Mono Recesses 2004

Upper Hopkins Lake to Laurel Lake

Tuesday, August 24, 2004

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The next basin to the west contains Grinnell and Laurel Lakes and Laurel Creek.  We were originally planning on crossing the ridge further to the north, but this pass looked difficult from the east side, with unknown difficulty on the west, since we couldn’t see it yet.  We decided to take a “documented” pass that was described on a web site to get into this basin.  This pass, although it looked scary from 500 feet below its top, was technically easy.  I’d label it class 2.  The west side was slightly easier than the east, with a little less scree to slide in (although scree is nice going downhill!).  The off-trail route from Grinnell Lake to Laurel Lake was easy.


Frost on the tent this morning—temperature in the tent at 6am was 32.4°F.  Low clouds last night caused dew which then froze.  Last night we were planning to go to Lower Hopkins Lake today, as the pass to Grinnell Lake was not doable.  But this morning I suggested doing the “documented” pass further south, described by a web site.  So we decided to do that and head for Laurel Lake, skipping a planned climb of Red & White Mountain, as that would be too far.  Great choice!  Had to head downhill first to get to the slope up to the pass.  Steep slope followed by easy walk up to about 500 ft. below the pass.  Pass looked very steep from a distance, but on it, it wasn’t too bad.  View of Grinnell Lake and Red & White Mountain from the top awesome!  Fairly easy downhill—mixture of scree and talus and bushes.  Went cross-country down 500 ft. to Laurel Lake.  Small, peaceful lake at around 10300ft. elevation.  Weather started clear, white clouds building slowly all day.  Heard distant thunder around 4:30, no rain though and now is clearing (6:30pm).


Critter Report – A small animal (mouse, pika?) climbed up my screen door when I was laying in my tent.  I moved and he scurried away.  Didn’t see him again.


The dew problem reocurred several times on this trip, and I’ve never had this problem before.  Even without rainfly, dew formed on top of my tent.  If it got cold enough, the dew froze.  This was nice at night as I then didn’t have to worry about anything getting wet, but in the morning when the sun hit the tent, it started raining inside!  It was good to get things out of the tent before this happened.  If it did not freeze, the dripping inside the tent was a continuing problem.  Luckily, the water didn’t amount to enough to really get things soaked, and we had sun in the morning to dry things out.


Upper Hopkins Lake, Fourth and Third Recesses, Mt. Mills on far right

Pass between “Hopkins Basin” and Grinnell Lake

“Hopkins Basin” side


Grinnell Lake, Red & White Mountain from the pass

Grinnell Lake, Grinnell Pass, Red & White Mountain


Outlet creek from Grinnell Lake

Laurel Lake


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