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Dinkey Creek Area - Conditions?

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Dinkey Creek Area - Conditions?

Postby mountainLight » Thu Dec 07, 2006 10:21 am

Wanting to get out this weekend and was wondering if anyone has been up in the Dinkey Creek area lately. Getting conflicting info as to where the roads up there are closed. Trying to get out to the lakes near Rainbow Mine.

Anyone have any info?

Thanks



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Postby giantbrookie » Thu Dec 07, 2006 2:11 pm

This is a really good question and one that was posed to me by some students a few days ago (I'm about 1.5 hours from the trailhead, here). There certainly hasn't been much precipitation this fall, but things have been fairly cold. For road conditions, you should phone the USFS office in Prather and make sure you insist on talking to one of their wilderness rangers. Even if the roads are clear (be aware that another weather system is coming in this weekend, too), I am not sure the lakes themselves would be thawed given how cold it has been. I suspect there is not a huge amount of snow around, but the ~9000-9400' elevation of the lakes you are interested in, combined with the cold weather, probably translates to them being covered by a thin sheet of ice that would pretty much doom any fishing efforts.
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
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Postby mountainLight » Thu Dec 07, 2006 3:28 pm

Thanks giantbrookie. I did call the Prather station ... and you know how it is sometimes you ask about a place and they don't even know where it is. So I got that Dinkey Creek Road is open to the trail head ... my buddy called and got that it was closed part way. It is so hard when you live far away and don't want to get up there just to turn around.

I think we might just plan for something different. Every been up to the Jackass Lakes area ... looks a little lower. We are looking for a day hike 12 miles or less to some lakes for this Saturday. Any suggestions?
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Postby giantbrookie » Thu Dec 07, 2006 7:11 pm

mountainLight wrote:Thanks giantbrookie. I did call the Prather station ... and you know how it is sometimes you ask about a place and they don't even know where it is. So I got that Dinkey Creek Road is open to the trail head ... my buddy called and got that it was closed part way. It is so hard when you live far away and don't want to get up there just to turn around.

I think we might just plan for something different. Every been up to the Jackass Lakes area ... looks a little lower. We are looking for a day hike 12 miles or less to some lakes for this Saturday. Any suggestions?


Yup, that's why I always insist on talking to somebody in the office who really knows the wilderness. I still remember climbing Olancha Peak in 1975, calling ahead about snow conditions and getting the reply "snowline at 10000 (the peak is 12000+)". I found upon climbing that there was a solitary tiny snowpatch (like 30' across) at 11000'--the only bit of snow on the entire mountain.

Regarding Jackass Lakes, they aren't a bad "quick hitter". The road doesn't get anywhere near as high as the Dinkey Road (the main road gets to 7200 or so along south and west-facing slopes), but the lakes are still fairly high. The lower Jackass (pretty nice rainbows when last I visited in 1997) is 8640+ and the highest one is 9120+ in a NE facing bowl and likely frozen. You may have a shot at the lower one.

I guess if I was itching to get out I'd set my altitude targets still lower. Another pretty short hike target would be Waterhouse Lake (7360+) south of 108 a bit east of Pinecrest. This is a short 1.5-2 mi hike (last bit is off trail) to a lake on an open bench. This lake stands a decent chance of being open.This is the shortest of all possible drives from the Bay Area.

Further north, but lower in elevation I'm thinking that the low lakes NW of Desolation and in NW Desolation are likely to be unfrozen still, given their elevations (Buck Island ~6400', Rockbound ~6500'). The key here is whether the road to Loon Lake is open still (Loon itself sits at about 6400, I recall). Although it is said to be 6 mi + to Buck Island, this hike always seems to go real fast, so it is feasible for a long dayhike, although the short days sort of crimp things a bit.


Another area worth considering is the Lakes Basin/Jamison Creek area north of Yuba Pass. Lakes Basin lakes themselves are in the 6500' range and further north than Desolation--they might be a bit chilly by now. This basin can get brutally cold if there is a wind blowing. In contrast, the Jamison Creek drainage is more sheltered and lower. The lowest lake in that chain (Grass Lake) is at 5800, has a good chance of still being open, and is a short 2 mile hike from the trailhead. I key for Jamison Creek is if the road into Plumas Eureka State Park is open, and for Lakes Basin it will be whether the Lakes Basin Road is open. Bucks Lake wilderness features the beautiful Gold Lake at 5920' (1 mi or so from the Silver Lake trailhead if the Silver Lake road is open) although Gold is really in a pretty good northeast-facing bowl, so it is effectively pretty high (and we're getting fairly far north). These North Sierra options offer the possibility of staying in Quincy and eating at Quincy's fine eating spots, something my wife and I would always do on our late season "closers", in the days we lived in the Bay Area (which we did up until June 2005). Quincy is sadly kind of far away now.
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
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