Sierra South - Miter Basin

Page Type Page Type: Trip Report
Location Lat/Lon: 26.11313°N / 66.72445°W
Date Date Climbed/Hiked: Nov 30, 0000
Activities Activities: Hiking
Seasons Season: Summer
Ahhhhhh… That's better. The high Sierra, Colorado Plateau of the mountains. Nothing but rock and water. In comparison to anywhere else I've tromped, overall nothing compares to you, high Sierra. I've been wanting to go up Rock Creek into Miter Basin for a long time, and its time had come. It started dicey, with active burn warnings posted as I got near to Horseshoe Meadow, and then LOTS of Forest Service firefighters and vehicles. Fockin' shite. Seriously ? After consulting one of the fire crew I was assured Horseshoe Meadow was open for business, as of just earlier in the day. Score ! Little Cottonwood Creek had been burning, but was now contained enough to allow access to Cottonwood Lakes and Pass. So I settled in for the evening, excited for the morning to come.

With a reasonable start, 8'ish or so, I headed up the white sand trail towards Cottonwood Pass through typical Foxtail Pine forest. Annnnnd break for ooh's and ahh's.

West from Cottonwood Pass

Then on towards Lower Soldier lake,

Lower Soldier Lake cliffs

up the notch to the tarn above,

Top of the notch, looking to granite ridges n' peaks of Miter Basin.

and repeat, with oohier ooh's and ahhier ahh's. The views down into Miter Basin were splendid ! I took my time traversing down

Miter Basin

 to the meadows below

Miter Basin

Miter Basin

Sky Blue Lake outlet

and wandered my way up to Sky Blue Lake,

Sky Blue Lake

Sky Blue Lake

home for the next 2 nights. I spent the rest of the day just mucking around Sky Blue, watched the sun set,

Sky Blue Lake sunset

Sky Blue Lake sunset

Sky Blue Lake sunset

and crawled into the tent. So. I had realized before reaching the trailhead that I had failed, I repeat, FAILED, to pack my sleeping pad. So I was… curious, as to how the night would be on flat, sandy ground. It was not one of the coolest things I have ever experienced.

Come morning, after fitful, tossy-n-turny "sleep", I had no major kinks or cramps or sore spots. Even so, I considered hiking out that day to avoid another even less than normal comfortable night. But then I remembered - I'm a man ! I fart in public. I pick my nose at the dinner table. I slap my waitresses ass and say "keep it firm, babe" as the tip. Yeah. I'm a Man. So I left the tent up, packed for a day hike, and set off to circle the drain. Traversing the lakes under Mount Pickering and Mount Newcomb, up to Crabtree Pass, and finally down to the lake below Arc pass. I had started up Pickering, but after a 100m or so realized, I didn't really care. I wanted to stay low. I love the high Sierra ! Nothing but rock and water. Towering spires of fractured granite, benches and cliffs and boulders and ramp and slab everywhere. Pretty cool.

Mount Newcomb left

Langley out past lake 3697, below Crabtree Pass.

Crabtree Pass above lake 3697

Lake below Arc Pass, looking south to The Miter.

Then another crappy nights "sleep" after another nice sunset.

After packing come morning I started my day back to the truck with long shadows, and ended it with even longer shadows, due to side trips and last, longful looks back.

Looking south across Sky Blue Lake in the morning.

Mount Pickering cliffs from Miter Meadows.

En. Rt. to Iridescent Lake.

Iridescent Lake.

Iridescent Lake.

Clouds starting to build in distance over Miter Meadows. From hanging valley of Iridescent Lake.

Last look back at Miter Basin granite.

Meadow along Rock Creek. Saw a Fox run through it on my approach.

Granite cliffs of Miter Basin from lower along Rock Creek.

Mount Langley.

Siberian Outpost.

Whitney Meadows.

I was very food motivated on the way out, wanting to get to Lone Pine before closing times for a well deserved ribeye. I've had much better, but it was worth it. Then off to find a camp, a truck with an awesome memory foam mattress in the bed camp ! for one more night before heading home.


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