High Sierra Trail late sept/early oct | High Sierra Topix  

High Sierra Trail late sept/early oct

If you've been searching for the best source of information and stimulating discussion related to Spring/Summer/Fall backpacking, hiking and camping in the Sierra Nevada...look no further!
User avatar

High Sierra Trail late sept/early oct

Postby Ruy » Thu Sep 08, 2016 9:33 am

Hi there,

I'll will be in the US for a short training and was hopping to do the high sierra trail after the course. I have classes until the sept the 22nd, and should be able to get to the trailhead around the 24th.

Is it still possible to do the trail this late in the season? What kinda of weather should I expect? Also will shuttle services still be running, what transportation options do I have?

I checked and the quota period ends 09/24. Does that mean I can get the wilderness permits at the park? Do I need to do any sort of reservation?

Thanks a lot



User avatar
Ruy
Topix Novice
 
Posts: 5
Joined: Thu Sep 08, 2016 9:29 am
Experience: Level 3 Backpacker

User avatar

Re: High Sierra Trail late sept/early oct

Postby AlmostThere » Thu Sep 08, 2016 9:37 am

No reservations needed, because it's winter. You can expect to get all the unsettled weather and subfreezing temperatures that go with it. And yes, most services shut down - between September 15 and October 15, you'll see the folks who work in the high country busily closing up shop and moving back to town, because it's just that time of year.

I wouldn't do it. Long trips are for late summer. It's weekends and coastal trips for me, now, since I have no interest in getting stuck out in the snow.
User avatar
AlmostThere
Topix Fanatic
 
Posts: 1758
Joined: Wed Jun 24, 2009 4:38 pm
Experience: N/A

User avatar

Re: High Sierra Trail late sept/early oct

Postby Ruy » Thu Sep 08, 2016 10:36 am

AlmostThere wrote:No reservations needed, because it's winter. You can expect to get all the unsettled weather and subfreezing temperatures that go with it. And yes, most services shut down - between September 15 and October 15, you'll see the folks who work in the high country busily closing up shop and moving back to town, because it's just that time of year.

I wouldn't do it. Long trips are for late summer. It's weekends and coastal trips for me, now, since I have no interest in getting stuck out in the snow.


Thanks. Any recommendations for this time of the year around the west coast? I have from the 09/23 til 10/09, when I fly back home from san francisco. Actual willderness camping is prefered, but day hikes would do to.
User avatar
Ruy
Topix Novice
 
Posts: 5
Joined: Thu Sep 08, 2016 9:29 am
Experience: Level 3 Backpacker

User avatar

Re: High Sierra Trail late sept/early oct

Postby maverick » Thu Sep 08, 2016 12:25 pm

Hi Ruy,

Welcome to HST! Please read and give us the information requested so we then can recommend accordingly: viewtopic.php?f=1&t=4205
As AT says above, you are entering the shoulder season with those dates, long trips should only be attempted by experienced backpackers with proper gear to handle inclement weather conditions and navigational skills to be able to hike without trails (snow covered).
HST= Wilderness Adventurer who knows no bounds, except for their own imagination.

Have a safer backcountry experience by using the HST ReConn Form 2.0, named after Larry Conn, a HST member: http://reconn.org
User avatar
maverick
Forums Moderator
Forums Moderator
 
Posts: 8029
Joined: Thu Apr 06, 2006 5:54 pm
Experience: Level 4 Explorer

User avatar

Re: High Sierra Trail late sept/early oct

Postby wildhiker » Thu Sep 08, 2016 11:37 pm

Yes, it can be beautiful fall weather in the Sierra at that time, or it can be life-threatening storms. If I were you, I would have some plans for short (1 or 2 night) backpack trips in the Sierra, and some alternates in the coastal ranges. When the time came, if you had a good weather forecast for at least the next 5 days, I would go up and do one or two of those short Sierra backpacks. You will need gear and clothing for sub-freezing temperatures at night, even if sunny in the day. You should also plan on renting a car for maximum flexibility. For example, in Sept 28-30, 2013, my wife, daughter, and I did a two night backpack trip from Tenaya Lake in Yosemite up to Sunrise Lakes. The weather was balmy in the day and still above freezing at night. We took day hikes from our camp up to Clouds Rest (stunning view - more solid granite in view that just about anywhere) and over to Sunrise meadow. On the other hand, this area could be under several inches of fresh snow by the end of September. It just depends on the year's weather and you need to be flexible. But I wouldn't plan to be out for more than two nights at a time. Weather forecasts are pretty accurate here for that length of time.

In late September and early October, the weather in the California coastal regions is usually very nice, with warm temperatures and little fog. In fact, September is generally the warmest month right on the coast because of the decreased fog. For a longer backpack trip, you could do the Lost Coast trail in the King Range of northern California - about a 6 hour drive from San Francisco - the closet major airport. Check out http://www.blm.gov/publish/content/ca/e ... e_NCA.html .
Local taxi/shuttle services may still be operating so you can do a one-way hike (3 to 5 days, depending on your pace and side trips up away from the immediate beach area). The Ventana Wilderness on the central California coast will be off-limits for the rest of this year due to the large Soberanes fire (over 100,000 acres and still growing). For an unusual California coastal experience that is generally warm and sunny in late September, try visiting the Channel Islands National Park. Ferries run from Ventura - you should be able to get there by public transit from Los Angeles airport, although with the generally poor state of public transit in California, it might take all day. Might be better to rent a car. There are park service campgrounds and lots of trails for day-hikes out from the camps on Santa Cruz Island (the largest, but most of it is off-limits to the public) and Santa Rosa Island (more remote, and thus more like backpacking).

-Phil
User avatar
wildhiker
Topix Regular
 
Posts: 131
Joined: Tue Jul 26, 2011 4:44 pm
Location: Palo Alto, CA
Experience: Level 4 Explorer

User avatar

Re: High Sierra Trail late sept/early oct

Postby Ruy » Fri Sep 09, 2016 7:55 am

The costal hikes seem nice, I'll look into them. Although I really would like to see the mountains, we just don't have that kind of scenery here.

The info requested for better advice:

What level of backpacking experience do you have?
Level 4- Comfortable with trail and/or x-country travel

What terrain are you comfortable/uncomfortable with?
- Class 3 terrain/pass/x-country

What is your main interest?
- Big Mountain scenery

How many days/nights is your trip, not including travel to trailhead?
I'm free from 09/23 and have to be back to san francisco at the 10/09 for my flight home

How many miles did you want to do a day, any layovers?
10 - 15 miles, would like some days just to explore around and rest

Do you have a route logistics preference: loop, out and back, point to point (which may require 2 vehicles or hitchhiking)?
Loop would be better

Is there a particular area in the Sierra that your most interested in (Yosemite, SEKI western sierra start or eastern start ect.)?
They all seem great to me

Will you be hiking with a dog?
No
User avatar
Ruy
Topix Novice
 
Posts: 5
Joined: Thu Sep 08, 2016 9:29 am
Experience: Level 3 Backpacker

User avatar

Re: High Sierra Trail late sept/early oct

Postby AlmostThere » Fri Sep 09, 2016 8:06 am

If you have to do mountains, I recommend base camping in Yosemite valley and day hiking everything. For a fit hiker it is completely within the realm of possibility to day hike from one end of the Pohono trail to the other, or do any of the high domes in a day -- day hike to North Dome from Tioga Road, day hike to Clouds Rest, day hike to all kinds of places -- it's the one sure way to see all the Big Name sites in Yosemite anyway, not backpacking, which takes you into the wilderness and not the scenic high points.

Anyone who has never been to Yosemite MUST do the front country stuff -- it's just not fair to yourself to do otherwise. You always have a good time backpacking, but it just is not possible to do the BIG STUFF all on a single short trip -- but you can do it day hiking.

The high country in Sequoia - Kings is gorgeous -- don't get me wrong. But Yosemite is the tourist trap of California for a very good reason and winter is the best time to visit, after the crowds are gone and it no longer takes two hours to drive from one stop sign to the next just a mile away.
User avatar
AlmostThere
Topix Fanatic
 
Posts: 1758
Joined: Wed Jun 24, 2009 4:38 pm
Experience: N/A

User avatar

Re: High Sierra Trail late sept/early oct

Postby balance » Fri Sep 09, 2016 11:20 am

Greetings Ruy

I second that suggestion to day hike throughout Yosemite. If the weather looks stable, and reports are favorable, then you might turn that into an overnight trip. Also, consider using Tuolumne Meadows as a base location. You're up higher right from the start.

Peace
User avatar
balance
Topix Regular
 
Posts: 163
Joined: Sun May 04, 2014 12:26 am
Experience: N/A

User avatar

Re: High Sierra Trail late sept/early oct

Postby LonePine » Fri Sep 09, 2016 3:37 pm

I'm a little surprised by the reaction to hiking in late September in the Sierra. Caution is always a good thing but most of my hiking occurs in September. I always come prepared for cold weather and once had a snow storm for 1 night which was sort of fun. All in all, after many years doing so, it's my favorite time of the year especially in the eastern Sierra. Always check with weather reports in the area you are hiking:

http://forecast.weather.gov/MapClick.ph ... 9M40DWzwuh

This is an example - click on the map in your area of interest. You didn't say where you were training. That would probably narrow down some recommendations.

Also, not to be picky, but it's fall weather, not winter.
User avatar
LonePine
Topix Novice
 
Posts: 9
Joined: Fri Jun 13, 2014 4:58 pm
Experience: N/A

User avatar

Re: High Sierra Trail late sept/early oct

Postby Ruy » Fri Sep 09, 2016 4:39 pm

My course is in San Francisco. So I start and finish my trip there. I originally thought about the High Sierra Trail because it seemed pretty nice, and was basically one thing. I have limited time and there are just so many places to see that it can be a bit overwelming. Over the years I found out I enjoy more my trips if I just accept I can't see everything, pick a few sites and do them properly.
User avatar
Ruy
Topix Novice
 
Posts: 5
Joined: Thu Sep 08, 2016 9:29 am
Experience: Level 3 Backpacker

User avatar

Re: High Sierra Trail late sept/early oct

Postby LonePine » Fri Sep 09, 2016 5:00 pm

Given your location, Yosemite is a good destination. I did this report in May:

viewtopic.php?f=1&t=14412

Unfortunately, the waterworks are probably not gushing down the cliffs but that would be my recommendation. You can stay at the backpackers campground at the end of the hike. Also, I made a sign up beforehand that read "Tunnel View" so someone might pick you up to get back to your car.
User avatar
LonePine
Topix Novice
 
Posts: 9
Joined: Fri Jun 13, 2014 4:58 pm
Experience: N/A

User avatar

Re: High Sierra Trail late sept/early oct

Postby maverick » Fri Sep 09, 2016 5:17 pm

Since you indicated that you are a Level 4 backpacker, may I ask one more question, what type of environments does most of you backpacking take place since you wrote "Although I really would like to see the mountains, we just don't have that kind of scenery here."? Reason for my asking is that dessert locals or lower altitude mountain hiking is different from higher altitude backpacking and even though there is some crossover it doesn't prepare you for the many variables one finds in each of these locations. If altitude is not an issue and dealing with an unexpected snow storm that may cover the trails, are things that you have dealt with before, then would say go ahead and do the HST or even better go do the North Lake to South Lake Loop (no need for shuttle service, maybe a hitch hike back to your car), you can complete this hike in an easy pace at 5-6 days. Then drive up to Big Pine and hike the North Fork up to Summit or Fifth Lake and take in the great views of the Palisades, this can be a 2-3 day hike. Finally leaving the best for last, drive to Mammoth Lakes and do a loop starting at Agnew Meadows to Shadow Lake, Lake Ediza, Garnet Lake , 1000 Is Lake, and back to Agnew via the High Trail, this can be done in a cool 5 days.
These 3 trips would give you an excellent taste of some of the best the Sierra has to offer.
HST= Wilderness Adventurer who knows no bounds, except for their own imagination.

Have a safer backcountry experience by using the HST ReConn Form 2.0, named after Larry Conn, a HST member: http://reconn.org
User avatar
maverick
Forums Moderator
Forums Moderator
 
Posts: 8029
Joined: Thu Apr 06, 2006 5:54 pm
Experience: Level 4 Explorer

Next

Return to Backpacking / Hiking / Camping



Who is online

Users browsing this forum: Bing [Bot], MSNbot Media [Bot] and 11 guests