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Question about Ford on Convict Creek Trail

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Question about Ford on Convict Creek Trail

Postby Flamingo » Tue Apr 18, 2017 5:42 pm

Hi All,

Does anyone have first-hand experience with the ford on Convict Creek trail at mile three-ish? If so, could you share your memories of that crossing?

I pulled permits for the CC trail in early July this summer. I'm no stranger to fords, but I'd like to get a sense of how this might compare to other early-season crossings (e.g. PCT crossings at Evolution Creek, Bear Creek). I'll be leading a group of intermediate-skilled backpackers -- they're game for fording! -- but is this crossing reasonable?

PS, I found this HST post with a cool history of the bridges on Convict Creek trail:
viewtopic.php?p=47338#p47338



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Re: Question about Ford on Convict Creek Trail

Postby maverick » Wed Apr 19, 2017 8:12 am

Be careful, check reports, that can be a gnarly crossing, especially during a high snow year! Might consider a different route, for example using Laurel Lakes Road.

A Mono SAR Incident from August of 2011:

Team responded to a request for aid to hikers unable to cross Convict Creek. A father was hiking out of the back country with his two teenage children when they became stranded at the trail crossing of Convict Creek due to deep and swift water. The bridge at this site between steep canyon walls was washed out some years ago, and hikers have been required to ford the creek. A hiker on the downstream side of the creek was asked to get help, and he walked out and called the Sheriff’s Department. The SAR Team was dispatched to the area, and 5 team members with swift water rescue gear staged at the Convict Lake Marina. The group was ferried across Convict Lake by boat and hiked toward the stranded party. Prior to arriving at the location, the family was found on the trail, continuing their walk out, having been assisted across by other people in the area. There were no injuries and the group declined any medical treatment.
I don't give out specific route information, my belief is that it takes away from the whole adventure spirit of a trip, if you need every inch planned out, you'll have to get that from someone else.

Have a safer backcountry experience by using the HST ReConn Form 2.0, named after Larry Conn, a HST member: http://reconn.org
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Re: Question about Ford on Convict Creek Trail

Postby dapperdave » Thu Apr 20, 2017 11:04 am

Hi Flamingo,

My wife and I did this crossing in September 2010, we managed a dry-feet rock hop with some difficulty. We crossed the tributary, then the main stream.

The river was fast flowing, but I would expect an order of magnitude higher flow, given your intended date, and the snowfall this year and I wouldn't risk a trip on this.

The pitch of this river is a lot steeper than something like Evolution Creek and would be high-grade whitewater with a high flow.

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Re: Question about Ford on Convict Creek Trail

Postby steiny98 » Thu Apr 20, 2017 12:51 pm

I did this July 4th weekend of 2013, not a big snow year. The crossing was knee to waste high, we managed to get across without trekking poles or any sort of assistance. Echoing what Dave said above, the water is coming down a steep canyon at this point, and if memory serves correct, there is a tributary that comes down to feed the creek at this point as well.

Long story short, it is fast water, and will probably be very fast early season this year.
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Re: Question about Ford on Convict Creek Trail

Postby NancyJ.sierrahike » Thu Apr 20, 2017 9:20 pm

I have crossed this creek a few times, but always end of summer, and even in low snow years, it was running pretty good. I was up there early last spring, and there was NO WAY I would have been able to get over safely, as the tributary had ice on the rocks where one would go over. It is a "y" crossing; first, you cross Genevieve, then immediately go over Convict. I think it is possible that either walking down from the bridge, or up from the bridge (washed out bridge), assuming you got over Genevieve safely, you MIGHT get lucky and find a place where you could hold onto exposed boulders or or climb over them. Not something I'd count on tho. Evolution Creek is more of a river (at the meadow crossing) and Bear Creek is not as steep.
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Re: Question about Ford on Convict Creek Trail

Postby maverick » Fri Apr 21, 2017 10:39 am

Hi Nancy,

Welcome to HST! Thank you for chiming in to help a fellow HST member out. :thumbsup:
I don't give out specific route information, my belief is that it takes away from the whole adventure spirit of a trip, if you need every inch planned out, you'll have to get that from someone else.

Have a safer backcountry experience by using the HST ReConn Form 2.0, named after Larry Conn, a HST member: http://reconn.org
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Re: Question about Ford on Convict Creek Trail

Postby Flamingo » Fri Apr 21, 2017 10:47 am

Thanks for the useful information --- @maverick, @dapperdave, @steiny98, and @NancyJ.sierrahike.

It sounds like the Convict Creek ford in early July this year will be challenging, at best, and deadly impossible at worst. If it was just me on this trip, I'd go ahead and "feel it out." But since I'm taking a group of people, you have convinced me to explore alternate destinations.
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Re: Question about Ford on Convict Creek Trail

Postby markskor » Fri Apr 21, 2017 6:43 pm

Lots of crappy snow this afternoon, backside Convict. Didn't make it all the way to the ford, but stream coming down was raging.
Some nice tracks -
IMG_1200.jpg
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