Sunday, June 23, 2013

Epic day hike in Minarets

I did a Mt. Ritter last year and like it a lot, so I come back and check out some more lakes. Here is a map of my route:
Superior Minaret Cecile Iceberg Ediza Shadow lakes loop map
I started at 6:00 from Devil's postpile trail head. Beginning of the trail was not quite spectacular, but at least mostly in the forest and well shaded. View starting to get better after intersection with Fern Lakes trail where you can see Iron Mountain and adjacent valleys. I made Superior lake by 9:00. Eat my breakfast (25 min) while thinking of the best route over the ridge.
Superior lake
That's where fun part begins. Nancy Pass is just in the middle of this picture, easy class 2, but still took me about an hour to get on the top. 10:25.
Looking north from Nancy Pass. Minaret lake in the distance.
Going down was not fast either. I saw a big bear (very light brown color) maybe 100 meters down the ridge. He look at me for 10 seconds, but as soon as I start getting my camera turn around and run away. Next valley was still flooded, so main challenge was to find dry route, which was successfully accomplished. I made Minaret lake by 12:40.
Minaret lake
West shore was still covered with snow, but pretty soft at this time of the day. Finally I reconnect with the existing trail on the north side of the lake, no more cross country I was thinking, mistake, big mistake.
Looking back to Minaret lake
Cecile lake
East side still covered with snow, but I was able to come around this time. However worst snow crossing was still ahead.
Iceberg lake
Iceberg lake covered with snow
It was 2:20 pm still enough time to complete the route, so I took it slowly and carefully making each step, did not want to swim in the cold water, at least in the clothes.
Ediza lake with Mt. Ritter and Banner peak in background
Ediza lake 3:40 pm from there it was a matter of patience, the most interesting parts was behind and view started to degrade with several exceptions such as flowers and small water falls in Shadow creek. Exit via Shadow creek was much more beautiful that enter via Beck lake trail.
Flowers Shadow creek
Mammoth Mt.
Back to the car by 8:20 pm, 14:20 total time and about 20 miles on the trail, long, but very satisfying day hike. Back home at 2:00 am.

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