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rubywrangler
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PostSat Dec 07, 2019 6:41 pm 
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For my last couple days in the Sierras, I made a quick trip into Kings Canyon to check out Dusy basin and Palisade basin. From the Bishop Pass/South lake trailhead, I hiked past a slew of lakes (South, Bull, Long, Spearhead, Timberline Tarns, and Saddlerock) to Bishop Lakes, where I stopped to admire the view of Mt. Agassiz. After lunch, I continued up the trail to Bishop Pass. I passed 3 guys who were heading down and they were the last people I saw on this trip. A little ways above Bishop Lakes I came across the remains of a deer herd that had slid over the pass to their death in 2017, and one recent addition frown.gif A very strange and sad sight.

chocolate peak and tarn
chocolate peak and tarn
hurd peak
hurd peak
trout
trout
looking back on spearhead and long lake
looking back on spearhead and long lake
saddlerock lake
saddlerock lake
agassiz and bishop lake
agassiz and bishop lake
climbing to bishop pass
climbing to bishop pass
remains of 2017 deer migration mishap, plus one recent casualty
remains of 2017 deer migration mishap, plus one recent casualty

I had decided to "take it easy" by not climbing any peaks on this trip, but I began to reconsider as I approached Mt Agassiz. It looked so close, and I knew it was class 2-3 from Bishop Pass. But I hadn't done any research on the route, so I wandered around the pass for awhile scoping it out. There was a bootpath leading to where I thought the route would be, and I knew a USFS ranger had climbed it the day before, so I figured there would probably be footprints to follow. But it was 2pm, too late to start climbing. So I decided to decide later whether to stick to the original plan or climb Mt Agassiz instead on Day 2, and headed down the trail to Dusy basin. I nearly walked right into a buck as I was leaving Bishop Pass.

looking back to bishop lakes
looking back to bishop lakes
agassiz
agassiz
new friend
new friend

I stayed on the trail for another mile or so past the pass and then hung a left and traversed above lake 11340 to the lake 11393, the highest lake in Dusy basin. It was very windy so I poked around looking for a sheltered campsite for awhile, then dumped my backpack and wandered around the basin. This place obviously gets a lot of traffic, as there were tons of campsites around the lakes, but I had it all to myself that night. Eventually the sunset lit up the surrounding peaks, and then the sky exploded into gorgeous colors.

agassiz, winchell, thunderbolt, north pal
agassiz, winchell, thunderbolt, north pal
lake 11340
lake 11340
north palisade over thunderbolt col + the moon
north palisade over thunderbolt col + the moon
isoceles
isoceles
sunset reflection
sunset reflection
sunset on agassiz & co, lake 11393
sunset on agassiz & co, lake 11393
pink tipped agassiz
pink tipped agassiz
sunset over lake 11388
sunset over lake 11388
sunset over lake 11388
sunset over lake 11388

In the morning I puttered around for awhile trying to decide what to do, and decided to stick with my original plan due to lack of beta on Mt. Agassiz. I circled around lake 11393 and worked my way up to Thunderbolt col, and once again almost walked right into a buck! He fled upslope, and kept popping up slightly ahead of me for the next hour. Thunderbolt col had seemed close but it took a long time to get there. It was easy terrain at first - meadows, grassy ramps and granite - then talus, then car-sized boulders. The views of craggy Thunderbolt peak and North Palisade from the col are incredible.

another friend
another friend
lake 11393 from the climb to thunderbolt col
lake 11393 from the climb to thunderbolt col
boulders, yuck
boulders, yuck
north pal
north pal
thunderbolt
thunderbolt
palisade basin, upper barrett lake from thunderbolt col
palisade basin, upper barrett lake from thunderbolt col

I descended into Palisade basin and stopped on the southwestern side of the upper Barrett lake for a snack and photos of North Pal, then headed around the south side of lake 11468 and up to Knapsack Pass. I tried to stay high to the pass, which ended up being more effort than it was worth. Actually my whole route between Barrett lakes back to camp seemed harder than necessary.  dizzy.gif  Knapsack pass has great views of the whole Palisades basin, and across the Palisade creek drainage to Amphitheater lake area, and lower Dusy basin.

upper barrett lake
upper barrett lake
thunderbolt, north pal, polemonium, upper barrett lake
thunderbolt, north pal, polemonium, upper barrett lake
palisade basin
palisade basin
looking toward amphitheater lake
looking toward amphitheater lake
palisade basin from knapsack pass
palisade basin from knapsack pass
lower dusy basin, lake 10742 in the distance
lower dusy basin, lake 10742 in the distance

I descended a few hundred feet from the pass and tried to traverse to lake 11300 without losing more elevation, but got cliffed out. The route appeared to go above me or below me, so I chose the option with less backtracking and went lower.I finally made it back to camp a little after noon, exhausted. I think it would've been easier to climb Mt. Agassiz!

lake 11300
lake 11300
lake 11340
lake 11340
sun setting behind mt. no goode
sun setting behind mt. no goode

I went back to Bishop and checked in at the Eastside Guesthouse and Bivy (really nice, highly recommend) where fortunately I had a whole 6-bunk room to myself because I was
hurl.gif 
all night and into the next morning. I believe this settles a discussion that was had on a previous trip: yes, despite lack of expiration date, Duke's mayo packets apparently do expire!  embarassedlaugh.gif
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olderthanIusedtobe
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PostSat Dec 07, 2019 8:17 pm 
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Is there a drooling emoticon?  Gosh, upper Dusy Basin is amazing.   up.gif
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Sculpin
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PostSun Dec 08, 2019 7:23 am 
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olderthanIusedtobe wrote:
Is there a drooling emoticon?

The closest is the "slobber"

slobber.gif

which is not quite the same.

The last few years, I have been concentrating my Sierra time in the meadow zone, between 9500 and 11000 feet.  Above that, you get what a local called "the ice bound lakes."

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Even my best friends, they don't know, that my job is turning lead into gold. When you hear that engine drone, I'm on the road again, and I'm searching for the philosopher's stone - Van Morrison
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neek
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PostSun Dec 08, 2019 9:13 am 
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looks like really fun terrain.  good timing, i'm sure it's all buried now.
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Malachai Constant
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PostSun Dec 08, 2019 4:57 pm 
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One of our favorite places in the Sierra. Have done the high route to Palisade Lakes at least 3 times. Skied Dusy Basin on 3 pin long ago. Whole area is like Chants on steroids with 14s all around. All the lakes have hungry fish. Long way down to LaConte RS.

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"You do not laugh when you look at the mountains, or when you look at the sea." Lafcadio Hearn
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contour5
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PostTue Dec 10, 2019 8:49 pm 
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Good Work!
I have wonderful hazy memories of the route south over thunderbolt, potluck and the other nasty little col where I probably should have died in a 1500 vertical foot, continuous, high speed standing glissade but, remarkably, happened to survive, only to remain stupid and careless for many more years.

I never took pictures back in those days. but quite a a few of your images are prewired into my brain from trips I took forty years ago. Your pictures are like a slideshow of my own undocumented memories. Altogether curious and amusing. Thanks for posting!
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Malachai Constant
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PostTue Dec 10, 2019 8:53 pm 
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The routes are subtle
but back in the day there were
10 cairns to guide the way.

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"You do not laugh when you look at the mountains, or when you look at the sea." Lafcadio Hearn
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ups n downs
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ups n downs
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PostFri Dec 13, 2019 2:14 pm 
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Nice report.  This is the only hike I don't have pictures of as the film role slipped off the reel on my old Minolta and I didn't realize it until it was too late.  I added Knapsack Pass and day hiked to Evolution Valley.  Thanks for the memories.
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cascadetraverser
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PostTue Dec 17, 2019 2:47 pm 
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The Sierras are amazing!  They often are so accessable in October and November, even high routes....Nice TR and thanks for sharing.
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gb
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PostWed Dec 18, 2019 8:36 am 
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I've been in that area a few times and even bivied 100' below the summit of North Palisade after a climb of Starlight Buttress (recommended) on an amazingly warm September 24th night - probably 50F. We reached the summit - one pitch - to watch the sunrise over pretty much the entire Sierra Range.

But the most amazing experience was camped in Dusy Basin in latter September of 1992 with Pat Timson and his wife Barb. It was a warm night and I was outside reading the Tao of Pooh to my two friends who were inside their tent (as we often read on summits). So, I was reading with a headlamp and I noticed that the side of their tent suddenly looked confusingly rather bright. I turned off the headlamp and turned east (or so) where there was a giant circular white Aurora that was rapidly rising. My friends got out and with a tripod I captured images. The "Aurora" was five times as large as a full moon. It then split, one part rising, the other fading and no longer rising. It had to be visible across a broad region.

The next day we stopped at the White Mountain Forest Service Office in Bishop to ask if others had seen this. None of the employees had, but a woman inside said her boyfriend had driven in from Tonopah and had also seen this. I somehow subsequently learned (perhaps a relay of a newspaper write-up) that the visual event was a rocket launched at very distant Vandenberg AFB. Apparently, on occasion, rockets can disturb the ionosphere and create an "Aurora-like" event.

At the time of this event, it was rather like we had seen extraterrestrials - though of course, we didn't believe that. We were astounded and perplexed.
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rubywrangler
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PostWed Dec 18, 2019 5:08 pm 
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gb and all, thanks for sharing your Sierra stories! Glad I was able to jog so many memories with this report.
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mustang sal
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PostSun Jan 19, 2020 10:16 pm 
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very cool
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