TR - Cottonwood Lakes/Mt Langley 1-3 Nov '13 | High Sierra Topix  

TR - Cottonwood Lakes/Mt Langley 1-3 Nov '13

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TR - Cottonwood Lakes/Mt Langley 1-3 Nov '13

Postby cloudlesssky » Mon Nov 04, 2013 6:45 am

Jim Means, my brother Will and I decided to take advantage of one of the last decent weekends of the fall season. We watched the weather closely and decided a Fri/Sat/Sun to Cottonwood Lakes over the 1-3 Nov '13 weekend was do-able.

The hiker parking was wide open; when we arrived ours was the only vehicles. The temp was about 50 deg and it was calm.

Jim led us up an unmarked shortcut to the south fork where we intersected the south fork lakes which were nearly frozen over. The ice was quite thick on the outlet end.
IMG_1661.JPG
Iced over South Fork Lake


We then cut over past lake 2 to lake 3 where we camped. Lake 3 was about 1/2 frozen and there were a bunch of migrating birds taking a rest there. By the ice buildup on the downslope edge of the lake you could tell it had been quite cold earlier in the week.
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Outlet end of Cottonwood Lake 3


I hiked up to lake 4 and 5 near sunset. Lake 4 is nearly completely frozen over. Lake 5 is almost completely open.
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Iced Over Cottonwood Lake 4 at Sunset


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Iced Outlet of Cottonwood Lake 4


At daybreak on Saturday morning we heard a coyote howl and then several pups yipped for a while. I never saw them, but I captured some paw prints in the snow near lake 4.
IMG_1688.JPG
Coyote (?) tracks in the snow


On Saturday my brother Will and I went up old Army Pass to Mt Langley. Jim had twisted his knee crossing the stream on our shortcut to the south fork lakes, so he wasn't up for the trip up Langley. There was snow on most of the shaded trail going up from lake 4. The small section near the top of the pass was snowed over and because we didn't have axes or other protection we decided it would be wiser to climb up than try to traverse. Based on the footprint it appears others had made the same decision.
IMG_1718.JPG
Old Army Pass Snow Traverse near the summit


The trail up Mt Langley was clear and the summit was a little breezy but very nice especially considering it was November, about 40 degrees.

The wind kicked up significantly during the evening with gust I think were around 30 mph. We packed up at daybreak and hiked out on the main trail which was mostly clear.
IMG_1744.JPG
Will crossing the iced over stream


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My Langley looking across iced over Lake 1
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IMG_1704.JPG
Iced over Cottonwood Lake 4 at sunset



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Re: TR - Cottonwood Lakes/Mt Langley 1-3 Nov '13

Postby jessegooddog » Mon Nov 04, 2013 2:26 pm

Thank you for this late season trip report. Great photos, love seeing the lakes iced over. Do you know what type of birds were on the water? This summer, I took my first backpacking trip in 35 years to Cottonwood and plan to do at least one next year after mosquito season.
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Re: TR - Cottonwood Lakes/Mt Langley 1-3 Nov '13

Postby giantbrookie » Mon Nov 04, 2013 2:30 pm

Nice report. Now that's the way to extend the hiking season well into fall while many of us (this includes me) have already lapsed into "wait 'til next season" mode.
Since my fishing (etc.) website is still down, you can be distracted by geology stuff at: http://www.fresnostate.edu/csm/ees/facu ... ayshi.html
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Re: TR - Cottonwood Lakes/Mt Langley 1-3 Nov '13

Postby jimmeans » Mon Nov 04, 2013 7:42 pm

One thing that I'll add is that due to the New Moon occurring on Sunday and the clear sky, it was a stargazer's delight on Friday night.

A few additional photos:

P1020839.JPG
South Fork Lake, 1 NOV 2013


cloudlesssky wrote:The small section near the top of the pass was snowed over and because we didn't have axes or other protection we decided it would be wiser to climb up than try to traverse. Based on the footprint it appears others had made the same decision.

Which way did you go from here? You're just left of center in photo.
P1020870_2175x1632.jpg
At the traverse on Army Pass


jessegooddog wrote:Do you know what type of birds were on the water?

From my Laws Field Guide I believe that they were coots. Black head and neck with dark grey body, white bill. Here's a photo that I've cropped down to retain as much resolution as possible, unfortunately a bit blurry.
P1020849.JPG
Coots on Cottonwood Lake #3
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Re: TR - Cottonwood Lakes/Mt Langley 1-3 Nov '13

Postby cloudlesssky » Mon Nov 04, 2013 9:19 pm

jimmeans wrote:Which way did you go from here? You're just left of center in photo.

Heck of a photo Jim! We went straight up and slightly to the left from where I'm standing in the photo. I must be looking up at Will in your photo. Here's my angle:
IMG_1716.JPG
Will avoiding the Langley Traverse


The other couple we saw heading up earlier took a slightly earlier vertical detour that was a little more sporty.
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Re: TR - Cottonwood Lakes/Mt Langley 1-3 Nov '13

Postby cloudlesssky » Mon Nov 04, 2013 9:27 pm

jessegooddog wrote:Thank you for this late season trip report. Great photos, love seeing the lakes iced over. Do you know what type of birds were on the water?

I'm not a bird expert, but here's a closer picture. As Jim said, they look like "Coots" to me too.
IMG_1669.JPG
Birds on Cottonwood lake 3
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Re: TR - Cottonwood Lakes/Mt Langley 1-3 Nov '13

Postby bluefish » Tue Nov 05, 2013 11:28 am

As a fisherman, only have headed there earlier. Great to see it later in the season. Thanks for sharing a cool trip!
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