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20 Lakes Basin

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20 Lakes Basin

Postby Jack Straw » Tue Feb 20, 2007 6:06 pm

Howdy folks,

I've never explored the 20 Lakes Basin area and was hoping to do just that the last weekend of June. I'm just wondering if roads to the trail head are open by that time and what trail conditions are like, generally speaking of course! I don't mind snow, but are crampons usually a must at that elevation in that area in late June? Any feedback would be appreciated, especially from those of you that can actually predict the weather months in advance or see into the future!

Muchas thank you's

If the thunder don't get you then the lightning will!

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Postby Snow Nymph » Tue Feb 20, 2007 8:38 pm

It depends on snowfall the rest of the season.

June 2004:
Snow at Mono Pass, great weather

June 2005: Image
Not enough snow to skin in, so we had to carry our splitboards and all the gear (25 lbs), along with our overnight gear (another 25). I think it was 2 miles from the road to Saddlebag Lake, but our packs were really heavy, and one guy got AMS so we didn't get to the lakes.

June 2006:
I was in the desert. I think the Sierra had a lot of snow so I didn't start hiking there til July, and there was a lot of rain, thunder and lightning.

So I won't even guess at what the weather will be like this year in June. Keep checking back here, we'll have trip reports.

I have a photo somewhere of 20 Lakes Basin from the unnamed pass coming from McCabe Lakes. We started in Bridgeport and ended up at Saddlebag Lake. Beautiful area!
Expose yourself to your deepest fear; after that, fear has no power, and the fear of freedom shrinks and vanishes. You are free . . . . Jim Morrison

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Postby giantbrookie » Wed Feb 21, 2007 9:12 am

20 Lakes basin will be OK in late June except for very heavy snowfall years. Even if things dump late, I think it is a given that this year won't be a very heavy year. As examples, I hiked from 20 Lakes basin over the crest to Roosevelt Lake on 6/23/01 and 6/26/04. All lakes in 20 Lakes Basin were thawed (on one of those trips one of the Conness Lakes was still partly frozen but I forget which one) and the amount of snow in the interior of the basin was minor. Moreover we didn't even have to do any snow climbing to surmount the crest south of North Peak to reach Roosevelt. I wouldn't bother with ice axe and crampons, given that the internal terrain is gentle. If this year is equal to or milder than 2001 or 2004 (highly likely) you can also cross the crest (say to McCabe or Roosevelt) without ice axe and crampons as well. The only reason you might need snow climbing gear is do certain east and north-facing climbing routes on Mt. Conness.
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