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Looking for a Plan B for an upcoming eastside trip

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Looking for a Plan B for an upcoming eastside trip

Postby psykokid » Mon May 02, 2016 10:54 am

Currently we are planning on taking a group of 12 scouts and 3 adults from my son's Boy Scout Troop up to Cottonwood Lakes from Horseshoe Meadows over the weekend before Memorial Day. From what I've heard over on the Whitney Zone forums they are slated to have the road open to Horseshoe Meadows by the middle of this month. In the event they don't have the road open in time I want to have a "Plan B" for the trip in the wings. We're looking for something that would give relatively easy access on established trails to the high country with lakes and classic Sierra granite with enough room for the group. The scouts will be 3 to a tent and the adults will all be in one person tents so would need enough space for 7 tents total. Looking to keep the mileage to 7-10 miles tops per day. No difficult cross country or sketchy passes. Looking to keep it pretty mellow for the scouts as for many it will be their first backpacking trip into the Sierra.

We plan on leaving LA after school on Friday and driving up 395 and grabbing our permit from a night drop, heading to whichever trail head and camping overnight and getting an early start on Saturday. Hike in, set up camp and explore around whichever area we end up on Saturday. Sunday morning wake up, have breakfast, break camp and head back to the trail head. Looking at the trail head quotas that have enough slots available to book online since we will need to do a night drop pickup for the permit it looks like the Sabrina TH and the Piute Pass / North Lake TH fit the bill. Any suggestions as to one or the other as an alternate for Cottonwood Lakes? Alternately, if you can think of something else that is within a 5 hour drive from LA that would fit the bill that I haven't thought about from the west side that would work as well. We already have that weekend cleared out schedule wise so would like to have an alternate, just in case. Thanks in advance!



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Re: Looking for a Plan B for an upcoming eastside trip

Postby rlown » Mon May 02, 2016 11:09 am

http://cdec.water.ca.gov/cgi-progs/queryMonthly?PPS

I think your plan B is still pretty buried in snow.

Gotta ask why are you going so high with 12 scouts on Memorial day?
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Re: Looking for a Plan B for an upcoming eastside trip

Postby maverick » Mon May 02, 2016 12:01 pm

We're looking for something that would give relatively easy access on established trails to the high country with lakes and classic Sierra granite with enough room for the group.


To early. What about in Ventana Wilderness: http://www.ventanawild.org/planning-tri ... tions.html
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Re: Looking for a Plan B for an upcoming eastside trip

Postby SSSdave » Mon May 02, 2016 3:20 pm

A reasonable strategy for Memorial Day to stay out of snow is in the central Sierra to stay below 7k and in the southern Sierra below 8k. And be sure to check NWS technical weather forecasts for several days leading up to your departure as the range has a history of chilly storms over that weekend that are poorly forecast. A fair number of years many un-savvy visitors end up getting chased out shivering wearing inadequate clothing and gear only to find all the road side camps and motels full due to the holiday.

The reality is at the end of May there are only a few interesting backpacking destinations at those elevations with natural lakes in the Sierra and they are all up north and likely long quota filled. The wiser strategy along the Eastern Sierra certain to follow smoothly regardless of weather is to disperse camp where legal on lower sagebrush elevation BLM and Inyo NF lands then day hike lower areas. Those areas of course are not dry and hot during end of May as most people see in July and August but rather green, flowery, and only lukewarm at most with streams clear and flowing. The views looking up at the snow peaks are better than being up there tromping around on spring melting snows and soggy trails. At the south end, Alabama Hills is a wonderland maze of fascinating boulders with an abundance of spots to set up camps.
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Re: Looking for a Plan B for an upcoming eastside trip

Postby psykokid » Mon May 02, 2016 4:38 pm

Thanks for the reality check guys. A bit too early in the year for those elevations in a normal snow year. Cest la vie.. We'll still take the boys out backpacking that weekend, just make it closer to home in the San Gabriels.

We have another backpacking trip on the calendar for July so I'm thinking we'll make a loop starting at Horseshoe Meadows and take a Trail Pass entry so we don't have to worry about quotas. Go to Chicken Springs Lake for day 1, Soldier Lakes for day 2 and back to the trailhead via NAP and the South Fork of Cottonwood Creek on day 3.
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Re: Looking for a Plan B for an upcoming eastside trip

Postby rlown » Mon May 02, 2016 4:50 pm

SSSdave wrote:The wiser strategy along the Eastern Sierra certain to follow smoothly regardless of weather is to disperse camp where legal on lower sagebrush elevation BLM and Inyo NF lands then day hike lower areas. Those areas of course are not dry and hot during end of May as most people see in July and August but rather green, flowery, and only lukewarm at most with streams clear and flowing. The views looking up at the snow peaks are better than being up there tromping around on spring melting snows and soggy trails. At the south end, Alabama Hills is a wonderland maze of fascinating boulders with an abundance of spots to set up camps.


If you really want to get the troop to the Eastside, Dave gives a pretty good suggestion..
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