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trans-sierra routes?

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trans-sierra routes?

Postby Fyrmin » Mon Jan 02, 2006 6:44 pm

I'd like to traverse the sierra in May...I'm curious about Bloody Canyon to Yosemite...and any info would be welcome. There's 8 of us going...I 'm hoping for a light snow year and need to put a vehicle at the end of the trail...possibly two of 'em. Any one got feedback? Fyrmin



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Postby Windwalker » Mon Jan 02, 2006 7:08 pm

Even in light snow years...May is pretty early for a trans-sierra hike.
Unless you are more of a mountaineer than a backpacker.
If you are skilled with ice axe and crampons...it would be a spectacular trip!
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trip..

Postby Fyrmin » Mon Jan 02, 2006 8:04 pm

Windwalker wrote:Even in light snow years...May is pretty early for a trans-sierra hike.
Unless you are more of a mountaineer than a backpacker.
If you are skilled with ice axe and crampons...it would be a spectacular trip!


We're looking at May 22nd after a couple of days at 7000 feet to acclimatize...I was hoping to hear from someone that had experienced this route but obviously, if conditions won't allow it, we'll do an alternate trip...Thanks for the response though. It's difficult to pick a good trip for this time of year...and I've wanted to do a pass crossing for some time now. Mark
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Postby Windwalker » Mon Jan 02, 2006 9:13 pm

Found it on my Topo program...are you planning on leaving from Walker Lake? Over Mono Pass? End where in Yosemite?... Yosemite Valley?
Never been over that route....It's not as high as I first thought, most trans-sierra hikes that I know of... take you up around 12K. Mono pass is more like 10,600' so it might be pretty easy on a low snow year.

The only trans-sierra hike that I have done was from Onion Valley to Roads End (Cedar Grove) via Kearsarge Pass (11,823')....probably the shortest trans-sierra hike there is.
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Postby SteveB » Mon Jan 02, 2006 11:53 pm

Might want to keep an eyeball on the snow levels for this season. They're starting to pile up in some places:

http://cdec.water.ca.gov/cgi-progs/reports/PAGE6.html
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walker lake...and up!

Postby Fyrmin » Tue Jan 03, 2006 3:51 pm

Yeah...out of walker lake then over Mono Pass to Lyell canyon...ending at Tuolumne Meadows...not a lot of distance, but meets our objective of crossing a Sierra Pass... First 3 miles are calf and thigh exercises.
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Postby JM21760 » Tue Jan 03, 2006 4:21 pm

I'm guessing, but from the way this winter is shaping up, any backpacking done in May is going to involve a lot of snow time. I've done trips on Memorial Day a few times, and were sleeping on snow. We just figure it's late season snow camping, and travel with the appropriate gear. Skis might be handy, (hint, hint).
Last edited by JM21760 on Tue Jan 03, 2006 4:36 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Postby Hikin Mike » Tue Jan 03, 2006 4:31 pm

FWIW, I've been to the Chilnualna Falls area twice on Memorial weekend and both trips I've run into snow near the top of the falls (~6500').
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May Traverse

Postby gdurkee » Thu Jan 05, 2006 9:18 pm

At first I thought you meant a ski traverse and I thought, "hmmm, might work." But apparently you want to hike it. As most people seem to agree, it's real unlikely to work without a huge amount of thrashing through snow and a fair amount of high water crossings (depending on your route). It would only be in a drought year that it might work. An "average" or above average year you'd be better off on skis or snow shoes (and then you'd have to contend with sun cups).

So anyway, you'd be better off looking for something lower elevation -- probably no higher than 6,000 feet, though maybe a thrash to 8,000 for a base camp, but unlikely you'd want to travel extensively above 8,000 at most.

Good luck.

George
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Postby JM21760 » Thu Jan 05, 2006 10:30 pm

Yeah, when I hear Trans Sierra, I think of a ski trip. A mini expidition. Thrashing through snow, post holing (sp?) for miles, or even a hundred yards, is a torture no one deserves. On the other hand, skiing with a full pack through sun cups, "Whappity, whappity, whap, crunch!" Maybe wait until July?
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Postby Fyrmin » Fri Jan 06, 2006 2:06 pm

I appreciate all the input. I have a sierra north hiking program that shows trails and pictures of what you see while hiking them. There are pictures of Mono Pass taken in mid June and the ground is snow free. The obvious variable is Mother Nature. I'm hoping for an Early spring with unseasonable warmth....and enjoying the planning and anticipation of another backpacking trip...something that I enjoy almost as much as the trip itself. I'm also an optomist...But not stupid enough to not recognize when it's not a good decision to procede. I've got good winter gear and I'll have it with me. I've also looked at former year snow data and I think it's still going to be possible....So enough with the negativity...you all need to appease Mother Nature with me! Think SUN!
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I say Do It!

Postby Bearlover » Tue Feb 07, 2006 11:21 pm

I can tell you that heavy snow in and around Twin Lakes to Kerrick Meadow is doable.. Carry your winter gear .. Please. I have met a pair of brothers in May the did the Tahoe Yosmeite trail.. they told me the hardest part was the descent from Smedberg to Benson and the routefinding from Benson to Seavey pass was the worst. For a trans-Sierra route I suggest Twin lakes to Hetch Hetchy Via Peeler lake, Kerick,Stubblefield,Tilden and thus Jack Main Canyon. But what the hell do I know? Sounds like a survival trek to me.. been there, but not in winter! My buddies told me they got lost along the decent into Benson lake and had a tough time climbing out of it along seavey pass route. Looks simple but I have only done it in summer! They said route finding was very difficult and what they thought would take 2 days actually took 5 days to walk(snowshoe). Very experienced chaps I must say.. both were wearing two-way radios and sporting the best gear. I say go for it but beware and be ready to change plans.
I must add that in that same year (2004) I was caught in a flash flood in Jack main canyon and came very close to losing my life. Beware of the rain if you plan to go when there is considerable snowpack on the ground... A heavey warm rain on a thick Sierra snowpack can be lethal in the canyons... trust me. It is as if the water is actively trying to kill you.. water came from the rocks, the trees, the canyon wall.. out of every crevice.. ice cold water at pressure... yea I still remember,I was singing "In the arms of the angel" all the way out! Please be careful!
In retrosect I would have brought a sleeping bag with synthetic fill(instead of down), all my clothes were synthetics and I credit them with saving my life.. if you really come up against it.. ie. 4 hours in 32 degree floodwaters.. I suggest you keep the biggest muscles in your body working.. your thighs. I kept moving my legs.. the activity kept my core just warm enough to save my life, although my fingers and toes were completely blue.. I made it! I cannot stress enough how incredibly dangerous a Trans-sierra hike(slog) in winter can be. Truly... think and rethink your plan.. and if all else fails believe in your own ability to survive.. 'cause it may be all you have left.
Hey, don't take my word for it.. take my uncle Wayne's.. a 56 year veteran of the Sierra.."You can die out here.. fast! Winter or summer this place don't give a crap." Not the most polite with words; my uncle, but to the point... I say "don't let your ego get in the way of better judgement.. go ahead and play chicken and you'll live to be an eagle another day." Ain't no extra credits for bravery given out here.
Good luck my friend and God speed.
Having said all that I must add that, as always I will be in that area in May as well.. perhaps we will chance to meet! Though I rarely meet anyone out there-abouts I hope to see ya! New Grace Meadow is Breath-taking in late May and I fully intend to Take-Breath there. If you by chance were to choose Leavitt Meadows and Jack Main via Bond Pass perhaps say around the end of May we just might bump into each other. Happy trails Bro.
There is a Bear.. Where? Over there!
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