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. Days pass, and I settle into the trail's rhythm, my legs and lungs growing stronger. But proximity is deceptive, especially in the mountains. Join him on an Alaska-size trek across a landscape of irresistible power. 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. Even a rope wouldn't help; there's nothing solid to anchor it. Food. Avoiding maintained trails will provide greater solitude and better-preserved wilderness. These sections can be tiring and demanding. But this route is the real deal. This is a rugged area, packed with talus, with many steep cliffs to block forward progress. 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. Clambering over tremendous boulder piles beneath North Palisade, I finally reach easy terrain at Bishop Pass. Laws, John Muir, The Laws Field Guide to the Sierra Nevada. To maximize trip enjoyment, flexibility and an adventurous attitude are required. Please do not make non-refundable travel arrangements until notified to do so by the trip leader. Question. The next day we cross Shepherd Pass before descending Tyndall Creek to Travel Oct 29 - Nov 03. 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. Staring up at the peaks, their tips glowing in the fading sun, I feel a twinge in my gut that I haven't felt since a six-week solo on Alaska's North Slope, 15 years ago. Our trip intentionally avoids the most crowded parts of the eastern Sierra, the John Muir Trail, PCT, and Mount Whitney Trail, and we will "tread lightly" by camping on durable surfaces, avoiding hiking in meadows and choosing rock and granite slabs on which to walk instead. 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. Roper, Steve, Sierra High Route: Traversing Timberline Country. Two days later, after a 16-mile detour that touches the JMT, I'm back on sketchy terrain. The leader anticipates circumnavigating all of the lakes in Seven Gables Basin and visiting many of the Bear Lakes. Please don't hesitate to contact the leader if you have additional questions after reading the full trip description. Slowly, I climb to Glacier Lake Pass. In two days, I'll be at South Lake, one of the Sierra's busiest locales. Eventually crossing the Sierra Crest at Piute Pass (11,423 feet), we enter Humphreys Basin. Overview. However, finding the best and safest route may require significant additional travel in route finding, backtracking or re-routing. The cold slap of September-cool water reorients me. The facilities at Vogelsang and Tuolumne are closed for the season, and since no pizza or brews await, I slink across the Tioga Pass highway like any respectable coyote, waiting for a break in traffic and sprinting, unseen, to the safety of the far woods. 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. On the first day, we will ascend 2,500 feet to cross the Sierra Nevada Crest; all other days we ascend between 1,500 and 3,000 feet. 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.. First of all, it’s not a trail—it’s a route. Day 2- Nine Mile Creek to Hamilton Lakes, 7.8 miles. John Miles is a young painting contractor on an eight-day solo. By the time I treadmill my way up the pea gravel of Sky Pilot, they're long gone, so I skitter down a slope of hardened clay overlain with ball-bearing pebbles. At Soldier Lake, I'm only a day from trip's end. The pond is so blue I can't tell if I'm descending to a lake or climbing out of a hole into the sky. 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. Soon, I'm breezing down through pastoral Dusy Basin, its meandering stream cloaked in deep emerald grasses. The chill drives me inside, where I shiver until dawn, sleeping in full Gore-Tex. 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. 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. It passes through two National Parks—Sequoia-Kings Canyon and Yosemite—and two wilderness areas—John Muir and Ansel Adams. "It gets you out, and you're there, man. From the pass, we’ll enjoy panoramic views of the surrounding peaks, crowned by the indomitable Mount Humphreys, and the Glacier Divide. On the ascent, I run into the first person I've seen off-trail in 100 miles of hiking. It was pretty easy to write, you know, just a guidebook, so I had to pad it with birds and trees and all that natural history sh**. Stretching approximately 195 miles (314 km) north to south through the Sierra Nevada, it is a largely off-trail affair that stays between 9,000 ft (2,743 m) and 12,000 ft … After retrieving the remaining vehicles at North Lake, we can celebrate our accomplishment by eating a well-deserved meal with our new friends as our adventure comes to a close. Trip leaders have successfully taken the bus from the Reno airport on prior trips. Beck envisioned this line across the southern Sierra as California's answer to the famous Haute Route of the Alps. Published by The Mountaineers. For the last month, despite the hard work and occasional trepidation, I've slid comfortably into a simple, migratory lifestyle. 203, 760-924-5500) is located a quarter-mile east of the PO. This rocky alpine bowl merges every Sierran archetype–blond granite, clear water, airy vistas, rushing cascades, and flowery meadows–into one died-and-gone-to-heaven setting. Something went wrong. Additional lodging info: 888-466-2666; visitmammoth.com. Gear. They also have a Bishop Creek shuttle bus. ", Roper's nonchalance belies an almost religious passion for the region's history and landscape. Reluctant to retreat so soon into the journey, I test the terrain by downclimbing the top section without my pack. However, traversing the off-trail passes may require class 2 or 3 climbing, and down climbing, meaning we will be using our hands to pull ourselves up and over some short rocky sections, while carrying our packs. And if there's a Shangri-La in the Sierra, the lake I'm crawling out of might get my vote. Much of the day, we’ll be ascending past a series of lakes in the valley containing the north fork of Bishop Creek. Already, I'm waxing nostalgic, trying to stretch and deepen every moment. comment. That night, I watch huge thunderstorms rake the open tundra, swallowing the colossal ocher pyramid of Mt. These days, 200 miles might not sound like much–not in an era of transcontinental yo-yo's and thru-hiking speed freaks. "It took me three years because I was so f***ing lazy," he laughs. Need your ass kicked and your soul cleansed? It is often confused with the High Sierra trail, however these are wildly different adventures. We will begin our hike from historic Tuolumne Meadows along the John Muir and Pacific Crest Trails as they parallel the Tuolumne River through stunning Lyell Canyon. This is the shortest stage, at ... Itinerary. I traverse Mt. ©. Hiking the High Sierra Trail. A "frustrating" descent means hellishly loose leg-breaker talus that seems to go on forever. Surrounded by granite, these lakes are remnants of the mighty glaciers that sculpted this remote landscape. Thus, we do not recommend flight reservations that day. We chat and compare notes, two kindred spirits, but soon branch off, anxious to be back in our own spaces. The photos were beautiful, and Joffrey had considered a big High Sierra adventure, but didn’t know much beyond the existence of the John Muir Trail (JMT) and High Sierra Trails (HST, not SHR! Here we’ll find waterfalls, stunning vistas, and a population of California Golden Trout inhabiting the pristine, brisk waters. Southern Trailhead See South Lake above. Navigating these steep passes may require some non-technical climbing (Class 2/3). I picked the SHR because I'd heard it was long and solitary, a perfect filter for civilization's toxins. Watching them skirt the lake, I suddenly feel tiny, vulnerable, and intimidated by the huge ridgeline I must cross westward. https://www.backpacker.com/trips/hiking-the-sierra-high-route The next morning, I cross Cirque Pass on monster granite ramps, then Potluck Pass via a 40-foot rock climb. 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. Our hiking schedule is not rigid. The middle cross-country section traverses four passes 12,000 feet and higher, as we travel from basin to basin. They don't get any more normal once I reach the uncanny blue oval, its translucent sapphire water so clear I can see 20 feet down. Sierra high route itinerary question. Best things to do in Mammoth Lakes and Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Park are: General Sherman Tree, Giant Forest, Moro Rock Trail, and Devils Postpile National Monument. If we are so inclined, we might head to Steelhead and Rust Lakes over Steelhead Pass, or relax in camp, perhaps to read or swim. Some of the group equipment is relatively bulky, particularly pot sets and bear canisters. A participant who struggles on Day 1, hiking on the well-maintained Piute Pass Trail, may be deemed to have a lower level of fitness than is required to safely complete the trip, given its rugged nature. Hamilton Lake. 100% Upvoted. Better go to Alaska. I haven't seen another person since Kings Canyon, and my satellite phone is getting spotty signals. This is some big, bad wilderness. Chief among them is a tendency to sandbag. Sleeping there will give us a night to acclimate to the high elevation and finish preparations for our journey. Day 5: Our off-trail trek continues in the shadow of the spectacular east face of Seven Gables Peak. All along this last leg, I've been worrying about Stanton Pass, the last big crossing. Moderately Paced Itinerary. For Kings Canyon start: Apply via mail/fax ($15). Dropping into Bear Lakes Basin, I stumble upon the most evocative country I've encountered. Pioneered by Dave Beck in 1975, this ski tour became an instant classic. Take US 395 and CA 203 through Mammoth Lakes to Mammoth Mountain Ski Resort and park. These sections are not for the faint of heart requiring focus, concentration and sure footedness. We support the Responsible Travel Code which asks visitors to travel with RESPECT by committing to seven best practices when exploring the Golden State.. Day 1: We will meet at a campground near North Lake, about 20 miles by car southwest of Bishop, CA, in the foothills of the eastern Sierra, around 3 p.m. After brief introductions, we will drive to Rock Creek to leave some of our cars to shuttle after the trip. The Sierra High Route is one of the most spectacular and challenging treks in North America. In the morning, it looks quite scary. The Sierra High Route: Not F**king Around. Seldom is there a nice little line in the ground to follow. And euphoric purple prose generally covers up a serious routefinding challenge. The High Sierra Region joins Visit California in its call for safe and responsible travel throughout the state. Section 2 Bishop Pass to Mammoth Lakes Distance 73 miles; 10 to 13 days. Lapping waves rouse me around midnight. You'll hop boulders for 40 miles, and cross a sawtoothed succession of steep passes and deep gorges. Alternatively, one might hang out in camp to relax, fish, or choose to climb a nearby peak, most likely Seven Gables; the view from its summit is one of the finest in the Sierra. We provide all food and cooking equipment, but you must bring your own cup, bowl, and spoon. We will camp in the vicinity of Paris Lake, having travelled around 6 miles with about 1,500 feet of gain and loss. 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. If you would like the list before signing up, let the leader know and he will send you a copy. Exploration may be required to find the safest most efficient route for the group over a pass. We plan to hike 4 to 10 miles on travel days and intend to take one layover day. We’ll likely have the afternoon to relax or explore our surroundings. Sierra High Route, North American Cordillera overview, tours, guide list, itinerary, gear list, photo gallery, climbers, climbing costs and trip reports A list of suggested personal equipment will be sent to all participants. In other words, we will do what we can to preserve the area for those who come after us. ). Suddenly, two of the figures run at each other, followed seconds later by the distinctive hollow crack! Day 7: The destination for today is Toe Lake; our route is entirely off-trail and mostly on talus. Visit High Sierra. Sequoia/Kings Canyon National Parks: (559) 565-3341; nps.gov/seki. I drop down into Barrett Lakes, threading my way around tadpole-filled pools beneath the jagged, wizard-castle spires of the Palisade Crest. In places we may find faint, long-abandoned trails, to ease our way through wild and broken terrain. I hike on for two more days, September getting colder and the snowfields hardening beneath a nightly rain of shooting stars. Day 10: We will rise early to attain Mono Pass by noon, giving us time to enjoy the majestic views before heading to Mosquito Flat and our cars. Please do not make non-refundable travel arrangements until notified to do so by the trip leader. Wander off-trail through three remote high alpine basins and two of the Mono Recesses, in the heart of the John Muir Wilderness. The High Route; Sierra Ski Tour Itinerary: We offer two variation starts to this wonderful route: • The classic and original route starts from the sagebrush and pines west of Independence and ascends Symmes Creek spending the first night at Anvil Camp. That night, camped on a granite slab next to an unnamed tarn, surrounded by the immense, parabolic ridgelines of the Cirque Crest, my solo tent looks awfully tiny. The High Sierra, Peaks, Passes, and Trails. If there's a Shangri-La in the Lower 48, the Sierra may be it. First skied in its entirety in 1975 by Sierra veteran Dave Beck, this subtle line linking high passes and long contours around huge snow filled bowls has become the goal of many a backcountry skier. Sleeping there will give us a night to acclimate to the high elevation and finish preparations for our journey. Packing up the next morning, I'm surprised to see silhouettes atop Sky Pilot Col, my next goal. Participants are strongly encouraged to discuss a conservation topic of interest to them, whether it’s a local issue specific to their home or a global issue. The exposure and slick tundra ramps require all of my focus, and I'm whipped by the time I pitch camp near Cirque Pass. The Southern Sierra High Route (SoSHR) is a superb alternative to the JMT for the adventurous traveler. The day’s journey is about 6 miles, gaining 2,500 feet on a well-maintained trail. First, we will visit Humphreys Basin, in the shadows of massive Mount Humphreys and the Glacier Divide. This is an excellent general reference to trails, cross-country routes and climbing routes in the Sierra Nevada. Day 9: Today we'll follow Mills Creek, working our way down as we traverse the Second Recess. of sheep horns colliding. Day 3: Today our real adventure begins as we head north generally following the "Sierra High Route," first defined by Steve Roper as a more isolated, scenic, and rugged alternative to the John Muir Trail, traversing closer to the Sierra Crest. Although Sierra summers are generally relatively dry, you still must be prepared for rain. This may involve backtracking and rerouting, causing significantly increased effort and mileage. The itinerary described here should be taken as a general plan. (Funny how unhealthy civilization can be, isn't it?). Somewhere behind it is the red uplift of Capitol Reef National Park, but in the months before I hit the SHR I'd been too boxed in–by shrubbery and deadlines–to get out into it. Our objective is to enjoy spectacular landscape while completing the trip safely as a group. Your message will be delivered to John Plander and Mike Bolar. Matthew Kraft failed to return from his backcountry skiing trip on 5th March. Mark food packages so USPS employees can store them appropriately. Trip members will be divided into cook crews to assist preparing meals and washing the pots and pans afterward. This is something I have wanted to do for decades (I did about a third of it in 1976), and I am working on an itinerary maybe for next summer. Day 1- Crescent Meadow to Nine Mile Creek, 8.8 miles. 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. 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