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TR: Olancha Peak, Snow & Adventure

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Re: TR: Olancha Peak, Snow & Adventure

Postby quentinc » Thu May 26, 2011 3:47 pm

Sean, is the Wrangler Camp the place with the lawn chair where my backpack took a rest? If so, you can't miss it if you're coming from Sage Flat, since it's right along the trail (just before the junction with the PCT). If you're coming via Kennedy Meadows, then it's about a mile to the east of the PCT, on the Olancha Pass Trail.

The snow conditions after the 10,540 saddle are a bit sketchy, and you won't be able to see the PCT the whole time. My guidebook said to head off cross country after the saddle anyway, but that was bad advice. It's easiest if one follows the approximate PCT route closer to the north end of the peak, before heading up. At any rate, the snow was not too hard to navigate -- I didn't have any problem with just gaiters and hiking poles.

If you're coming via Sage Flat, the snow from just before Olancha Pass to the Wrangler Camp is pretty annoying. But if you just follow along to the north of Summit Meadow, it's hard to get lost.



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Re: TR: Olancha Peak, Snow & Adventure

Postby Shawn » Thu May 26, 2011 10:57 pm

Really enjoyed the TR and photos, thanks.
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Re: TR: Olancha Peak, Snow & Adventure

Postby casserly79 » Mon May 30, 2011 10:01 pm

Hey thanks for the info. I made it this last weekend in questionable weather. You can see my TR at http://thehikingviking.tumblr.com/
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Re: TR: Olancha Peak, Snow & Adventure

Postby quentinc » Tue May 31, 2011 12:28 am

Wow, great website. Glad you made it to the top! (I'm looking forward to reading your Middle Pal report next.)

You had a more successful weekend up there that I did. I did a backpack to nowhere, starting from somewhere I never intended to be (Fish Creek CG), but had little choice because of all the road closures, not getting to where I wanted because of snow and mysteriously disappearing trails, and barely getting back to my car because I hit 2 miles of barbed wire.
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Re: TR: Olancha Peak, Snow & Adventure

Postby East Side Hiker » Tue May 31, 2011 8:08 am

I agree with the rest above - great report and good pictures. Looks like a lot of slugging through snow at times and dealing with bank-full streams. And this is the southern Sierra. It makes me think the central Sierra to Carson Pass will be full of snow for quite awhile yet. It probably snowed agian the past couple days. But I liked the picture of the snowless western slope as you approached the peak. Gives me hope.

I've been cooling my jets by hiking around the Bay area - parks around Pleasent Hill, Morgan Territory and Mt. Diablo. The Mt. Diablo fairie lanterns are in full bloom, and the Mariposa tulips and harvest brodiaea are coming out. Nortern exposures are still fairly green, but in general, the annal grasslands are brown and dropping their seeds... The Bay area is pretty much normal, but your pictures of the snow tell a different story of the 6 or 7 weeks to come for the central Sierra.

I imagine, with a hot spell, there's going to be a huge run-off and strem crossings will be difficult.
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Re: TR: Olancha Peak, Snow & Adventure

Postby quentinc » Tue May 31, 2011 3:21 pm

I did another backpack in the Monache Meadows area last weekend that erased all hope I had previously gained. :)

Couldn't get to the trail head I wanted (Black Rock, at 8900) because the roads are closed with downed trees, the trails are filthy with downed trees, many trails are unnavigable because of snow, a minor creek crossing was borderline dangerous, mud everywhere there wasn't snow, there were snow flurries all day Sunday and Sunday night may have dipped below 20. Oh, and then there was the 2 miles of barbed wire that cut my route like the Berlin Wall. But at least I can't blame the weather for that!
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Re: TR: Olancha Peak, Snow & Adventure

Postby East Side Hiker » Tue May 31, 2011 8:22 pm

The southern Sierra area you describe was hit by that weird storm last, what?, Aug? It may be that the maintenance will take awhile to clear the area (mud, downed trees, etc.). Or just the long winter affected the area.
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Re: TR: Olancha Peak, Snow & Adventure

Postby quentinc » Tue May 31, 2011 9:02 pm

The PTC down here west of Lancaster/Palmdale also had a fantastic number of downed trees (in April). I guess it was just a hard winter everywhere.
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Re: TR: Olancha Peak, Snow & Adventure

Postby slade » Wed Jun 01, 2011 6:52 am

We did our "warm-up" backpack last weekend in the South Sierra Wilderness out of Kennedy Meadows. Snow, 50 mph winds, 20 degree nights. Some warm-up!
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Re: TR: Olancha Peak, Snow & Adventure

Postby East Side Hiker » Wed Jun 01, 2011 10:35 pm

Avalanches, mudslides, general Sierra erosion from uplifting...
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