Early Season Advice

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!
Post Reply
User avatar
Topix Acquainted
Posts: 52
Joined: Wed Aug 10, 2011 3:09 pm
Experience: Level 4 Explorer
Location: Santa Cruz, Ca

Early Season Advice

Post by Sierra_Summits » Tue Apr 21, 2015 12:50 pm

Hey y'all it's my first time going early season...i usually go in july and august. I have the chance to take a week off this spring and wanted to get out into the sierra. i was thinking of doing the some things around northern kings canyon and into the mono divide. I was hoping to avoid the mosquitos hatching and get some great photos of SOME snow on the peaks. i looked at the bug reports from last year and they seemed to come out in early to mid June. What is your best guess for this year. I was thinking may 18th week might be early enough but not too much snow on the passes.

I definitely want to get into the higher country and avoid places like emigrant wilderness.

What level of backpacking experience do you have?

Level 4- Comfortable with trail and/or x-country travel

What terrain are you comfortable/uncomfortable with?
Im comfortable with class 3 travel

- River crossings

No more than knee deep

- Snow travel/Glacier crossings

very little experience

What is your main interest?

- Big Mountain scenery
- Photography

How many days/nights is your trip, not including travel to trailhead?


How many miles did you want to do a day, any layovers?

8-10 no layovers

Do you have a route logistics preference: loop, out and back, point to point (which
may require 2 vehicles or hitchhiking)?


"Heaven is here on Earth!"

--Bob Marley

User avatar
Topix Addict
Posts: 2631
Joined: Fri Jan 19, 2007 9:18 pm
Experience: N/A
Location: Bend, Oregon

Re: Early Season Advice

Post by oldranger » Tue Apr 21, 2015 10:31 pm

If I had that time with your interests I'd head into the e. side of the minarets, avoiding the pct as I suspect there will be a fair number of n. bound thruhikers this year. I went into that area last year on May 24th on a 10 day trip and had to deal with a little snow but hitting it after it softened a little but not enough to posthole made travel tolerable, even for an old man. Remember though that significant snowfall is still possible so be prepared to sit tight for a day or two for the snow to melt (and it will melt!).


Who can't do everything he used to and what he can do takes a hell of a lot longer!

User avatar
gary c.
Topix Fanatic
Posts: 1222
Joined: Tue Jan 24, 2006 4:56 pm
Experience: N/A
Location: Lancaster, CA

Re: Early Season Advice

Post by gary c. » Tue Apr 21, 2015 10:40 pm

Another important factor that I don't think a lot of early hikers are going to take into consideration is the temperatures. April at 10,000ft is still April at 10,000ft and can be darn cold at night, even if there is no snow.
"On this proud and beautiful mountain we have lived hours of fraternal, warm and exalting nobility. Here for a few days we have ceased to be slaves and have really been men. It is hard to return to servitude."
-- Lionel Terray

User avatar
Topix Addict
Posts: 2597
Joined: Wed Jun 24, 2009 4:38 pm
Experience: Level 4 Explorer

Re: Early Season Advice

Post by AlmostThere » Wed Apr 22, 2015 7:09 am

Roads are another matter. While it sounds like some of the east side roads are opening up, one of the only west side roads I am aware of opening early is the FS road system in the Dinkey wilderness, bounded by 168 and Dinkey resort. You cannot at this time get to the Willow Meadow trailhead, however, as the bridge over cow creek washed out. But there are other trailheads about. Not at Courtright or Wishon - those roads are still closed.

Some of the roads to trailheads down on 190 are opening, too.

Post Reply

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: Jugglingball and 1 guest