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Rae Lakes current conditions

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Rae Lakes current conditions

Postby guycooper » Sat Jul 03, 2010 4:55 pm

Hi,

A friend and I were planning on doing the Rae Lakes loop clockwise from Cedar Grove leaving Tues. We are also considering heading in from Onion Valley. We are wondering what the snow/ice conditions are from both directions, especially the East side route. The SEKI website has info from 6/20, which says the lakes are frozen and the conditions are hazardous at times between Rae Lakes and Bubbs Creek, but we were hoping for something more up to date. Here is some information about our trip if anyone would be willing to give us some advice:

Two hikers, 25 and 27, each with 5-8 yrs experience in Sierra. We both have many backpacking trips and my partner has done Nols and I did a wilderness course in the Eastern Sierra. Some of the trips we have done include Kaweah Gap to Big Arroyo, Dusy/Pallisade Basin via Bishop and Knapsack Pass, Pioneer Basin via Mono Pass, Thousand Island Lake, The Lakes Basin out of Wolverton, Franklin Pass to Little Claire Lake out of Mineral King. We both have some glacier/ice travel experience, but our glacier/ice experience has always been guided (S. America and E.Sierra). Our main interests are big mountain scenery, photography, and fishing. We are interested in a 5 day trip not including travel, preferably from the West Side, or the southern end of the E. Side (We are located in Visalia). In snow-free conditions we are comfortable with x-country travel and prefer 10 mi. days max. I work in the Sierra doing some snow-surveying and lots of snow travel so I am comfortable with snow travel, but route-finding in the backcountry in heavy snow cover is something I have only done with a guide. I think we are ready to do a trip such as the Rae Lakes loop in the current conditions, but I would appreciate any advice and/or alternate trip ideas based on the info given.

Basically I am wondering if anyone has current conditions on the loop, or advice for alternate trips (not including those already mentioned) if you think the snow conditions would make this route too difficult or hazardous for hikers such as ourselves. Thanks a lot!



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Re: Rae Lakes current conditions

Postby maverick » Sat Jul 03, 2010 10:07 pm

Hi Guycooper

Since you mention you have experience over snow I would not cancel my trip, but
be prepared to do Glen Pass later in the day once the snow has softened.
You'll have a great trip and there have been enough PCT'ers through the area so
following the trail will be easy.
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Re: Rae Lakes current conditions

Postby miked » Wed Jul 07, 2010 2:04 pm

any update on conditions? some friends of mine are headed there (i may tag along) july 22 and they don't have any experience going up steep snowy passes. wondering how glen pass will be by then
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Re: Rae Lakes current conditions

Postby DoyleWDonehoo » Wed Jul 07, 2010 3:08 pm

I have been over Glen Pass a number of times, and most times it had snow, and will have snow into August (my guess). But like they said, enough PCT'ers and loopers have been through there to carve a path through the snow. If it is icy, wait a bit for it to warm up during the day (weather permitting) and then do it.
Once when I was there I saw a rock avalanche: kicked up quite a cloud. And the Pass is unique: you will see when you get there. :whistle:
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Re: Rae Lakes current conditions

Postby bcrowell » Wed Jul 07, 2010 5:29 pm

Now I have to agonize over whether to bring my in-step crampons for the JMT starting next week. I deeply begrudge the 15 oz, but on the other hand if I have to go over eight or nine snowy passes, it would be super nice to be able to do it early in the day when I won't be postholing.
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Re: Rae Lakes current conditions

Postby DoyleWDonehoo » Wed Jul 07, 2010 7:01 pm

bcrowell : "...for the JMT starting next week."
Well, if you are starting in Yosemite (the best direction especially early season conditions), you can always pick up your in-step's at Muir Trail Ranch (where you are likely to be picking up food) or Vermillion (have a beer and burger with a free night in a camp tent). All the passes before then are not particularly hard in Sierra-Cement conditions.
Here is a hint: Start the JMT at Glacier Point. Much more fun and scenic without the pesky crowded stairs. There is a great first day campsite above LYV on Sunrise Creek (second trail junction from LYV).
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Re: Rae Lakes current conditions

Postby bcrowell » Wed Jul 07, 2010 7:34 pm

DoyleWDonehoo wrote:bcrowell : "...for the JMT starting next week."
Well, if you are starting in Yosemite (the best direction especially early season conditions), you can always pick up your in-step's at Muir Trail Ranch (where you are likely to be picking up food) or Vermillion (have a beer and burger with a free night in a camp tent). All the passes before then are not particularly hard in Sierra-Cement conditions.
Here is a hint: Start the JMT at Glacier Point. Much more fun and scenic without the pesky crowded stairs. There is a great first day campsite above LYV on Sunrise Creek (second trail junction from LYV).

Thanks for the suggestions, Doyle! Yes, I am doing it N->S.

I did a hike from the Glacier Point trailhead a couple of years ago, and had some hassles when I picked up the wilderness permit. I think the issue was that I was taking the bus up. (I'm taking public transportation to the trailhead this time, too.) I think they basically don't want people using the Glacier Point bus as a back door into the backcountry. I suppose one could hike from the valley to Glacier Point, and then continue from there.

I guess I'm also kind of being hung up on doing the "real" JMT from Happy Isles, sort of like the AT "white-blaze" versus "blue-blaze" concept. I'm hoping to avoid the masses of humanity on the way up to Little Yosemite by starting at dawn. If I'm feeling strong, I'm hoping to camp at Cathedral Lakes the first night. It's really the crowd scene at Little Yosemite that I personally hate. Any place that's crowded enough to need bear boxes and solar toilets, I'd prefer to give it a miss.

Yeah, good thought about sending the crampons ahead. I think I'll do that.
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Re: Rae Lakes current conditions

Postby miked » Fri Jul 09, 2010 11:56 am

Anyone done this loop counterclockwise? that's the way they were able to get a permit for. Seems like it makes the trip more difficult with all that climbing on the first day
Last edited by miked on Fri Jul 09, 2010 1:37 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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