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. On our way back over Kearsarge Pass, the smoke had cleared a bit. 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. Another view of Mount Muir’s summit from the west. The reward of Junction Pass just didn’t seem worth the effort in our assessment, and we wanted to make sure we could complete the southernmost cross country section of the route. So we headed directly down from Mount Irvine to Sky Blue Lake. We skipped Junction and Shepherd Passes so I can only comment on Wright Lakes Pass and south. One group in particular was making quite a bit of noise, but they quieted down not long after sunset. We were a bit slower than anticipated climbing the peak because it was almost entirely hopping over medium-to-large talus, save a half mile at the beginning and a brief let up at about 13,000’. This was my third time crossing Forester Pass. The view north to Window and Pyramid Peaks. The logistics are easy, the weather is usually good, the navigation is not difficult, and most of the hiking is relatively easy. We took a lunch break, enjoyed the views, and surveyed what lay ahead. As we passed the lowest Cottonwood Lake (Lake 11031), it got dark. The forested ridgeline ahead is the vaguely tricky hump we’d have to cross to get to Wallace Creek. We had an awesome vantage point as the sun rose. So, should you do it? The East Ridge route is the prominent ridge at left. It can be reasonably broken into three sections: the northernmost cross-country section through the Palisade Basins, the John Muir Trail miles, and the southernmost cross-country section through the Whitney Region. There were a few ranger-drawn signs in this area directing people where to camp and poop, a sure sign of overuse. 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. We passed probably 50 people heading up and down the Whitney Trail. Summit selfie! These trees only grow in a few small areas in California, only one of which is in the Sierra Nevada. So starting from Tuolumne Meadows, you can complete the circuit in 6 days’ hiking. While we had hoped to make it to Wallace Lake tonight, we didn’t have any more daylight, so we camped near a cool little canyon along Wallace Creek with fantastic views of the Kaweahs. The northernmost section starts with the relatively easy and very scenic Bishop Pass Trail, a good start to any hike in the High Sierra. At 13,996’, Mount Barnard is the twelfth highest peak in California, and the highest peak under 14,000’. The southern half is the better half of the JMT, in my opinion, so I didn’t mind re-hiking these miles. At the time, this seemed a better idea than kneeling in the field of small boulders we were in. 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. But this isn’t his guide, so I finally have some grounds for comparison! Morning views of the peaks south of Woods Lake. We chatted for a bit, quite impressed with his adventure. We accidentally dropped too low and completely missed Lake 11468 and had to climb back up to Lake 11523. 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. Yosemite National Park has 5 High Sierra Camps arranged in a 49-mile loop. Adventure Alan created this route as an addition to Steve Roper's original Sierra High Route. The whole project seemed very unnecessary to me, but I didn’t see the road before it was repaved. While this would have been a great spot for a dip, but the air temperature was pretty cold. We planned carefully to be able to take a full week off of work in mid-August of 2020. The route is the brainchild of mountaineer Steve Roper, who sought an alternative to the heavily pounded JMT. A few lovely shots of the morning light on Mount Agassiz. The five or so tents were the first people we had seen since just south of Forester Pass. Our first views of the Palisade Lakes were made even better by some great evening light broken up with the patchy cloud cover. We set out just after 5 o’clock as the clouds churned overhead. When we crested Glen Pass, we were surprised to see blue sky to the south. Elevation loss and gain are high and the going is hard. 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. This trip report covers a 10 day hike of the Southern Sierra High Route that my w We found a few class 3 sections, but didn’t try to avoid them. Looking north at Mount Muir and Whitney from the Whitney Trail. Mount Russell from the summit of Mount Whitney. We packed quickly, ate a snack, and headed south. Looking back over Lake 11523 from near the vague notch. 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 maps below show our route, roughly speaking. Tom Harrison 1:63,360 topo maps (4): King’s Canyon, Mono Divide, Mammoth and Yosemite. So, we settled on that plan. We planned to hike to Iceberg Lake the next day, with a side trip up Mount Russell if time and conditions (and our nerves!) On this trip we summited with full packs. We found a dozen or so people on the summit who must have all come up the Whitney or John Muir Trail. From here, the route descends the Dusy Basin Trail for 1,000 feet before setting off cross country for Knapsack Pass to the South. Plus, you have the safety net of the JMT/PCT just to your west the entire time if anything goes awry. Mount McAdie, and Arc Pass, from the summit of Mount Irvine. In retrospect, it looks like the easiest route would be to drop to the large, flat area at about 3300m almost at the JMT, and then head back up. Green = Day 0, Red = Day 1, etc.]. Rae Lakes was crowded as usual, but most people were at the designated camping area, or on their way there from Glen Pass. Elevation loss and gain are high and the going is hard. And from midway down the loose sand-slope south of Discovery Pass. She sped down the trail and I picked up her things and followed. Find the perfect sierra high route california stock photo. The smoke and glow from the wildfires made for some nice light for photos. We decided to rest for a bit and then see if we could get over Cirque Pass and down to the JMT. If you have something to say about this post, please get in touch! The Southern Sierra High Route (SoSHR) is a superb alternative to the JMT for the adventurous traveler. As the rain passed, a beautiful rainbow framed the lakes and mountains behind. Of course the Wind River High Route is much quieter and more remote, and the Yosemite High Route falls in the middle, with a mix of quieter and busier sections. The rock here was a tiny bit looser so we took some care not to dislodge these boulders. We thought about making camp here, but decided to try our luck with the weather and push on a bit farther. Cross country hiking is a lot different than on-trail hiking, and the JMT attracts a less experienced crowd of backpackers these days. Alan Dixon (a.k.a. We didn’t have time to pack up and continue south, so we camped at Kearsarge Lakes again. 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. The colourful Crater Mountain above tarns on the descent from Pinchot Pass. Fortunately, there’s another, much easier, SPS-listed, 13,500’+ peak just east of Russell-Carillon Col, Mount Carillon. Mount Russell (again, but this time from the south) above Iceberg Lake. We planned to get a relatively early start the next morning, around sunrise. Day One: Crescent Meadow to Nine Mile Creek – 8.8 miles, 1,410′ ascent. We support the Responsible Travel Code which asks visitors to travel with RESPECT by committing to seven best practices when exploring the Golden State.. No need to register, buy now! Picture Puzzle high above the Bishop Pass trail. We figured we should be able to get down to the Glacier Creek Lakes and make camp there. North Palisade from the summit of Mount Sill. Mount Pickering high above the Miter Basin, opposite Mount Langley. On our way down, the clouds opened up and spit rain on and off for an hour. It wasn’t long before we could barely make out Mount Russell, less than 3 miles away. Some shots of the famous Woods Creek suspension bridge. Dixon’s (and Secor’s) description of the south side of this pass made a lot more sense. It avoids the JMT crowds, the landscape is more spectacular, and the travel more challenging. Seldom is there a nice little line in the ground to follow. The West Chute is plainly visible, leading to the notch between the two summits. A short day on the trail, but it was definitely more than I thought I’d be capable of 36 hours earlier. Views of the impressive north face of Junction Peak. It’s your lucky day: « On Doing Half of a 10-Day Silent Meditation Retreat, Trip Report: Nar Phu & Annapurna Circuit ». But it wasn’t terrible at Forester. That is all.). There wasn’t anything too technically challenging until the final 600 or 800’, it was just a long boulder slog. 2021 Dates. I can’t comment on the sections we did not do (the Acrodectes alternate, and the Junction / Shepherd Pass section), but I feel we completed enough of this route to offer a comparison with the Wind River and Yosemite High Routes.