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Trips for mid June in a snowy year

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Trips for mid June in a snowy year

Postby kpeter » Thu May 19, 2011 9:35 pm

Last year I did Hetch Hetchy to Vernon in mid June and almost got there too soon for the stream crossing at the outlet. So in planning this year's mid June trip, I need some fresh ideas given the snow.

Will Grand Canyon of the Tuolumne be available, do you think, by June 15? I'm thinking that might be a bit early given how things are going. I don't even know if Tioga road will be open then.

So, what destinations would meet these criteria:
1. Relatively low elevation--under 8000, maybe under 7000.
2. West side trailhead.
3. Great scenic beauty.
4. No stream crossings except on bridges, or very minor streams.
5. Not difficult to get permits at this late stage.
6. Some snow walking is OK, but nothing needing ice axe, crampons, or difficult route finding.

To remind people: My ability: Backpacking 3--40 years packing, 95% on trails, some cross country. (I have done quite a bit of cross country on dayhikes from base camps, but seldom carry my full pack cross country.) I don't want to get close to anything class 3 when I am solo, as I will be on this trip.

Interests: photography. I no longer fish. No dog.

Amount of time: somewhat flexible. Typically my June trip is not overly ambitious, 4-5 days.

Type of trip: I'm flexible. I like loops, but I also don't mind a simple in-and-out where I set up a base camp and dayhike for a couple of days. And GCT with a shuttle seemed appealing.

Difficulty: Doing HH to Vernon in a day was not too bad--that is about 10 miles and 3000 feet. So that would probably be my daily limit.



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Re: Trips for mid June in a snowy year

Postby maverick » Fri May 20, 2011 5:34 pm

Hi KP

Not too many folks are going to chime in since none of us know what kind of
conditions we will have in the middle of June.
Your GCT trip is a good one with a carpool, but like you said, who knows what the
status of Tioga Road will be.
Your previous trip to Vernon is another good trip to consider, which you could add
a trip up to then Branigan Lakes area, which has been discussed in an earlier thread.
Also a trip up to the Merced/Washburn Lake area, then back via the High Trail with
cool views of the Cascade Cliffs, Starr King area, and a jaunt up Clouds Rest, would
make a good early season trip.
The trail will be have snow on it as you get closer to the High Trail /JMT junction
so you have to be comfortable with route finding all the way down to near the
JMT/Clouds Rest Trail junction.
If you are considering either the Branigan Lakes area or the High Trail route and
want more info PM me.
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Re: Trips for mid June in a snowy year

Postby kpeter » Fri May 20, 2011 7:55 pm

Thank you so much, that gives me another idea. So far the nominations for early trip include:

1. Hetch Hetchy to Vernon/Branigan area. Vernon is at 6564.
2. Grand Canyon Tuolumne. TM is at 8600.
3. Merced Washburn and High Route. Washburn is at 7605.
4. Kibbie Lake and beyond. Kibbie is at 6513.

I wonder what everyone's favorite sub-7000 foot destination is?
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Re: Trips for mid June in a snowy year

Postby balzaccom » Fri May 20, 2011 8:20 pm

we have a list of early season hikes on our website, including a few just north of Yosemite: Clark Fork and Sword/Lost Lakes, both in the Carson-Iceberg Wilderness....
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check out our website: http://www.backpackthesierra.com/
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Re: Trips for mid June in a snowy year

Postby RoguePhotonic » Fri May 20, 2011 9:43 pm

You could consider Hamilton Lake along the High Sierra Trail. In mid June on lower snow years it has at least 4 falls and cascades diving down a thousand feet into the lake.
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Re: Trips for mid June in a snowy year

Postby oldranger » Sat May 21, 2011 10:22 am

kpeter

How long do you want to go? If you have the time and creek crossings can be made you could head up thru Aspen Valley to trail that drops down to Pate Valley then up and back thru GCT. Just got back from trip to Rancheria Falls (TR next week when I get home) and snow at 8,000 feet still substantial. Note that all low elevation destinations that have easy access will have multitudes. The Rancheria Falls camping area probably had 2 dozen campers--midweek. Luckily I bushwacked down to near the lake to camp/fish and saw just one person who dropped down from the camping area to fish. Walked up past the camping area yesterday before hiking out and there were a bunch of tents still there and met a bunch of people hiking in for the weekend on the way out.

If solitude is part of what you seek I'd recommend searching out some obscure places and not well known spots.

Mike
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Re: Trips for mid June in a snowy year

Postby Wandering Daisy » Sat May 21, 2011 5:58 pm

The southern Sierra is melting off sooner than the north, so go south even though the routes are at higher elevations. The Hamilton Lake trip would be fantastic but expect a lot of wading and stream crossings. How about going in from Glacier Lodge to First, Second and Thrid Lake? Trails up the Kern River? Kings Canyon - up to Paradise Valley? Tuttle Creek to the Stone House? I hope to do a short trip to scramble up Balloon Dome.

In the northern Sierra, Levitt Meadow is supposedly free of snow now. What about canyons- South Yuba River trail, Mumford Bar trail, there is a trail along Salt Springs Reservoir.

Yosemite is prime- Pohono- Panorama Trails, North RIm Traverse, up to Merced Lake, Yosemite Falls -and on to top of El Cap (will have some snow, but it is walkable). From Hetch Hetchy I did an early season backpack to Pleasant Valley via Rancheria Trail - some snow on top but not bad. Grand Canyon Tuolumne depends on Tioga Pass being open - not sure that will happen.

Mid-June is also prime time to do the White Mountains because there still is water running. There are a lot of "trails" that start on the east side. It is really rugged over there and elevation gains are tremendous.
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Re: Trips for mid June in a snowy year

Postby RoguePhotonic » Sat May 21, 2011 8:03 pm

The Hamilton Lake trip would be fantastic but expect a lot of wading and stream crossings.


I wouldn't imagine you would have any really. I hiked the HST starting June 15th in 2008 and the only places that were tricky was just before you reach the bridge to Lone Pine Creek the trail was flooded and I almost got wet but was able to pass and before Buck Creek was a stream that I had to cross just below the trail crossing.
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Re: Trips for mid June in a snowy year

Postby Wandering Daisy » Sat May 21, 2011 8:41 pm

2008 was a low snow year. I've been in several times at peak runoff and the crossings are significant- not impossible or dangerous, but no picnic either. Take wading shoes. There are several crossings (wading) early on the trail as you go from Crescent Meadow. I have avoided these one year by going from Wolverton - but then you get the snow on the little pass. The hardest crossing was on the trail below Hamilton Lake. If you hit this late PM at peak runoff, it is quite difficult. Each year is different and these creeks are extremely variable.
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Re: Trips for mid June in a snowy year

Postby Cross Country » Sun May 22, 2011 10:37 am

One high snow year we went Laurel Lake in mid June. We had to hike on snow but the lake and many campsites were snow free.

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