March 3, 2015
The following longterms in the Sierras are the most popular ones used by the troop. Descriptions are courtesey of Dick Rose.
#1 - Horseshoe Meadow to Kern Peak (Ramshaw Meadow / Siberian Pass)
Horseshoe Meadow is the first trailhead south of Whitney Portal. The trail goes south, then turns west. Head for Ramshaw Meadow via Mulky Meadow. You can climb Muah (C) peak on the way. If you camp at the southwest end of Ramshaw, you can do a day hike and climb Kern Peak (C). Continue on past Tunnel guard station, camp along Golden Trout Creek. Next head for Siberian Pass, over to Circque Peak (D), and out via Chicken Spring lake and Cottonwood Pass. This was the second long term I took, good but there are better ones! Kern peak is a great view, it is clear in all directions, but you can't see past Whitney.
#2 - Mineral King to Evelyn Lake / Windy Gap
The trail goes southwest toward Hockett Meadow. Ten miles the first day, but its relatively level. Second day head for Evelyn Lake, a great spot for a layover day on day 3. Good swimming spot. Head southeast past Quinn Peak (C), another that you can climb. Stay overnight near an old cabin foundation, go over windy gap past Vandervere peak (C), and stay at Franklin Lake. Florence Peak (D) is not too far. Then out to Mineral King.
#3 - Kennedy Meadows Loop
The road to Kennedy Meadows is near the junction of 395 and 14 beyond Mojave. This area is administered by the Bureau of Land Management, and I believe you can still get a permit the day you arrive, no reservation required. The trail is a loop that starts at Blackrock Pass. First camp is near the stream crossing. The trail continues north and turns right at the base of Templeton Mt. You can climb Blackrock Peak (A) at the pass, 5 minutes from the Trailhead, and Templeton (C) as you go past. Going east, you cross the south fork of the Kern. We ended up camping up the hill from Brown Cow camp, spent a layover day climbing Olancha (F), then continued south to Monache Meadow climbing Brown Mt. (C) as we went past. The next day we climbed Monache Mt. (C), then hiked near the base of Deer Mt. Climbed it the next morning and hiked out. There are many alternate routes to tailor the hike to your group.
#4 - Mineral King to Franklin Pass / Sawtooth Pass
Hike south to Franklin Lake. Best camp spots are high up on the east side. The second day you go up to the pass, climb Florence Peak (D) if you are up to such things, then head down Rattlesnake creek. Not too far, the trail branches to the left and goes to Forester Lake, another great spot for a layover day. Good swimming. Next, head northish to Lost canyon. After you get there, cut right and go to Big 5 Lakes for another half layover. This is a great lake to build a raft using the logs at the end of the lake. It is a very popular spot for the Scouts. Next, go back to Lost Canyon and camp at the end of the trees, south of the creek. An early start will get you up over Sawtooth Pass by 10:00. You can climb Sawtooth Peak (D) as you go past. It's an exciting peak! Stay overnight at Monarch lakes. Hike back to Mineral King from Monarch Lakes on the last day.
#5 - McGee Creek to Mono Pass
It is best to have two groups on this one, going in opposite directions because the ends are at different trailheads. This hike qualifies for a Sierra North patch. One end starts at Mcgee Creek, goes over McGee Pass the second day. Red Slate Mt (E) is at the pass. The second night is at Tully Lake. Next day head for The Lake of the Lone Indian for a layover day if you like, or we went for a killer day and went over Silver pass to Pocket Meadow. The small campsite is west of the stream where the water meanders over large flat rocks. Next day, hike up Mono Creek and camp in Pioneer Basin. A layover day here gives you a shot at four "E" peaks, Hopkins, Crocker, Stanford, and Huntington. You must do Hopkins, and it's the easiest of the four. It takes 1.5 hours to the top, and 15 minutes to run down the scree, assuming that you stop to catch your breath twice for five minutes. It's like skiing! After Pioneer Basin you hike out over Mono Pass, with Starr Peak (C) available at the pass, then out to Mosquito flats.
#6 - Whitney Loop - Horseshoe Meadow to Whitney Portal
Horseshoe Meadow is the first trailhead south of Whitney Portal. You can either go over Cottonwood pass and camp at Chicken Spring Lake, or go to Long Lake, and go over New Army pass the next day (harder, but you have a shot at Langley Peak, a D). The next day you go to Rock Creek Lake. There is a bear box at the west end of Rock Creek Lake. We take a layover day there. Next, head for Guyot pass. You can climb Guyot Peak (D), then head for Crabtree Meadow. We stay at lower Crabtree, but you can stay near the Ranger station if you want to climb Hitchcock (D) on another layover day. We then take a short day to get to Guitar Lake where you must start in order to get up to Whitney the next day. Get a very early start (on the trail by 5:30) climb Whitney (D) and get down to Outpost camp. From Outpost camp it is about a 2.5 hour walk out to Whitney Portal. Then you have to go get your cars at Horseshoe Meadow. I hope you stashed a car at the Portal to do this!
#7 - Cresent Meadow to Mt. Kaweah
This is an in and out trip on the same trail. We did it to climb Eagle Scout Peak (E) and Kaweah (F) because we wanted the "F" peak. The first day we hiked to Bearpaw Meadow, 10 miles. The second day hike to Hamilton Lakes, and the third day hike past Precipice Lake, which is at the foot of Eagle Scout Peak, and over the Gap. You will see that this is not the side you climb. It's a 1500-foot cliff. It rained very hard on the third day as we went past Eagle Scout Peak, so we camped near the junction of the trail up to Big Five Lakes, then took two layover days, one to go back to climb Eagle Scout, and the other to climb Kaweah. Reverse the route to go back out to Crescent Meadow.
#8 - Rae Lakes Loop
This is one of the most famous of the loop trips. There is a hike aid on it. The trip starts and ends at Cedar Grove in Kings Canyon National Park. The first day you hike up past Mist falls to Paradise valley. Nice swimming hole in the river, but it changes. The second day you hike up to the junction of the John Muir trail, and cross the suspension bridge. The third day you hike to the Rae Lakes where we like to take a layover day. The swimming and fishing is really good. Next day go over Glen Pass. From there you can either go up to the Kearsarge Lakes and climb University (F), and/or Rixford (E). Rixford can be climbed from the south, but its very ugly from Glen Pass. We aborted our try from the Pass. If you go to Charlotte Lake you can climb Bago (D) before going out along Bubbs Creek.
#9 - Edison Lake to Pioneer Basin
This is another in and out trip. Four "E" peaks, Huntington, Stanford, Crocker, and Hopkins surround Pioneer Basin. See trip 5 above. Hopkins is a must! On your way back you can go up second recess and climb Gabb (E).
#10 - Silver Moccasin Trail (Sierras)
One of the easier trips in the Sierras. It starts near Lodgepole, going north. The first day is about 6 miles to Clover Creek. The second day you go over Silliman pass and stay at Ranger Lake. The west end has the best campsite. As you go over Silliman pass, you can climb Twin Peaks - the larger is an "A". If you take a layover day at Ranger Lake, you can go back and climb Silliman Peak (D). You continue north to Rowell Meadow . From there you can climb Mitchell Peak (C). Then you head west past Weaver Lake, and around the loop, coming back to Jennie Lake for the night. On your way out over J. O. Pass, there is another "C" peak, Kettle.
#11 - Trans-Sierra, Mineral King to Whitney Portal
A tough trip because it takes at least 10 days and requires a lot of food. Mineral King to Timber Gap, and on to Pinto Lake the first day. The second day is another really hard day, over Blackrock Pass, and down to the Big Five Lakes. Next drop down to the junction with the trail back to Kaweah Gap and take a layover day. There is a nice swimming hole in the stream a short walk south. If your group likes to do peaks as we do, Eagle Scout Peak (E) is fabulous for views, and for that last rock! Our trip next went to the foot of Kaweah (F). We climbed it, then hiked on to Moraine Lake for the night. Next day, hike down into the Kern River valley. Stop for lunch at the hot tub! We stayed overnight at a site near the Kern. Next, go up Wallace Creek to the junction with the John Muir Trail. Great campsite at the junction, but lots of mosquitoes! The next day you go on past Crabtree Meadow, and up to Guitar Lake for the night. Next day get up really early! Go up the trail to Trailcrest, drop your packs, and climb Whitney (D). Have lunch on your way down Whitney Portal via the Hundred Switchbacks. Stay overnight at Outpost camp, and walk out the next day.
#12 - Florence Lake to Evolution Valley
This one is another in-and-out trip. We did this one to get an "F" peak (Goddard). It is a beautiful trip. First day the hike goes to Piute Creek. Hike along rushing streams and waterfalls up to Evolution Valley. We stayed at Emerald Lake, and tried to do Goddard past Wanda Lake, but it is too long a hike. The better approach is from the west side if its only the peak you want.
#13 - Log Cabin Wilderness / Mt. Conness
This is a cross-country hike but there are a few trails. We started at Saddlebag Lake and hiked south on the road. We hiked cross-country along the north edge of Mt. Dana (D), and found a place to camp on one of the lakes near the tree-line. The next day we climbed the peak, then we hiked back up the road to the trail up to Gardisky Lake. To the south is Tioga Peak (C). We traveled on east through the gap and down to cross the creek. We found a great campsite on the other side of the valley next to a stream coming down from the Lee Vining peak area. The idea was to continue east to climb Lee Vining and Warren Peaks, both "C's". We climbed all these, but one of the adults sprained an ankle slightly, so we went back the way we came instead of completing the loop route. We hiked back to Saddlebag Lake, the on to Greenstone Lake. This campsite became our takeoff point to climb Conness (F) to the west. We spent one day to practice ice axe self arrest. Everyone had a harness and an ice axe. The next day we left for the peak at 5 am. Travel over the glacier was done with the group roped together in teams of five, chopping steps as we went. There was also a section of rock to climb that we used our rope to belay each of the climbers. We arrived at the peak at noon. On the way back we slid down the glacier using the ice axes for arresting, and it took us until 5:15 p.m. to get back to camp.
#14 - Trans-Sierra, Crescent Meadow to Whitney Portal
This trip is almost identical to trip 11 above, but starts out like trip 7! They come together at the junction with the trail from Big Five Lakes on day 3. Day four is used to go back and climb Eagle Scout Peak (E), one of the best in the Sierras!! Day 5 continues on to Moraine Lake as in Hike 11.
Contents of this page provided by Tom Thorpe.
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