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McGee Creek and Convict Creek headwaters

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Re: McGee Creek and Convict Creek headwaters

Postby SSSdave » Sun Jul 12, 2015 3:35 pm

Given the drought, most remaining large visible snowfields may be hard glacial ice impossible to cross without sharp pointy ice crampons. Cloverleaf takes effort to reach thus has few visitors.

On Saturday July 4, our second day out from the Coldwater Creek Trailhead, we were on the other side of the ridge at Purple Lake from where you were at at Constance. So enjoyed the same stormy afternoon haha. Three of us just arrived at the lake as the first afternoon storm with heavy rain began that had us stumbling through piles of avalanche debris trees then a very soggy seep meadow into a tall lodgepole pine grove. There with gear under rain covers we hunkered down below densest needled branches to escape the rain. After that storm left, we set up our tents and gear but then a severe lightning and thunder storm moved in over the near ridge from the south and dropped more heavy rain with some hail. Though the lightning during that storm was intense, we were in one of the safest locations in the area.

We had t-storms and rain 7 straight days before walking out on day 8 Saturday July 11 with just minor cumulus build ups. The worst storm by far was in the wee hours of Thursday that left an inch of grape to cherry sized hail across landscapes and was followed by heavy bouts of rain and sleety snow that continued into the afternoon. Lightning at peak was occurring every few seconds. The large hail pounding my UL1 got gear inside my tent wet because the temperture was in the 30s and considerable condensation had formed overnight before the storm on the underside of my rain fly. The intense hail knocked it all down through the netting of the inner tent as a constant mist.

I analyzed the storm this morning and will have a forthcoming thread about it. The Thursday storm was not a Mexican monsoon event but rather due to the jetstream dipping south and picking up and intensifying what had been a weak low pressure trough west of San Diego. Because the jetstream brought cold air in from the Gulf of Alaska, it snowed down to about 10000 feet. One often reads advice about how Sierra Nevada thunderstorms are short ho hum events and that tends to encourage mountain visitors to have mediocre storm coping gear. We saw lots of thru hikers on the PCT/JMT that looked like they were going to the beach and probably learned a miserable lesson.

David



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Re: McGee Creek and Convict Creek headwaters

Postby maverick » Sun Jul 12, 2015 5:30 pm

The large hail pounding my UL1 got gear inside my tent wet because the temperture was in the 30s and considerable condensation had formed overnight before the storm on the underside of my rain fly. The intense hail knocked it all down through the netting of the inner tent as a constant mist.


That sounds like a lot of fun Dave. :(
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Re: McGee Creek and Convict Creek headwaters

Postby jrad » Fri Jul 24, 2015 11:37 am

The areas you describe are some of my favorites. Thanks so much for the descriptions and some very fine pictures. I did a loop around Bloody Mtn from the bottom of Laurel Lakes Rd to Bloody lake and onward over Laurel Pass (or whatever one might call it) and back just before you started your trip. No rain. I think all the rain started exactly as I exited the area (June 28). In the past I've crossed Corridor Pass 3 times (mid-August and late Fall - no problems) and seen all the lakes you describe from Sherwin Lakes to McGee Lakes but never down McGee to the trail head. I'm sure glad so few hikers crowd these areas. Actually, now I think of it, maybe we should just keep quiet about all these areas. Luckily many people are deterred by x-c routes.

A note on Gemini Pass: last mid-September I did a wonderful loop from Lake Mary, eventually over Gemini, past Cloverleaf and then x-c to Valentine Lake and back over an x-c pass above Sherwin Lakes to Lake Mary. I swore I'd never do Gemini again as it took over 2 hours going down, the talus being overly steep and unstable and the "snow" being ice in the form of a remnant glacier. I did NOT like that descent. I can scarcely imagine going UP, w/o equipment. I understand it is a pretty good route when there is more snow or with crampons, perhaps. But it was daunting going down and would have been very hard, up. The SW side is a piece of cake and the top of the pass is much like a large, expansive, nearly flat football field - so easy to wander around in prior to the difficult descent.
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