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North Fork Plans (using maps from topo! software)

Here are some more useable plans for possible North Fork routings. Compared to the previous 'minimum-trajectory' route, this would be my personal 'minimum-sightseeing' trip. The route is alternately tinted in eight topo-mile increments, roughly 10 miles of actual travel. Note that taking this literally would (a) get us out in five days, (b) put a camp on Blue Canyon Pass, and (c) hurts me when I contemplate consecutive days of 10-mile cross-country travel! Therefore, consider it as informational and NOT actual proposed campsites! The small red triangles in the upper right suggest the extra mileage added by taking Confusion or Gunsight passes relative to the big one near Division Lake. Actually, Gunsight would require travel thru Bench Valley, a fine thing except that it completely bypasses Blackcap Basin (unless Blackcap Pass east of Guest Lake is added). The two triangles near the center of the map mark a decision point: which direction to travel? Since Blue Canyon ranks so highly on most lists, I chose counter-clockwise.

Note that despite previous comments, this route uses Mantle Pass (see lower image for labels). If we contour into Crown Basin from the south it makes the most sense, and the return route would hit Portal Lake to compensate. Of course, portions of this route are subject to change pending closer scrutiny of contour lines on a more detailed map.

This map labels a few spots and shows my proposed (and undocumented) 'east Scepter pass'. That pass is higher than Crown or Scepter passes but clearly heads more in the 'right' direction for us, and looks reasonable on the topo maps I've seen. The lake above Portal is Midway Lake, and the green *s lead to Secor's "Midway Pass". The more southerly "Mantle Pass" shows less drastic contours and has that heart- (or hoof-) shaped lake right on the crest.

Remember, all of this is my 'minimum-sightseeing' loop, implying that I'd be glad to see more than the minimum! Also note that we have enough people to split up on occasion if an adjacent valley catches your fancy. Maxson Basin looks intriguing to me, and if I bag no other peaks I would love to check out Blackcap Basin from the * peak east of Pearl Lake!!

Don't you DARE hold me to this, but here are possible camps:

That leaves a day or more to sit back, climb peaks, or whatever!