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Onion Valley to Horseshoe Meadow, CA
mini location map2015-07-23
69 by photographer avatarchumley
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Onion Valley to Horseshoe Meadow, CA 
Onion Valley to Horseshoe Meadow, CA
Backpack71.45 Miles 16,439 AEG
Backpack71.45 Miles5 Days         
16,439 ft AEG37 LBS Pack
1st trip
About two weeks ago, 9L told me that by way of cancellation he had scored a last minute permit to finish his quest to complete the JMT via Onion Valley. I am fortunate enough to have a job with enough flexibility that planning a weeklong vacation only a week ahead of time isn't that big of a deal. With no other "major" hikes planned for the summer, I decided to take him up on the offer to join him on this trip in the Sierra -- a destination that is really tough for me to say no to.

Despite the excitement and anticipation, I was somewhat apprehensive about this trip. John had estimated about 65 miles and set aside 6 days, but wanted to finish in 4 or 5. All of those numbers are way out of my comfort zone. But I got all my gear together and did my best to keep my pack weight down and plan meals smartly.

It all turned out ok in the end. The 36 miles in the last 2 days wore on me and isn't something I would choose to repeat on purpose. I prefer some more downtime between destinations rather than just getting from point a to point b, sleep, repeat. An extra day in there would have helped me a lot.

All I can say is I have newfound appreciation for those who have done the JMT or similar through hikes. Especially Dave1 and Fotg who plowed through this in 8 and 10 days respectively. You have my utmost respect. :worthy:

Completing a hike like the JMT is not something I see myself ever doing. But I am truly impressed by those who make it a part of their life accomplishments, and I was honored to share a paltry few of those miles and stand atop Mt. Whitney and congratulate John for his personal feat. Bravo my friend. Bravo! : app :

Day 1: Onion Valley to Vidette Meadow
8.8 miles / 2,692 aeg / 4h2m / 23m stopped (2.18 overall / 2.41 moving)
Stunning scenery. Great weather. I would love to come back to this area again.

Day 2a: Vidette Meadow to Tyndall Frog Tanks
13.2 miles / 3,768 aeg / 7h38m / 1h43m stopped (1.73 overall / 2.23 moving)
Forester pass is a grind. But a fantastic area with great views in all directions.

Day 2b: Camp Wander
2.9 miles / 426 aeg / 1h28m (1.98 overall)
Happy to have no pack on my back. Nice wander down Tyndall Creek to the ranger station. Nobody home.

Day 3: Tyndall Frog Tanks to Guitar Lake
11.0 miles / 2,223 aeg / 5h26m / 1h 6m stopped (2.02 overall / 2.56 moving)
Hiked with Heather, a nice girl finishing her solo through-hike who convinced us to camp at Guitar Lake.

Day 4a: Whitney Summit from Guitar Lake
9.5 miles / 3,166 aeg / 5h18m / 55m stopped (1.79 overall / 2.17 moving)
Guitar Lake is great place to make summiting Whitney a more reasonable endeavor. Slow but steady and you're there in no time!

Day 4b: Guitar Lake to Rock Creek
9.9 miles / 1,102 aeg / 4h9m / 25m stopped (2.37 overall / 2.65 moving)
This was a grind after Whitney in the morning. Foxtail pines were the only real highlight on this otherwise hot and dry stretch of trail.

Day 5: Rock Creek to Horseshoe Meadow
16.2 miles / 3,046 aeg / 7h15m / 51m stopped (2.23 overall / 2.53 moving)
This was quite simply a death march with the car as the goal. Beautiful scenery though. Army Pass was tough and the final 8 miles down dragged on and on. The cooler still had ice in it and the beer was delicious!

Despite the heavy stats, I really enjoyed this trip and love spending time in this area. The Sierra truly are a wonderful range and I will be back to explore more. Thanks John for doing all the planning so all I had to do was show up and put one foot in front of the other! Another great trip that I'll always remember :)
 Flora [ checklist ]
[ checklist ]  Foxtail Pine
 Meteorology [ checklist ]
[ checklist ]  Ice

water 1 out of 5water 2 out of 5water 3 out of 5water less than max Crabtree Creek Medium flow Medium flow
Plenty of water for filtering

dry Guyot Creek Dry Dry
Unexpectedly dry at trail crossing at 10,400. Ranger's note on bear locker at Rock Creek advises against using it as a reliable source for water - dated 2015. That said, there were some stagnant pools that could be filtered if absolutely needed.

water 1 out of 5water 2 out of 5water 3 out of 5water less than max Perrin Creek Medium flow Medium flow
Perrin drains into Rock Creek at a nice meadow area with ample camping opportunities and good clean water flow.

water 1 out of 5water 2 out of 5water 3 out of 5water less than max South Fork Cottonwood Creek Medium flow Medium flow
Healthy flow on Cottonwood Creek along the entire length of trail
two scoops!
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