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early hike across shepherd pass

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early hike across shepherd pass

Postby raphus » Fri Feb 18, 2011 4:21 pm

Hi all,

I know it's probably still too early to foresee the trail/snow condition on the high sierra passes around mid/late June; however I am wondering if some of you could possibly give some advices:

I'd like to backpack across Shepherd pass (and later on attempt Mt Whitney) next June, I am somewhat experienced in backpacking and cross-country hiking but not so much in the Sierra Nevada (rather in the French Alps !). Does Sheperd pass usually grow a large snow corniche, or is it appropriate for an early season hike (with the wife !) ?

Thanks for any help !



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Re: early hike across shepherd pass

Postby maverick » Fri Feb 18, 2011 4:52 pm

Hi Rahpus

Welcome to HST!
It is a 6200 foot climb which you need to start early or camp at Anvil Camp which is
8 1/2 miles from the trailhead or at the eastern end of Mahogany Flat.
Expect a steep snowfield below the summit where ice axe, crampons if you are
going over earlier in the day because of icy conditions.
Of coarse self arrest experience is a must.
If your wife is not an experienced hiker, especially under these conditions, do not
attempt this hike!
This is not easy hike for many even in the best conditions, but add in snow, and ice mix
it becomes extremely dangerous.
HST= Wilderness Adventurer who knows no bounds, except for their own imagination.

Have a safer backcountry experience by using the HST ReConn Form 2.0, named after Larry Conn, a HST member: http://reconn.org
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Re: early hike across shepherd pass

Postby East Side Hiker » Sun Feb 20, 2011 11:55 am

I would wait until late July or August to do Shepherd Pass. The pass is 12,000'.
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Re: early hike across shepherd pass

Postby texan » Mon Feb 21, 2011 7:49 am

Shepherd Pass is not easy. Its straight up to Anvil Camp. I would wait until August to over and start early in the morning.

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Re: early hike across shepherd pass

Postby fishmonger » Mon Feb 21, 2011 2:57 pm

ignore - i confused the pass with Sawmill ](*,)
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Re: early hike across shepherd pass

Postby Mike M. » Mon Feb 21, 2011 7:03 pm

As far as snow goes, I think your only worry going up Shepherd Pass in early season will be the last half mile up the pass. Snow is often present on the last few hundred yards of the pass, which is shaded most of the day and can make for some treacherous conditions. I have been over the pass (from Junction Pass) several times and remember a mid July visit in 1979 when the last 50 feet of the trail was over hard packed, icy snow. It was scary without an ice axe (I didn't have one).

Here's a photo of the pass (circa 1979), with the location of the pass shown in yellow.

Mike

Image
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Re: early hike across shepherd pass

Postby raphus » Wed Feb 23, 2011 11:39 am

Thanks a lot for your advices !
I think we'll give up the Shepherd idea and head out to Cottonwood pass, even if the trail is (supposedly) less "scenic".
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Re: early hike across shepherd pass

Postby texan » Wed Feb 23, 2011 5:52 pm

Cottonwood Pass is much easier than Shepards. There no comparison. You start at almost 10,000 ft not in the desert. I like Cottonwood Pass area and Cottonwood Lakes area too. We used to day hike to what I believe it was Cirque Lake. I like the area becuase you start at a high elevation. Mosquito Flat out of Rock Creek is a high elevation trailhead with lots of lake close by.

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Re: early hike across shepherd pass

Postby East Side Hiker » Thu Feb 24, 2011 12:44 pm

Cottonwood Pass is very beautiful, and I would think especially in the early season. But the condition of the road would be the only concrn as it does go through a few shady places. I don't know what the road is like in June near the top, as I usually try it in my April trips (not open), and then don't go again until mid July (it does go to 10.000').
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Re: early hike across shepherd pass

Postby richlong8 » Tue Mar 01, 2011 2:14 pm

The road that goes to Horseshoe Meadows trailhead is usually fine by early June, except in the heaviest snow years. What you have to watch out for is rocks on the road. The get alot of rockfall on the road, usually during the night, esp. early season. If my memory serves me right, they have a snow gate that they keep locked, if the road is not ready to go in early season. However, I have never been there in June when it has not been open.
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Re: early hike across shepherd pass

Postby raphus » Wed Mar 02, 2011 11:04 am

Great, that will be our choice for mid-June !
Thanks for all the info
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Re: early hike across shepherd pass

Postby East Side Hiker » Tue Mar 22, 2011 7:51 am

I'm planning to traverse Shepherd Pass about Aug 18th. It will be beautiful I'm sure. I'm going to do Taboose Aug 8th after the lecture at the White Mtn Research Station on Aug 7th. Maybe I'll see someone.
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