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PostPosted: Wed Oct 28, 2009 11:11 pm 
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UW Climber

Joined: Fri Jul 04, 2003 2:42 pm
Posts: 107
Location: San Carlos, CA
Rae Lakes Loop Adventure Run:

According to the national park service, the Rae Lakes Loop is one of the most popular hikes in Sequoia and Kings Canyon, if not the entire Sierra. I completed the famous loop in 12 hours, 31 minutes, starting at 5:30 am and finishing just after 6 pm. The loop is 46 miles long and climbs from 5,035 ft at the trailhead to 11,978 ft at Glen Pass. The portion between Vidette Meadows (Mile 14) and Woods Creek Crossing (Mile 29) is along the John Muir Trail. The highlight of the loop is the Rae Lakes area, a chain of large alpine lakes over 10,500 feet with views of rugged Sierra peaks. The trailhead is at Road’s End in magnificent Kings Canyon and travels along Bubbs Creek and Woods Creek, including Vidette Meadows, Castle Domes, and Paradise Valley. Most backpackers do the loop clockwise, which makes sense as you gradually gain elevation through the Rae Lakes basin. However, for running it makes more sense to go counterclockwise reaching the highpoint at Glen Pass in 18.5 miles, followed by 27.5 miles of downhill, in theory.

A strong storm on October 13th dropped several feet of snow above 9,000 feet, and a substantial amount of snow remains which made for slow going between Charlotte Lake junction and Dollar Lake (~8 miles). The snow was particularly deep on the north side of Glen Pass with an icy crust layer on top of powdery snow. The result was a lot of postholing and I often could not find where the trail was buried until near the Rae Lakes, but the views of the Sierra with a fresh coat of snow more than compensated. The trails along the loop are generally rocky and rugged precluding a consistent fast pace. I found the section before and after Mist Falls (miles 41 to 43) to be particularly rocky and rough on tired legs at the end of the day.

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A 9:42 video can be watched on Vimeo or YouTube

Location (Elevation): Time Elapsed / Split / Real Time
Mile 0 – Road’s End TH (5,035 ft) : 0 / 0 / 05:30
Mile 2 – Paradise/Bubbs Jct. (5,120 ft) : 14:53 / 14:53 / 05:45
Mile 4 – Sphinx Junction (6,240 ft) : 45:03 / 30:11 / 06:30
Mile 11 – Junction Meadow (8,136 ft+) : 2:11:59 / 1:26:55 / 07:42
Mile 14 – Vidette Meadow (9,514 ft) : 3:06:09 / 54:11 / 08:36
Mile 18.5 – Glen Pass (11,978 ft) : 4:55:49 / 1:49:40 / 10:26
Mile 21 – Rae Lakes (10,564 ft) : 6:20:11 / 1:24:21 / 11:50
Mile 24 – Dollar Lake (10,170 ft) : 7:48:51 / 1:28:40 / 13:19
Mile 29 – Woods Creek Crossing (8,492 ft) : 8:46:16 / 57:25 / 14:16
Mile 34 – Upper Woods Creek (~7,500 ft) : 9:43:18 / 57:02 / 15:13
Mile 42 – Mist Falls (~5,500 ft) : 11:37:00 / 1:53:41 / 17:07
Mile 44 – Paradise/Bubbs Jct. (5,120 ft) : 12:14:12 / 37:12 / 17:44
Mile 46 – Road’s End TH (5,035 ft) : 12:31:37 / 17:25 / 18:01

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Mount Bago

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Bubbs Creek Falls

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Vidette Meadows

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Deerhorn Mountain

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Mount Brewer

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Charlotte Lake

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Alpine lake below Glen Pass

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South Guard, Mount Brewer, North Guard, and Mount Francis Farquar

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Rae Lakes from Glen Pass

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Trail down from Glen Pass buried in snow.

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Lots of snow

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Upper Rae Lake

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Arrowhead Lake

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Dollar Lake

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Southern Foxtail Pines

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Woods Creek Bridge

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Castle Domes

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Upper Paradise Valley

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Mist Falls

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Conditions: Snow line in the high Sierra is currently between 10-11k depending on the aspect.


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PostPosted: Thu Oct 29, 2009 12:02 am 
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Mountain Rhombus
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Joined: Fri Apr 11, 2008 11:32 am
Posts: 579
Location: Near the taco truck
Great pictures. It seems snowier there than in Alaska! (until two days ago)...I haven't been near 10k anywhere around here however

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PostPosted: Thu Oct 29, 2009 10:16 am 
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The Pub Czar
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Joined: Thu Jan 24, 2008 12:38 am
Posts: 698
Location: too far from a pint.
impressive photos, as always.

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good judgment comes from experience;
experience comes from bad judgment.


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