Jump to content
  • Announcements

    • olyclimber

      WELCOME TO THE CASCADECLIMBERS.COM FORUMS   02/03/18

      We have upgraded to new forum software as of late last year, and it makes everything here so much better!  It is now much easier to do pretty much anything, including write Trip Reports, sell gear, schedule climbing related events, and more. There is a new reputation system that allows for positive contributors to be recognized,  it is possible to tag content with identifiers, drag and drop in images, and it is much easier to embed multimedia content from Youtube, Vimeo, and more.  In all, the site is much more user friendly, bug free, and feature rich!   Whether you're a new user or a grizzled cascadeclimbers.com veteran, we think you'll love the new forums. Enjoy!
Sign in to follow this  
off_the_hook

[TR] Milestone Mountain & Midway Mountain - via Shepherd Pass 9/3/2011

Recommended Posts

Trip: Milestone Mountain & Midway Mountain - via Shepherd Pass

 

Date: 9/3/2011

 

Trip Report:

An adventure run to climb Milestone Mountain (13,641 ft) and Midway Mountain (13,666 ft) along the Great Western Divide, two of the most remote points in the High Sierra. The run entailed over 40 miles and the duration was just over 17 hours, starting at 2:50 am and finishing up just before 8 pm. Milestone Creek and Basin are exceptionally scenic with lovely alpine lakes and tarns, polished granite, and the towering peaks of the Great Western Divide.

 

Shepherd Pass is known as one of the most grueling approaches in the Eastern Sierra with over 6,000 feet of elevation gain in 10+ miles. The trail also includes a 600 ft descent that becomes an nice slow ascent on the way back after a long day! I reached the pass about 3 hours and 20 minutes after beginning. The next few miles down Tyndall Creek had some great running with the gentle downhill slope, relatively smooth trail, and inspiring alpenglow over the Great Western Divide. I even ran with (startled) several groups of deer through the meadows. Progress on the trail connecting the John Muir Trail to the Kern River was slower partially due to the photography stops at small alpine lakes and the breathtaking views of the Great Western Divide and Kings-Kern Divide. The summit pinnacle of Milestone Mountain was the centerpiece of the view although it still looked far, even after traveling 17+ miles to reach this point. I was also intrigued by the jagged summit of Thunder Mountain peeking in the distance.

 

Once on the Kern River trail, I descended a little too far into the canyon losing some time and energy, but after recovering from my error it was a quick trip up Milestone Creek to Milestone Basin. There is a faint abandoned trail in the beginning portion that is helpful. Milestone Basin is another Sierra paradise with spectacular scenery - extremely picturesque and photogenic (and I took many photos!). I continued up above tree line where the vegetation transitioned into seemingly interminable boulder fields leading to the pinnacle of Milestone Mountain. The boulders became looser and steeper as I approached the final scramble and at this point I also felt the altitude slowing me down after having come directly from sea level.

 

I eventually made it up to the notch north of Milestone's pinnacle and continued up the rock scramble to the summit where I was treated to stupendous 360 degree views with my favorite the angle across Milestone Bowl to the Kaweah Range. It was quite chilly on the summit with a breeze so I put on all the warmth I brought. After 30 minutes on top I retraced my route down the scramble and headed for Midway Mountain.

 

It took a little under 2 hours to reach the summit of Midway with more great views. On the descent from Midway, I headed to a lake below Table Mountain, descending boulders and then friendly granite slabs. Table Mountain forms a gorgeous amphitheater around this small lake and the stream emanating from the lake meanders through grassy meadows and polished slabs - quintessential Sierra sweetness! More great scenery continued as I made the descent down to Milestone Creek with views across the Kern Canyon to the Mount Whitney area.

 

The trail portion back through Upper Kern to Tyndall Creek and Shepherd Pass was more laborious with tired legs, but the views continued to motivate. I took a break at Shepherd Pass and enjoyed the evening sunshine before the descent into the shade on the east side of the pass for the remainder of the adventure run. I jogged most of the way back along the trail save for the 600 ft ascent out of Shepherd Creek that seemed to take forever! Alpenglow over Mount Williamson was the prize when I reached the crest of this last ascent. I made it back to the car just before 8 pm as the last light faded.

 

milestone104.JPG

 

milestone117.JPG

 

milestone106.JPG

 

castle02.JPG

 

castle05.JPG

 

castle07.JPG

 

castle09.JPG

 

castle10.JPG

 

milestone110.JPG

 

milestone111.JPG

 

milestone109.JPG

 

castle13.JPG

 

castle14.JPG

 

castle15.JPG

 

castle16.JPG

 

castle171.JPG

 

castle18.JPG

 

castle19.JPG

 

castle27.JPG

 

castle33.JPG

 

castle35.JPG

 

milestone101.JPG

 

milestone01.JPG

 

milestone04.JPG

 

milestone06.JPG

 

milestone08.JPG

 

milestone13.JPG

 

milestone16.JPG

 

milestone19.JPG

 

milestone20.JPG

 

milestone21.JPG

 

milestone115.JPG

 

milestone114.JPG

 

milestone22.JPG

 

milestone23.JPG

 

milestone24.JPG

 

milestone25.JPG

 

milestone31.JPG

 

milestone32.JPG

 

milestone27.JPG

 

milestone102.JPG

 

milestone44.JPG

 

milestone46.JPG

 

milestone108.JPG

 

milestone69.JPG

 

milestone71.JPG

 

milestone73.JPG

 

milestone74.JPG

 

milestone76.JPG

 

milestone77.JPG

 

milestone78.JPG

 

milestone79.JPG

 

milestone81.JPG

 

milestone82.JPG

 

milestone85.JPG

 

milestone84.JPG

 

milestone86.JPG

 

milestone881.JPG

 

milestone100.JPG

 

milestone92.JPG

 

milestone931.JPG

 

milestone94.JPG

 

milestone95.JPG

 

milestone96.JPG

 

milestone98.JPG

 

milestone99.JPG

 

 

 

Gear Notes:

Black Diamond Distance Poles, La Sportiva Fireblades, Ultimate Direction Wasp Pack

 

Approach Notes:

Over Shepherd Pass, down Tyndall Creek and across to the upper Kern Canyon and up Milestone Creek.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

 

No de-throning going on here - if I could trade my outing for this one I would in a heartbeat. The driving sucks and there is no competition between a day spent in the Sierras vs. a day hiking up volcanic scree. And I'm pretty sure Off The Hook could kick my ass in any kind of run if that's what you are getting at.

 

Nice TR and photos btw

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
there is no competition between a day spent in the Sierras vs. a day hiking up volcanic scree.

 

Holy shit yeah! :moondance:

 

 

 

Great pix as always! These might be some of the best you've posted, and thats a crap load :crazy:

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

Sign in to follow this  

×