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Onion Valley to Kearsarge Pass - 8/2-8/3/2013

 
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mcphersonm80



Joined: 23 Aug 2010
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Location: Sierra Madre, CA

PostPosted: Thu Aug 08, 2013 12:32 pm    Post subject: Onion Valley to Kearsarge Pass - 8/2-8/3/2013  Reply with quote

We headed up on Friday to Onion Valley, planning to acclimate for 2 nights before heading over to Mt Langley. The campground is gorgeous, at 9200' nestled in a small hanging valley between two massive ridges of Sierra granite. Perfect place to get used to the altitude before heading out for any of the big peaks in the area.


Onion Valley

When we arrived, we took a quick hike up to Gilbert Lake for lunch, probably about 2.5 miles up the Kearsarge Pass trail.


Gilbert Lake


I could get used to this.


Looking back, I wish we had hiked up to Golden Trout Lake that first day, as we'd be passing right by Gilbert again the following day but whatever...  it'll be there next time.

The next morning we got up just before sunrise, which over the Owens Valley, never disappoints. We had breakfast and set out for Kearsarge Pass.


Sunrise from Onion Valley


Fireweed near the outlet stream from Gilbert

The trail is easy hiking, only averaging about 500 feet per mile the entire way and passing by five or six lakes, each with their own little personalities.


Little Pothole Lake


University Peak


That Delicious Sierra Granite


Not much else to report on the way up...  Just a straightforward and extremely enjoyable hike. More shots:


Heart Lake


Panorama back toward camp from the Trail (click for King Size)


Big Pothole Lake

I was particularly mesmerized by this formation:


Well-played, Earth.


When you get to the pass, as with most Sierra passes, the entire world seemingly unfolds before your eyes.


View from Kearsarge Pass (click for Turbo)


On the way down, we took the short and extremely worthwhile side trip to Matlock Lake, easily the most impressive of all lakes in this area.


Paintbrush and some kind of Sage imposter flowers


Endangered Mountain Yellow-Legged Frogs (yep, those same ones)


University Peak above Matlock Lake


Sunrise before departing for Langley


Overall, Onion Valley and Kearsarge Pass are *%$^in cool places. Absolutely perfect for fairly relaxed acclimation hikes. As usual, because they're fairly popular, online forums and certain guide books (*cough* Secor *cough*) say the place is rampantly overused and basically a dump not worth visiting.  Rolling Eyes

I'll put the Langley stuff in a seperate report.

More pics here:
http://www.flickr.com/photos/wattifoto/sets/72157634975514410/
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longcut



Joined: 02 Feb 2011
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Location: San Dimas

PostPosted: Thu Aug 08, 2013 12:41 pm    Post subject: Kearsarge Reply with quote

i enjoyed this write up alot, thanks for post!!
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<3 <3 <3 Snow


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PostPosted: Thu Aug 08, 2013 1:18 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

really nice photos.
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Uncle Rico



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Location: Pleasantville

PostPosted: Thu Aug 08, 2013 1:48 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Man McP, you take the nicest photos on this forum (no disrespect to anyone else). Absolutely stunning. Love that hike to the Pass out of Onion Valley.
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MattCav



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Location: Carpinteria, CA

PostPosted: Thu Aug 08, 2013 5:26 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I second Rico's comment.
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JeffH



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Location: Claremont

PostPosted: Fri Aug 09, 2013 3:54 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I agree, great place to visit. I usually go hang out around Gilbert Lake for one of my acclimation days, now you're making me want to go visit Matlock.
Nice pics...
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mcphersonm80



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Location: Sierra Madre, CA

PostPosted: Sat Aug 10, 2013 10:20 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks  Cool


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