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Considering Lake Vernon for Late April

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Re: Considering Lake Vernon for Late April

Postby Sierra Miguel » Sat Apr 12, 2014 9:11 pm

SSSdave wrote:

Yeah, that's the same as the one I had just posted:
Sierra Miguel wrote:Here's some pretty pictures too:
They didn't help.

The problem was that there was a couple feet of snow, whereas NOHRSC predicted no snow. And the terrain on the way to Johnson Lake is the same as at the Johnson Lake station. I've had good estimates from NOHRSC, but what good is it (for backpackers) if it's so unreliable?

SSSdave wrote:the NWS 1km visible satellite maps

Sounds good. Haven't tried that yet.

tomba wrote:See viewtopic.php?f=34&t=3791#p68348 in a sticky thread in "Conditions Reports and Information" section for snow depth map.

This appears to be another presentation of the NOHRSC/NOAA data.

You (J ney) haven't mentioned going past Vernon, but in case you're thinking of that, most of Jack Main Canyon is probably knee-deep in water around now and Falls will be dangerous to cross. See,66444,66484 for last year.

I do find the CDEC river flow plots useful for that, e.g.: ... ies=cdec01

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Re: Considering Lake Vernon for Late April

Postby SSSdave » Sun Apr 13, 2014 11:07 am

Current ikm visible satellite:


The 10am image shows some clouds interfering with Sierra at north end. On most days noon is often the clearest time to capture the image free of clouds. As an exercise to demonstrate how one can make sense out of these 1km images, a few years ago created the following:


After the snow melts, the bright snow areas become considerably less bright however because the Sierra granite reflects more than forest areas, the two areas are discernable. Some areas on the fringe of the bright areas appear a dimmer gray that is often snow showing up down in forest because it is a mix of trees and snow. Right after fresh storms where snow sticks to trees, the bright areas tend to be consistently white. On this map I can make out both Edith Creek and Falls Creek, though dim.

Amazing how the web grows. One needs to regularly see what becomes available. This morning found this link to the above satellite image but with more control.

If one changes the output image pixels to Width 1400 Height 1000 Quality %100 and then mouse click on the Sierra Nevada, the display will zoom in providing better resolution than the usual default image at the NWS. So something new for me today. Here I've used Photoshop CS6 to enhance the image, upscaling 2x. Using acme mapper topo as a guide, Vernon Lake is at the same latitude as the red dot on Mono Lake and same longitude as the red dot a bit east of the Deadman Creek junction with the Stanislaus. Thus used the two in order to XY calculate where Vernon Lake must be. Vernon was one of the first places I ever backpacked to in th early 1970s because of its rainbow trout population. Notice how the area about Vernon is dim gray? Probably because it is granite and not the brighter white areas that start about 1000 feet higher. Notice the darker band to the left and above the red dot? That is forested Moraine Ridge and then how it doglegs east that is obviously Jack Main Canyon?

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Re: Considering Lake Vernon for Late April

Postby DoyleWDonehoo » Sun Apr 13, 2014 11:11 pm

I have been to Vernon Lake more times than I can remember in all seasons, even turned away at Beehive by storms and deep snow. In the picture below, we had gone to Vernon almost exactly 14 years ago. I bet there is less snow there right now than there was then. But mainly the point is that it was not a big deal to get there in those conditions 14 years ago. We had snowshoes, but really didn't need them on consolidated snow. I good 7.5 map is useful to stay on route.
The only semi-tricky area is between Till-Til and Vernon, the last place the snow melts (trail hunting), and a wet crossing. I have gone through there on consolidated snow.
The rock slide is a problem, but I expect the trail will be open soon considering the traffic they get on that trail. But it may not be open in the next few weeks. It may be just as well because when I last did the Vernon Loop (end of May 2013), the bush above Till-Till Valley was getting bad (about a mile of it on the top section). It covered the trail, but going downhill it was easy to slip through the bush crowding the trail. Unless they did some trail work there, it bet it got much worse.
The Vernon Loop is a favorite early season conditioning hike.
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Considering Lake Vernon for Late April

Postby J ney » Tue Apr 15, 2014 7:38 am

Thanks again!! My web "Favorites" bar is filling up with new resources!

Right now, the trip looks like a go but I'm keeping my eye on the cold front slated to arrive next week.

Miguel: I was initially planning to pushing through to Tiltill and back around but the more I think about it (including conditions on the ridge above and in the valley, plus the Rancheria Trail slide), the more just using a layover day at Vernon to scramble around Branigan appeals to me. I'm bringing my girl with me and I would like to get her into some mild scrambling.
I hadn't heard about Jack Main until checking out the topos for this trip... The definitely looks beautiful but not on my agenda for this trip :)

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