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Stony Ridge Lake (Desolation Wilderness)

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avatar Stony Ridge Lake (Desolation Wilderness)
July 29, 2013 07:56PM
I spent the weekend camping and swimming at Stony Ridge Lake in the Desolation Wilderness. From the trailhead at Meeks Creek one hikes on an administrative 'road' for a mile or so before reaching the actual trail, which eventually climbs to a chain of lakes - Genevieve, Crag, Hidden, Stony Ridge, Rubicon. There were quite a few people camped around Stony Ridge, but it wasn't hard to find a flat patch marginally above yet out of view from the trail, with nobody else nearby, and with easy access to a great place to swim. Saturday seemed extremely muggy by Sierra standards - considering my previous backpack in the Adirondacks the conditions might be considered 'heavenly'. Fortunately, around 3 or so there was a decided shift in the winds, the building cumulus began to dissipate, and the mugginess vanished.

Anyway...pictures...

Stony Ridge Lake, after the aforementioned wind shift:



On the way up...Lake Genevieve:



Crag Lake:



Shadow "Lake":



And, on the way back, Lake Tahoe...

Re: Stony Ridge Lake (Desolation Wilderness)
July 29, 2013 08:51PM
A very deep and interesting lake canyon indeed.

Was just looking at topos and Google Earth for that area yesterday for a future trip after a wetter winter. Will probably enter via the Bayview trailhead and camp the first night at Middle Velma where I've been before in order to work Sierra juniper subjects. Next day will crosscountry up to Phipps Pass and down to Rubicon Lake and stay there during the morning. In the afternoon will climb up to waterless Jacks Peak. There appears to be a seep meadow about 400 feet below the peak, will get water from to carry to the top.



http://www.davidsenesac.com



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 07/29/2013 08:56PM by DavidSenesac.
avatar Re: Stony Ridge Lake (Desolation Wilderness)
July 29, 2013 09:02PM
Up to Phipps Pass isn't cross-country, it's a trail.

Middle Velma is nice, I was there last year.
Re: Stony Ridge Lake (Desolation Wilderness)
July 30, 2013 03:11PM
Quote
ttilley
Up to Phipps Pass isn't cross-country, it's a trail.

Middle Velma is nice, I was there last year.

Indeed the horse trail goes from the west end of MV but from where I will camp about the east end, it will be less tedious to simply climb directly north and intersect the trail not too far west of Phipps Pass.



http://www.davidsenesac.com
Re: Stony Ridge Lake (Desolation Wilderness)
July 30, 2013 01:55AM
If you cross the creek before Eagle Lake and stay just right of the steep canyon there is a use trail that leads to Grouse Lakes.Look close, it cuts thru the otherwise impassable manzanita.
Re: Stony Ridge Lake (Desolation Wilderness)
July 30, 2013 03:28PM
Quote
grant1
If you cross the creek before Eagle Lake and stay just right of the steep canyon there is a use trail that leads to Grouse Lakes.Look close, it cuts thru the otherwise impassable manzanita.

Much appreciate that unexpected tip. Looking at the topo, satellite photo, and Google Earth, I concluded going directly up from Eagle Lake looked too brushy to even think about hauling up a backpack through. Knowing others have carved out a path makes my notion of directly climbing the 1700 feet vertical to Rubicon Lake via the Eagle Falls Trailhead a much less involved few hours during a morning effort and would be able to continue up to Jacks Peak later in the afternoon. Will probably try to do that in June maybe next year. Am somewhat familiar with the unpleasant brush in those areas especially manzanita because have been down to Lower Velma Lake and a bit below and once upon a time just carrying a daypack looking for viewpoints above Emerald Bay traversed from Granite Lake down the north side of Maggies Peak to the EF trailhead.

http://mapper.acme.com/?ll=38.94806,-120.12584&z=15&t=T





http://www.davidsenesac.com



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 07/30/2013 03:32PM by DavidSenesac.
avatar Re: Stony Ridge Lake (Desolation Wilderness)
July 30, 2013 09:37AM
All those lakes look so refreshing. Thanks for the photos and the trip report.

.
Re: Stony Ridge Lake (Desolation Wilderness)
July 30, 2013 07:06PM
The trailhead from Meeks Bay looks like it might make heading for these lakes a reasonable day-ski for novice bc skiers like myself. Except for possible avalanches on those 1000 foot slopes early on in the hike. Otherwise, it looks on the map like pretty gradual elevation gain the whole way. Since I'm looking to cover miles rather than ski big bowls, this is the kind of trail I'm interested in. Recall any tricky parts?
avatar Re: Stony Ridge Lake (Desolation Wilderness)
July 30, 2013 07:16PM
Haven't done this before, much less in winter, but I didn't recall any obvious avalanche slopes before the slopes along Stony Ridge Lake (I'd take care anywhere along that lake). The only thing I'd wonder about is the snow slope angle as the trail curves around the two main climbs (from the 'road', and the big half-moon just before Genevieve, which was solidly forested so probably reasonable).



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 07/30/2013 07:17PM by ttilley.
Re: Stony Ridge Lake (Desolation Wilderness)
July 30, 2013 07:20PM
Just went here last weekend but started at Sugar Pine, cross country from Lost Lake, over Phipps, then past all the lakes. Lakes are excellent and Phipps Pass is gorgeous. Lost my new compass though.

Desolation is really Yosemite's younger cousin. It has got spectacular granite, great vistas, and Disneyland like crowds in areas. I guess it ain't Disneyland Wilderness for nuthin.
Re: Stony Ridge Lake (Desolation Wilderness)
July 31, 2013 09:19AM
Quote
KC
Just went here last weekend ... It has got spectacular granite, great vistas, and Disneyland like crowds in areas...

Like other wilderness areas many visitors complain about being too crowded, at Desolation one can often goes a surprisingly short ways from popular trails and lakeshores and find utterly pristine conditions where one is unlikely to see other people. And that includes the popular Velma Lakes and Susie/Gilmore areas. Desolation also has many of the most spectacular Sierra junipers in the range though only a few happen to be within sight of trails.

http://www.davidsenesac.com/Gallery_B/07-V2-3.jpg

http://www.davidsenesac.com/Gallery_B/07-BB5-3.jpg

http://www.davidsenesac.com/Gallery_B/07-BB7-2.jpg



http://www.davidsenesac.com
Re: Stony Ridge Lake (Desolation Wilderness)
August 01, 2013 05:25PM
ttiley: yep, it was just that area from the "road" which on the map looks like it might have avalanche possibilites. I'm just going to have to do this trip myself pretty soon to see what's what. It looks really great from your photos.

Thanks for the warning; I doubt that I'd make it to Stony Ridge Lake on a day ski anyway.

p.s. the nice thing about this trailhead in the winter is that you can access it from North Lake even if Emerald Bay is closed to traffic. Also, the west side of the lake is a refrigerator and holds snow forever.
Re: Stony Ridge Lake (Desolation Wilderness)
August 01, 2013 06:14PM
"one can often goes a surprisingly short ways from popular trails and lakeshores and find utterly pristine conditions where one is unlikely to see other people."

Agreed. Stayed the first night at Lost Lake and did not see another soul until reaching the PCT the next morning. Same with last year when we camped on the Rubicon a few miles north of Clyde after going over Rockbound. The more northern portions of the wilderness just seem to see less traffic.



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 08/01/2013 06:17PM by KC.
avatar Re: Stony Ridge Lake (Desolation Wilderness)
August 01, 2013 07:25PM
There were quite a few people around Stony Ridge...but instead of looking down-slope at questionably-close-to-water campsites I looked up-slope for likely flat spots in the slope, and only encountered one other person who had the same idea and didn't see my camp until he was in it. I was probably about 75 vertical feet above the trail.
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