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Considering Lake Vernon for Late April

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Considering Lake Vernon for Late April

Postby J ney » Mon Apr 07, 2014 4:21 pm

Hey folks...

I'm taking a look at the Hetch Hetchy area for an early-season hike and I'm toying around with the Lake Vernon loop (coming back via Tiltill Valley).

Obviously it is tough to prognosticate conditions even a few weeks from now but I was wondering if folks ever use other webcams at similar elevations/regions to scout out conditions (in this case, I'm looking at the Badger Pass webcam in Yosemite). Do you find that these could be reliable or are they recipes for disaster?

I'm also using CDEC to look at snow levels but sometimes having a pretty picture helps :D

Other than calling up the rangers (who aren't always reliable, in my experience) and perusing our fine site for Trip Reports, how do you determine conditions (esp. snow levels) before trips?

Thanks
J

PS: I heard that Rancheria trail is closed near Wapama due to a rock fall... does anyone know how severe it is? I haven't seen too many details about it.



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Re: Considering Lake Vernon for Late April

Postby J ney » Mon Apr 07, 2014 4:23 pm

PPS: I know to be prepared for severe conditions regardless of what I see or what I've heard. I am not going to go kickin' around at 7000' w/ nothing but a t-shirt and shorts ;)
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Re: Considering Lake Vernon for Late April

Postby AlmostThere » Mon Apr 07, 2014 4:52 pm

You might want to make it an out and back...

http://www.nps.gov/yose/parknews/rockfa ... l-park.htm
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Re: Considering Lake Vernon for Late April

Postby maverick » Mon Apr 07, 2014 5:08 pm

We'll with that rock fall your loop is a no go. The trail going from Vernon to Tiltill
especially the top section will have snow this early. The snow always melts away
slower on this top section, and if your one of the first out it becomes a cross-country
trip and not easy if your not good at navigation or have any familiarity with the trail.
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Considering Lake Vernon for Late April

Postby J ney » Mon Apr 07, 2014 5:23 pm

Yep... Certainly ruling out a loop after seeing that shot! (Thx for posting). Guess I'll keep it to an out-and-back potentially doing some exploring up to Branigan on a layover day.

I'm fine with the land nav; but I'll definitely look at some back-ups.

Thanks folks! The busy season is almost upon us!
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Re: Considering Lake Vernon for Late April

Postby afahrland » Mon Apr 07, 2014 9:09 pm

I did the Lake Vernon Loop during the third week of March last year. My trip report should give you a good idea of what the conditions might be like: http://www.backpackinglight.com/cgi-bin/backpackinglight/forums/thread_display.html?forum_thread_id=74879

Up until the storm from a week ago I would have told you that it's probably all bare dirt except Mount Gibson. But that most recent storm changed things. Up near Dinkey Creek at around 6000' this last weekend there was about a foot +/- of sloppy snow left over. Also keep in mind the stuff above the switchbacks coming up from Hetch Hetchy burned in the Rim Fire. Laurel Lake is right on the boundary of the burn and I would expect pretty much all of the trail after the switchbacks to Laurel to be burned.
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Considering Lake Vernon for Late April

Postby J ney » Tue Apr 08, 2014 3:48 pm

Thanks! Yeah, certainly I was thrilled that we got the snow last week but it played havoc with my plans. Goes back to the question in my OP... How reliable do you think the Badger Pass can (or other regional webcams at similar elevations) would be for getting a feel for snow conditions?

Btw: great TR! That crossing looked pretty darn cold!
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Re: Considering Lake Vernon for Late April

Postby QITNL » Wed Apr 09, 2014 2:53 pm

I was on the south side of HH last weekend. I posted some photos here:
http://qitnl.com/v/040514/

That should give you an idea of snow levels. Most of what you see was from last week's storms, much of that has melted already. I doubt you will encounter much snow.

Also some shots of the rockfall and the extent of the burn.
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Re: Considering Lake Vernon for Late April

Postby maverick » Wed Apr 09, 2014 3:15 pm

Nice informative shots from the top of Smith. Thanks
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Re: Considering Lake Vernon for Late April

Postby oldranger » Wed Apr 09, 2014 9:06 pm

Have they opened the trails through the area burned by last years fire yet?

Mike
Mike

Who can't do everything he used to and what he can do takes a hell of a lot longer!
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Considering Lake Vernon for Late April

Postby J ney » Wed Apr 09, 2014 11:09 pm

Great shots! Thanks for the beta!

All areas closed by the Rim Fire have been opened as of 01Apr (in Yosemite NP).

Edited to correct wrong info.
Last edited by J ney on Thu Apr 10, 2014 7:37 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Considering Lake Vernon for Late April

Postby QITNL » Thu Apr 10, 2014 12:25 am

Hey man - glad those photos were useful for you.

I don't like correcting people on the internet but "All areas closed by the Rim Fire have been opened as of 01Apr" only applies to YNP. Most of the fire was in the NF and that's still closed; pretty much everything off 120 & Evergreen Road. Most of the bivy spots, too. A few of the campsites like Sweetwater should open at the end of the month, but many of the roads may stay closed through the end of the year.

Figured i should mention that, don't want folks to get confused. Have a great trip - Joe
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