gap and the Great Western Divide, and the second over the Eastern Sierra and Trail Crest at Mt. We spent the night in Bishop before heading back to South Lake to fetch our other car. After what felt like many hours, we finally found the enormous Sky Blue Lake, and the trail that circles its south, east, and north shores. We decided to rest for a bit and then see if we could get over Cirque Pass and down to the JMT. Feel free to reach out to me if you have more specific questions. We didn’t have time to pack up and continue south, so we camped at Kearsarge Lakes again. And it was very clean, from the many thousands of people who have climbed and descended this route over the years. We did decide to sleep in the next morning to give me a bit more time to recover, which led to a late start on our first day. So, we marched through darkness for a couple of hours back to the trailhead, which we reached some time around 10. There wasn’t anything too technically challenging until the final 600 or 800’, it was just a long boulder slog. Our ranger friend had warned us of imminent rain. You can recreate some of the more helpful guide materials on your own by copying relevant comments onto a map, and creating your own waypoints and datasheets, but it’s a lot of work. The weather didn’t look ideal, but we figured we’d be able to get off the summit before noon which meant we should be able to avoid the worst of any afternoon thunderstorms which the cloudy morning skies portended. Mount Mallory and Mount LeConte from the sandy traverse to Mount Irvine. We hiked down until we found a sheltered campsite near some water and made camp for the night as it got dark. Those little bastards swarmed us all night. The Southern Sierra High Route is about a 100 mile mostly off trail route that attempts to explore the southeast region of the Sierra that Sierra High Route does not venture into. We made camp along the southeast shore. Eventually we worked up the courage to leave our hiding place, encouraged by seeing the group we had met earlier, who seemed relatively unfazed. After reading Dixon’s description of Junction and Shepherd Passes, combined with the smoke from this day, we decided to cross Forester Pass instead. Rae Lakes was crowded as usual, but most people were at the designated camping area, or on their way there from Glen Pass. No need to register, buy now! In all, it’s an impressive line along the highest part of the Sierra Crest. The route up to Iceberg Lake was quite easy to follow, though it’s more of a network of trails than a single, well-defined path. A glorious night’s sleep in the hotel bed was had. Whitney.From the grandeur of Hamilton Lakes Basin and Precipice Lake, to the awe inspiring Big Arroyo and Kern River Valley, the High Sierra Trail is some of the best that Sequoia National Park has to offer. The class 3 section on Mount Muir is not long, but it’s quite tricky with a delicate slab move near the top. It summits Mount Whitney via the Mountaineer’s Route and follows the Whitney Trail south past Trail Crest, before leaving the trail again to cross Discovery and Crabtree Passes and enter the Miter Basin. There was another large group camped in the small forest here, some with their tents only a few feet off the trail, and three or four other groups near the creek, but we managed to find a slightly isolated spot. The nearest oak trees to our west that I could think of are in the Kern River Canyon, ten miles away. The climb up and down Mount Carillon took less than an hour and was definitely worth the short diversion. One last thing about the logistics. Southern Sierra High Route An Alternative To The Jmt Author: learncabg.ctsnet.org-Jana Fuhrmann-2020-11-30-21-25-55 Subject: Southern Sierra High Route An Alternative To The Jmt Keywords: southern,sierra,high,route,an,alternative,to,the,jmt Created Date: 11/30/2020 9:25:55 PM Here’s the view of the headwall above Wallace Lake. Wallace Lake and Mount Barnard. Classic JMT views of East Vidette along the drop to Lower Vidette Meadow. I’m fairly confident that the sole lightning strike we heard, which occurred in the early evening, was a pyrocumulonimbus thunderstorm fueled by rising air from the wildfire just a few miles to our southwest, an indication of extreme wildfire behaviour. So, should you do it? The scenery only improves entering the Dusy Basin and leaving the crowds behind with the sharp south turn towards Knapsack Pass. South Sierra Nevada Region - GPX - Download Summary. The route starts at Bishop Pass Trailhead and ends at the Cottonwood Lakes Trailhead. However, we knew the only hazard in our alpine setting was smoke and made a plan to monitor conditions and hurry out if they deteriorated. We stopped for lunch at the north end of the lowest Rae Lake. We decided to put a mile or so behind us and find the better sites Dixon mentions up the trail. Secor’s rating (class 1) of the From Arc Pass route on Mount Irvine is obviously wrong as the first step in the route description is to cross Richins Pass, which is listed as class 2-3 (I’d say 2). And from midway down the loose sand-slope south of Discovery Pass. While the skies cleared over us, it was pretty cloudy to the north. From Crabtree Pass I was able to get a good shot of the massive sand slope south of Discovery Pass. It is a rugged alternate to the John Muir Trail (JMT), boasting about… Even in retrospect, it’s difficult to determine whether the glow was from a smaller, northern fire like the Shotgun Fire, or the larger Castle Fire (both of these were later renamed the SQF Complex Fire) farther south. Also, we were quite intimidated by the route from below. We found the routefinding to the pass quite easy. We stopped and looked around for a little bit, but couldn’t find it. The talus was large and a bit loose in places, but not bad. Description The SHR is a 195-mile trekking route that runs north-south through the heart of the High Sierra, the crown jewel of the Sierra Nevada Range. It’s missing a lot of the micro-route and historical/geological information of the more detailed guides, the map has no comments, and the datasheet is much coarser - there are only a dozen or so waypoints. In the meadows below New Army Pass, we ran into a group setting up camp on their northbound hike of the John Muir Trail, half of them wearing N95 masks. Fortunately, I felt progressively better all day and was well enough to walk the next day. There was an empty tent at Upper Boy Scout Lake with food sitting out in the open, dozens of wag bags stashed just off of the trail, blatant construction projects at both Upper Boy Scout and Iceberg Lake, and a few groups making little effort to be quiet after dark. We set out just after 5 o’clock as the clouds churned overhead. We didn’t even entertain the idea of stopping to camp for a night, opting instead to finish our hike by headlamp. The formation at center is only 1 mile away from where this picture was taken. Marbella. Want to hear Blake and Julie narrate the trip report in silly voices? We’d have to go over Kearsarge Pass tomorrow to get our resupply. Passing Vidette Meadow we had to chuckle. Enjoy. On our way down, the clouds opened up and spit rain on and off for an hour. Mount Russell (again, but this time from the south) above Iceberg Lake. The tip of Amphitheater Lake poking out from its high basin under cloudy skies. While it would have been nice to delay our start a day, anyone who backpacked in the Sierra in 2020 knows this wasn’t an option due to the restrictive permitting process. The climbing up the main chute was not very difficult, more class 2/3 than 3. Fish rising in one of the Timberline Lakes. A singed oak leaf that fell from the sky. These pictures were taken a good two or three hours before sunset. The view back over Lake Marjorie, with Mount Ruskin in the background. Not long after, we saw them behind us heading east over New Army Pass. Like I’ve said before, I wouldn’t recommend this for your first backpacking trip, but it’s a good candidate for a first High Route. It wasn’t long before we picked up the use trail along Rock Creek which was quite easy to follow. If only we had known back then. Near the crest of Cirque Pass, Mount Sill appeared along the crest horizon. Jul 27, 2015 - The Southern Sierra High Route (SoSHR) is a superb alternative to the JMT for the adventurous traveler. We support the Responsible Travel Code which asks visitors to travel with RESPECT by committing to seven best practices when exploring the Golden State.. At the time, this seemed a better idea than kneeling in the field of small boulders we were in. They asked us if they would be safe camping there. It’s difficult not to describe the miles from here to Wrights Creek Pass (or the Center Basin turnoff) as “filler,” but at least it’s good filler. Mount McAdie from Crabtree Pass. We spent a couple of hours hiding from the rain as it passed through a few times before enjoying a lovely sunset. This map was created by a user. Heading south through the Upper Basin with great views of Vennacher Needle and the other peaks nearby. This is the easiest of the three, and the Wind River High Route is the most difficult. In fact, it is often confused with the “High Sierra Trail,” which is an actual trail. I hope you enjoy reading about my trip! We left the trail just a bit south of Trail Crest and headed directly south for Discovery Pass. If this is very important to you, you should probably think about skipping or modifying this route. We were not able to find the “obvious narrow slow” that Dixon mentions in his description of Cirque Pass either from afar or on our way up the pass. More Foxtails. So, we settled on that plan. Despite extensive signs of use, it was slow going and not something I would be too excited to ascend. It was hard to believe we were less than a mile from the JMT the entire time, given that we didn’t see even a sign of anyone. Adventure Alan created this route as an addition to Steve Roper's original Sierra High Route. But in either case, the glow was close enough to worry us a bit. They also told me about some fairly sketchy travel on the Acrodectes alternate, descending Mount Baxter, which made me happy to have skipped that section. At 13,996’, Mount Barnard is the twelfth highest peak in California, and the highest peak under 14,000’. It’s long, and the terrain, especially below the Sawmill Pass trail junction, is pretty rocky. View of the Palisade Glacier, the moraine-dammed Lake 12165 and Sam Mack Lake. It adds about 20 miles round trip, but it’s all easy trail hiking. Overall, the Southern Sierra High Route is a really good route. Just a few of the other groups at Iceberg Lake. A dream and a season’s goal accomplished, we packed up and headed for a warm shower and bed. Lovely pastel clouds over University Peak. We pulled over just before the crossing of the creek that runs into Upper Palisade Lake. The descent south of Pinchot Pass is a tough one. I chatted with them for a while, they were near the tail end of a two week hike linking sections of the Yosemite High Route, the Sierra High Route, and the Southern Sierra High Route. We chatted briefly. High Sierra Trail Itinerary. This was my third High Route and the first that I managed to complete in a single push. We planned carefully to be able to take a full week off of work in mid-August of 2020. Some high clouds made for an awesome sunset. We made it down to the larger Glacier Creek Lake and made camp north of the lake on some slabs. Nobody entering knew where the smoke was coming from, some didn’t even realize that it was smoky. The five or so tents were the first people we had seen since just south of Forester Pass. And sure enough, the first thunderclaps rang out soon, not too far away. It rejoins the trail at Rock Creek and exits to Horseshoe Meadows via New Army Pass. We planned to hike to Iceberg Lake the next day, with a side trip up Mount Russell if time and conditions (and our nerves!) We hoped that we could get more information from folks starting their trip over Kearsarge Pass. Trip Report: 2020.08 Southern Sierra High Route. Dixon’s (and Secor’s) description of the south side of this pass made a lot more sense. (Photo by Gilberto Gil.). Elevation loss and gain are high and the going is hard. The views from the lower trail past Bullfrog Lake are pretty nice too. The summit view is definitely great, but I think that Mount Agassiz would be a more enjoyable climb for most SoSHR hikers looking to add a peak on the northern end of their trip. There wasn’t much else to go off in the guide, so we just chose our own route up. We traversed about 100 feet west from the notch and then turned south (not north, like Dixon says) for the summit. Some shots of the famous Woods Creek suspension bridge. Discovery Pass is the sand slope just left of Mount Muir. Clouds rolled overhead and the familiar grey tint reminded us that the wildfire still wasn’t far away. I told her to put everything down and run down the trail as fast as she could. The logistics are easy, the weather is usually good, the navigation is not difficult, and most of the hiking is relatively easy. This was the last section of the JMT to be built, in the 30s. View of the south shoulder of Mount Sill above the boulders and a large moraine boulder field. Let’s start with the route difficulty because it’s pretty easy. As with other hik… We were quite relieved to begin descending south from Crabtree Pass because it was the last cross country pass we had to cross. As we approached Iceberg Lake, the east face of Mount Whitney and its pinnacles grew more and more imposing. I’d definitely recommend trying to camp there if you can. Back at Sky Blue Lake, conditions were worse. The whole ordeal took several hours and cost many hundreds of dollars, but eventually we got our car back, returned the rental, and made our way farther north. After a short section of nice walking, the route drops 1,000’ down this sand slope. We spent a lot of time wandering through the rocky chutes, dead-ends, and cliff bands of this area. Half of the route miles are on the most heavily trafficked middle-distance backpacking trail in the United States, and that doesn’t include the very popular starting trailhead (Bishop Pass) or the very heavily used areas around the highest peak in the continental US. We passed plenty of people headed in both directions on our way up this climb. As the sky darkened above us, we noticed an orange glow through the gap between Mount Chamberlain and Crabtree Crags. If only our difficulties ended as we returned to civilization. Mostly it was just spotty rain. The view north, with Mount Sill and North Palisade poking out on the horizon. Were it 4 feet higher, it would likely be climbed at least ten times as often. We went to sleep with a plan to climb Mount Sill the next day and then see how far we could get after that. I do have a few comments about logistics that I hope will be helpful. We were feeling a bit sore this morning from the previous day’s talus hopping adventure. At this point, we just had to descend through the Miter Basin to Rock Creek and then follow the trail out and we would complete the Southern Sierra High Route! The COVID-19 pandemic raised some questions about the feasibility of this trip in the spring, but by early summer it seemed pretty reasonable to go hiking in California. The view south of the Wrights Lake Basin. In total, the route is 90 miles climbing 31,000’ and of course losing the same amount. It’s your lucky day: « On Doing Half of a 10-Day Silent Meditation Retreat, Trip Report: Nar Phu & Annapurna Circuit ». The Sierra High Route. The Sierra High Route is HARDCORE. In this section we cross the Sierra crest for the first time, and then descend to join Roper’s Sierra High Route … As we descended New Army Pass, slightly more at ease, I looked over at Shannon and saw every loose hair on her head standing on end. Learn how to create your own. We ran into a group on the climb who told us that the lightning storms over the past five days had ignited ten thousand fires. The West Chute is plainly visible, leading to the notch between the two summits. GPX Data products consist of track and service waypoint files in gpx (GPS Exchange Format) file format to be used on a GPS device, smartphone, or tablet. At the time, I wondered if it was right to encourage them to exit the wilderness. The fourth day in a row of morning clouds warned of more unsettled weather. Alan Dixon (a.k.a. The Southern Sierra High Route exists. Heading over New Army Pass. It was nice to have the foam earplugs that I always make sure to pack now. http://www.blakeboles.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/08/so-sierra-high-route-trip-report.mp3, On Doing Half of a 10-Day Silent Meditation Retreat. The lightning storms of the past had ignited about 650 fires across the state, several of which had quickly grown to 100,000+ acre lightning complex fires. Tom Harrison 1:63,360 topo maps (4): King’s Canyon, Mono Divide, Mammoth and Yosemite. Mount Russell from the summit of Mount Whitney. The upper trail trail past Bullfrog Lake has some really nice views. There was one other group here, but they were pretty quiet. Some route data comes from as long ago as 1985, before the use of GPS technology by land managers. Plus, you have the safety net of the JMT/PCT just to your west the entire time if anything goes awry. It did come and go and places, though. Shannon climbing as we neared the notch. It was almost noon and clouds were building again. From Russell-Carillon Pass we were treated to our first view of the east face of Mount Whitney. But, we were still in a wilderness area and observed several groups violating Leave No Trace. The Cottonwood Lakes were calm enough for ash to collect on the lake surfaces. It is Sunrise over the south rib of Mount McAdie. Hopefully that’s a fair comparison of these three routes. Pie on the Trail: The Southern Sierra High Route (SSHR) was developed by Alan Dixon and Don Wilson in 2014. Langley 14,026' (4,275 m), the southernmost 14er in the Sierras. It is 100 miles long and the majority is off-trail travel mixed with sections on the JMT. When I was refilling water from the lake, a couple of guys with very small backpacks headed past on the trail. Yosemite National Park has 5 High Sierra Camps arranged in a 49-mile loop. This trip report covers a 10 day hike of the Southern Sierra High Route that my wife and I undertook in mid-to-late August, 2020. Mount Pickering high above the Miter Basin, opposite Mount Langley. We skipped Junction and Shepherd Passes so I can only comment on Wright Lakes Pass and south. Shannon climbing the final chutes high above the Polemonium snowfield and cirque. This is a relatively popular area for cross country hiking, so you’re likely to see another group or two, but it’s much quieter than any of the trail hiking you’ll do. We waited a couple hours until it was clear enough that we figured we could get over Pinchot Pass safely and comfortably - we were trying to have fun after all. I hoped to get over Cirque and Mather Passes to set us up to climb Split Mountain the next day. Obviously I can’t comment on the Acrodectes alternate, other than what we heard from others, but it sounds like it’s the most difficult cross-country travel on the entire route. Cameron found us packing up our stuff as the clouds cleared, and we chatted for a bit about his trip to resupply over Bishop Pass. We made it down to the cirque before the rain and hail started. Mount Whitney and Mount Hale (I believe) as we wandered through the forest trying to connect Wrights and Wallace Creeks. When we arrived at the Tyee Lakes Trailhead, we discovered that the Inyo National Forest had changed the parking rules for their South Lake Road repaving project (one of the most impressive misuses of taxpayer money I’ve seen on National Forest land) while we were out hiking and had towed our car. It reads more like a trip report than a guide. 2019 Backpacking Trip Report Blake Bole's 2019 trip report… So, we stood under the tree for another fifteen minutes or so, waiting for the rain to stop. Looking out over the upper reaches of Tyndall Creek. This is another sand hill that I would not be too excited to ascend. The view of North Palisade and Polemonium Peak from the other side of the Glacier Creek Lakes. And the remains of several old, dead Foxtails. First, if you need to resupply on this hike, Onion Valley is the no brainer spot to do it. The forested ridgeline ahead is the vaguely tricky hump we’d have to cross to get to Wallace Creek. They seemed pretty tired, and only offered up that the climb was a “slog.”. So, we had to head back to Bishop to get our car from a man named Billie. A lovely meadow just a bit below Wallace Lake. We found a few class 3 sections, but didn’t try to avoid them. I watched lightning flash over the peaks along the crest as Shannon hurried back up the road. The northeast face of Mount Russell just to our right. that we didn’t worry about it. We crested Forester Pass to the applause of a large group of hikers who were waiting for the rest of their party. This is a very long, meandering talus slog with some redeeming climbing near the top. This cool panorama captures most of the Whitney Zone, at left is Mount McAdie and Arc Pass, which leads south to the Miter Basin. We figured we could make it to Lake Marjorie safely unless it really picked up, so we donned our raincoats and walked on. We thoroughly enjoyed the Palisades section of the route, but were ready for some easier on-trail miles. South of Mount Langley, the High Sierra fades into the high meadows and forests of the Golden Trout Wilderness. South Guard, Mount Brewer, North Guard, and Mount Farquhar from Glen Pass. There’s an alternate in this section that leaves the JMT just south of Pinchot Pass and rejoins it just north of Glen Pass. Fortunately, there’s another, much easier, SPS-listed, 13,500’+ peak just east of Russell-Carillon Col, Mount Carillon. The Southern Sierra High Route - A Guide by Alan Dixon and Don Wilson Much of the route covers the John Muir Trail, but avoids the trail (staying closer to the Sierra crest) from Leconte Meadows (below Bishop Pass) south to Palisade Lakes. Elevation loss and gain are high and the going is hard. This popular trailhead allows fast access to the beautiful high country terrain that we seek. Each camp is a day’s hike from at least two other camps. One more shot of the lovely sunset over Lower Palisade Lake. Alan Dixon has a ton of information on his website to help guide an hiker excited to walk the Southern Sierra High Route. It was pretty busy. However, I think the Wind River High Route still takes the cake in this department, at least for me. We were getting pretty tired by the time we reached the junction to Kearsarge Lakes. The day before we were to start, I came down with a bout of food poisoning and spent most of the day resting. Chocolate Peak from near the trail junction to Chocolate Lakes. There is an "easy" version of this route rated green. It wasn’t too bad, and we only heard a couple of thunderclaps in the distance, but we did hide under a rock for a snack break. 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