Backpacking SEKI in June

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oldranger
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Re: Backpacking SEKI in June

Post by oldranger » Tue Jan 29, 2019 12:34 pm

So what's a few mosquitos? There are very few years that Seville and Lost Lakes are not accessible by Mid June. Even if there is snow it is compacted and will support you if you hike over it early in the day. The fishing will be better and the more snow the fewer mosquitoes. Again, except for 3 day weekends the need for a reservation is nil for Sunset Meadow TH early in the season. 3 out of 4 years in the 80's I was able hike into this area by June 1 with no issues. In 83 a notoriously big snow year I skied in from the w. end of Big meadow around june 1 and the gate just past big meadow was not open until after the 4th of July. You can wait until May to make your decision but right now I wouldn't think twice about planning on Mid June or a bit earlier.


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dustybottoms21
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Re: Backpacking SEKI in June

Post by dustybottoms21 » Tue Jan 29, 2019 8:31 pm

That's what I like to hear!!! It's not like we can't handle a little snow as long as it's not dangerous. I think we're going to go ahead and submit permits for early/mid June and hope for the best. We're not going to buy our airfare until April/May so if something drastic happens with the weather between now and then, we'll call an audible and do something else in the area. Maybe one of the wilderness area's in this part of California where I hear permits sometimes are not required.

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Re: Backpacking SEKI in June

Post by rightstar76 » Wed Jan 30, 2019 10:47 am

Oldranger, OP expressed concern how bad the snow will be. Also, mentioned it could be handled as long as it's not dangerous. Do you think OP really wants to snowshoe/post hole? It sounds like something OP would rather do without even with wanting to do the trip by mid-June. Don't you think OP should plan for July?

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Re: Backpacking SEKI in June

Post by c9h13no3 » Wed Jan 30, 2019 1:04 pm

oldranger wrote:
Tue Jan 29, 2019 12:34 pm
There are very few years that Seville and Lost Lakes are not accessible by Mid June. Even if there is snow it is compacted and will support you if you hike over it early in the day.
Pretty much this. People get skerred of snow. High angle snow is treacherous, but flat snow is mostly just slippery. Take some trekking poles & microspikes, start early in the day, avoid rock moats, and as long as you're willing to slip a time or two the Sierra Concrete isn't much of a problem in May & June. You can almost always find a snow free flat spot to camp as long as you're not too high up.

Don't go over steep hills in snow, don't cross raging streams, and be ready to modify your route to avoid those things.

Skurka wrote a nice series of posts on getting out in the early season, the part about crossing creeks is especially good since more hikers drown than fall off steep snow. Worst case scenario you just switch from Sequoia to a lower elevation spot (Hetch Hetchy, or something in the Emigrant).
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Re: Backpacking SEKI in June

Post by rightstar76 » Wed Jan 30, 2019 3:02 pm

Yeah but I don't think OP wants to go on a trip when there's snow on the ground. I think OP wants to go fishing and relax.

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Re: Backpacking SEKI in June

Post by dustybottoms21 » Thu Jan 31, 2019 5:21 am

I appreciate that feedback guys but you're all sending some pretty mixed signals!!!

We're looking for a nice balance of moderate/hard hiking, although short mileage per day, with a decent amount of fishing and relaxing. We do not want to die, obviously, but we are not completely against some snow or some fast moving creeks.

As a reminder...we are planning to start at Rowell Meadow, and work our way towards Ranger, Seville, Sheep Camp Lakes, etc. I HIGHLY doubt we will be heading up/over Skillmans Pass unless it's dry, and it sounds like it likely won't be. So our elevation will not get much higher than 9000'. And based on some previous replies, it doesn't sound like we'll need to cross many/any creeks on this route.

That said, post holing = dealbreaker. But snow shoeing? Never done it before, but all the sudden I'm very intrigued. And after speaking with my buddies, so are they!

I think we're still going to stick with the plan of early/mid June for now. As c9 says above, we can always go to lower elevations if needed. I've read some good things about Hetch Hetchy and the Emigrant but do you know if they require permits and if so, is it a lottery system? Because it would suck if we submit for Rowell Meadow permits on March 1st, and then realize a week or two before our mid-June trip that we will not be able to handle the snow. And if that turns out to be the case would we be F*CKED at that point because all the lower elevations have no remaining permits?

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Re: Backpacking SEKI in June

Post by oldranger » Thu Jan 31, 2019 11:02 am

FYI it is Silliman Pass. There are no significant stream crossings on the proposed route nor is there anything particularly steep. I wouldn't even contemplate bringing micro spikes on this trip in June. Hiking poles with small baskets should work fine. Picking your time for going over snow is essential to avoid post holing. Mid morning works best as the surface has softened a bit but underneath is firm. Afternoon negotiation of snow sucks and later in the year when you have to deal with giant suncups at high elevations is not fun either. The amount of time that snow shoes would be valuable in this area at this time of year would not be worth the added weight when not in use. June has always been my best fishing in all of the lakes in the area. Again unless it is a holiday weekend I would not worry about a reservation for the Belle Canyon entrance in june unless you will have a large group.
Mike

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Re: Backpacking SEKI in June

Post by c9h13no3 » Thu Jan 31, 2019 11:23 am

dustybottoms21 wrote:
Thu Jan 31, 2019 5:21 am
I think we're still going to stick with the plan of early/mid June for now. As c9 says above, we can always go to lower elevations if needed. I've read some good things about Hetch Hetchy and the Emigrant but do you know if they require permits and if so, is it a lottery system? Because it would suck if we submit for Rowell Meadow permits on March 1st, and then realize a week or two before our mid-June trip that we will not be able to handle the snow. And if that turns out to be the case would we be F*CKED at that point because all the lower elevations have no remaining permits?
If I were you, here's what I'd do:

1) Fly into somewhere close to both Sequoia & Yosemite (Fresno, SJC, SFO, OAK).
2) Reserve permits for Rowell Meadow (or not, because it's rarely that crowded).
3) Call the ranger a couple days before, and ask what elevation the snow line is & if the road to Rowell Meadow trailhead is open. If the snow is below 8K, change your plans to something in Yosemite. If it's 8500 or above, you're fine. It almost certainly won't be <8K. I went backpacking on 27-May this past year (67% of avg snowpack), and the snow line was around 9000 ft.
4) Be cautious of snow bridges over creeks & rock moats (where the snow melts faster near rocks). Bring trekking poles. Have a good time.
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Re: Backpacking SEKI in June

Post by dustybottoms21 » Thu Jan 31, 2019 4:32 pm

Thanks. You guys rock.

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Re: Backpacking SEKI in June

Post by wildhiker » Fri Feb 01, 2019 12:11 am

Dustybottoms21 asked about permit issues for alternatives in Yosemite and Emigrant Wilderness. Both require permits, but Emigrant has no quotas - basically, unlimited permits. Yosemite has stringent quotas on all trailheads and the majority can be (and usually are) reserved in advance. Hetch Hetchy is very popular when there is still a lot of snow higher up, especially on weekends (easy weekend trip from the SF Bay Area). I wouldn't count on a sudden switch to that area. But Emigrant Wilderness could be a backup.
-Phil

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