High Sierra Route Part 1: Aug 09
Gordon and I embarked on the High Sierra Route Part 1 over a long weekend. Due to a late change in plans, we first had to accomplish a trans-Sierra hike to get us to Road's End. Starting at 2:30PM on Day 1 in Onion Valley (after the drive-up and car shuttle), we arrived at 10AM at the Copper Creek trailhead after a night in Junction Meadow. Already tired, we climbed the 5500' in 8 miles to Grouse Lake primarily up the Copper Creek trail. Too late to visit Goat Mtn, we collapsed tired into our tent at the end of Day 2.

Day 3 saw the big cross-country day with us crossing Grouse Lake Pass, Goat Crest Pass, Windy Ridge, Gray Pass, White Pass, and Red Pass -- almost all off trail. The ambitious schedule forced me to give up State Peak and Windy Ridge Point but I did leave Gordon to climb Marion Peak. Gordon, too tired to climb with me, shuttled my pack to Red Pass from half way back to White Pass. I caught up to Gordon (he didn't find the use trail) as he was dropping into Marion Lake, our stop for the night.

Day 4 saw us modify the route as I wanted to see Dumbbell Lakes Basin and Cataract Creek drainage. What trails once existed over these passes and through these basins are now gone. At Observation Pass, I took the 30 minutes to climb Observation Peak -- bland climb but outstanding views -- before we dropped to Amphitheater Lake and then down the wild Cataract Creek drainage. Only one good section of trail remained (thankfully at a good spot) as we slowly worked our way down to the JMT. At this point, we were supposed to turn right to position ourselves for the Palisades High Passes but we were done. Six easy miles on the JMT north to the Bishop Pass trail junction before camping.

Next day, our 5th of the trip, it took us just 5 hours to hike out over Bishop Pass -- pretty quick with full packs. Home by dinner after witnessing first hand the devastation occurring along the San Gabriels.
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