Minesahaft Flat/Big Tree

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    • #5317
      Alon Wiedenman

      Hey All!

      I have a plan to go up San G. with some Boy Scouts over Labor Day weekend and am looking for some advice about camping and water at Mineshaft Flat and Big Tree.  I am aware of Hikin Jims detailed map, which shows the Big Tree spring should be very reliable.  I am also aware a lot has happened since he published that map and more recent trail reports for that area are pretty sparse.  My initial thought was that the Big Tree spring would be more reliable water than High Camp on the Vivian Creek route.  The boys are planning to make this a 3 day affair, hiking in on day 1, summiting day 2, and hiking out day 3.

      So, if anyone has some recent experience that area I would appreciate it!  I would also be curious to know anyone opinions on the XC trail on Jim’s map that goes from the Big Tree area up to the Tarn.

      We’ll probably just have to do a recon trip.

      Thanks in advance!

    • #5319
      chris in redlands

      The author of this thread was just down at big tree and has some bits about getting there and conditions in that thread. Not sure about water!

      I would not in a million years attempt a x-c hike to the tarn from big tree with a group of boy scouts (or any group for that matter).

      People need to be aware that a lot of the “routes” on jim’s map are fanciful ideas, not tested routes. walking from big tree to the tarn is a trail-less route that gains 2000 feet in about a mile, which is twice as steep as the national park services steepest “standard” trail.

    • #5321

      Hi Alon, seconding what Chris says about that XC “possible” route.  Too steep, too loose dirt and scree-filled chute to risk with your scouts.  I went on scout trips like this many years ago–Mineshaft Flat camp was the better and usual choice as there’s much more suitable space to accomodate a small “troop” while teaching and demonstrating adherence to Wilderness regs on camping at least 200 feet from meadows, streams, springs, trails.  Generally reliable water–most years– ~.3m downtrail at North Fork Spring.  Not as much back-tracking on day 2 to climb up to Sky High Trail to summit SG… and no head-scratching, trail-less route finding and difficult site locating which may now be the case for BT.  I should be out that way again well before Labor Day and will report on conditions encountered.

    • #5322

      I agree with the previous two posters. Having just stopped at the spring for a drink before heading down to Big Tree, I took a look at the route up to the tarn. No way. I have come down that way before, but that was in the early summer of a big snow year. We boot skied all the way down from the tarn through monster sun cups. It was a lot of fun. Last year around this time I walked off the back of the tarn to take a look and was less than inspired.

      The water below Mineshaft Flats is flowing well now, and is some of the coldest water you can drink. I’m not sure about Labor Day flows though.

    • #5324
      Alon Wiedenman

      Thanks guys, we’ll probably nix the XC route idea.  I will watch for your report stbrnnr!  Thanks!

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