TR: 04/2014 ~ Tablelands, Deadman Canyon, Kings-Kaweah Divid | High Sierra Topix  

TR: 04/2014 ~ Tablelands, Deadman Canyon, Kings-Kaweah Divid

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TR: 04/2014 ~ Tablelands, Deadman Canyon, Kings-Kaweah Divid

Postby Bluewater » Mon May 05, 2014 10:26 pm

This is more of a conditions report than a full trip report, but I wanted to give a somewhat up-to-date idea of the snow above 10,000 feet before it gets too far into May.

I planned for a seven day snowshoeing trip starting 04/17 through 04/23 but I hiked out a day early due to weather. There were two storms and some white-out conditions on days two and four which made for some great cloud views when it cleared up in the mornings.

We started out with some pleasant forest hiking with just a few patches of snow.

IMG_8419.JPG


The views really opened up once we made it over the Hump.

IMG_7638-PANO.jpg


We camped by Pear Lake the first night. The altitude made for a rough first day.

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The next morning we headed over the ridge toward Winter Alta. We took the route to the right of the Matterhorn.

IMG_7673-PANO.jpg


Morning on frozen Pear Lake.

IMG_7712-PANO.jpg


Once we reached the base of Winter Alta (on the east side) a storm blew in and we were stuck in a white-out for about 1/2 hour. When it cleared we made camp at one of the lakes just below the north side of the ridge.

IMG_7769-PANO.jpg


Of course the snow let up once we got our shelters setup. By 6:30 things opened up and I climbed to a ridge for sunset (shot in Canon "super vivid").

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The next morning we made it over the ridge for this view of Moose Lake. The next storm was already making its way up the canyon.

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This is my hiking buddy looking north out over Tablelands Meadow below to the north. There was just enough snow that we could keep our snowshoes on while traversing the ridge.

IMG_7877.JPG


Tablelands Meadow below:

IMG_7877-PANO.jpg


(to be continued)
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Last edited by Bluewater on Mon May 05, 2014 11:39 pm, edited 5 times in total.



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TR: 04/2014 ~ Tablelands, Deadman Canyon, Kings-Kaweah Divid

Postby Bluewater » Mon May 05, 2014 10:59 pm

(continued)

Later the same day we split up and I got stuck in another storm while crossing Pterodactyl Pass. Every few minutes I would get a glimpse at the possible route toward Lonely Lake. Somehow with GPS, topo map and compass I made it to Lonely Lake.

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This is what the view looked like a few days later.

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The boulder on the lower left provided some protection from the big winds that swirled around the Lonely Lake cirque that night.

lonely lake pano 211.JPG


The next day I explored the ridge that surrounds Lonely Lake. I had planned on going over Horn Col and down into Deadman Canyon, but quickly changed plans after seeing the steep snow at the south end of the canyon.

glacier divide pano 91.JPG


Steep dropoff into Deadman Canyon.

glacier divide pano 81.JPG


The north part of the ridge provided some good views down toward Big Bird Lake

big bird lake pano 2.JPG


. . and north toward Deadman Canyon.

dead man canyon 2.JPG


I ended the day at the west end of the Lonely Lake cirque.

IMG_8156-PANO.jpg


The next morning I headed back over Pterodactyl Pass. This time the weather was clear with good views of the Great Western Divide to the east.

IMG_8186-PANO.jpg


. . and clear views of Moose Lake and the Tablelands area.

IMG_8190-PANO.jpg


(to be continued)
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Last edited by Bluewater on Mon May 05, 2014 11:37 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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TR: 04/2014 ~ Tablelands, Deadman Canyon, Kings-Kaweah Divid

Postby Bluewater » Mon May 05, 2014 11:18 pm

(continued)

I continued along the Kings-Kaweah divide to this frozen lake that sits above Big Bird Lake.

IMG_8217-PANO.jpg


Another storm threatened that afternoon so I setup shelter on the north side of the ridge overlooking Ferguson Canyon.

kings kaweah divide 21.JPG


After a long night I set out to check out the granite spires on the ridge that overlooks Box Canyon, but the clouds looked threatening and I didn't want to get caught at high altitude and on a ridge once the weather started. I decided to head down to Tableland Meadows.

IMG_8298-PANO.jpg


The snow was melting fast.

tablelands meltout 22.JPG


lower tablelands meadow.JPG


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pear lake hut.JPG


I watched the sunset through the trees on the way back to the Wolverton parking lot and was on the road before dark.

sunset.JPG
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Re: TR: 04/2014 ~ Tablelands, Deadman Canyon, Kings-Kaweah Divid

Postby Wandering Daisy » Tue May 06, 2014 6:08 am

Beautiful photos! Thanks. I think one of the best viewpoints in the Sierra is below Lonely Lake just enough to peek over the ridge and see Valhalla. I was on the Tablelands early season years ago and camped on the ridge above Lonely Lake because there was too much snow at the lake. I recall some nasty talus that probably is easier when snow covered. What tent are you using? It almost looks like cuben fiber. What were the temperatures you encountered?
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TR: 04/2014 ~ Tablelands, Deadman Canyon, Kings-Kaweah Divid

Postby Bluewater » Tue May 06, 2014 7:29 am

Thanks WD! The ridge(s) surrounding Lonely Lake definitely provided some good views.

I was using a cuben MLD Solomid. The inverted 'V' shaped two pole setup was stable during the windy nights. It was made with the lighter 0.51 oz/sqyd cuben and it seems to be holding up well, even in heavy all night winds.

The low temps were mild, 20's at night but the highs felt extreme with the sun reflected in the snow. The thermometer on my watch said 82 one day (it was on a strap away from my wrist) when it was sunny. I was overheating wearing shorts and a s/s t-shirt:)




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Re: TR: 04/2014 ~ Tablelands, Deadman Canyon, Kings-Kaweah Divid

Postby Shawn » Tue May 06, 2014 12:34 pm

Really nice TR and great photos. Thanks for posting it up !
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Re: TR: 04/2014 ~ Tablelands, Deadman Canyon, Kings-Kaweah Divid

Postby maverick » Tue May 06, 2014 3:10 pm

Very nice Bluewater, love the Tablelands shots, that overlook at the edge towards
Big Bird Lake has some outstanding views, one of my personal favorites in that
area. Really enjoy that GWD Pano too, especially the clouds. Thank you.
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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TR: 04/2014 ~ Tablelands, Deadman Canyon, Kings-Kaweah Divid

Postby Bluewater » Tue May 06, 2014 3:21 pm

Thanks Shawn and Maverick!
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Re: TR: 04/2014 ~ Tablelands, Deadman Canyon, Kings-Kaweah Divid

Postby rlown » Tue May 06, 2014 3:41 pm

Really envious. A sweet report.
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Re: TR: 04/2014 ~ Tablelands, Deadman Canyon, Kings-Kaweah Divid

Postby tim » Tue May 06, 2014 5:21 pm

Very nice. Amazing how little snow there was at the hut and below compared to when we were there after the storm. But I guess it's now back to similar conditions to your trip after the hot spell last week.
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