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Kibbie Ridge Area

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Kibbie Ridge Area

Postby srfct » Wed Mar 29, 2006 10:14 am

My friends and I are planning a backpacking trip for late May. We are looking for a new area to hike and were considering the Kibbie Ridge area from Cherry Lake towards Boundary and Huckleberry Lakes for three or four nights. We like to fish along the way. Anybody have any experience backpacking and/or fishing in this area? Other suggestions?



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Postby SSSdave » Wed Mar 29, 2006 1:32 pm

Better time to avoid a lot of snow would be late June. Cherry Creek likely to be impassably high even longer. Late May this year you will be able to hike into Lake Eleanor atr 4.6k but even Kibbie Lake at 6.5k is likely to have a fair amount of snow and muddy trailing on the way in.

...David
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Postby giantbrookie » Thu Mar 30, 2006 10:23 am

I agree that late May will be a bit problematic this year--only Kibbie L. has a chance of being thawed, but any of the lakes higher than that in the area will probably be frozen over as of then. In 1999, my wife and I opened our backcountry fishing season at Kibbie L. on June 13. My notes say "Looked to have been thawed about 3 weeks. Only one tiny snowpatch left on east-facing shore area." Checking the DWR snow sensor data and comparing it to 1999, this year (as of 3/30/06) looks to be heavier than 1999, although the lower Kibbie R. had a little bit more as of 3/30/99 (24.05" vs 20.99"). Other "calibration" sites have much more snow than 1999. For example Dana Mdws (38.2" vs 27.45" in 1999 and Slide Cyn. 57.16" vs 44.5" in 1999). If you took early season trips in the area in 1997, that is a fairly good comparison because, so far, the snow water content data for the area is very close to 1997 for the same date. In any case, with the heavier 2006, I'd expect Kibbie to thaw later than it did in 1999 and late May may be too early.


Kibbie, by the way, is a good fishing lake for rainbows that can get quite large. Speaking of fishing, avoid Boundary and adjacent lakes within the Park boundary, as they are all fishless. The little lakes atop the rise beyond Kibbie L.--Mercur Lakes have some decent sized brookies.
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 Buck Forester » Thu Mar 30, 2006 1:06 pm

I don't know if the snow levels are quite as high a little further south, but Lake Tahoe has received more snow in one month (March) than it has in the last 35 years. Here's an article on it today.

http://news.rgj.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20060330/NEWS10/603300345/1002

It's gonna be a late access year, at least for the northern Sierra. I haven't been following the south Sierra snow levels as closely so I'm not sure.
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Thanks

Postby srfct » Fri Mar 31, 2006 7:42 am

Guys,

Thanks so much for the great info. This site is a great resource. This may be a really dumb question, but.......would the eastern sierra have less snow in late May? I'm thinking maybe the Virginia Lake - Green Creek area. The evevations look higher than Kibbie Lake. If there will be just as much snow and limited access.......would anybody have any suggestions for a backpacking trip in late May in/around Yosemite?
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Re: Thanks

Postby giantbrookie » Fri Mar 31, 2006 9:57 am

srfct wrote:...would the eastern sierra have less snow in late May? I'm thinking maybe the Virginia Lake - Green Creek area. The evevations look higher than Kibbie Lake. If there will be just as much snow and limited access.......would anybody have any suggestions for a backpacking trip in late May in/around Yosemite?

There is certainly a major rain shadow effect so that the equivalent elevation of lake thaw for a given date is higher east of the crest, but I'd guess the Virginia L./Green Creek area will still be frozen. There are several places on the east side that will probably be thawed by late May, but they are sort of single destinations for short trips. The Roosevelt/Lane/Secret/Poore Lakes group is always thawed early (possibly mid May or earlier in a heavy year; early April in a dry year--once fished these the first week in April). Parker Lake and Walker Lake are also going to be open early but these are single destinations. Other early openers can be found in NW Yosemite. Laurel L. is south-facing and 6500', so it will probably be open by late May. Vernon L. probably will be too. If I had to get my backcountry lake fishing itch satisfied early, a Laurel-Vernon trip would probably be the one I'd pick (both lakes have big rainbows). Edyth and the unnamed lake downstream are pretty much guaranteed to be open but they are among the hardest to reach lakes in the Sierra (rugged off trail stuff combined with thick brush).
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 SSSdave » Fri Mar 31, 2006 10:10 am

A good process to assist evaluating where one might backpack to in early season is view the trail and destination areas on topographic maps. In the past that would often be difficult unless one had an expensive set of paper maps. However in this internet age of the WWW one can access and of that information at a keyboard touch. The favorite topographic map site showing standard USGS maps is http://www.topozone.com. Finding maps there is rather simple. One simple enters a name of any place that is text on specific maps plus a state and a search delivers a list of all maps containing showing what counties each map is in. In your case entering Virginia Creek in Mono County would get a hit. Bringing up the map would show the elevations of those lakes to be about 10,000 feet. The high ends of most such Eastern Sierra roads tend to open between mid May and late June depending on the snowpack. Virginia Lakes is a hotbed of backcountry skiers and the road often opens early in late May but is not a reasonable place to backpack unless one is a snow camper. Otherwise the Eastern Sierra does have a few lower elevation places to visit early like Parker Lake, however the western Sierra slopes offer a lot more and especially the southernmost areas. Try and find southern exposures below 6000 to 7000 feet. Our gal Sequoia could point you to a number of trails there. In Yosemite search here on "Hetch Hetchy" for early Yosemite hikes. As I noted above, Lake Eleanor at 4.6k is certain to be open.

...David
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