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Another Late Spring

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Another Late Spring

Postby DoyleWDonehoo » Thu Apr 06, 2006 11:03 am

I wrote the below before the "troubles" with the BBS. It seems the same thing that happen last year is happening this year, namely, a late spring. I usually do my first hike a little past mid May in the southern Sierra, into the Kern Canyon. I was foiled at Rattlesnake Creek (yes I saw snakes on the trail) due to a rushing impassable torrent. Its log bridge was awash. (Some guy later said he found a tricky log way far above the usual ford.) Already at that point I had waded many fords, including several Rattlesnake Creeks branches. I saw many more streams where only dry beds were in previous years. Some places were under water that I had never seen water before. The Kern and the Little Kern rivers were really something to see. (And one day the sky and everywhere was swarming with ladybugs.) And looking up to the heights, like Farwell Gap, the upper canyon walls and Kern Point, snow unending, although by the time I was to leave, gaps were beginning to form in the snows. This year, I expect the same…
(Funny, every time I post a new topic, some turkey sends me a virus (futile). Oh well.)
Anyway, here it is again since nothing has changed from last year at this time!:

Well, Spring is here and it is snowing in the Sierra! Not an auspicious start to the season and something to consider for my next hike, probably in May. But I will not be the only one that will be impacted, that is for sure. This late snow, if it is not interdicted by a major heat wave, is going to have quite an effect on the early season, and summer in the mountains will actually be spring. Early season is my favorite time of year in the Sierra, and it looks like it may last all season. I have seen this before in other years, so I know what to expect.
Often the real problem early season is not the high altitude above treeline: it is actually fairly easy to get around up there and what snow there is tends to be "Sierra Cement". Also, the southern exposed areas often dry out before the forested areas do. The problem areas are the middle altitudes in the forested sections that tend to shade out the lingering snow and present a tangled mass of trees and branches mingled with soft post-hole snow. It's easy to get lost or turned around in there, particularly with all the detours made by the conditions. These conditions also sometimes make it hard to get to the trailheads. But the real 300 pound gorilla this year will be stream crossings, and they might be hairy this year. So, who is going to be out there early season?
PCT through hikers often get a really early start and hit the Sierra early season when snow is still in the passes. (ED: Last year, many PCT hikers skipped the Sierra, went around, and came back later in the season.) As most know, the closer you are to the Pacific Crest of the Sierra, the less of an issue stream crossings are. On the other hand, the PCT often strays far from the Sierra Crest and crosses streams where streams have managed to collect many waters and forge a torrent. One of the most notorious PCT stream crossings is (and will be this year!) Kerrick Canyon in Yosemite. That major stream will be a wide obstacle till mid season. There will be those who will be tempted to detour around over Buckeye Pass and take their chances with the wilds, snows and stream crossings beyond. Other crossings of note will be Matterhorn Creek and other crossings to the east, South Fork Kings River, Evolution Creek, Bear Creek, Tyndall Creek, and a number of other minor but exciting crossings. As an added bonus, most of the high passes will have lingering snow, in particular Forester Pass, Glen Pass, Mather Pass, Pinchot Pass, Muir Pass, Seldon Pass, Silver Pass, Donohue Pass, and others in order of difficulty. Be careful out there.
Anybody else want to add his or her favorite places to watch out for early season?
Doyle W. Donehoo
Sierra Trails:
http://www.doylewdonehoo.com" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;



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Postby maverick » Thu Apr 06, 2006 7:09 pm

Hi Doyle

First I would like to commend you on your website. The pictures and
trip reports have allways been my favorite.
I met a mother and daughter at Picket Lake who said they had met you
at the airport in Fresno.
They make a family trip to the lake every year(husband didnt make
the year I was there).
I can hardly wait to visit the area again but this time I have to go
see the lakes east of the Red Spur. I only know of one other person
who has visited the area. The views to the east towards Whitney
look to be great.
Peter
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Postby kennyhel77 » Fri Apr 14, 2006 5:42 pm

Let's hope that the weather starts to clear or otherwise it looks like low elevation hikes will be the only option into June. I am getting cabin feaver!!!
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Postby DoyleWDonehoo » Fri Apr 14, 2006 11:41 pm

kennyhel77: Let's hope that the weather starts to clear or otherwise it looks like low elevation hikes will be the only option into June. I am getting cabin feaver!!!


Tell me about it. For the last three years I have done a hike up the Kern River in SEKI from the south around May 20, and only once saw a small patch of snow in deep shade. Then again, I barely got over 7K feet. Still, a limited number of places to get into the deep Sierra without slammin' snow.

First I would like to commend you on your website. The pictures and
trip reports have always been my favorite. [Pickett Lake(s)]I can hardly wait to visit the area again but this time I have to go
see the lakes east of the Red Spur.


Thanks! Yes, I have long wanted to visit those lakes and I would love to see some pictures of them. I bet the XC would be fairly easy. Yes, the views east would be nice. Talk about your deep Sierra...
Doyle W. Donehoo
Sierra Trails:
http://www.doylewdonehoo.com" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;
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