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Sallie Keyes Lakes (Sierra National Forest)

Hiking, backpacking, running, biking, climbing, rafting, and other human-powered activities in the Sierra Nevada and elsewhere outside Yosemite National Park

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Sallie Keyes Lakes (Sierra National Forest)

Postby janky » Thu Jan 12, 2017 10:31 pm

Has anyone backpacked to Sallie Keyes Lakes in the Sierra National Forest directly without doing it as part of JMT? I'm wondering if the distance is too long for my 2 boys. From my research it looks like it's about 9.6 miles from the Florence Trailhead to Sallie Keyes Lakes. Thanks for any input.
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Re: Sallie Keyes Lakes (Sierra National Forest)

Postby AlmostThere » Fri Jan 13, 2017 7:27 am

Have a look at a topological map -- it's a climb from the junction. Not sure if that would suit your boys. Steep gains are not everyone 's cup of tea.
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Re: Sallie Keyes Lakes (Sierra National Forest)

Postby Dave_Ayers » Fri Jan 13, 2017 11:58 am

As AT mentions, it's the climb from Florence Lake at ~7350 to Sallie Keys at 10,200 that is the issue. The cutoff trail is quite steep (+600 ft in 0.6 mi.) and the bulk of the climb north of the cutoff is in the afternoon sun and can be quite hot.

Decades ago, JMT hikers would carry their resupply into the Diamond D Ranch (now the Muir Trail Ranch) and head up to Sallie Keys to make a weekend out of it. I first did that hike with my Dad at age 10, so I know that it is doable for boys. But you'll need them to be good hikers. Also you'll want to watch for issues with the first night altitude above 10k. Note that youths are more susceptible to mountain sickness than older folks.

If the going seems too tough, there are campsites along the river between the cutoff and JMT which would allow you to do the climb the next morning if you have 3 days (or more). There are also some camp-able spots near the meadow after the climb about 1.3 mi. before the 1st Lake that can shorten the first day a bit.
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