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Olancha, Sirretta Peaks and Monache Meadows Sierra Messages in this topic - RSS

dsefcik
dsefcik
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9/23/2014
dsefcik
dsefcik
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8 days and 7 nights in the great outdoors of the Southern Sierras. We got rained on the second night out and my military bivy kept me dry all night, after that we had sunshine the whole rest of the trip. The Sierra mountains are dry, I mean really dry. The Kern river was not flowing at all thru Kennedy Meadows and many places that normally have a flowing stream were dry or only had pockets of old water. Gary masterminded this trip and we had a great time. I took most of these photos with my Pentax 6x7 MF film camera and the B/W photos were from a rescued 1936 Zeiss Nettar 515 I purchased and repaired the week prior to the trip. I also took my Anba Ikeda 4x5 wooden field camera but only took a single photo of Olancha Peak with it. Fuji Velvia film is great stuff and produces some very vivid colors. Some of the negatives (really transparencies) I purposely scanned the edges of and softened a bit to give them more of a vintage look. My Canon S100 took some of the quick shots needed and inside Packsaddle Cave.

One of our first trips was out to Packsaddle Cave. An interesting site to see for sure, all the stalactites have been broken off and stolen and graffiti on the walls date back to the early 1900's. Trash, clothing, bedding material all are littered about inside the cave. But it is still a neat place to crawl around in and check out. Some of the stalactites are trying to make a comeback though as water continues to seep thru the ceiling of this ancient cave.

Inside Packsaddle Cave


Some of the stalactites are forming themselves again but I will be dead before they are large




Here you can see the vandalized and broken stalactites. The whole cave is like this and is mostly associated to the early 1900's



The graffiti inside the cave dates from the early 1900's to one day before we were there...people actually go there armed with paint ready to write on the walls. I did not take pictures of any of the large and just sickening stuff, just a few of the really old pencil ones that were way down deep in the cave, the ones where you need to belly crawl to get to


There is even "rock art" in the cave..!


We setup base camp near Big Meadow and explored the Domeland Wilderness area for several days.
One of our day hikes was up to Sirretta Peak. Here is Gary and Joel at the top.


While we never saw any bears we saw lots of tracks and other signs of bears pretty much every day. The trees are great for bears to dig their claws into and they love tearing up signs posted along the trails. I totally forgot to check the trees for any bear fur that may have been stuck in the bark.


Some great bear scat


Bear tracks on almost every trail for miles at a time




Here is some coyote ( I believe) scat fresh on the road as we walked back into camp. The coyotes would howl every night across the meadow.


My fellow hiking companions did not seem to show the same enthusiasm for looking at and analyzing all of the varied animal scat we found.

Several areas we saw deer and large areas showed signs of bedding for them. Here is a good example that shows the legs being bent and the hoove areas


A different day saw us hiking up to Taylor Dome AKA Miranda Dome. Here is Gary ascending the last section that requires some very careful hand and foot placement.


From Taylor Dome looking down at Big Meadow. We are camped way past the meadow somewhere near Salmon Creek.


Here are some of my old school film shots of Gary and I on top of Taylor Dome. Olancha Peak is way off in the distance in these photos and is where we would be heading to in a few days as the last part of our trip.



On our way back to camp we stopped at Salmon Creek. It was pretty much dry as could be with only a few pockets of mosquito water. Gary has been going to this same place for 30+ years and has never seen it dry like this.


Somewhere on the way to Taylor Dome, the rock climbers have left rope and other climbing stuff all over the faces of this boulder outcrop.


Next stop on the trip was to Monache Meadows and Olancha Peak.


Here is Gary crossing the Kern River...hardly any water at all!


Monache Meadows is a big place and was open enough to take some sunset/sunrise photos. We were finally camping someplace where we were not covered by trees. This is Monache Mtn at sunrise. It got down to 20 degrees that night and my water was frozen and my hands quickly became numb as I got up and started taking early morning photos.


Still going with the Fuji Velvia slide film and my old cameras I found the cowboys and cattle rustling around out in the meadow. I love the deep rich colors of the velvia film


The old 1936 Zeiss folding camera got a chance to photograph the cattle as well. The shutter was frozen shut from the early morning 20 degree coldness on the first shot but freed up for the second. You can see there is a light leak on the top of the photo


At sunset I setup my 4x5 field camera to take a photo of Olancha Peak. The Fuji Velvia film looks great in person and on a light table. Here is the setup, notice the 7lb Pentax 6x7 camera hanging from the tripod to stabilize the light weight wood camera



The composition on the ground glass


And finally the photograph from all of that work. The 4x5 negative from this camera scanned at 9600 dpi is almost 200 megapixels! We would be backpacking to Olancha Peak the next morning.


Our campsite and Monache Mtn in the distance


Olancha Peak standing tall at 12,132'....


We did a very leisurely 3 day backpack trip up to Olancha Peak from Monache Meadows.


Gary and Joel on the PCT


Here is a great view from one of my camping spots. That military bivy is one of my best camping purchases ever, it is tough and water/wind proof. Since I carpooled with Gary I packed light (sorta), this was most of my stuff for 8 days.


Here is a photo from the Zeiss camera of the same vista


At the top of Olancha you can see almost everywhere, especially over towards Whitney and Langley




If you are interested in a full 360 view you can click this image to view and download the original sized photo


It was a great trip!

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hikerdmb
hikerdmb
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9/23/2014
hikerdmb
hikerdmb
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Thanks for the photos Daren. It looks really dry. The low water at the crossing of the Kern is pretty sad. Looks like you had some clear skies while you were up there. I have been up that way a few times and it is a great area to explore. We went up one year and snow camped and skied around for a couple of days on some nice and easy terrain. Olanche Peak sure is different on the west side compared to what you see from 395. Let's hope for lots of rain and snow this year for our deserts and the Sierra.
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dsefcik
dsefcik
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9/23/2014
dsefcik
dsefcik
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Olancha's North/N. West slopes are easy, the rest are steep, scree filled cliffs. Looking down at the 395 form the top gives you a kinda vertigo feeling.

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tommy750
tommy750
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9/23/2014
tommy750
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Looks like another great hike, Daren. Wish I could have joined you guys. Did you use a backpack? Noted the water level of Lake Isabella is down to 10% of capacity. Wonder if they're doing any rafting these days on the Kern.
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dsefcik
dsefcik
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9/23/2014
dsefcik
dsefcik
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tommy750 wrote:
Looks like another great hike, Daren. Wish I could have joined you guys. Did you use a backpack? Noted the water level of Lake Isabella is down to 10% of capacity. Wonder if they're doing any rafting these days on the Kern.
People were skiing on the lake with tree branches sticking up all over the place, looked pretty sketchy to us. You can see the pack I used in one of the photos, I carried that for 3 days and tried to keep it as light as I could. The other days I used the fanny pack.

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rockhopper
rockhopper
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9/25/2014
rockhopper
rockhopper
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Great trip report and photos with different cameras. My brother is up there right now! Just a little further north. I will be heading up to the Sierras and then further up to Eureka next week to visit family. We have a cabin to stay in near the San Joaquin river.
Mt Olancha is the last highest peak heading south until you hit San Gorgonio. I found an arrow head just below Olancha peak near the Owens lake bed about 20 years ago. Lots of obsidian shards near the passes too. The views to the east are just fantastic. How were the mosiqutos? Down with the lower water?
I am going to be doing the rain dance soon myself!
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dsefcik
dsefcik
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9/25/2014
dsefcik
dsefcik
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rockhopper wrote:
Great trip report and photos with different cameras. My brother is up there right now! Just a little further north. I will be heading up to the Sierras and then further up to Eureka next week to visit family. We have a cabin to stay in near the San Joaquin river.
Mt Olancha is the last highest peak heading south until you hit San Gorgonio. I found an arrow head just below Olancha peak near the Owens lake bed about 20 years ago. Lots of obsidian shards near the passes too. The views to the east are just fantastic. How were the mosiqutos? Down with the lower water?
I am going to be doing the rain dance soon myself!
Mosoquitos were not too bad, Gary swore they would be in swarms near Salmon Creek but we saw very few...so there you have another probable low water side effect., Yeah..lots of obsidian and several points were found by us in various locations on our trip.

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ziphius
ziphius
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9/28/2014
ziphius
ziphius
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Nice trip Daren, good to see you out and about. Another view of Olancha from the PCT south of Horseshoe Meadow in June. Did a 5-night trip near Cottonwood Lakes and Old Army Pass in June.

edited by ziphius on 9/28/2014

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dsefcik
dsefcik
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9/28/2014
dsefcik
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Great photo Jim, yeah, Olancha seems prominent from many of the southern areas. I am hoping to get out some more now and do some day hikes and maybe some short backpack trips that don't involve carrying 11 liters of water....wink

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