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  1. #1
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    Rae Lakes (King's Canyon) without a tent

    Hello,

    I'm planning on doing a five day trek in King's canyon with 3 friends in August (getting up to 10,000 ft on the Rae Lakes loop). Two of us have hammocks and are relatively experienced hikers, the other two don't have hammocks and are less experienced. The guys without hammocks are considering using a two person tent. I'm inclined to tell them to ditch the tent and just learn to setup a simple bivouac with a tarp to save on weight. I thought I'd confirm this with the forum before giving them the advice as I'm not familiar with what an August storm in the Sierras can be like at 10,000 ft and want to make sure I'm not leading them up a blind (wet) alley.

    Regards,

    Aaron

  2. #2
    Senior Member Pipsissewa's Avatar
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    I've hiked the Rae Lakes Loop. You won't have any trouble finding trees to hang from at the Rae Lakes. We spent a night at Arrowhead Lake also, which has plenty of trees around to hang from. Past the Rae Lakes, you climb above tree line over Glen's Pass. That's the only section where you'd have to go to ground if you spent the night (awesome star gazing) But on the other side of Glen's Pass, you drop back down into the trees and won't have any trouble finding places to hang.

    Get an early start the first day--there's no camping in Paradise Valley until the end--like 8.5 miles from the trailhead if I recall correctly. We had bears at almost every camp we made. A bear raided a boy scout's tent at Paradise Valley. We had to chase a mother bear and her two cubs out of our camp on Bubbs Creek the last night. Use the food lockers (and listen for the nightly visits by bears who roll the giant metal lockers to try to get them open. Fortunately, the lockers are chained to posts.)

    We had great weather: no storms. Not that you couldn't have some. But you won't be exposed except when climbing over Glen's Pass. Some wildfires were visible but distant.

    It's a great hike! Enjoy, take lots of pictures and post a report when you get back! Give my best regards to Clarence King as you circumnavigate that great peak.
    "Pips"
    Mountains have a dreamy way
    Of folding up a noisy day
    In quiet covers, cool and gray.

    ---Leigh Buckner Hanes

    Surely, God could have made a better way to sleep.

    Surely, God never did.

  3. #3
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    Bears

    Hi Pips,

    Thanks for the info. You have brought a question to mind for me. I assume we'll need to carry bear canisters. I vaguely recall reading that the bear lockers are only for people hiking on the PCT. Am I mistaken? i.e. is it possible to do the trip without carrying bear canisters and instead use the lockers?

  4. #4
    Senior Member olzeke's Avatar
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    While the PCT and JMT hikers certainly do use the boxes, and in past years have been given preferential treatment for them, they are for anyone with an overflow of food or trash. No Back Country Ranger is going to put a non-thru hikers food out of the box. They will however ask about your canister and your intended use of boxes. One more thing, do not go more than 10 ft from your pack as the bears have been known to just pick up the entire pack and haul it off. Stay close to it and be prepared to scare off any interested Yogi's.

  5. #5
    Senior Member dukedante's Avatar
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    I used to be a park ranger at Sequoia/Kings Canyon. I don't recall the Rae Lakes loop specifically having lockers at all the campsites, so you definitely need cannisters if you're camping. Most backcountry areas don't have amenities like lockers. If they aren't listed as available, assume they aren't.

  6. #6
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    Thanks for the info all. I'd like to take the conversation back to my original somewhat poorly stated question. I know I'll be ok with my hammock on the Rae lakes loop, but am wondering if my two ground sleeping friends should bother bringing a tent to the sierras in summer. My preference is for them to just take a poncho/tarp and some rope and make a shelter in the event of a storm. Is this good advice for them? How likely is it that a very cold storm could blow in in August and leave then in a dangerous situation because they only have basic shelter?

    Aaron

  7. #7
    Senior Member olzeke's Avatar
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    There is always a chance of an off season snow storm, but not very likely in early Aug. The closer you get to Sept, the more likely, but even by Labor Day it is not common for snow storms. as for cold nights, I typically slept out cowboy style, without a tarp or tent, unless rain was imminent. Never had a problem in Yosemite doing that.

    There are tents that can be shared by 2 people that do not weigh 5# or more. If your friends insist on a tent, and are willing to haul it, maybe a trip to REI to check out a rental would be in order.

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