Would anyone like to go in for about 7 nights over Taboose Pass to the Upper Basin, Lake Basin, Woods Lake area the first week of August? It's a stony but quick way in to a great, remote part of the Sierra strewn with meadows and lakes. I've slowed down a bit but still love cross-country travel and scrambling up peaks. A permit will not be a problem to get, since not many go in this way. Please send me an email at [masked].
Here is a tentative itinerary:
Travel to roadhead. Peter will drive from Berkeley on August 1 with space for four (two in front and two in back of pickup with shell; share money for gas). Should leave Berkeley by 9 am to arrive before 5 pm at Mono Basin Visitor Center to get permit. Camp at roadhead for Taboose Pass Trail, camp overnight at roadhead (5,400’ elevation, water in creek, no facilities, only night likely to have mosquitoes). Total driving time about 10 hours. Dirt road from 395 to roadhead requires good clearance but not four-wheel drive.
Day 1 (August 2). Move up Taboose Pass Trail to about 10,500’. About 5,100’ elevation gain, 7 miles. Start at first light to avoid some of the heat. It may be possible to find a campsite and stop at about 9,200’ if necessary, but most of the canyon is very stony and steep. A very demanding first day.
Day 2. Move over Taboose Pass to John Muir Trail, then south over Pinchot Pass to a lake off trail in the upper basin of Woods Creek, such as the lake below Mt. Perkins at about 10,500’. About 2,300’ elevation gain, 8 miles.
Day 3. Layover in upper Woods Creek. Dayhike options include Colosseum Mtn., Mt. Cedric Wright, Twin Lakes, Woods Lake, and the White Fork of Woods Creek.
Day 4. Move back over Pinchot Pass, down cutoff trail to the South Fork of the Kings, down the Kings a ways and then south over Cartridge Pass on unmaintained trails, and cross-country down into Lakes Basin to lake at about 10,500’. About 4,000’ elevation gain, 12 miles. Likely another demanding day, especially if there's not much of a trail down the Kings.
Day 5. Layover in Lakes Basin. Dayhike options include Dumbbell Lakes, Upper Basin, maybe Mt. Ruskin, maybe Vennacher Needle, Marion Lake, and down Cartridge Creek. These are all cross-country.
Day 6. Layover in Lakes Basin.
Day 7, option 1. Move back over Cartridge Pass to the South Fork, ford the river, and continue cross-country up to Bench Lake. About 2,300’ elevation gain, 7 miles.
Day 7, option 2. Move cross-country over Frozen Lake Pass (likely somewhat difficult class 2, should be scouted first for snow on the other side) to Upper Basin. Camp by streams at about 10,700’. About 1,900 elevation gain, 5 miles.
Day 8 Move out over Taboose Pass and drive home. From Upper Basin, about 1,400’ elevation gain, 11 miles. From Bench Lake, about 1,000’ elevation gain and 12 miles. Should start the hike out at first light to avoid driving all night.