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Onion Valley to Flower Lake next wknd

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Onion Valley to Flower Lake next wknd

Postby Sierra Bound » Sat May 27, 2006 2:58 pm

I have no idea what the snow levels are like now. Next weekend a friend and I may go up and see the Manzanar Historic site early Saturday morning. I thought we might camp at either upper or lower Gray campgrounds on the way to Onion Valley. On Sunday I thought of a trip up to Flower Lake. Does anyone know what the snow conditions are like up there now? Thanks.



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Postby EricJLee » Sun May 28, 2006 12:13 am

Here is a report from the whitneyportalstore forum. Pics are a week old or so, but gives you an idea. It did snow last weekend, but it is also melting fast. I'ld expect good coverage at 10K and above, below that probably just patchy.
http://www.whitneyportalstore.com/cgi-b ... 1;t=004356
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Postby Sierra Bound » Sun May 28, 2006 7:28 am

Thanks Eric for the input. It sounds like 10K is where the snow line is now. I've never really done any hiking this early in the season and I have a question. Flower lake is at around 10,500. If the snow level starts at 10,000 would you anticipate any problem hiking the extra 500 feet in just hiking boots? Given the traffic this trail gets I would think we may be walking in snow, but I would not think it would be powder. Also, would you estimate Flower lake will still be iced over? Any advise is appreciated.

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Postby markskor » Sun May 28, 2006 8:38 am

Just to add my $.02...
Expect sun cups...sort of like giant white waffles...morning iced snow, then later in the day slush....not powder.
The last 500 feet should pose no real problem, provided you hike early in the day...before noon is best. At these early times the snow is still firm, easy to walk on the edges...can still support you. As it warms up, expect postholing, but for that last 1/2 mile section, you should be able to do it relatively easy.
Stay away from the snow edges closest to rocks - good way to find yourself waist deep - feet dangling. In the north facing sections, expect considerable snow still...the south facing slopes should be dry.
The lakes up that high should be still partially iced over, but lots of open holes...good fishing. Still too early that high for mosquitos, but they are coming...soon....hungry!
Mountainman who swims with trout
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Postby giantbrookie » Sun May 28, 2006 2:49 pm

I concur with others that you should expect lots of snow, but it will only hinder your hike,not make it impossible. I'd lay my odds on the lakes being too frozen over for any fishing, but I'll be interested to hear what you find. Let us know how it goes and what you see in terms of snow cover and whether there is any open water on the lakes.
Since my fishing (etc.) website is still down, you can be distracted by geology stuff at: http://www.fresnostate.edu/csm/ees/facu ... ayshi.html
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Postby Baffman » Sun May 28, 2006 5:22 pm

I went up to Robinson Lake out of Onion Valley on the 21st. The weather was bad and it was snowing, but that's beside my point. I had snow from about 10k up to the lake which is about 10.5k. The lake was 99% iced over. Only a few tiny spots trying to open up. I went in the morning and walked on top of the snow for the most part, but I also had a few spots where I was postholing up to 3 feet down. I bet you can make Flower without snowshoes, but it won't be easy.
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Postby langenbacher » Tue May 30, 2006 3:55 pm

I camped up George Creek May 6-8 (9500 ft.), and at Sawmill Lake (10,000 ft.) May 27-29.

The snow was significant above 9500 ft. 3 weeks ago heading for Barnard/Trojan at 13900+ ft., It was mushy the first mile going up in the morning - we used snowshoes. I was post-holing down from about 11000 ft. to my snowshoes in the afternoon.

Above 9700 ft. on the Sawmill pass trail last weekend, the snow was hard enough to make us plunge our ice axes in for support , and kick steps, on steep snow the first afternoon. Sawmill lake was mostly melted, but both my water bottles partially froze in the tent overnight. This was probably the coldest night of the week. Sunday, the snow was perfect for hiking, we used poles and boots across snow up to 11000 ft., and crampons up to sawmill pass, though we could have done without them. We went all the way to Colossem Mountain, 12,400' without using our crampons or snowshoes, and my brother wasn't even wearing gaiters. On the way down to camp we just hiked across the snow, and only postholed 6-7 times each. It snowed on us a little. West of the crest, Woods lake at about 10600' and all the lakes around it were frozen except the highest one at 11,400' was half open.

It was beautiful, and great fun, except the cold windy weather the 1st night.

So I guess conditions this weekend would be something like the above 2 trips, depending on whether the temperature is rising, or falling when you go.

See the Colosseum page on summitpost.org later this week for pictures and more details.
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Postby giantbrookie » Tue May 30, 2006 5:28 pm

langenbacher wrote:I camped up George Creek May 6-8 (9500 ft.), and at Sawmill Lake (10,000 ft.) May 27-29.Sawmill lake was mostly melted, but both my water bottles partially froze in the tent overnight.


Thanks for the detailed info; it will be great calibration data for this season and future years. Out of curiosity, did you fish Sawmill? If not, did you see much fish activity in there?
Since my fishing (etc.) website is still down, you can be distracted by geology stuff at: http://www.fresnostate.edu/csm/ees/facu ... ayshi.html
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Postby langenbacher » Tue May 30, 2006 6:31 pm

We didn't fish Sawmill, but there was an old guy there (older than me!) that said he was there for the 44th year in a row, to go fishing. He told us what he caught there on Sunday, I think he said he caught 3 fish.
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Postby wingding » Tue May 30, 2006 11:20 pm

langenbacher - Thanks for the report - I checked the pictures you have on summitpost so far - beautiful. I'd like to give that mountain a try eventually.
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Postby Sierra Bound » Wed May 31, 2006 8:55 am

Thanks everyone for the detailed reports. I'm not 100% sure if I'll make it this weekend, but if not, it will be within the next few weeks. Again, everyone's input is much appreciated and I'll give a report when I get back.
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