5-11 May 2006
Tom, John H, Lino, Robin

This is an east-to-west traverse of the high Sierras in California, starting near Independence CA and ending in the Sequouia National Park above Three Rivers CA.  From the Symmes Creek Trailhead on the east side, over Shepherd’s Pass, 3-D pass, and Coppermine Pass, and out through the Giant Seqouias near Wolverton Ski Area. The trip is about 45 miles and should take 6 days en route. The route stays above 11,000 feet most of the trip, and includes over 10,000 feet of climbing, most of that in the first two days.

"This tour justifiably ranks as one of the finest ski tours in the world – high traverses, great ski descents, spectacular scenery, and exciting mountaineering challenges…"  - Backcountry Skiing California’s High Sierra, John Moynier

The route is rated class 3-4 by Moynier, which means the route includes “very steep terrain (35-45 degrees)” and may involve belaying, anchoring, rappelling. Kit needed include basic gear for a day in the backcountry plus (possibly) an ice axe, 8 mil rope, crampons, some long slings, possibly chocks for anchoring belays.

PICTURES                           TRIP CHRONOLOGY                     Sierra Mountain Center guides the route. We didn't use them, but they do have a nice description and map

Pictures and reports from OTHER SKI TRIPS


        Meter Meter Feet Feet    
    CAMP NOTES Ascent Descent Ascent Descent Laps Time
Friday 5-may-06 Symm's Creek Corral Two miles from trail-head 0 0 0 0 0 0
Saturday 6-may-06 Above Anvil Camp, about 3150m Hike up, mainly on dirt. 1,411 162 4,630 530 1 10:00
Sunday 7-may-06 Milestone Creek basin, about 3340m Hike up to and over Shepherd's pass, down to headwaters of Kern, and up into Milestone Creek basin. 805 521 2,640 1,710 0 10:30
Monday 8-may-06 Milestone Creek basin, about 3340m Stay in Milestone Creek basin for ski day.  Skin half-way up Midway.  Robin, John, Steve took another lap on a closer face. 567 567 1,860 1,860 1 5:00
Tuesday 9-may-06 Below 'No-name pass', about 11,800? Ski up and over Milestone Pass (about 3920m) then down Milestone bowl and up over 'No-name Pass' at about 12,000ft.  Set up the MegaMid below the pass to escape the mid-day sun, and camp. 780 607 2,560 1,990 2 7:40
Wednseday 10-may-06 About 10,840ft at big rock above Lonely Lake. Up and over Triple Divide pass, down around Glaciery Lake, contour to Copper Mine Pass, then continue to contour to the pass above Lonely Lake.  503 689 1,650 2,260 3 5:20
  10-may-06   Short ski tour from Lonely Lake 223 223 730 730 1 1:50
Thursday 11-may-06   Out of Lonely Lake, over the Tablelands, to Pear Lake. 155 643 510 2,110 2 4:40
  11-may-06   Take a couple laps from Pear Lake Ranger Station 213 213 700 700 2 1:20
  11-may-06   Up and over the hump, then down to Wolverton 180 738 590 2,420 2 2:50
TOTAL       4,837 4,362 15,870 14,310   48:40

Sheet2 Chart 2

(Click on Thumbnail for large picture)


Lino, John, Robin at the Symms Creek trailhead, then hiking up to just above Anvil Camp
Symms Creek Trailhead      Hiking from Symms Creek trailhead  Hiking from Symms Creek trailhead 

Camping on the flat rocks above Anvil Camp, and Robin in the famous hood
Camping above Anvil Camp    Camping above Anvil Camp 

Starting out from camp

Climbing to Shepherd's Pass, and rest-stop at top
 Climbing to Shepherd's Pass  Shepherd's Pass

Starting from Shepherd's towards Milestone.   Looking back towards Shepherd's                                                                      Milestone in the background       
Starting from Shepherd's towards Milestone                  Looking back towards Shepherd's pass                    View of Milestone peak

Looking for a campsite at end of day
Looking for a campsite below Milestone


Climbing and then skiing down Midway
Climbing up Midway  Up on Midway        Skiing down Midway 

Lunch after Midway

Views of camp


Skining and hiking up towards Milestone pass.

Resting from the sun below 'No-name' pass.  Tom as 'Babushka',          Camp                         and                     Dinner                                           
      Camp below "no-name" pass   Camp below "no-name" pass 


In camp below 'No-name' pass      At the top of Triple Divide pass

Getting ready to ski through Cloud Canyon.      Heading towards Copper Mine pass                                                                                                                               

Looking back towards the pass above Lonely Lake                      On the point NW above Lonely Lake

Campsite at Lonely Lake
Campsite at Lonely Lake 


Pear Lake Ranger Station
Pear Lake Ranger Station  Lunch at Pear Lake Ranger Station 

Skiing up to Pear Lake
Skiing up to Pear Lake  Skiing up to Pear Lake 

Skiing out from Pear Lake
Skiing out from Pear Lake       

The finish at Wolverton

Giant Sequoia - General Sherman with a limb down