Forum Index > Trip Reports > Bishop, Muir and Piute passes (High Sierra)
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Roly Poly
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Roly Poly
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PostWed Jul 27, 2022 7:42 am 
I used to be a strong backpacker but I had to sit out the previous 4 summers due to circumstances not in my control. I decided to jump back into it by doing the South Lake North Lake loop outside of Bishop, CA in the Sierra. Day 1: Bishop Pass, Dusy Basin. My first day on the trail included a 12k pass in the above normal temperatures. I had forgotten how relentless the Sierra sun is especially in the exposed rocky basins on both sides of each pass. I felt like I was moving like a snail but nonetheless got over the pass and almost down to Le Conte canyon.
Day 2: Muir pass and Evolution lake. This was another difficult day. It took me 6 hours to do the 7 miles to the pass and then 5 more miles down to Evolution lake.
The lake was crowded with people camping. It I knew from previous trips that there are some secluded campsites at the outlet of the lake where the water plunges down a face to the valley below. I set up camp and watched the rocks, trees and water turn orange. One of my favorite moments of this trip was watching other hikers being in awe of the scenery. There was a guy perched on a rock watching the water plunge off the edge to the valley below. Another had set up his camera and was just leaned against a rock taking it all in. As the sunset progressed, even the rock around my tent turned orange.
Day 3: Goddard Canyon to Piute bridge A entire day with no elevation gain, just a beautiful descent along evolution creek to Goddard canyon and then along the San Joaquin river. So much water sliding down the polished granite slabs. I ended up doing 20 miles that day because I took a side trip to Muir Trail Ranch.
I camped by Piute bridge. It was very warm but apparently not warm enough for a group of campers who decided to build a fire. All night long I smelled smoke and kept looking over to their campsite to make sure their fire was still in control.
Day 4: Hike out Piute pass and the Oak fire I woke up to find the canyons filled with smoke. So it wasnít their campfire! It was disconcerting to not know where the smoke was coming from. A few miles up the trail I met some backcountry rangers who were trying to get information from their supervisor. Finally word came in that the fire was in Yosemite. It was hard doing all the elevation gain while breathing in the smoke. The last 5 miles before Piute pass has no water so I had to carry 3 liters of water to make sure I had enough. That day was the closest Iíve come to heat exhaustion. It was pretty spooky out there, I didnít see anyone and I felt very weak and lethargic. 17 miles was a brutally long day in that rocky terrain where your feet just get a pounding from the rocks .
I love the Sierra. But they really do beat me up every time Iím there. Iím glad I can still do it as I had aged 5 years and wasnít certain if I was too old. I did 60 miles in 4 days . The most significant age related change I had was that my sleeping arrangement is no longer comfortable. I need to get a softer cushier system. As of now, the Sierra have been hit with monsoons. Iím glad to be back and not trying to navigate thunderstorms at each pass.

neek, contour5, BarbE, wallorcrawl, half fast, Prosit, zimmertr, Nancy, olderthanIusedtobe, flatsqwerl, RAW-dad, RichP, reststep, Nancyann, Eric Hansen, Waterman  kite, rubywrangler
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Nancyann
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Nancyann
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PostWed Jul 27, 2022 11:05 am 
Wonderful collection of photos. So glad you decided to go through with this trip, now you are in great shape for more backpacking this summer!

Roly Poly
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RichP
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RichP
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PostWed Jul 27, 2022 11:33 am 
Simply stunning. I've only done one trip into that area and really should go back someday.

Roly Poly
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olderthanIusedtobe
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olderthanIusedtobe
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PostWed Jul 27, 2022 1:03 pm 
Beautiful! I've done a fair bit of that as parts of a couple different trips, but haven't done the whole thing as a loop.

Roly Poly
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olderthanIusedtobe
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olderthanIusedtobe
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PostWed Jul 27, 2022 1:05 pm 
Roly Poly wrote:

Mt. Humphreys, right? Cool looking peak.

Roly Poly
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Roly Poly
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Roly Poly
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PostWed Jul 27, 2022 5:32 pm 
Nancyann, thanks for much for the BeFree water filtration recommendation. It was so easy to use!

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zimmertr
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Joined: 24 Jun 2018
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zimmertr
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PostWed Jul 27, 2022 5:38 pm 
Those sunset photos 😍

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Malachai Constant
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Malachai Constant
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PostWed Jul 27, 2022 7:37 pm 
Our favorite area in the Sierra. While the main loop is amazing there are lake basins off the main trails. Lakes are filled with fish and almost no people. Usually there are way trails to most lakes or old mines. The Sierra High Route gives many alternativeís although a close educated look at old topos provide many more.

"You do not laugh when you look at the mountains, or when you look at the sea." Lafcadio Hearn
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kite
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kite
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PostWed Jul 27, 2022 8:03 pm 
just love the TR, did that loop a few times in the 70's with the scouts

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williswall
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williswall
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PostSat Jul 30, 2022 10:49 am 
Great photos!

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