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Your opinions appreciated about trail conditions.

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Your opinions appreciated about trail conditions.

Postby gary c. » Tue Jun 29, 2010 4:01 pm

I've kind of been worried and Wondering Daisy's report makes me want to ask your opinions.

My trip is planned for July 17th. I'm hoping that the snow does a lot of melting in the next 2 weeks but I'm starting to wonder now. We are permitted to start on the 17th from Tuolumne meadows to Reds Meadow. Going to take a week to hike it and camping at Marie, 1000 Isle, Ediza, and probably another lake along the way. I know no one has a crystal ball but what are your thoughts on what conditions might be like by then? I'm thinking that the trail up to Donohue Pass is not going to be fun but hoping that the rest of our route is much better by then.

Thanks'
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Re: Your opinions appreciated about trail conditions.

Postby Smnold » Tue Jun 29, 2010 4:06 pm

I'm looking forward to reading comments to this post/question. I'll be in the same area between July 15th - 18th. Hope we both have a great time :thumbsup: .
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Re: Your opinions appreciated about trail conditions.

Postby balzaccom » Tue Jun 29, 2010 7:25 pm

It is really hard to say, but I would guess that:

Snow levels will be around 9,000-9500 feet by then...but still some snow in protected north slopes at lower elevations.

Lots of water everywhere, including on the trails.

Lots of mosquitoes everywhere.

Don't let any of that stop you--should be a great trip
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Re: Your opinions appreciated about trail conditions.

Postby hikerduane » Tue Jun 29, 2010 7:49 pm

Another reason I do my trips in late July into August. That and mosquitoes, the bugs are late too. Finally some mosquitoes at home last weekend.
Piece of cake.
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Re: Your opinions appreciated about trail conditions.

Postby Wandering Daisy » Tue Jun 29, 2010 8:04 pm

Snow conditions are feasible, as long as you know what you are getting into. Do not plan to make more than 1 mph over the snow. I never had serious "sinking" problems on the snow - it is just really tedious steping over sun-cups and gets icy early AM and slick as snot late in the day. Trekking poles are a must. So are high gaiters. And you must keep track of where you are. Walk carefully so you do not twist an ankle. There is a lot of nice open country where even if you miss the trail, the going is not that bad.

Stream crossings are more serious, but the water is going down and in 2 weeks should be much better than now. Take some serious wading shoes. The stream down Lyell Canyon in Yosemite is crossed on a bridge. And be willing to back off if the crossings are dangerous. From the crossing of Rush Creek, worst case you can walk out to Silver Lake in about 4 hours and hitch to Mammoth and loop from Reds Meadow to catch the same trail section. Not ideal but you would not have to totally abandon your trip. There are still 40% first come permits and a really nice campground right in Mammoth if you had to wait a day.

Just plan on wet feet and bring extra socks.

As for camping, you can always find a dry spot, even if you have to camp on the top of a flat rock. I actually like setting up on flat rocks. Just be sure you have enough tent string to set up with rocks instead of stakes and a sleeping pad worthy of providing comfort on a rock.

I see the most misery as mosquitoes. Be sure to bring DEET and a tent. This is not the time for a bivy sack.

On the positive side - little dust, crowds, plenty of water sources, and the snow makes for more spectacular scenery. Have fun.
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Re: Your opinions appreciated about trail conditions.

Postby EpicSteve » Tue Jun 29, 2010 10:30 pm

Thanks for starting this thread, Gary. I have similar concerns. I'm experienced traveling and camping on snow, but I'm concerned about stream crossings and which pieces of equipment to pack or leave at home.

On July 27th, my partner and I will begin a trans-Sierra hike from Wolverton in Sequoia NP. We'll hike to Panter Gap; Bearpaw Meadow; Tamarack, Lion, and Glacier Lakes; Triple Divide Pass; Kaweah Basin; Upper Kern Basin/Lake South America (possibly by way of Milestone Bowl/Milestone Canyon); Foerster and Kearsarge Passes; and out to Onion Valley trailhead on August 5th.

I'm assuming that bringing an ice axe will be advisable, if not essential. I'm concerned about steep icy snow on the north sides of Lion Lake Pass and Foerster Pass, as well as the east side of Triple Divide Pass. I'm debating whether to bring crampons, lower-grade traction devices (such as Kahtoola Microspikes), or nothing. My Microspikes weigh 13oz for the pair, so I'd love to save the weight and leave them at home. If worse comes to worse, we can wait until mid-day to cross the high passes, so the snow has time to soften up. But if the weather turns cold, the snow may not soften, so it could be a roll of the dice.

I'm also concerned about crossing the Kern-Kaweah River and Bubbs Creek.

Thoughts from anyone who has experience in these locations would be appreciated.
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Re: Your opinions appreciated about trail conditions.

Postby gary c. » Tue Jun 29, 2010 11:30 pm

Thanks for the replys,

balzaccom wrote:Snow levels will be around 9,000-9500 feet by then...but still some snow in protected north slopes at lower elevations.

That is kind of what I'm worried about. Once we start up the hill towards Donohue Pass we won't drop down below 9,000ft until Shadow Lake which is esentially the end of our backpack. From there the plan is to take the trail to Andrews Meadow then the bus to Reds and stay the night at the BP camp. Some of the folks in our group have never seen the Post Pile or falls so the final day we will do that as a dayhike and catch a late bus out of the canyon to the cars.

None of us has a lot of snow experience and there are a couple wives going that would rather keep it that way. I'm going to keep hoping for receeding snow levels and try to be as well informed as I can about conditions so things go smoothly. If anyone thinks of something or hears something please post it. My wife has just started to really enjoy backpacking and even though she is pretty game I don't want to get her into something that might spoil it for her.
"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."
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Re: Your opinions appreciated about trail conditions.

Postby gary c. » Tue Jun 29, 2010 11:39 pm

Wondering Daisy, thanks for the suggestion about gaitors and other gear. This year I had promised myself that I would shave a bunch of wieght and leave as much out of my pack as possible. Yours is a good reminder that under these conditions a lot of those extras may be needed.
"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
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Re: Your opinions appreciated about trail conditions.

Postby MayLake » Wed Jun 30, 2010 9:19 am

I'll also be doing the TM-Reds trip starting on the 17th. Wandering Daisy, from your Rush Creek trip report it looks like Waugh Lake is pretty much thawed, and that the trail between Waugh and Gem Lakes is (if not dry) at least not knee deep in snow. I may be wrong, but all that terrain is between 9000 and 9500 feet right? So hopefully in a couple of weeks the snow line might move up a bit?
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Re: Your opinions appreciated about trail conditions.

Postby Wandering Daisy » Wed Jun 30, 2010 11:59 am

No snow to speak of to the inlet of Waugh Lake. South facing slopes are essentially dry up to 10,200 feet. North facing slopes are still snowbound as low as 9,000 feet. Sold snow on all slope aspects above 10,500 feet. The remaining snow is about 2-3 feet deep. It is melting fast, but probably will not all melt in 2 weeks, particularly that in shadows. The snow in thick forests above 9,200 feet is melting slowly - but this snow actually is firm and not bad to walk on. Donehue Pass will have snow for quite some time and it is likely to be sloppy and sun-cupped. The trail from Rush Creek to Thousand Island Lake is north facing and probably will have snow patches for some time.

Although I have crossed twice, I simply cannot remember much about the crossing of Rush Creek on the PCT. I did not go up there this trip. Some side-creek crossings that I did do had logs that were under water so I had to wade anyway. At one crossing a log that had obviously been across had gotten washed downstream. Someone else may want to comment on the Rush Creek crossing. I remembered it as difficult when I did it early one year, but cannot remember details.
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