Backpacking suggestion

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Avoid the Juggernaut

Re: Backpacking suggestion

Post by Avoid the Juggernaut »

On the bright side, the nasty ridgline north of Ventana Cone did burn. The difficult brush along that ridge has been the main problem with traversing the crosscountry route from Ventana Cone to Double Ventana cone. The colorful descriptions of that traverse are now a thing of the past, future travellers will find a brushless ridge with some interesting rock outcroppings to negotiate.
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jack_glendening
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Re: Backpacking suggestion

Post by jack_glendening »

mikesplain wrote:South Ventana Cone did not burn. White Cone & Black Cone did though, as did the southern 2/3 of the BCT.
All on one (on-line) map. Personally, I'm bummed that Ventana Cone did not burn - as an old man, I had been looking forward to getting out there with minimal effort.

Jack

Uhoh - image did not upload - got "Sorry, the board attachment quota has been reached" message !
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fassetthound
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Re: Backpacking suggestion

Post by fassetthound »

@mikesplain -- that post on Black Cone is fantastic!

awesome detail and great pics. i cannot wait to get out there!
o|-<)
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mikesplain
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Re: Backpacking suggestion

Post by mikesplain »

Ah, good point, South Ventana Cone did not burn. White Cone & Black Cone did though, as did the southern 2/3 of the BCT. Here's a kmz file of 2016 CA fire perimeters; helpful to compare it with Jack's Big Sur Trail Map in Google Earth...
2016 California Fire Map.kmz
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epimetheus

Re: Backpacking suggestion

Post by epimetheus »

Dude ! The soberanes fire did not reach south ventana cone ! It burnt as far south as Ventana cone along the cones ridgeline .. right ?
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mikesplain
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Re: Backpacking suggestion

Post by mikesplain »

South Ventana Cone, "White Cone" (Peak 4,721, aka "the Elephant's Hump") & Black Cone are all easy to summit (cross-country) from the Black Cone Trail IF the brush is minimal. In that regard, the Soberanes Wildland Fire did you a big favor. For a sneak preview, check out- https://pantilat.wordpress.com/2018/02/ ... cone-loop/

I heartily agree with Betsy that the BCT is best done from Pine Ridge to Strawberry Valley. Ascending it with a pack could be a bit of a suffer-fest. Depending on when you're out there you may see a VWA-sponsored contract crew working on the Pine Ridge Trail between Bear Basin Connector & Pine Ridge.
Rob
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Re: Backpacking suggestion

Post by Rob »

I've done South Ventana Cone and White Cone, but it's been a long time and several fire / regrowth cycles since then. There will be tons of brush. The brush grows super fast. Those Cone routes are definitely cross-country / no trail and may or may not be doable in current conditions.

When I was out there over the winter, I'd say upper camp in Lost Valley is where the trail really started to disappear. If you've never been out there before that is probably a good place to stop. I made it a couple more miles because I'd hiked through several times before in better years, but it was a bit harsh this time. Despite the low mileage it is a fine trip, if a bit short.

You can also return via the Lost Valley Connector / Coast Ridge / Rodeo Flats / Arroyo Seco (some walking along the dirt road between Memorial Park and Escondido involved). If doing this, the LV Connector is likely to be very brushy near the top (have not done it recently, but from the trail report and past experience), and Rodeo is steep and loose in parts. The views from the Coast Ridge are pretty awesome though. You may need water shoes to cross the Arroyo Seco, depending on recent rains.
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Betsy M
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Re: Backpacking suggestion

Post by Betsy M »

Jack's maps and trail conditions are great. My comment that you should ALSO read the trail conditions reports was mainly for your proposed route on the Lost Valley Trail. When you said "Mileage and elevation looks tough, and Lost Valley appears to be "red" on bigsurtrailmap. But, over 4 days *maybe* it's possible?"

Sometimes reading the long descriptions adds some detail to the picture. I've been reading the descriptions of the Lost Valley Trail and they are pretty detailed and also several reports sound very similar. And I know who some of these hikers are, and they aren't the kind to exaggerate the difficulty. So when Jack has this section listed as "red" you can just accept that, or you can drill down to the trail reports to see some long descriptions of crawling through the brush.

Of course asking for information here is also a way to get feedback. Such as, you might be able to hike the Lost Valley Trail if you hike in Higgins Creek.

Oh, and the Black Cone Trail is easier to hike down than hike up. Pushing through brush you like to be going down hill.
fassetthound
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Re: Backpacking suggestion

Post by fassetthound »

Hey guys,

I do see that now (and again, such an awesome tool). It may just have been that my eyes were glazing over after so many hours of reviewing, or maybe I was confusing it with a different source. I seem to remember seeing trail reports from '16/'15 but I can't find exactly where now, so I'll chalk it up to sloppy recall. If I do come across them I'll update here.

Tying the two different forum thread convos together -- Jack, I think we're going to take Betsy's first suggestion and head counter-clock, going north from Marble up Horse>Church, and take the downward slope for Black Cone. BUT, we've looked over the loop enough we might just make a game-time call once we're on the trail and can see and feel where we are. Camp distribution and mileage of the different legs makes it relatively easy to go either way.

Also, was sad to hear your note that USFS won't fund maintenance for Ventana. Puts the work you guys do into perspective. Ironically, the last time I was hiking here, I set out with my dad from Botcher's, and this year you can't even access that whole side of the range! (Understood that's due to fire and not just underfunding, but I imagine with funding re-opening and overall trail accessibility would be where we all want it.) Too bad such a beautiful part of the country is not given the resources it deserves.

With all that as preface, my group will do our best to respect and support what we're about to enjoy and, again, express gratitude for all the information and assistance you all have provided in advance of our expedition!

Thank you!
o|-<)
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jack_glendening
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Re: Backpacking suggestion

Post by jack_glendening »

fassetthound wrote: I was seeing some synopsis condition reports in the rollover windows on the bigsurtrailmap interactive maps, but the content didn't seem nearly as updated as the thread you quoted below
Since updating of my interactive "Trail Conditions Map" is automatic, on reading that I thought something might have gone wrong. But on checking, I found that the popup-window summary ratings are all up-to-date, not outdated. You could have clicked on its "click to read/make detailed report" link to read the VWA Trail Report listing, just as with Betsy's link (actually more directly, since my link goes directly to the report for the specific trail).
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