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Re: TR: Humphreys Basin and French Canyon 9/3-9/6

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avatar TR: Humphreys Basin and French Canyon 9/3-9/6
September 06, 2018 08:16PM
I've always wanted to go check out Bear Lakes Basin, for obvious reasons. While that was the plan, it didn't work out that way. The plan was to head over Piute Pass and roughly follow the Sierra High Route past Merriam Lake and into Bear Lakes Basin, then cut across to Italy Pass and work our way back via Granite Park and Royce Lakes. But we ran into two problems. First was thunderstorms, the second was one of my hiking partners has occasional balance issues from an old back injury. So, as we crossed Piute Pass and headed down into Humphreys Basin and the clouds got tall, we changed plans. Instead of heading up to Mesa Lake, we headed down to Lower Golden Trout lake, found a decent campsite, and got set up just as the rain started coming down. The sky looked really bad on the other side of the Glacier Divide.

From near our camp at Lower Golden Trout Lake


By sunset the sky cleared and we got a little color.


During the evening we all looked at the maps working out alternative plans. Heading into Bear Lakes was out because we couldn't figure out how to simultaneously avoid crossing the high passes during likely t-storms and get the trip done in the time we had. The new plan was to head down to Hutchinson Meadow, head up French Canyon, then head to Elba, Moon, and L Lakes for day two. Day three we'd head over Puppet Pass and go cross country to Muriel Lake. It would be a much shorter trip, but allowed us to have camp set up each day before the afternoon storms.

On our way down to Hutchinson Meadow.


We saw some deer, the fawns' spots nearly gone.


We got to Hutchinson Meadow and headed up French Canyon.


We were soon at the trail junction to L Lake.


When we got to Elba Lake, the weather was quickly turning for the worse, so we found a spot and set up camp quickly. The next morning we went around Moon Lake and up the ridge towards Puppet Lake, contoured and climbed up to Puppet Pass/Carol Col then down past Mesa Lake and across Humphrey's Basin to Muriel Lake.

The Awesome Lady and an awesome view at Moon Lake.


The Awesome Lady part way up Puppet Pass. She's new to scrambling up steep stuff and was a bit nervous, but she climbed it like a seasoned mountaineer. Why do pictures always make slopes look tamer than they appear in real life?


I always stop to smell the flowers.


She's breathing easier now that she's safely at the top.


Our destination for the day, Muriel Lake, is at the base of those mountains off in the distance. Fortunately it's an easy stroll, because those clouds are building.


The view from camp near Muriel Lake is incredible.


All that scrambling and cross country trekking made me hungry. My little brother and I decide to have a little something. We love dark chocolate M&Ms.


The previous two days, the rain is done before sunset and the sky clears up. But not tonight.


My brother and I catch a few rays while supervising camp tear down.


And we bid adieu to Humphreys basin.




Do what you love.
Re: TR: Humphreys Basin and French Canyon 9/3-9/6
September 06, 2018 11:14PM
Is the Cubs hat a prerequisite for traveling with Ursa Minor?

Thanks for the TR.
avatar Re: TR: Humphreys Basin and French Canyon 9/3-9/6
September 07, 2018 09:12AM
Nah. You don't need a Cubs hat to travel with me. Heck, the Crazy Guy rooted for the Indians in the World Series against the Cubs. I don't know why the Awesome Lady is still with him after that!



Do what you love.
Re: TR: Humphreys Basin and French Canyon 9/3-9/6
September 07, 2018 05:12PM
What a great trip. We did (almost) that same trip last year (after the big snow season) in reverse direction. Instead of camping at (any) Golden Trout Lake, we opted for an (unplanned) stop at Lower Honeymoon Lake (loved it).

Despite doing a bit of research, we ended up going over exactly the route over Carol Col that was discouraged. The snow was still deep and I never did find the sign for Carol Col. Rather than following as close to "the wall" to the east as possible, I ended up leading us down (to Puppet Lake basin) on the (apparently) more frequently traveled route. It prompted a declaration from my hiking partner that she will never go over Carol Col again. That's a shame, as it was entirely my mistake. Did you follow "the wall" as it seems from the photos? How was the scramble?

Thanks for posting the TR.



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 09/07/2018 05:13PM by ags.
avatar Re: TR: Humphreys Basin and French Canyon 9/3-9/6
September 07, 2018 06:50PM
Yes, we were up against the wall. We came across a use trail north of Roget and followed that, which led us up towards the wall. The route finding was fairly easy for the first 90% or so, then got tricky near the top. We zigged when the preferred route zagged, ending up in some solid class 3 and too far left (northeast). But even with some class 3, the scramble was enjoyable.



Do what you love.



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 09/07/2018 06:58PM by Ursa Minor.
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