The High Sierra Region joins Visit California in its call for safe and responsible travel throughout the state. Mount Muir, California’s twelfth highest peak with more than 200’ of topographic prominence and a worthy side trip for the capable class-3 climber passing by. We set out just after 5 o’clock as the clouds churned overhead. 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. We ascended more or less directly up the middle, as described in the guide. The south side of Forester Pass. everything © Blake Boles, forever and ever We made camp along the southeast shore. Location: Southern Sierra NevadaDistance: 73 milesDays required: 6–9Route type: Point-to-pointType of route: On maintained trailVertical ascent: 19,094 feetMax altitude: 14,505 feetDifficulty: StrenuousWhen to go: July through SeptemberPermits: RequiredFees: $10 per permit + $5 per personDogs: No***UPDATE for 2019***As of 2019 there is a section of trail that is blown out just past Hamilton Lake. One last thing about the logistics. We planned to get a relatively early start the next morning, around sunrise. We followed the Southern Sierra High Route, a challenging itinerary that combines on- and off-trail travel at high elevation (9000′ – 13,300′) and extends the classic Sierra High Route (which Julie and I tackled last summer alongside our friends David and Fred). We figured the next day would be pretty easy to hike over, get it, and hike back, and then maybe head a few more miles south on the JMT. However, it is possible to connect these two routes into a single and most epic journey through the Sierra. We skipped Junction and Shepherd Passes so I can only comment on Wright Lakes Pass and south. Shannon climbing easy class 3 in the chute. Here’s the classic shot of Fin Dome rising above the outlet of Arrowhead Lake, with some of the higher peaks just barely visible in the background. 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. Early in the morning, just before sunrise, I woke to the sound of light rain on the tent, which was pretty surprising. Learn how to create your own. The lower parts of the descent from Cirque Pass were really beautiful. The West Chute is plainly visible, leading to the notch between the two summits. Close-up of Mount Hale, an impressive peak that I will have to come back and climb some day! We didn’t even entertain the idea of stopping to camp for a night, opting instead to finish our hike by headlamp. I know this is a lot of photos of Russell, but I found the perspective from Rusell-Carillon Col quite cool. 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. The Sierra High Route and the Southern Sierra High Route are two incredible routes through California's Sierra Nevada that are each remarkable on their own. We surmised that we weren’t in immediate danger from any of these fires, but would probably be impacted by smoke from these fires, depending on fire growth and winds. It looked quite steep and exposed. He stopped doing it when we got near and I was too surprised to say anything to him. However, I think the Wind River High Route still takes the cake in this department, at least for me. The view of Mount Whitney and Mount Russell from Arc Pass. We were pleased to have summited Mount Sill, but I found the Southwest Slope route to be almost not worth the effort. When Blake heard a little cry from Julie’s mouth: “How about on this granite slab we stay?”. We passed another ten or so people heading up and down. As we snacked and soaked our feet, it started to rain a little bit -- at 12:30 this was pretty early in the day, so we figured we were in for a big thunderstorm. Find the perfect sierra high route california stock photo. The Sierra High Route. Despite the difficulty, the scenery more than made up for it. The view south from the summit of Mount Sill. But looking back at the conditions they would have seen -- they intended to finish in two weeks, around September 10 -- I think we were right. The Kaweahs from higher up trying to get across the ridge to Wallace Creek. Gathering the data and planning the route Put together a plan: it should at least include estimated miles per day and where to be each night. The Southern Sierra High Route (SoSHR) starts at the South Lake trailhead, west of Bishop, CA. Treasure Lakes will require you stay one day just off the Bishop Pass Trail before heading off. Baxter invited us to the talus ballet. Past here are several excellent miles of cross country hiking through high alpine basins beneath one of the highest sub-ranges of the Sierra. The highest lake north of Pinchot Pass is a special treat, a remarkable shade of blue contrasting with the red rocks of the peaks in this area. We spent the night in Bishop before heading back to South Lake to fetch our other car. Mount Pickering high above the Miter Basin, opposite Mount Langley. See if you can follow Secor’s description of the From Arc Pass route from here. Adventure Alan created this route as an addition to Steve Roper's original Sierra High Route. We encouraged them to give it a try. As we headed down the trail here, we passed a hiker who was throwing snack food from a bag he was carrying off the trail into the bushes. For more on the High Sierra Trail, including getting permits, read High Sierra Trail Trip Report. I guess my complaining is just to: encourage everyone to practice Leave No Trace, caution you to avoid camping in this area if you think this will bother you, and remind you that foam earplugs are well worth the small price and weight penalty. Our first views of the Palisade Lakes were made even better by some great evening light broken up with the patchy cloud cover. Plus, you have the safety net of the JMT/PCT just to your west the entire time if anything goes awry. The view of Diamond Mesa and Junction Peak from Wrights Lake Pass. Yosemite National Park has 5 High Sierra Camps arranged in a 49-mile loop. Her hair returned to her shoulders, indicating we were out of danger. It is Mount Russell from Mount Carillon. At the time, this seemed a better idea than kneeling in the field of small boulders we were in. It is 100 miles long and the majority is off-trail travel mixed with sections on the JMT. At Lower Palisade Lake, the route rejoins the crowded John Muir Trail. We found, and followed the old trail up Wallace Creek without too much difficulty. The route starts at Bishop Pass Trailhead and ends at the Cottonwood Lakes Trailhead. 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. The so-named Wrights Lake Pass, with Mount Whitney behind. At 13,996’, Mount Barnard is the twelfth highest peak in California, and the highest peak under 14,000’. The East Ridge route is the prominent ridge at left. Mount Russell (again, but this time from the south) above Iceberg Lake. Shannon climbing the last fifty feet or so to the summit of Mount Whitney. Evening light on Mount Shakespeare across Palisade Creek. Heading over New Army Pass. We were able to get out of camp early, and my stomach was feeling a bit better than the day before. We spent a lot of time wandering through the rocky chutes, dead-ends, and cliff bands of this area. This cool panorama captures most of the Whitney Zone, at left is Mount McAdie and Arc Pass, which leads south to the Miter Basin. This map was created by a user. The beautiful blue sky over Mount Mallory was a welcome relief from the haze that had blown over us over the past few days. This trip report covers a 10 day hike of the Southern Sierra High Route that my w But rather than exiting at the traditional Whitney Portal we traversed the Whitney Crest and continued south to exit the high peaks near the shoulder of Mt. Awesome morning light on Mount Pickering (center) and Mount Newcomb (right) above Sky Blue Lake. If you can’t get the competitive Bishop Pass permit on the day that you want, consider some alternatives. Day 27 (Day 1 hiking the Sierra High Route) – Bishop to near Big Pete Meadow . 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 The Southern Sierra High Route (SoSHR) is a superb alternative to the JMT for the adventurous traveler. We pulled over just before the crossing of the creek that runs into Upper Palisade Lake. It wasn’t long before we could barely make out Mount Russell, less than 3 miles away. Tulainyo Lake, with Mount Williamson in the background. Typical Terrain: A mixture of wide dirty and sandy roads, and some rocky and jeep trails required 4 low. Enter the Sierra High Route (SHR). That’s what the numbers say and I agree. I’m not sure I’ll be able to convince anyone to make this switch, so if you do attempt Mount Sill, be prepared for miles and miles of difficult talus. August 15, 2020 - August 24, 2020. 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. Alpenglow on Palisade Crest above the Glacier Creek Lakes. The upper trail trail past Bullfrog Lake has some really nice views. Our first goal for the day, Mather Pass, under some morning clouds -- a likely indicator of another storm today. I watched lightning flash over the peaks along the crest as Shannon hurried back up the road. On this climb, we passed a group of folks with very small backpacks, followed by some horsepackers. The slabs forced us a little farther east than we wanted, so we ended up having to traverse across gaps in the angled slabs. Shannon climbing the final chutes high above the Polemonium snowfield and cirque. The hike to the pass went by without incident. It was quite mentally tiring to make so many micro-navigation decisions while travelling so slowly. The Palisades above Barrett Lakes, with Potluck Pass pictured below Palisade Crest at right. Mount McAdie, and Arc Pass, from the summit of Mount Irvine. It took us a while to find the old trail up Wallace Creek, but we did. Mount Langley (background) and The Miter (illuminated, center-left) above Lake 12129. In this section we cross the Sierra crest for the first time, and then descend to join Roper’s Sierra High Route … ‘Cause here came the thunder and lightning, (We walked down the Mountaineer’s Route and procured said burgers / coffee / hot springs. It avoids the JMT crowds, the landscape is more spectacular, and the travel more challenging. Another shot of the beautiful golden light over the peaks south of Pinchot Pass. From Russell-Carillon Pass we were treated to our first view of the east face of Mount Whitney. Alan Dixon has a ton of information on his website to help guide an hiker excited to walk the Southern Sierra High Route. So, should you do it? The views all around Wallace Lake were awesome. We planned carefully to be able to take a full week off of work in mid-August of 2020. As described by Alan Dixon and Don Wilson, the Southern Sierra High Route addresses the above problem (#3) by extending the off-trail, high-elevation ethos of the SHR from Bishop Pass down to Mount Whitney and Cottonwood Pass. First, if you need to resupply on this hike, Onion Valley is the no brainer spot to do it. I hope you enjoy reading about my trip! I was somewhat concerned that a fire had ignited in Sequoia or southern Kings Canyon which would definitely spoil our trip if it grew too large. A slightly more dramatic shot of North Palisade, as the clouds continued to build. This popular trailhead allows fast access to the beautiful high country terrain that we seek. The Sierra High Route: Not F**king Around. Happy hiking. We searched for a cave to hide in, but had to make do huddling under a large tree. We stopped and looked around for a little bit, but couldn’t find it. We decided to rest for a bit and then see if we could get over Cirque Pass and down to the JMT. A dream and a season’s goal accomplished, we packed up and headed for a warm shower and bed. A slightly-too-friendly marmot atop Forester Pass. Escape the busiest roads and take a ride between Sierra de las Nieves, Sierra Blanca and Sierra Alpujata to reach the best beaches on the Costa del Sol. T he Southern Sierra High Route (SSHR) was developed by Alan Dixon and Don Wilson in 2014. This year, the Forest Service was repaving the South Lake, so there were a number of parking and traffic restrictions requiring us to park 3 miles down the road at the Tyee Lakes trailhead, or, as the Forest Service encouraged, take the hiker shuttle up from Bishop. The northeast face of Mount Russell just to our right. It passes through two National Parks—Sequoia-Kings Canyon and Yosemite—and two wilderness areas—John Muir and Ansel Adams. 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. Each camp is a day’s hike from at least two other camps. I got lost about halfway through. We hoped that we could get more information from folks starting their trip over Kearsarge Pass. The Mount Baxter option was more in the spirit of the high route, but would likely be much slower and more difficult. A singed oak leaf that fell from the sky. As we approached Iceberg Lake, the east face of Mount Whitney and its pinnacles grew more and more imposing. Views of the impressive north face of Junction Peak. Large snow banks (about 10 feet) on the shore of Tulainyo Lake. From here, the route descends the Dusy Basin Trail for 1,000 feet before setting off cross country for Knapsack Pass to the South. Columbine Peak, Giraud Peak, and the Black Divide rise above the remarkable Dusy Basin. Lovely evening light across Palisade Creek on Mount Shakspere. On this trip we summited with full packs. 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. Fortunately, we rose to only partly cloudy skies and beautifully clear air. After resting for a couple of hours, the sky cleared enough that we believed we could safely cross Crabtree Pass, so off we went again. But it wasn’t terrible at Forester. We’d have to go over Kearsarge Pass tomorrow to get our resupply. In spite of this, we didn’t start our hike on the fittest foot. So, we marched through darkness for a couple of hours back to the trailhead, which we reached some time around 10. The peaks of the Southern Sierra are generally lower and less alpine than the peaks to the … The rock here was a tiny bit looser so we took some care not to dislodge these boulders. Second, I really feel this route is best hiked southbound. The route starts at Bishop Pass Trailhead and ends at the Cottonwood Lakes Trailhead. These products are suggested as a companion product to the printed Adventure Cycling Route maps and feature the … The talus was large and a bit loose in places, but not bad. We worked the whole week and benefitted from sleeping at 8,000’ and running and hiking in the evenings at 9,000’+. There is reportedly easier terrain if you traverse farther west, but we enjoyed the engaging class 3 to the summit, even if we had to stop and warm our fingers periodically. By mid day we reached the Rae Lakes area. Overview of the SoSHR, Southern Sierra High Route 2019 … In this case it was Steve Ropers “Sierra High Route” book, the data set by Andrew Skurka, and gpx files from OnTheTrail.org. It was definitely class 3 in places here with a few airy steps. We had both climbed Mount Whitney before, but not together and not via the Mountaineer’s Route. We reached Upper Boy Scout Lake and stopped for a snack just as it started to spit rain. As with other hik… Eventually, we reached Kearsarge Lakes and made camp at one of the obvious campsites near the second highest lake. A few lovely shots of the morning light on Mount Agassiz. If you’re considering this route, you should be prepared for long, sometimes technical sections of travel without trails or other people around. There are some variants of the Yosemite High Route that are logistically easy (the figure 8), but the Southern Sierra High Route isn’t bad at all. We definitely did not choose the best line. Briefly, the route starts at the Bishop Pass Trailhead and crosses Bishop Pass before following the Sierra High Route section through the Palisade Basin, down to Palisade Lakes, and over Mather Pass. And the remains of several old, dead Foxtails. If only our difficulties ended as we returned to civilization. Elevation loss and gain are high and the going is hard. Seldom is there a nice little line in the ground to follow. Charlotte Dome from the JMT south of Glen Pass. At the time, I wondered if it was right to encourage them to exit the wilderness. If this is very important to you, you should probably think about skipping or modifying this route. Obviously, we weren’t interested in riding the bus for an hour with a bunch of strangers in the midst of the worst global pandemic in a century, so we tried our luck with the new parking rules. I must of course point out that this was a beautiful area of alpine lakes and Foxtail Pines that I would love to return to, if only it wasn’t so far from the Bay Area. 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. The colourful Crater Mountain above tarns on the descent from Pinchot Pass. It’s hard to beat the rugged beauty of that range, especially when hiked end-to-end. We thoroughly enjoyed the Palisades section of the route, but were ready for some easier on-trail miles. Introduction. We crested Forester Pass to the applause of a large group of hikers who were waiting for the rest of their party. When we crested Glen Pass, we were surprised to see blue sky to the south. Tomorrow we would be presented with a choice between following the JMT or the Mount Baxter alternate. Smoky views of the Kearsarge Pinnacles. On our way down, the clouds opened up and spit rain on and off for an hour. Dixon describes the travel through the Miter Basin as “complicated” and mentions that it will “force you to make many small detours.” This is an accurate description. We were quite relieved to begin descending south from Crabtree Pass because it was the last cross country pass we had to cross. Mt. And sure enough, the first thunderclaps rang out soon, not too far away. This is our trip report, written in rhyming verse. The East Face of Mount Whitney directly above our camp at Iceberg Lake. There wasn’t anything too technically challenging until the final 600 or 800’, it was just a long boulder slog. The view over the larger Glacier Creek Lake as the storm cleared. Another view of Mount Muir’s summit from the west. And isolated thunderstorms that may cause us some pain. We saw groups heading up and down. 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. We were able to head to Mammoth Lakes a week before our hike to help acclimatize. 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. The view of Devils Crags across the basin from Potluck Pass, with a bit of rain beginning to fall. | contact | website deets. It rejoins the trail at Rock Creek and exits to Horseshoe Meadows via New Army Pass. We found a dozen or so people on the summit who must have all come up the Whitney or John Muir Trail. Also, we were quite intimidated by the route from below. Here’s the map. Why Are You Still Sending Your Kids to School? 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. It avoids the JMT crowds, the landscape is more spectacular, and the travel more challenging. This route is described in great detail, and a free guide is provided on Alan Dixon’s website. We reached Iceberg Lake in the late afternoon and searched for a quiet, flat spot. We considered a few options for this trip, but it boiled down to basically another exploratory trip to the Wind River Range of Wyoming, or one of the three documented High Routes in the Sierra that I had yet to hike: The Sierra High Route, The Southern Sierra High Route, or the Kings Canyon High Basin Route. 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. Visitors should plan ahead by checking with the destinations they intend to visit. Chocolate Peak from near the trail junction to Chocolate Lakes. I know I shouldn’t bitch about the crowds too much because obviously we were there as well, and any California backpacker should know that Mount Whitney is one of the most heavily used areas in the state. The forested ridgeline ahead is the vaguely tricky hump we’d have to cross to get to Wallace Creek. She sped down the trail and I picked up her things and followed. One more shot of the lovely sunset over Lower Palisade Lake. If you have any questions or comments, please feel free to reach out to me, my info is in the header at the top of this page. But the location of the glow, which we guessed was near Chagoopa Plateau, didn’t exactly line up with the fires we knew about. We said we didn’t know, but we weren’t going to take our chances. Huge collection, amazing choice, 100+ million high quality, affordable RF and RM images. Not long after, we saw them behind us heading east over New Army Pass. They seemed pretty tired, and only offered up that the climb was a “slog.”. Hazy University Peak from near Kearsarge Pass. He was out for a day hike from his camp at Sky Blue Lake, which he said wasn’t too far away. When we reached Lake Marjorie, the clouds were still swirling around, so we decided to set up the tent and wait it out for a while. This is a very long, meandering talus slog with some redeeming climbing near the top. 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. Wallace Lake and Mount Barnard. 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. Did I mention the awesome views of the Kaweahs from our campsite? This is the part where I usually toot Andrew Skurka’s horn. 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