Trip Advice too late in season for lake Italy? | High Sierra Topix  

Trip Advice too late in season for lake Italy?

If you've been searching for the best source of information and stimulating discussion related to Spring/Summer/Fall backpacking, hiking and camping in the Sierra Nevada...look no further!

Trip Advice too late in season for lake Italy?

Postby Thebrenner » Sat Sep 20, 2014 4:40 pm

I'd like to do a 3 night trip starting from Bear Creek diversion to lake Italy, Thursday sept 25 thru Sunday 28th. I know the timing is right on the weather cusp and the weather seems to be cooling down, so I'm on the fence. So my question is this..... Given that the weather is on the cusp would you do this trip? I know there was another thread about going to lower elevation this time of year but that was with kids. I'm solo and experienced and safety is important to me! My other idea was going to the Kern Plateau out of Kennedy meadows.....but then I thought if it was too cold up at lake Italy I could always drop back down to bear creek and explore. I hope this thread is not too redundant. Thx so much!



User avatar
Thebrenner
Topix Acquainted
 
Posts: 31
Joined: Sat Jun 30, 2012 8:51 pm
Location: Santa Barbara
Experience: N/A

Re: Trip Advice too late in season for lake Italy?

Postby oldranger » Sat Sep 20, 2014 5:08 pm

If I were in California and had the ability to make a last minute go/no go decision and the national weather service gave me a three day buffer of good weather past my exit day I would go for it. Also their temperature spot forecasts are usually within 5 degrees for about 3 days beyond the date of the forecast. Any less of a buffer and I would not choose such a remote destination and TH. (But of course I'm an old fart and pretty conservative) Another thing to remember is that to the best of my memory snow has never fallen and stayed in the Sierra before October 15. So if snow were to fall in late September or early October and you are in the backcountry wait a couple and walk out after the snow melts. Be sure an take a good book as the nights are longer than the days.

Mike
Mike

Who can't do everything he used to and what he can do takes a hell of a lot longer!
User avatar
oldranger
Topix Junkie
 
Posts: 2366
Joined: Fri Jan 19, 2007 8:18 pm
Location: Bend, Oregon
Experience: N/A

Re: Trip Advice too late in season for lake Italy?

Postby The hermit » Sat Sep 20, 2014 11:37 pm

I wish I could be out there this weekend. I'm waiting until next weekend to leave from north lake and go north on the shr. Weather Should be nice for a few more weeks. My new plb adds peace of mind
User avatar
The hermit
Topix Regular
 
Posts: 194
Joined: Mon Jul 02, 2012 8:25 am
Experience: N/A

Re: Trip Advice too late in season for lake Italy?

Postby seanr » Sun Sep 21, 2014 7:36 am

Yeah, based on what weather.gov is currently forecasting, I'd go, but bring whatever it takes to keep me warm if temps never rise above 30s and 40s. I'm sure you'll be doing daily checks of the forecast between now and then to see if storms become a factor. This guy will mention it if a notable storm becomes likely: http://mammothweather.com/howards-forecast/
User avatar
seanr
Topix Regular
 
Posts: 257
Joined: Thu Feb 06, 2014 8:46 am
Experience: N/A

Re: Trip Advice too late in season for lake Italy?

Postby kpeter » Sun Sep 21, 2014 8:39 am

Just watch the weather very carefully, carry cold weather gear, and turn around at the first sign of bad weather.

Charlie Hench's infamous trip to Italy Pass was Sept 17-22.
http://www.intrepid-optimist.com/content/lost-mountains

He would have been fine, though, had he stayed put at Lake Italy until after the storm abated, waited for the snow to melt, and then reversed course, just as Oldranger suggests. But he foolishly decided to try to make it over Italy Pass after the storm had started.
User avatar
kpeter
Topix Expert
 
Posts: 653
Joined: Mon Jan 04, 2010 12:11 pm
Experience: N/A

Re: Trip Advice too late in season for lake Italy?

Postby paul » Sun Sep 21, 2014 11:44 am

The Oldranger hits it right on. 3 days is the longest I would trust the forecast , and even then I would have my eyes wide open all the time and be ready to bail if something comes in. Getting up to Lake Italy from Bear creek there is only one tricky bit where the trail up the Hilgard Branch is heading southeast, then turns and goes due east through goes through a narrow spot in the canyon. Anywhere higher than right where the trail is pretty near impassable (below it you are in the creek). No problem at all in good visibility, but in a snowstorm you could get in serious trouble there. So if in doubt below that, don't go all the way up; if in doubt above that, stay put until the storm peters out.

For me I wouldn't like that trailhead in the fall because if there was a storm you could get stuck on the east side of Kaiser Pass for a while.
User avatar
paul
Topix Expert
 
Posts: 484
Joined: Thu Mar 15, 2007 2:35 pm
Experience: N/A

Re: Trip Advice too late in season for lake Italy?

Postby giantbrookie » Sun Sep 21, 2014 12:29 pm

I don't have too much to add except that I do not expect a late Sept storm to be wet and cold enough to close Kaiser Pass (temporarily) so I think the "escape" once you reach the car is OK. As other have said, checking the weather right up until you go is key. If the report predicts anything remotely dicey as of the evening before your take off, I'd call the trip off. This is all 'west-facing' trip that won't put you on the other side of a high pass from descent to lower and warmer temps. You just have to make sure you don't wait too long to bail out if the conditions start to change.

As of NWS forecast (1315 PDT Sunday) the furthest they forecast is next Sat (9-27) when they forecast a big drop off in temps to a high of 41 at 11k elevation with gusty winds. If the updated forecast as of the day before your takeoff says wet as well as cold, I'd call the trip off.

Like many folks I have tended to do my trips to high and remote places only as late as the weekend after Labor Day weekend, after which I would aim for less remote places, so as to minimize the chances of getting stuck far in the backcountry during a change in weather. I have experienced some exceptionally cold snaps during September, although not with a huge amount of snow (coldest trip I experienced at this time of the year was in Little Lakes Valley (9/20-21/1986) when the highest afternoon temp was well below freezing).
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
User avatar
giantbrookie
Founding Member & Forums Moderator
Founding Member & Forums Moderator
 
Posts: 2649
Joined: Wed Dec 28, 2005 9:22 am
Location: Fresno
Experience: N/A

Re: Trip Advice too late in season for lake Italy?

Postby rlown » Sun Sep 21, 2014 12:39 pm

As of NWS forecast (1315 PDT Sunday) the furthest they forecast is next Sat (9-27) when they forecast a big drop off in temps to a high of 41 at 11k elevation with gusty winds. If the updated forecast as of the day before your takeoff says wet as well as cold, I'd call the trip off.


Season is pretty done. don't risk it. the only caveat i'll raise here is if you know about winter camping and are carrying skis or snowshoes and expect something will hit, then, ok, maybe..
User avatar
rlown
Topix Junkie
 
Posts: 6207
Joined: Thu Oct 25, 2007 4:00 pm
Location: Petaluma, CA
Experience: Level 4 Explorer

Re: Trip Advice too late in season for lake Italy?

Postby seanr » Sun Sep 21, 2014 2:43 pm

:wink: Yeah, things can change fast this time of year. Do you enjoy 20's, 30's, and 40's with gusty winds? On the plus side, major road issues are unlikely and calling the season over is a wager and personal preference more than a guarantee. Keep watching the weather and have a lower backup trip with good forecasts if possible.
User avatar
seanr
Topix Regular
 
Posts: 257
Joined: Thu Feb 06, 2014 8:46 am
Experience: N/A

Re: Trip Advice too late in season for lake Italy?

Postby richlong8 » Mon Sep 22, 2014 6:29 am

I got back last night from a weekend trip over Kearsage Pass down to the 10,400 level on the west side of the Sierra. Temperatures were cool, and quite breezy, and we had a thunderstorm with lightning and rain start about 8pm, but it really was not that big of a deal. I don't consider it too late to be in the HIgh Sierra, assuming you are well equipped, and have an exit plan. The Kern Plateau hiking season lasts even longer, depending on the trailhead you hike out of. Kennedy Meadows(6000'approx.) can still be downright hot this time of year. Blackrock trailhead starts you out at about 9000', and is another option. For that matter, I think accessing GTW from Cottonwood Pass, Trail Pass, or Mulkey Pass are great viable options this time of year. I might see you this weekend as you are returning. I am thinking about hiking up Bear Creek myself this weekend, but only as far as the area where the diversion dam trail intersects the JMT, or somewhere thereabouts. Unfortunately, I will have to start hiking at the road, my Civic is too low to the ground to make it to the trailhead.
User avatar
richlong8
Topix Expert
 
Posts: 712
Joined: Tue Nov 25, 2008 5:02 pm
Experience: N/A

Next

Return to Backpacking / Hiking / Camping



Who is online

Users browsing this forum: nunatak, SirBC, Yahoo [Bot] and 25 guests