Joined: 06 Dec 2004 Posts: 726 Location: Stanford, CA
Posted: Mon May 17, 2010 3:30 am Post subject: TR - Ionian Odyssey (California Sierra) Part *3* now up!
Dates May 5 – 9,2010
Lucy O’Brien (lucy)
Andy Luks (iluka)
Mark Chin (mchin)
Photos by Andy Luks and Mark Chin
Day 1 – Sabrina to Moonlight Lake, an inauspicious start
When Lucy and I meet Andy and Ty and over breakfast at the Stove in Mammoth we discover that despite the wonders of modern day communication in this day of Facebook, instant messaging, Twitter, etc., that there is a serious lapse in communication. Ty almost misses his flight from Seattle with Andy believing that their flight was a day later than the actual day, and Lucy and I had an extra day’s worth of food in our packs believing that the trip length was six days versus one day shorter according to the date on Andy and Ty’s flight tickets. Breathing a sigh of relief to have dodged this calamity before setting out, Lucy and I quickly empty a day’s worth of food from our overstuffed packs. Ty’s damage was a new pair of sneakers purchased in the Reno REI to replace the one missed while frantically packing the night before at 3 AM in Leavenworth, WA.
Leaving our cars at the pull out at the gated turn to North Lake from route 168, we walk a few minutes up the road to Lake Sabrina and the trailhead. For most of the length of the lake we religiously follow the summer trail despite it being under several feet of snow, ending up high above the lake. A quick decision is made to commit the sacrilege of leaving the hidden summer trail, and it's elevation and we descend to the lake and an uncertain route adjacent to the middle fork of Bishop Creek.
Lucy committing a sacrilege heads up the Middle Fork Bishop Creek, Lake Sabrina below her.
Our travesty takes us up, down and across numerous gullies and hills in the middle fork drainage. In desperation, I pull out my GPS and we navigate to our camp at Moonlight lake, five miles in seven hours!
Moonlight lake campsite.
Day 2 – Moonlight Lake to Muir Pass, via Echo Col
Today is the crux of our trip, crossing Echo Col (12,400 ft.) I’ve had this col on my “list” for a while. We needed to get across it to ensure our goal of getting to Ionian basin.
Sabrina basin is a beautiful place. You are surrounded by striking peaks, some famous enough to be on post cards!
The real Picture Peak.
Approaching Echo Col, we note that the “echo” chamber at Echo Lake seems to be out of service. Despite our shrieks, the only response is the sound of rockfall from the cliffs surrounding Echo Col.
The upper part of the climb is steep!
Moonrise over Echo col. The col is the deep notch in the black rock.
The West side descent is rated Class 3 and Ty sets up a handline to help. Andy, on the handline.
We lunch on the other side of the Col, taking in the views of LeConte canyon, Black Giant and many other peaks from our vantage point above the Muir trail. Lifting our packs onto our shoulders, the crux behind us, we prepare to descend to the Muir Trail.
Andy showing "big pack" telemark form, descends to the Muir trail from Echo Col, Black Giant in the background. He and Ty are in-training for a Denali trip in June. This explains in part why most of the photos are of the backs of their backpacks.
This is the heart of the High Sierra. Dramatic peaks, deep valleys, winter/spring solitude. It doesn’t get much better.
Lucy, nearing Muir Pass, and Mt Solomon. Mt Solomon is on the periphery of Ionian Basin, tomorrow’s destination.
Lucy approaching Muir Pass and the Muir Hut.
We settle in for the night at Muir Pass (el 11,960 ft) and enjoy the 360 views from the pass.
Tomorrow, Ionian Basin. _________________
"Tele skiers had been the gay-pride, soil huggers, cooler in the base lodge, wife smells like a hockey player type. Now, Harley Davidsons are nestled in heated garages of the Hell's Pharmaceutical Salesmen....
Last edited by mchin on Wed May 19, 2010 4:58 am; edited 6 times in total
That hut is too cool! _________________ If the entire sport were to die because people have to bend over to put their skis on, then it probably deserves to die. - Dirk
You heard it here 1st ... straight is the new stoned. - XXX_er
Joined: 08 Mar 2006 Posts: 23 Location: Seattle, WA
Posted: Mon May 17, 2010 4:21 pm Post subject:
Mark... you're too kind in your description. You neglected to mention it was me and Ty that dropped off the summer trail and bull-rushed up the middle fork drainage -- not bothering to pay attention to the guy with the GPS! -- leaving you guys to follow us!
Joined: 14 Dec 2004 Posts: 304 Location: Denver, CO
Posted: Mon May 17, 2010 5:01 pm Post subject:
Four years ago we skied the Ionian basin and finished out in the opposite direction.....getting over echo Col was yes the crux....we had a little bit of problem finding a way over from the West to East....definitely some fifth class attention getting with packs on....we also used a thin rope as a hand line for comfort.....looks like you guys had a little more snow than our trip which was also about May 1.......Great Memories! CTR
Though I've been thru there twice on skis, we didn't sleep in that hut either time. I guess we weren't nearby it when we felt like it was time to camp. And since we had hauled the tent all the way in there, we might as well use it.
Something I have considered is trying Lk Sabrina -> Echo Col -> Lamarck Col -> North Lk as a light-and-quick overnight ... with a little stove to melt water and just enough clothing to survive a few hours sleeping there at Muir Pass.
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