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Help with a plan B

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Help with a plan B

Postby mello » Sat Aug 29, 2015 7:08 pm

Hi all, longtime lurker here.

I have a brother who is flying in from East Coast for a trip we had planned. The plan was for 3 nights over the Kearsarge pass from next Wednesday the 2nd through Saturday the 4th. We had planned on Kearsarge lakes, Rae Lakes and 60 lakes basin. Based on the reports, websites and webcams it's not looking like it will be a very enjoyable trip because of the smoke.

I considered maybe heading south after the pass toward East and Lake Reflection but I'm not even sure if that would be any better.

I realize there are not too many areas that are clear of smoke, and it may be too late to get permits. But, if anyone has any suggestions of where we could go I would greatly appreciate any advise. It doesn't even have to be grandiose, as long as there are some lakes and mountains. We are both Level 3 and would prefer class 1 & 2. Is anywhere in Yosemite a possibility (I notice from the Worldview satellite that it looks clearer than much else)?

We will be coming from the Los Angeles area.

Thanks for any help!

Chris



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Re: Help with a plan B

Postby SSSdave » Sat Aug 29, 2015 8:06 pm

There have been a number of people this month requesting advice on where to change backpacking plans to because of smoke from fires. The reality is any advice suggesting specific locations is not likely to be meaningful because as wind direction changes day to day so will location of it's smoke. So what one really needs to understand on a short term basis is.

1. Where are the current wildfires burning, how much are they expected to continue to burn during whatever period of interest? Where has smoke from noted fires been moving that is usually available on satellite maps?

Links for that information are available on this forum dedicated thread.

viewtopic.php?f=34&t=12301

2. Where are upper atmosphere winds forecast to be blowing over the period of interest?

That is a matter of looking at the jetstream forecast over the period of interest and surface weather analysis maps that show positions of high and low pressure systems which also give clues to future directions of winds. The jetstream link is on same above thread.

3. How lower atmosphere daily winds tend to blow within the complex topography?

Uncertain if one will find any useful online information. But understanding basic climate regarding winds in the summer in the Sierra Nevada will help. Much of this will be valid on any high mountain ranges.

http://www.wrcc.dri.edu/narratives/california/

4. Be lucky that yet more fires don't start that make the above futile.

During the last couple decades there have been increasing numbers of fires in the Sierra beyond mid summers. It is to the point this person as a serious photographer avoids long term backpacking plans for that period. Of course that is also the favorite time for many visitors because mosquitoes are mostly long gone. And if one has little interest in seeing snows still on peaks, seasonal streams with flowing water, green vegetation, or wildflowers, it is an otherwise fine time.

Again although some may respond and think they are providing useful advice, in my opinion that is probably misguided. So it is really going to be up to you and anyone else with similar questions to check noted online sites just prior to their visits.

David
http://www.davidsenesac.com/2015_Trip_C ... les-0.html
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Re: Help with a plan B

Postby bluefintu » Sat Aug 29, 2015 11:23 pm

Hi Chris,

I just came back from "Little Lake Valley", just north of Bishop and from what I saw, south of Bishop to Independence was very unreal. From Pine Creek to Shepard Pass was socked in with smoke and ash. We had some smoke and ash at Chickenfoot Lake from Wednesday till yesterday,(Friday) this morning was nice and clear. Onion Valley looked very bad from the highway.

Mt. Whitney looked nice and clear when we passed by, but, any change in the wind would be bad. Yosemite maybe an option for fresh air. Good luck on plan "B"
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Re: Help with a plan B

Postby WarrenFork » Sun Aug 30, 2015 8:05 am

You asked about Yosemite. A friend from the city showed up at our place in Virginia Lakes the other day and wanted to get into the backcountry for a couple of nights. We hiked up to Summit Lake on the park boundary and dropped down into Virginia Canyon the next day. Hiked up to Return Lake then cross country to Soldier Lake where we spent the second night. It was hazy and now and then you'd catch a hint of smoke on the breeze but there was no ash fall or anything like that. Stars at night. Sunsets were definitely enhanced.

The Walker Fire that was having a big impact on air quality in Mono Basin and thereabouts was almost entirely contained before we left. Some of the haze we experienced originated in fires up in the Tahoe area. Based on what I've heard, the northeast boundary country of the park might be as good as you're going to get right now in terms of air quality in the High Sierra. Air might stagnate somewhat in the bottoms of those long canyons but there are plenty of nice lakes above them.
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Re: Help with a plan B

Postby mello » Sun Aug 30, 2015 2:12 pm

Thanks for the thoughtful and informative responses!

I have read all the threads and am keeping an eye on things. Thanks Dave for the additional info. If it was just me I would postpone, but he has a flight already booked so I feel a bit desperate.

I thought Yosemite looked more clear than other places, but I know much less about the Yosemite backcountry than the Southern Sierra. Thanks bluefintu and Warren for the ideas.
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