Taboose Pass ~ October 2015

Sunset on Arrow Peak from Taboose Pass.

Taboose Pass ~ October 2015

Taboose Pass - Center Basin - Lake Marjorie - Bench Lake

With only a few more days of good weather before the first real winter storms hit I headed up Taboose Pass for a five day cross country solo trek. Taboose Pass is one of the four steep passes that provide relatively quick access over the Sierra Crest and directly into the High Sierra. The price for such convenient access are big climbs of around 6,000 feet in under 10 miles. In the summer a very early start is required to avoid the hot temperatures at lower elevations, but by starting in the fall the weather was enjoyable the entire way. 

Once over Taboose Pass the plan was to cross three off-trail passes into some remote basins that have been on my radar for a few years. The fall colors were beautiful but unfortunately there was enough snow lingering on the north facing slopes that I had to avoid my cross country plans and stay in the relative safety of Center Basin, Lake Marjorie and Bench Lake. 

Shoulder Season Gear List - 2015

Let the Gram Gods rejoice! The latest gear list has finally arrived for all of us gearheads out there interested in keeping our packs lightweight while having some fun in the backcountry during the colder shoulder season. Only use lightweight gear if you have the experience and skills necessary to stay safe, warm and well fed in the backcountry:

Horseshoe Meadows Loop - September 2015

Sly Blue Lake in Miter Basin.

Horseshoe Meadows Loop 2015

Cottonwood Pass - Guyout Pass - Crabtree Pass - New Army Pass

I always keep backpack ready just in case the opportunity arises to get away for a weekend in the High Sierra . . . so when the mountain gods provided an opening last weekend I grabbed my gear and headed for the backcountry. 

It wasn't long before I found myself reciting the necessary regulations to the ranger, "six to eight inches, durable surfaces, bear canister, one hundred feet, carry out all trash". There was no need to speak in complete sentences, he knew that I knew the deal. The ranger hardly looked up while handing me a permit for the Cottonwood Pass trail out of Horseshoe Meadows. 

I left the Cottonwood Pass trailhead at 1:00 pm on Friday and followed the familiar sandy trail toward the pass at 11,140 feet. After a few hours I joined the Pacific Crest Trail and headed north toward Crabtree Meadow. 

Just before the Chicken Spring Lake I was surprised to meet a few PCT hikers. They were going southbound from Canada to Mexico and appeared to be well seasoned hikers. As we chatted one of them commented, "that's a small pack your carrying". I was traveling with one of my smallest homemade packs as part of a minimalist setup; only 12 pounds with gear, food and fuel for three days. 

We talked for a while but I didn't linger too long, I wanted to make the 20 miles to Crabtree Meadow before dark. . .

3 Season San Gorgonio Gear List ~ 2015

For a recent trip on the Forsee Loop trail in the San Gorgonio Mountains I used a comfortable but lightweight gear setup. Since this was only an overnight trip I brought a few luxury items like a full size (extra large) Therm-a-rest X-lite inflatable sleeping pad, warm puffy down anorak style jacket and a full size camera. . . all while still keeping a base weight of 6.5 lbs. So if you are interested in making your trip a little easier next time I hope some of the ideas in this gear list will help. See you on the trail!