Last Little Bit

Cora Lakes to Isberg Pass Trailhead (5 miles, +200/-1,700 feet). Today was pretty simple: a downhill hike back to the car.  But it still had its moments. Here’s a map of the whole trip:  

Isberg Pass

Switchbacks above Lyell Fork to Cora Lakes (15 miles, +1,900/-3,100 feet). We awoke to beautiful light on the Clark Range in the distance. And below we could hear the Lyell Fork rushing down to the Merced over steep, vast, and impossibly smooth granite slabs. Soon we packed up and headed into the woods.  Today we…

Bench Canyon

Hemlock Crossing to Lyell Fork of the Merced (10 miles, +4400/-1800 feet). I was hoping a cold morning would reduce the bug pressure, but we didn’t really have one.  The temperatures only dropped into the high 50s so the little bloodsuckers were more than happy to greet us as we exited our tents. We had…

Hemlock Crossing

Isberg Pass Trailhead to Hemlock Crossing (9 miles +2400/-1900 feet). Ever since we had to alter our Sierra High Route section hike last year, MixMaster and I have wanted to go to Bench Canyon and Lyell Fork.  It is supposed to be one of the most remote and beautiful parts of the Sierra. This summer,…

Slip Slidin’ Away

Red Cones to Horseshoe Lake (6 miles, +1,500/-1,200 feet). Today was super chill.  We rented a place in Mammoth for tonight, but check in was not until 4pm, so we took our time getting up.  We had a long breakfast, and then Geo, Bee’s Knees, Ultrashuffle, and I climbed up to the top of Red…

Red Cones

Fox Meadow to Red Cones (12 miles, +3,400 feet/-1,100 feet). Today we thought we might only make it to Rainbow Falls to camp.  But that area is very close to the developed areas around Reds Meadow, and it is dusty and mostly in a burn zone.  I was hopeful we would have enough energy to…

Crater Creek

Twin Lakes to Crater Creek (11 miles, +1500/-3000 feet). I’m really lucky I get to do two trips with Ultrashuffle this year.  And on this first one, he brought family and friends! We originally planned to hike from Mammoth to Yosemite Valley on the John Muir Trail, but it’s been a huge snow year and…

Filling the Gap

Garnet Lake to Agnew Meadows (8 miles, +1,100/-2,500 feet). Our last day on trail was super easy and surprisingly pretty.  The main virtue of today’s route for me (other than the burger and beer at its end!) was to see part of the John Muir Trail I had to abandon on an earlier trip where…

Clinch Pass

Lower Twin Island Lake to Garnet Lake (11 miles, +3,200/-3,100 feet). Today was one of those happy accidents.  I have frequently found that Plan Bs end up being better than Plan As, maybe not because they are objectively better, but because they often involve surprise. I had no idea how spectacular the upper basin of…

Whitebark, Garnet, and North Glacier Pass

Forest camp above Ediza Lake to Lower Twin Island Lake (9 miles, +3,300/-3,000 feet). Today was extremely gorgeous!  We basically spent the whole time circumnavigating the highly photogenic Ritter and Banner Peaks and the lakes below them.  I will definitely need to come back to this part of the High Route. To make things even…

Nancy Pass

Devil’s Postpile to forest camp above Ediza Lake (13 miles, +4,700/-2,900 feet). Time for my annual hike with UltraShuffle!  Only this time we added two to our party, MixMaster and UltraShuffle’s son Rainbow T.  We drove up to Mammoth yesterday to acclimatize and then headed off on a section of the Sierra High Route.  Our…

Deer Pass

Duck Lake to Lake George Trailhead (8 miles, +2,000/-3,300 feet). Last night I discovered a new use for my hiking umbrella.  The moon was so bright right there on the lake that I actually opened up the umbrella inside my tent to create a moon shade.  It worked perfectly!  I will definitely do that again….