August 2-4, 2002 Big Pine Lakes
A 3-day club hike into this Eastern Sierra valley beneath the Palisade Crest. Not any pictures of people, but mainly the outstanding scenery of the Palisade Crest, its glaciers and the basin's turquoise lakes.
The area's uniqueness is due to three natural factors:
1) The Palisade Crest is the longest continuous segment of 13000 - 14000' peaks in the Sierra. It is a virtual wall of high craggy peaks that funnels snow and ice down into steep chutes.
2) The Palisade Crest's orientation tends more southeast / northwest, shading the chutes so snow accumulates deeply instead of melting: living glaciers! These are the southernmost glaciers in the U.S., and also the largest in the Sierra.
3) Living glaciers slowly grind the underlying rock surface, releasing an extremely fine powder referred to as 'rock flour' which washes into the lakes downstream and gives the deep water a milky turquoise hue. Check out the pictures, below.
Map and trail profile for the N. Fork of Big Pine Crk. The hike to our camp at Fifth Lake was about 7 miles from the trailhead.
Mile 1: Looking up the South Fork toward the Palisade Crest and Palisade Glaciers
Near our camp by Fifth Lake
Sunset on Temple Crag, Mt Gayley, and Mt Sill
2nd day: Looking up toward the Palisade Crest on my hike to Jigsaw Pass. The route was entirely over fridge-sized granite boulders.
Me on Jigsaw Pass with summit of Agassiz Pk 1200 ft above me
Looking down into the backcountry of Kings Canyon NP
That's Bishop Pass on the John Muir Trial below
Flowers at Fifth Lake
Palisade Crest behind Fifth Lake
3rd day: hiking out past Second Lake.