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2007 Snowpack & Hortense Lk.

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2007 Snowpack & Hortense Lk.

Postby Telkwa » Fri Jul 20, 2007 7:03 am

Good morning!
Haven't posted here since last year, when I asked some questions about the area around Tully Hole, Laurel Lake, etc.
Can anyone tell me how this year's snowpack compares to last year's? I'm under the impression that last year was a pretty good, even record-breaking, year, and this year quite a bit drier. Is that true?

Hortense Lake looks like a really neat place to visit. Just visit; we don't fish. Thinking of attempting to reach it from Warrior Lake. Has anyone done this? The contour lines bunch together pretty tight between Warrior and Mace...

Looked down on the area via Flash Earth. Interesting to compare the view on the computer to the USGS Graveyard Peak quad. It all looks really easy on the monitor - hardly any up's or down's :D

If Warrior to Mace to Hortense is too steep, any ideas on next best route? Had been thinking about following trail NW past Squaw for a mile or so then contouring but that looks pretty rough too. Is the default dropping all the way to Fish Creek then tromping up the Hortense drainage?



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Postby Snow Nymph » Fri Jul 20, 2007 7:17 am

Snow level was really low this year. Last year we were snowboarding on July 4th. This year Mammoth closed Memorial Weekend.

A few weeks ago we were at McGee Pass and there was only a patch of snow nearby. Every other time I've been there, we had to walk thru snow to get to the pass.

Horse Haven is down there somewhere: http://snownymph.smugmug.com/gallery/3124360#171160997 Photo taken from McGee Pass.
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


http://snownymph.smugmug.com/
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Postby giantbrookie » Fri Jul 20, 2007 8:06 am

We had a really low snowpack this year so Hortense and vicinity will be open; as noted by Snow Nymph, this year is vastly different than last. You are one of the few folks who target Hortense without the intention of fishing. While you're there spend some time gazing into the waters of the shallow half of the lake and you may be able to see the reason why. It is indeed a very pretty place, too. On the topo it appears that one may be able to head NNE from Warrior to the crest of the ridge, then either directly descend the wall or double back along the ridgecrest a bit to a chute leading downward toward Mace. I haven't been there (perhaps someone here has), and the steepness is such the eastern side may be either class 2 or 3. If class 2, great, but if 3rd class...Another alternative (easier?) would appear to be as follows: From Warrior Lake ascend to the basin SE of the lake (has tiny lakelet) then turn and ascend ENE to NE to the saddle at 11520+. From there descend a chute toward the drainage that flows northward to Izaak Walton Lake. The bottom of this chute appears fairly steep--my guess is that it is class 2 but this may have 3rd class stuff. From Izaak Walton then head to Mace, then Hortense.
Since my fishing (etc.) website is still down, you can be distracted by geology stuff at: http://www.fresnostate.edu/csm/ees/facu ... ayshi.html
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Postby TehipiteTom » Fri Jul 20, 2007 8:38 am

Hortense is wonderful (and I don't fish either).

Somewhere online there's a trip report (with pictures) of a route from Cotton Lake over to Warrior Lake via the pass NW of Point 11810 (Rabbit Ears Pass, they called it). It looked steep, but it's apparently doable.

It also looks like you could drop a ways on the JMT then contour NW and approach the lake from the west.

Or, if all of these seem too dicey, there's the long way around: drop on the JMT to the Fish Creek bridge--before crossing the bridge, take a use trail up a slope and then follow it parallel to Fish Creek until you get to the flats below Hortense, then just ascend the ridge east of the lake.

On edit: can't find that trip report I mentioned. Sorry.
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Postby cgundersen » Sun Jul 22, 2007 9:40 am

Hi Telkwa,
Snow is definitely not an issue. My wife & I were out for 10 days in late June early July (from Agnew meadows) and covered some areas that we'd been to in mid-August 10 years ago. There was less snow this year than in August 10 years ago, and with occasional views of the Silver Divide, it looked even lower snow there!
Anyway, if you want more details about the route from Warrior to Mace, I think that both Giantbrookie and I chimed in on this issue about this time last year. The short answer is that I have done the route Giantbrookie mentioned (essentially following the gentlest contours) from Mace to Warrior (with my wife and a 90 lb golden retyriever). If you are heading from Warrior, it will look a little daunting, because there is a lot of scraggly vegetation and big rocks, so you just have to pick your way over. It will also be a little ragged heading down to Mace, but if your brakes are working well, no problem. Anway, a couple other things are that Warrior has great infinity pool views toward Ritter/Banner & the Minarets and although Mace is extremely shallow, it'll probably be pretty warm by now if you need a soak. There are great campsites around Hortense (it's a BIG lake) but I've also camped on the ridge that extends out from Mace that has great views down to Hortense and up the canyon to Red Slate etc.
CG
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Postby Telkwa » Mon Jul 23, 2007 6:08 am

Thanks very much for everyone's input. Will try to trace out the described routes. If a golden retriever can do it...
I'm kinda sad to hear about the snow levels. We don't usually get into the Sierras until right after Labor Day weekend. The mountains are prettier with some snow on them, don't you think? One of these years we're gonna have to brave the crowds and mosquitoes. I miss seeing Sierra wildflowers near their peak!
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