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#1029945 - 08/07/11 11:03 PM [TR] Volunteer Peak - Northern Yosemite 50 Mile Loop 8/6/2011
off_the_hook Offline
member

Registered: 05/15/03
Posts: 186
TRs: 90 Photos: 7816
Loc: San Carlos, CA
Trip: Volunteer Peak - Northern Yosemite 50 Mile Loop

Date: 8/6/2011

Trip Report:
An "instant classic" adventure run of a 50+ mile loop in the remote Northern Yosemite region beginning at Twin Lakes, including five passes, the Benson Lake riviera and a summit of Volunteer Peak. Total elevation gain was over 11,000 feet and the trip time was 15:28 starting at 5:10 am and finishing up at 8:38 pm as light was fading.

This is a fantastic loop with excellent variety of scenery throughout including Peeler Lake, Kerrick Meadows, the tarns of Seavey Pass, Benson Lake's sandy beach, granite-lined Smedberg Lake, Matterhorn Canyon, and the rugged Sawtooth Ridge. I also climbed Volunteer Peak which rises above Smedberg Lake. Volunteer Peak is one of the more remote summits in Yosemite, but the climb itself is straightforward. The panoramic views from the top include much of Northern Yosemite and its many granite ridges. Specifically, the summit afforded views of Mount Conness, Smedberg Lake, Benson Lake, Tower Peak, Sawtooth Ridge, Matterhon Peak, among other notable points.

We encountered generally good trail conditions except a substantial amount of snow remains on the north side of Burro Pass and on both sides of Mule Pass. The snow approaching Mule Pass was becoming hard in the evening and took some time to negotiate with the trail running footwear and no axe/crampons. We saw very few people the entire day and there is a real feeling of solitude and wilderness in this region of the park, which sharply contrasts to the more accessible parts of Yosemite like the Valley or Tuolumne Meadows. I will surely be returning to run this amazing loop again.















































































Elevations (high and low points):

Start (Twin lakes): 7,092 ft
Peeler Lake/Pass: 9,489 ft
Depart Kerrick Canyon: ~8,900 ft
Seavey Pass: ~9,150 ft
Benson Lake: 7,581 ft
Smedberg Lake: 9,219 ft
Volunteer Peak: 10,481 ft
Benson Pass: ~10,100
Matterhorn Canyon: ~8,400 ft
Burro Pass: 10,650 ft
Piute Canyon Lowpoint: ~9,400 ft
Mule Pass: 10,460 ft
Finish: 7,092 ft

Total Elevation Gain (including Volunteer Peak): ~11,000+ ft

Gear Notes:
Ultimate Direction Wasp Pack; First Endurance EFS and Ultragen; La Sportiva Fireblade; Black Diamond Ultra Distance Z-Poles

Approach Notes:
Trails are in good shape. Extensive snow remains over Mule Pass and the north side of Burro Pass. There is a wet stream crossing in lower Kerrick Meadows and several wet crossings through Matterhorn Canyon.


Edited by off_the_hook (08/19/11 05:10 PM)
Edit Reason: Added description
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#1030196 - 08/09/11 05:42 PM Re: [TR] Volunteer Peak - Northern Yosemite 50 Mile Loop 8/6/2011 [Re: off_the_hook]
zoroastr Offline
enthusiast

Registered: 10/02/00
Posts: 248
TRs: 40 Photos: 253
Loc: redmond, washington, USA
50 miles? is that all? hardly seems worth the bother. seriously, if i had your legs and lungs, I'd throw away my car keys. nice pix, as usual. suggestion: change your handle to "Mercury."
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#1030200 - 08/09/11 06:13 PM Re: [TR] Volunteer Peak - Northern Yosemite 50 Mile Loop 8/6/2011 [Re: off_the_hook]
NoahT Offline
enthusiast

Registered: 03/20/05
Posts: 210
TRs: 5 Photos: 68
Loc: Seattle
Just out of curiosity:

On these routine 50+ mi jaunts, how much time do you spend running, and how often do you just walk/hike super fast?

--N

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#1030214 - 08/09/11 07:12 PM Re: [TR] Volunteer Peak - Northern Yosemite 50 Mile Loop 8/6/2011 [Re: NoahT]
off_the_hook Offline
member

Registered: 05/15/03
Posts: 186
TRs: 90 Photos: 7816
Loc: San Carlos, CA
It varies depending on the elevation gain, ice/snow, trail vs. off trail, etc. On this particular trip, a bit under half the total time was running and the other half was fast hiking/photography stops. In contrast, I ran most of the Rae Lakes Loop but only around 1/4 of the time was running on the Northern Pickets Traverse.
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#1031213 - 08/17/11 11:20 AM Re: [TR] Volunteer Peak - Northern Yosemite 50 Mile Loop 8/6/2011 [Re: off_the_hook]
silence Offline
n00b

Registered: 08/23/06
Posts: 43
TRs: 0 Photos: 3
it looks devoid of people .. is that a fact or just an illusion?

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#1031612 - 08/19/11 05:18 PM Re: [TR] Volunteer Peak - Northern Yosemite 50 Mile Loop 8/6/2011 [Re: silence]
off_the_hook Offline
member

Registered: 05/15/03
Posts: 186
TRs: 90 Photos: 7816
Loc: San Carlos, CA
Fact!

We encountered very few people (<30 the entire trip including occupied tents we saw early in the morning) and most were between Seavey Pass and Smedberg Lake along the Pacific Crest Trail.

The relative solitude and remoteness of this region sharply contrasts with the popular areas of Yosemite, but it's a huge park with more to see than the Valley and Tuolumne Meadows!
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#1031728 - 08/21/11 10:40 AM Re: [TR] Volunteer Peak - Northern Yosemite 50 Mile Loop 8/6/2011 [Re: off_the_hook]
Pete_H Offline
Pooh-Bah

Registered: 04/20/09
Posts: 2430
TRs: 7 Photos: 183
Loc: Der
Stunning! Nice work. At altitude too.

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#1034056 - 09/12/11 08:21 AM Re: [TR] Volunteer Peak - Northern Yosemite 50 Mile Loop 8/6/2011 [Re: Pete_H]
Captain Nordic Offline
stranger

Registered: 09/12/11
Posts: 1
TRs: 0 Photos: 0
Great trip, Leor. We've backcountry skated a lot of this route in a couple of different trips, the last one just this past May. If you want to see how cool this terrain looks in the Spring, check out these links:

http://macbethgraphics.smugmug.com/BACKC...4928975_FKHVZhK

http://macbethgraphics.smugmug.com/BACKC...745269563_fqCWK



Mark

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