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TR: Snowmelt update from Kings Canyon

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TR: Snowmelt update from Kings Canyon

Postby vhsvhs » Mon May 05, 2014 10:43 pm

Hi All,

Last weekend, I made a short trip to Roads End, to check out the snow conditions and try a couple new pieces of summer gear. I backpacked from Roads End up to the PCT junction at Woods Creek, camped by the suspension bridge, and then returned to the trailhead the next day. It was exciting to see this area of the park, normally crowded, with a deeper sense of solitude.

Snow: On north-facing slopes, the snow is melted away up to 9000'. On many south-facing slopes, the snow is entirely gone.

I encountered a handful of day hikers going to Mist Falls, but otherwise I met only two backpacking parties. One guy was finishing the Rae Lakes loop counterclockwise, and he said it was a long slog through rotten snow from Glen Pass down to 9000'. Another two guys were starting the Rae Lakes loop clockwise, lacking trekking poles or an ice axe (err, good luck).

The conditions are very nice right now! Warm nights, low crowds, no mosquitos. . .

Image
The Sphinx and Palmer Mountain

Image
Perfect picnic conditions in Castle Domes Meadow

Image
Castle Domes

Image
On the Woods Creek suspension bridge; patchy snow on north-facing slopes above 9000'

If you're curious, I posted more photos on my Flickr stream: (link)

Cheers,
V.



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TR: Snowmelt update from Kings Canyon

Postby Bluewater » Tue May 06, 2014 1:00 am

Thanks for posting your photos. This really makes we want to get back out there, soon!


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Postby bheiser1 » Tue May 06, 2014 9:53 pm

Yes, what Blue water said. It looks like summer!

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Re: TR: Snowmelt update from Kings Canyon

Postby Ballpeen » Wed May 07, 2014 9:31 am

Thanks for the info! I like to take my boys up there early season for car camping and day hiking. Last year around this time, roads end was day use only. Sounds like that might not be the case this year. Were any of the campgrounds in the roads end area open?
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Re: TR: Snowmelt update from Kings Canyon

Postby KathyW » Wed May 07, 2014 10:56 am

Thanks for the update. I'm headed up the Copper Creek Trail this weekend. I'd like to camp at Grouse lake and attempt Goat Mountain. Any suggestions on the need for snowshoes above 9000' or 10000'? Did the guy who did the Rae Lakes Loop have snowshoes or wish he had them if he did not? If I end up hauling the snowshoes and other winter gear, I might split the uphill to Grouse Lake into 2 days instead of one.
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Re: TR: Snowmelt update from Kings Canyon

Postby maverick » Wed May 07, 2014 11:32 am

Thanks for the TR Vhsvhs. Were their a lot of campers in Paradise?

Ballpeen wrote:
Were any of the campgrounds in the roads end area open?


Campgrounds that are currently open: http://www.nps.gov/seki/planyourvisit/campgrounds.htm
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Re: TR: Snowmelt update from Kings Canyon

Postby vhsvhs » Wed May 07, 2014 7:17 pm

@KathyW - The Copper Creek trail is snow-free, at least up the ridge to Mount Hutchings, and I would guess that the route to Grouse Lake is also snow-free. However, Goat Mountain still has snow on its southern face, but not much. See the photo I attached. It's not a very good photo, but it shows a dusting of snow on Goat Mountain, as viewed from Castle Domes meadow. FWIW, I hope that helps.

ImageA view of Goat Mountain from Castle Domes Meadow.
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Re: TR: Snowmelt update from Kings Canyon

Postby vhsvhs » Wed May 07, 2014 7:23 pm

Hey @Ballpeen and @maverick - I saw one group camped in Lower Paradise, but Upper Paradise was a ghost town.
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Re: TR: Snowmelt update from Kings Canyon

Postby KathyW » Thu May 08, 2014 6:16 am

vhsvhs - Thanks - it helps. I might just plan to try to be out where there is snow early in the day instead of dragging the snowshoes.
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Re: TR: Snowmelt update from Kings Canyon

Postby Duxbait » Fri May 09, 2014 5:25 pm

KathyW wrote:vhsvhs - Thanks - it helps. I might just plan to try to be out where there is snow early in the day instead of dragging the snowshoes.


I plan to do similar. I am decide whether or not to carry crampons and an axe now. Seems either soft snow or hard in the am where I may want the traction.
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Re: TR: Snowmelt update from Kings Canyon

Postby KathyW » Sun May 11, 2014 4:54 pm

Duxbait: Maybe those were your footprints I saw on the Copper Creek Trail - I saw them down lower, but not up higher in the snow. I think someone went up higher, but the tracks had melted out.

Anyway, there is still a lot of snow out there on the Copper Creek Trail - patchy snow starts about 9,300' and then lots of snow by 10,000'. I turned back at 10,300'. It's consolidated and melting fast, but there are so many big boulders and trees that you punch through enough for it not to be much fun - at least in the afternoon.
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Re: TR: Snowmelt update from Kings Canyon

Postby cgundersen » Mon May 19, 2014 1:23 pm

vhsvhs & Kathy,
Great heads ups from both of you; like Bluewater, I'm envious! My wife & I are usually flexible enough to get out by this time of year, but we're on hold till early June. My main concern is whether we'll be batting lots of bugs; otherwise, the snow level looks to be well within our comfort zone. Of course, that and the bug bloom could change if the predicted storms this week drop some significant white stuff. Anything to improve the water situation works for me, but I'll be keen to see if any reports come in next week.
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