TR: Wolverton to Alta Meadow and Beyond (May 28-29, 2016) | High Sierra Topix  

TR: Wolverton to Alta Meadow and Beyond (May 28-29, 2016)

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TR: Wolverton to Alta Meadow and Beyond (May 28-29, 2016)

Postby vhsvhs » Mon May 30, 2016 4:18 pm

Hi All,
I enjoyed a short overnight trip from Wolverton trailhead to Alta Meadow, Saturday May 28th, 2016 to Sunday May 29th. I posted photos below.

Snow Conditions Update: There is still a lot of snow! On some south-facing slopes (e.g. SE face of Alta Peak), the snow has melted away up to 11,000'. On north-facing slopes, the snow is several feet deep at 9,000' and above. This feels like a "normal" year in the Sierra.

Mosquitos: None

Crowds: We saw several dozen groups day-hiking to Alta Peak. We also saw approximately six parties backpacking and camping at Mehrten Meadow. We saw no one past the trail junction to Alta Peak. We camped at Alta Meadow, and it felt like the entire wilderness was ours alone. I suspect the current snow levels were a major deterrent to backpackers traveling any further beyond Mehrten Meadow. Before we started hiking, I visited the Lodgepole Visitor Center to pickup our wilderness permit. There was a long line at the rangers' desk, and the quotas were full for all major trailheads (Alta, High Sierra, Lakes, and Twin Lakes). It seemed like most of the parties getting permits were totally unprepared for snow. I saw several shocked faces when the ranger repeatedly said that Pear Lake was buried under three feet.

Weather: A freezing rainstorm with thunder erupted Saturday afternoon. We quickly setup our tents and enjoyed the storm while remaining warm and safe.

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We encountered sporadic snow drifts, like these, on our way to Panther Gap.
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As we got closer to Panther Gap, crossing the snow drifts required some fun jumping.


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The creek above Mehrten Meadow has undercut the snow, creating delicate snow bridges.
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The snow in Mehrten Meadow is quickly melting. It's a popular place to camp: we saw half a dozen groups camped here.
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Snow drifts in Mehrten Meadow
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By the time we arrived at Alta Meadow, shown here, a storm had erupted over the Sierra. We quickly setup our tents and then enjoyed (endured?) three hours of freezing rain and thunder.
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After the storm cleared, we built a fire and watched the mountains turn pink in the sunset.


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We enjoyed a spectacular light show on the Great Western Divide at sunset.


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In the morning we explored Alta Meadows, shown here.
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Black Kaweah Peak and Kaweah Gap stood in stark relief under the morning sun.


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HST member Pelican shakes off his Hillsound Trail Crampons as we descend to Panther Gap.
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On our return hike to Wolverton, we enjoyed a final view of the snowy Sierra.
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Last edited by vhsvhs on Tue May 31, 2016 10:17 am, edited 3 times in total.



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Re: TR: Wolverton to Alta Meadow and Beyond (May 28-29, 2016

Postby pelican » Mon May 30, 2016 4:38 pm

Thanks for posting the report of our trip!
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Re: TR: Wolverton to Alta Meadow and Beyond (May 28-29, 2016

Postby rlown » Mon May 30, 2016 4:50 pm

A very nice report! Nice to see some of the recent TR's roll in so soon. Kudos.
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Re: TR: Wolverton to Alta Meadow and Beyond (May 28-29, 2016

Postby DAVELA » Mon May 30, 2016 10:34 pm

beautiful scenery..how were the temps?
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Re: TR: Wolverton to Alta Meadow and Beyond (May 28-29, 2016

Postby vhsvhs » Tue May 31, 2016 10:14 am

@DAVELA -- It was near freezing at night (at 9,500'), but surprisingly warm during the day. I don't often build campfires, but it was sufficiently cold that I'm glad we built one on this trip.
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