TR: Spring Conditions in Minarets - 03/19 - 03/22/2015 | High Sierra Topix  

TR: Spring Conditions in Minarets - 03/19 - 03/22/2015

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TR: Spring Conditions in Minarets - 03/19 - 03/22/2015

Postby Bluewater » Sun Mar 29, 2015 2:34 pm

This is more of a conditions report to give some indication of the snow around the Minarets.

Andrew, Chris, Adan and I entered via the Silver Lake TH on Thursday, 03/19 and spent the next four days snowshoeing a partial loop in the area. The weather was mostly clear and sunny during the day and typically cloudy overnight. A storm brought some snow in the afternoon on Sunday (fortunately after we made it back to the trailhead).

There was no snow on the trail up to Agnew Lake but the switchbacks on the north facing slope were covered with well packed Sierra cement (and a few areas of ice). We took a cross country route past Clark Lakes and found a nice overlook near Agnew Pass with great views of the Ritter Range.

We camped near Agnew Pass the first night and headed out toward 1,000 Island Lake the second day. The trails were snow covered but we were able to follow the JMT corridor (with the help of map, compass and GPS) to the Shadow Creek Jct. From there we followed the Shadow Creek drainage to Ediza Lake for the night. Everything takes longer in the snow and it was a long strenuous day with a few 300-450 foot snow climbs along the way.

The third day we backtracked down the Shadow Creek trail and took it all the way down to the Middle Fork San Joaquin. The trails were mostly clear once past the outlet of Shadow Lake.

We had mainly summer conditions/temps in the canyon until we reached the far north end. Snowshoes were off as soon as we reached the south facing trail climb back up to Agnew Pass. We camped near one of the Clark Lakes that night.

The final day we took a shortcut down the drainage of Clark Lakes to the south shore of Gem Lake. The lake was melting from the edges and although 2/3rds was still totally frozen most of the group stayed off the ice. Once we all met back at the footbridge at the inlet of Gem Lake we followed mostly all dry trail on the way back to Silver Lake.

Photos from the trip in a flickr album:

https://flic.kr/s/aHsk9CT4FS

Some photos:

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north chute above agnew lake
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camp near agnew pass


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rolling terrain near the outlet of 1,000 island lake
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1,000 island lake bridge


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garnet lake bridge


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frozen ediza lake


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ediza lake outlet melting


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frozen shadow lake


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chute to gem lake
IMG_2600.JPG (104.74 KiB) Viewed 310 times


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storm clouds covering minarets, banner & ritter on sunday



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Bluewater
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Re: TR: Spring Conditions in Minarets - 03/19 - 03/22/2015

Postby Vaca Russ » Mon Mar 30, 2015 6:41 am

Bluewater,

What a great report! Thanks for sharing! Those are some great pictures. :thumbsup: :thumbsup:

I really want to get out there but I had to "put in my tomatoe plants" this weekend. #-o

Thanks,

-Russ
” Auto racing, bull fighting, and mountain climbing are the only real sports … all others are games.”- Ernest Hemingway
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Re: TR: Spring Conditions in Minarets - 03/19 - 03/22/2015

Postby vinjo » Mon Mar 30, 2015 9:17 am

Fun to see this area when it's snow covered. Beautiful pictures,makes me want to get out backpacking.
Thanks for the report.
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Re: TR: Spring Conditions in Minarets - 03/19 - 03/22/2015

Postby copeg » Mon Mar 30, 2015 10:33 am

Nice! Thanks for sharing. That area is so much different when covered (or at least partly covered) in snow
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Re: TR: Spring Conditions in Minarets - 03/19 - 03/22/2015

Postby seanr » Mon Mar 30, 2015 1:44 pm

Nice shots! I finally made it to the Ritter-Banner area last September and enjoy seeing it in different conditions. If I hadn't just been there...
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Re: TR: Spring Conditions in Minarets - 03/19 - 03/22/2015

Postby dougieb » Mon Mar 30, 2015 3:02 pm

Looks like a lovely trip. Thanks for taking the time to put together all the photos, I enjoyed them.
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Re: TR: Spring Conditions in Minarets - 03/19 - 03/22/2015

Postby Bluewater » Mon Mar 30, 2015 3:49 pm

Thanks for your feedback everybody. It will be time to get back out there soon!
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Re: TR: Spring Conditions in Minarets - 03/19 - 03/22/2015

Postby KathyW » Tue Mar 31, 2015 6:10 pm

Thanks so much for sharing. I really appreciate trip reports because they are interesting, have beautiful photos, and provide beta.
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Re: TR: Spring Conditions in Minarets - 03/19 - 03/22/2015

Postby silence » Wed Apr 01, 2015 8:18 am

Beautiful pix and great adventure. Looks like it might be firm enough to get by w/o snowshoes ... is that correct?
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Re: TR: Spring Conditions in Minarets - 03/19 - 03/22/2015

Postby Bluewater » Fri Apr 03, 2015 9:58 pm

Thanks Kathy & silence. The snow was ok to walk on without snowshoes until about noon. After that we used snowshoes, especially for steep climbs.


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