Mono Recesses 2004

Pioneer Basin to Upper Hopkins Lake

Monday, August 23, 2004

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Pioneer Basin is a beautiful area dotted with lakes in a wide valley.  Its four corners are marked by mountains named for four pioneers in California’s history:  Mts. Stanford, Crocker, Hopkins, and Huntington.  Stanford Col leads over the Sierra Crest to the north of the basin, this route is easy on the Pioneer Basin side but class 3 on the north side.  We took what might be the only class 2 route over the ridges bordering Pioneer Basin, flanking Mt. Crocker on its south side.  We found this pass technically easy, class 2 on both sides.  We didn’t see any other people all day today.


The next basin to the west containing Upper and Lower Hopkins Lakes and Hopkins Creek we called “Hopkins Basin”.  This basin appears to be infrequently visited, we didn’t see anyone our whole time there, though there is a trail from Mono Creek into this basin.  At the north end of the basin is Hopkins Pass, again easy on the south side but more difficult on the north.  It is labeled as class 2.  We hiked up to the pass from the south for the view!


No rain last night, but gusty winds continued all night.  Interesting cloud show as the sun was setting.  This morning there were low clouds in the Mono Creek valley—burned off with sun.  We hiked over easy terrain to a higher lake, then up and over a pass just south of Mt. Crocker.  Lots of talus to cross on the uphill side, downhill side was easy.  We decided to hike up to Hopkins Pass on the Sierra Crest—nice view of Red and White Mountain and other colorful mountains, and Big McGee Lake.  The other side of this pass was steep—but labeled class 2.  Came down to the higher Upper Hopkins Lake where we are camped.  Lots of clouds but they seem to be dissipating.  Not many campsites here—we’re camped on grass.




Upper Lake in Pioneer Basin

Pass between Pioneer Basin and “Hopkins Basin”

Pioneer Basin side


“Hopkins Basin”:  Upper Hopkins Lakes and Red & White Mountain

Hopkins Pass view of Big McGee Lake and surroundings


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