Spring backpacking in the southern sierra | High Sierra Topix  

Spring backpacking in the southern sierra

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

Spring backpacking in the southern sierra

Postby trav867 » Tue Mar 11, 2008 10:14 pm

Even though its still early, I'm really dying to get out backpacking. Last March I did a mostly snow free solo trip in the western part of Domeland wilderness that kept me sane until May. Unfortunately, I'm well aware that 2006-07 was a drought year and my chances this year for (mostly) snow free backpacking in the Sierras are not good.
That said, does anyone have an idea what the snow level is like in the Southern Sierra? I had a great time in the domeland wilderness, and would also like to check out the eastern part (rockhouse basin area), but am open to anywhere in the southern sierra. I guess the most concise way to phrase my question is: Is there any possibility of (mostly) snow free camping in the southern sierra in mid-March, and if so, does anyone have any recommendations?

As a side note, I've always wanted to hike in the hills around the lower Kern River below lake Isabella- anyone been there?

Thanks in advance!



User avatar
trav867
Topix Regular
 
Posts: 166
Joined: Mon Nov 12, 2007 6:12 pm
Experience: N/A

User avatar

Re: Spring backpacking in the southern sierra

Postby Snow Nymph » Tue Mar 11, 2008 10:33 pm

Tomcat has been hiking in that area. Check his profile for his Smugmug account. I think that area is under Southern Sierra.
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/
User avatar
Snow Nymph
Founding Member
 
Posts: 2041
Joined: Fri Oct 28, 2005 6:43 pm
Location: Santa Barbara & Mammoth Lakes, CA
Experience: N/A

User avatar

Re: Spring backpacking in the southern sierra

Postby paul » Wed Mar 12, 2008 2:42 pm

You may be able to find some useful info on snow coverage from this site:
http://cdec.water.ca.gov/snow/current/snow/
If you look at the "Latest Real-Time Snow Water Content Data", you're seeing info from remote sensors out in the mountains. the "Monthly Snow Course Report" at the top is info from manual surveys - more accurate, but only done once a month. I find it very useful in planning my ski trips.
User avatar
paul
Topix Expert
 
Posts: 444
Joined: Thu Mar 15, 2007 3:35 pm
Experience: N/A

User avatar

Re: Spring backpacking in the southern sierra

Postby gary c. » Wed Mar 12, 2008 5:53 pm

I don't know for sure but I think it's highly likely that there would be snow in Rockhouse Basin until sometime later than March. Here is a link to my report about my trip there last May with pics.
Gary C.
viewtopic.php?f=1&t=1845
"On this proud and beautiful mountain we have lived hours of fraternal, warm and exalting nobility. Here for a few days we have ceased to be slaves and have really been men. It is hard to return to servitude."
-- Lionel Terray
User avatar
gary c.
Topix Expert
 
Posts: 999
Joined: Tue Jan 24, 2006 4:56 pm
Location: Lancaster, CA
Experience: N/A

User avatar

Re: Spring backpacking in the southern sierra

Postby BigPsycheDadee » Sat Mar 15, 2008 6:20 pm

Here's a pretty good site that estimates snow cover anywhere in the lower 48.

http://www.nohrsc.nws.gov/interactive/h ... &js=1&uc=0

By adjusting the date you can compare the snow pack to previous years, etc.
A vaincre sans péril, on triomphe sans gloire.
To win without risk is a triumph without glory.
User avatar
BigPsycheDadee
Topix Novice
 
Posts: 10
Joined: Sat Sep 22, 2007 4:22 pm
Location: Akron, OH
Experience: N/A

User avatar

Re: Spring backpacking in the southern sierra

Postby trav867 » Sat Mar 15, 2008 10:05 pm

Thanks a lot guys, these snow level websites are very helpful! I'm thinking I'll give it a few more weeks and head out the 2nd week of April. I'd love trip ideas for 2-3 nights if anyones got some!
User avatar
trav867
Topix Regular
 
Posts: 166
Joined: Mon Nov 12, 2007 6:12 pm
Experience: N/A

User avatar

Re: Spring backpacking in the southern sierra

Postby Moondust » Sun Mar 16, 2008 10:05 pm

I have been hiking recently with Tomcat in the Lake Isabella area. The hills are nice, but certainly not as remote as the wilderness areas. Lots of ticks to watch for, too. Some possibilities:
The Mill Creek trail goes from Kern Canyon Road up to the Breckenridge area. You will see orange Sierra Newts in and around the creek pretty soon. The Remington Ridge trail also goes from Kern Canyon Road up to Breckenridge and has some nice flat areas that would make good camping. In fact, you can go up one trail and down the other for a nice loop. On the north side of the river, the Lower Kern Canyon trail joins a network of trails heading up toward Greenhorn Summit. I think there are a number of nice camping sites in that area also. North of Kernville, the Rincon trail parallels the upper Kern River on its east side for quite a number of miles. We were on it at just over 5000 feet Saturday, and there were just a few small patches of snow. Be alert for bear and mountain lion on that trail. You could probably hike up to the Forks of the Kern with little problem. On any of these trails, you may hit some snow at the higher elevations, but you could always camp below that point. As Snow Nymph said, check Tomcat's Smugmug site for good photos of all of these areas.

Moondust
User avatar
Moondust
Topix Acquainted
 
Posts: 39
Joined: Fri Jun 30, 2006 3:19 pm
Location: Alpaugh, CA
Experience: N/A

User avatar

Re: Spring backpacking in the southern sierra

Postby cgundersen » Wed Mar 19, 2008 2:50 pm

Hi trav,
Another great resource for snow levels is the stable of webcams on this site:
http://www.sierravisionsstock.com/sierr ... a-webcams/

In particular, if you go to the Sierra Wildland Firecams and check out the Sherman Peak cameras, they give you several views of the areas you mentioned. And, the views from some of the other cameras (Breckenridge; Buck Rock) are great for (daily) monitoring of snow levels. And, plenty of the other cameras offer helpful insights.
cameron
User avatar
cgundersen
Topix Expert
 
Posts: 655
Joined: Sun Jul 16, 2006 1:07 pm
Experience: N/A

User avatar

Re: Spring backpacking in the southern sierra

Postby trav867 » Fri Mar 21, 2008 7:10 am

Thanks a lot for all the help! I'm headed out today for tonight and possibly Saturday night to the hobo camp area.
User avatar
trav867
Topix Regular
 
Posts: 166
Joined: Mon Nov 12, 2007 6:12 pm
Experience: N/A

User avatar

Re: Spring backpacking in the southern sierra

Postby tomcat_rc » Fri Mar 21, 2008 1:24 pm

if you have not left already - enjoy the hiking.
yesterday one of the KRVHC members was hiking out near Mill Creek - keep an eye open around the creeks - red newts are out - a rare treat.

Re: The Newts have appeared


Take 178 east (let me know if you don't know how to find 178). You will
pass a Chevron Station at the junction with Hwy 184. From that point, it
is about 15 to 20 miles east on 178 to Kern Canyon Road, which will be on
the right. The turnoff is just before 178 turns into a 4 lane road. Take
Kern Canyon Road and go about 1.5 miles to the signed Mill Creek trailhead
on the right. There are no facilities.

You will hike for a little while before you come to the first creek
crossing. The trail crosses Mill Creek several times. You may have to
wade across, so you might want to leave dry socks and shoes in the car!
Look for the orange newts in still pools in the creek, and also on the
banks.
mountain hiking is addictive:
I can quit anytime I want - I just choose not to want
User avatar
tomcat_rc
Topix Regular
 
Posts: 343
Joined: Sat Oct 29, 2005 9:05 am
Location: Ridgecrest, Ca.
Experience: N/A

User avatar

Re: Spring backpacking in the southern sierra

Postby trav867 » Mon Mar 24, 2008 11:42 am

Thanks again for everyone's help- My girlfriend and I took Friday off and drove up from LA. We were at Mill Creek TH by 11:30, and aside from seeing a group on horseback right away, we saw no one all day. The weather was perfect and the first few miles were covered in wildflowers. Around the 3rd time the trail crosses the creek, we saw the newts, about 20 of them lounging in a pool. They were not at all timid and I was able to get some good pictures of them- orange as goldfish!
We hiked until the trail became covered in snow enough that it was a pain to follow- around 6000 feet, I believe. We turned around about a half mile from Squirrel Meadow and camped at about 5500 feet. We decided to head back down to the car the next morning, rather than fight the snow.
Overall a very relaxing, uneventful trip, and with 3000+ ft of elevation gain, a good primer for the summer. Thanks again to everyone for their input.
User avatar
trav867
Topix Regular
 
Posts: 166
Joined: Mon Nov 12, 2007 6:12 pm
Experience: N/A


Return to Backpacking / Hiking / Camping



Who is online

Users browsing this forum: jorrflv, maverick and 3 guests