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After not being able to do any long backpacking trips last year because of work issues (no vacation time with the new job) I am planning a trip for this summer. Right now it looks like the group will be four or five, so a couple more would not be a problem. We will go July 20-28.
First, the route. We will follow the route detailed in this trip report, doing it in nine days:
Total mileage will probably be around 70, with significant portions off trail.
There are two places on that route that could be tricky. The first will be the crossing of the Kern-Kaweah River. This will depend entirely on the snow pack and melt rate in the spring. Right now we are far below average snow pack, so this will probably not be an issue. The second place will be Pyra-Queen Col. Look at the pictures in the above link, if you are not comfortable doing steep loose class 2 like that with a full pack (at elevation, it is 12,800'), then this is not the trip for you.
Now for some conditions. I plan all year (in this case two years) for these trips, and they mean a lot to me and my sanity. I don't have much tolerance for people who say they can do it, and then figure out two days into the trip that they just can't take it. If you find yourself in that situation, you will be responsible for your own self-evacuation over the easiest route. That may sound harsh, but I have been on trips when someone bailed out, and it was not pleasant. I don't want a weekend warrior to ruin what I have been planning and looking forward to for so long. It is not an overly hard trip, averaging less than 10 miles per day, but off trail is slower, and it is all at elevation. If you have experience doing long backpacking trips at elevation (and I will ask for details) and are in good physical condition then it shouldn't be a problem. Anyone with little or no experience who wants to try it out would probably be asked to go on a shakedown overnight trip beforehand for a personal evaluation. And note that the above condition does not apply if there is an injury. I will do everything in my power to take care of people in case of injury. But if you just decide that the trip is too hard to continue, I don't have a lot of sympathy. I know that I am preaching to the choir here on Trailspace, but I have to say this so people know where I am coming from.
So, anyone interested? This trip promises spectacular scenery, and a fair amount of solitude, since we will spend the majority of the time away from the popular trails. I have a permit for July 20-28. I know that a lot of Trailspace users are based on the east coast so transportation may be a problem, but this is a chance to get a taste of Sierra wilderness.