Dusy Basin to Thunderbolt Pass to Knapsack Pass to Bishop Pass Trailhead
(15 miles, +3,300/-4,800 feet).
We awoke this morning to a phenomenon I have never experienced. One half of our tent had severe condensation and one half did not! As it turns out, we had a heavy dew overnight, and the half of the tent without condensation was the half that was tucked away under the krummholz. It got no dew outside and so had no condensation inside!
I exited the tent to make some hot chocolate, but I stopped for a while to spend time with a friend visiting our camp.
The deer eventually went on its way and we had some breakfast before setting out on our day hike. Our plan: circumnavigate Isosceles Peak via Thunderbolt Pass and then Knapsack Pass. One of these is on the Sierra High Route and one is on Andrew Skurka’s King Canyon High Basin Route, so I was pretty excited to hike both of them.
The morning rays were otherworldly.
I went a little nuts with some reflection shots.
We climbed above the biggest lake below Thunderbolt Peak to about 11,600 feet and traversed through meadows. We then headed up a ravine until we hit a boulder field below Thunderbolt Pass.
At Thunderbolt Pass we found a tent and pack. We scanned the area and saw that its likely occupant was exploring the slopes below North Palisade across the way.
We took a nice long snack break at the pass and then started heading down.
Our route flattened out as we traversed at about 11,700 feet towards a big rock that looked like a Lazy Boy chair.
We then made our way down a nice flat ridge with easy granite ramps between Barrett Lakes 11523 and 11468.
Once past the lakes we found a grassy shelf to traverse over to the base of Knapsack Pass.
The climb up to the pass was easy. As long as we kept to the grassy part of the ravine, there was always a way to get up to the next bench without any exposure.
On the way down we also had pretty easy hiking on granite slabs. We got cliffed out on the seam we were following, but it was easy to traverse over to the next one and find our way down.
We kept descending until about 11,200 feet and then we traversed back over to the basin towards our camp. The first bit was through willows, but a use path meant we didn’t have to blaze our own trail.
Soon we were back in the basin with its endless meadows and multitude of lakes.
When we got back to our campsite it was only 2pm so we decided to break camp and walk the 8 miles back to our car.
When we passed the Timberline Tarns we diverged from the route we took to Chocolate Lakes and Ruwau Lake, so we got to see Spearhead and Long Lake for the first time.
Half Cookie had a tough time with the final two miles (maybe because I told her was just one mile).
But we eventually made it back to the car and out to Bishop for the night. What a wonderful trip!!!