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High Passes via Isberg TH - 4th of July?

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High Passes via Isberg TH - 4th of July?

Postby Pavla » Tue Jun 22, 2010 9:34 pm

I have a long planned trip to the High Passes area in Ansel Adams Wilderness and South Yosemite, starting July 2nd.

The plan was to start at Isberg TH, hike over Isberg Pass, dayhike Red Peak Pass, and hike over Post Peak Pass down to Fernandez TH.

Has anyone been to the area yet? I talked to the ranger, and he says that Beasore Road is open and they plan on opening the Clover Meadow ranger station this weekend. He thinks that getting to the TH shouldn't be a problem, but that we would encounter lots of snow just about everywhere. They have not been out yet, so he was just guessing.

We are pretty sturdy hikers and don't mind little incovenience here and there (snow patches are perfectly fine), but we don't want this to be a snow camping (or slash camping?) trip. None of us is equipped for serious snow/ice, and it just doesn't sound like fun. Then again, we have two weeks of snow melting to go. Any first hand report from the general area would be a great help.

If we have to cancel the trip,I am thinking of:
1 - still going and picking a different route (Lillan Lake? Sheep Crossing? Any suggestions???)
2 - rescheduling for later (what would be a good balance between enduring snow and mosquitoes? maybe two weeks later?)

Thanks for any suggestions and ideas...



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Re: High Passes via Isberg TH - 4th of July?

Postby oldranger » Wed Jun 23, 2010 3:08 pm

Pavla

Been in the area 2 out of the last 3 years in mid july. Only Red Peak Pass had substantial snow. But your trip is 2 weeks earlier, and this year had more snowfall and cool spring. My guess is that the merced river side of Isberg and Post Peak Passes will have some snow to deal with. I would not be surprised if there were snow as soon as you top the ridge between the Merced Peak and Red Peak forks of the Merced in route to Red Peak Pass. Around July 20 last year Red Peak pass trail was snow covered to about 800 ft. below the north side of the pass. If I had no choice to go into that area this early I'd feel comfortable doing so outfitted with gaiters and hiking poles with baskets. But since I fish I would be concerned that a couple of my "target" lakes would still be iced over. I would guess that you will be able to find campsites near 10,000 that will be snow free. Not sure how bad skeeters will be in the upper Merced during your planned trip but granite creek area will be miserable. I wouldn't expect things to get better anytime in July and perhaps not until September for either area.

Mike
Mike

Who can't do everything he used to and what he can do takes a hell of a lot longer!
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Re: High Passes via Isberg TH - 4th of July?

Postby EZHIKER » Wed Jun 23, 2010 5:01 pm

This area received above average snowfall this year. Mammoth Mountain to the South received 150 inches above normal. There is still extensive snow in the north facing aspects and wooded areas above 9500 feet. The melt off is about 30 days behind. I would not change the trip just prepare to travel at slower pace. The skeeters often peak around this time in these watersheds.
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Re: High Passes via Isberg TH - 4th of July?

Postby maverick » Wed Jun 23, 2010 5:44 pm

Hi Palva

Welcome to HST.
It might be easier for us to give advise or recommendations if you read the above
"RULES FOR REQUESTING TRIP ADVISE", and then give you info based on your
experience and desires.
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Re: High Passes via Isberg TH - 4th of July?

Postby Pavla » Wed Jun 23, 2010 9:29 pm

Mike and Ezhiker, thanks for the replies. Very helpful insights. And thank you for the welcome, Maverick! I am really bad at self-evaluations, but what the heck, let me try:
Backpacking experience: 3-4
I like trips averaging at about 10 miles a day. I am much better at following a trail than my GPS, but I don't mind some scrambling and off-trail adventures.
Terrain:
Class 2-3/pass/xcountry
I don't like crossing rivers where falling in would be dangerous in addition to just unpleasant. Snow travel is fine in winter and on snowshoes, or over some patches of snow. I have no avalanche or ice climbing related training or desires.
Interest:
Lakes, wild flowers, scenery, photography, seldom visited places, remote campsites with great views, swimming in Sierra lakes. I dont' fish, but most of my friends do, so fishing by association too (what are the good fishing lakes in the High Passes area?)
Again, thanks for welcoming me to the site and for your help.
Pavla
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Re: High Passes via Isberg TH - 4th of July?

Postby ndwoods » Fri Jun 25, 2010 10:13 am

In 1997 July 13-16 I did that trip....so much snow. Very little trail. Don't know what kind of snow year it was...you can research that. But...if it's any consolation, the route finding was pretty easy....
Dee
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Re: High Passes via Isberg TH - 4th of July?

Postby jessegooddog » Sun Jun 27, 2010 1:13 pm

Talked with 2 backpackers from Chicago hiking the PCT, resupplying (and showering!) overnight in Bishop on the 26th - they had been hiking thru 4 feet of snow for the last several days.
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