Some years ago, I read about this hike and a variation on it that allows one to loop around on the west side and below Whitney and hike by another trail back to Crescent Meadow. Would someone please comment on this? It would really ease up the logistics if such a loop is known. For those of us, who hiked up Whitney many times already, doing this hike as a loop and avoiding the Whitney mess would do nicely...
I cannot say I have done this. I would like to know if anybody has taken this route. I did study some of this alternative route once and planned some of it for one trip, but it did not work out. If you start at Crescent Meadow and follow the High Sierra Trail up past Kern River Hot Springs, there will be a branch to the west, before you go up to Wallace Creek, where you can turn west and go west along the Kawaeh river which eventually goes up to Colby Pass. After you go through Colby Pass you can go down to Colby Lake and then decide which way you want to go vis-à-vis Whaleback. Assuming you go north around Whaleback, you can then go south down Cloud Canyon, cross the pass to the west of Triple Divide Peak, go down to Lion Lake, hike down to Tamarck Lake, and pick up an established trail that will merge back to the High Sierra Trail which will exit at Crescent Meadow. However, if you choose this route, there is no established trail once you head south down Cloud Canyon until you hit Tamarck Lake, so this portion will be cross country, which means it will be slower with more issues, but you will eventually loop back to your starting point. Let me know if anybody does this route. It looks like it would be fun.
Thanks royanderson, I will look it up on the map. I might even try to look for the old article. It might have been here on SP some years back. My wife and I have been considering this hike for a while but the Whitney ending does not inspire much...
I will post here if I find something.
Maybe somebody else can chime in on the subject. Cheers, Alois.
My wife Penelope and I just finished the hike avoiding Whitney and looping back to Lodgepole. It was about 92-95 miles and took us 9 days. We each carried a bear canister, but every major campsite/s on the hike has at least one bear box. That is either blessing or a curse, depending on how much you value your solitude in the mountains.
We decided to go over Colby Pass once we got to Junction Meadow. The trail offers continuing great alpine scenery.
Once over Colby Pass, we went down to Roaring River RS, then up over Silliman Pass to Lodgepole. The Sequoia Park bus system took us back to Crescent Meadow and our car (4-5 miles?). Great loop and we not only avoided the Whitney mess, we avoided the transportation issues as well!
The alpine climbing scenery on this trip is some of the best in the whole of High Sierra.
Moro Rock, Castle Rock Spire, the Fin, Angel Wings, Cherubin Dome, Eagle Scout Peak, Mt.Stewart, all those great looking peaks on the Western Divide, Whaleback and several small domes on the other side...WOW, so much granite everywhere, we wished we were 20 years younger.
We hiked the HST in June 2013, there was little snow, huge amount of ferns and flowers and very few people.
The scenery on this trail is as good (if not better) than JMT, without the people... Thanks for inspiring us with this HST page.
A great bunch of shots Roy.