I wouldn’t say I had too many surprises this summer on the Sierra High Route (SHR). I was fairly lucky with weather, I had warm gear, almost enough food, and navigation worked out well. I only had two death-defying falls. One thing stands out about this hike and that thing is exceptional amounts of talus…. continue reading
The Sierra High Route (SHR) is an alternate route — not a trail — through the high Sierra Nevada suggested by Steve Roper in his 1990 book Sierra High Route: Traversing Timberline County. It somewhat parallels the John Muir Trail (JMT) for most its length, and briefly uses the JMT to move from one crest to another. Steve Roper agonized over whether to share the route in a book; he feared its pristine nature would be damaged by overuse.
Between the months of June and October 2015, I had the privilege to take on every mile of the SHR, solo. I attacked it in a south to north fashion; however, I started with a chunk at the north, and hiked subsequent chunks moving south by a chunk from that. I had the luxury to be able to take chunks over the course of several months, when I felt up to them. However, as I approached the southernmost chunk, smoke from the expansive (80,000 acres and only 25% at the time of writing in early September) Rough Fire filled the Kings Canyon and closed the southern terminus at Cedar Grove. It’s uncertain when I will be able to hike the remaining 30 miles from Land’s End to Taboose Pass (the SHR near the southern foot of Mathers Pass).
I kept my camper van in Lone Pine, a wild frontier town in the Eastern Sierra, and resupplied from there. All trail access was done by hitchhiking and the Eastern Sierra Transit bus. As I already had the gear from my PCT thru-hike, this hike cost me very little money (mostly just food expense).
June 13-15th: Tuolumne Meadows to Twin Lakes
July 15-19th: Reds Meadow to Tuolumne Meadows
July 24-27th: Piute Pass to Reds Meadow
August 16-20th: Taboose Pass to Piute Pass
October 18-22nd: Kearsarge Pass to Taboose Pass
Total trail miles: ~195 of 195 (Roper’s main suggested route almost completed; two “major” alternates used: Alpine Col and Cartridge Pass)
Total miles hiked (access trails included): 233
Total days on trail: 21
Today days on the SHR: 19
Abram – the mysterious fellow I met on my L2H hike in October – introduced me to the concept of “bonus miles.” We’re lucky enough as it is to be hiking, thus, any extra miles hiked to get here or there that aren’t on the itinerary are “bonus miles.” Bonus Miles – Pics These are… continue reading
October 19 – Road’s End to Granite Basin This 35-mile bit of the SHR took me 5 days (an extra day to hike 20 miles to the trailhead, and an extra day to hike 10+ miles out). On the afternoon of October 19th, I made it to Road’s End. I had already covered ten miles… continue reading
In the middle of October, after having finished an amazing L2H hike with two great guys (Bulldozer and Abram), I was looking at wrapping up my season and heading back to Portland to spend the holidays with my mother. But it was driving me crazy that I hadn’t finished my Sierra High Route hike. I… continue reading
The Sierra High Route is a 195-mile long route charted through the backcountry — and along some existing trails — of the High Sierra Nevada. It was devised by noted Sierra climber and historian Steve Roper, and originally, discreetly, published in book form in 1982. I first learned about it in 2013 during my thru-hike… continue reading
Day 1: Taboose Pass to Taboose Pass August 16th. I started the day having leftover apple pie, cinnamon rolls, and fresh hot coffee with LoveNote and Burly White’s wedding party near South Lake. This was a beautiful wedding, a marriage of two great people who met while hiking the Continental Divide trail and fell in… continue reading
Day 1: Piute Pass Trailhead to French Canyon July 24th. This hike was kicked off with a pleasant hitch in a big truck from a fellow named Kelly. Kelly had just dropped his niece “Sierra” off at Mt. Whitney so that she could summit, and was headed back to Bishop where he was visiting family…. continue reading
This ~50-mile stretch of the Sierra High Route took me four days. I left from Reds Meadows near Mammoth Lakes on a Wednesday afternoon at 12:30pm and came out in Tuolumne Meadows on a Sunday at 11:00am with heels on fire – I wanted to make breakfast at the diner! Day 1: Devil’s Postpile to… continue reading
This 23-mile stretch of the Sierra High Route took me almost three days. I left Tuolumne Meadows Saturday June 13th at 7am and came out at Twin Lakes on Monday the 15th at 4:30pm. Granted, I’m usually able to hike 23 miles in one day, that’s when there’s a trail and I don’t have three… continue reading