2011 BACKCOUNTRY CONDITIONS UPDATES

Discussion related to Sierra Nevada current and forecast conditions, as well as general precautions and safety information. Mosquito reports, weather and snow conditions, stream crossing information, and more.

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2011 BACKCOUNTRY CONDITIONS UPDATES

Postby maverick on Fri Jun 03, 2011 11:20 am

This is not a place to post trip reports, but a place for members to post current
conditions experienced in the backcountry on recent trips.
This will give other members considering visiting, or traveling, through the same
location, at different times, a heads up on difficult sections, so they can plan
accordingly.
I think this will be a useful quick reference for members, who want quick info
instead of having to look through numerous trip reports to gather pertinent
information for there upcoming trips.
Especially in heavy snow years like this one.



Paste the form blow, and fill out the info.


In the subject section post the area you visited, include the date.



Route taken:



Difficult section encountered:



Special equipment needed/used:



Possible alternative routes:
Have a safer backcountry experience by using the HST ReConn Form 2.0:
http://reconn.org

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EXAMPLE: Rae Lakes / Sphinx Lakes 7/15/11

Postby maverick on Fri Jun 03, 2011 11:21 am

Route: Roads End-Upper Paradise Valley-Rae Lakes-Glen Pass-Junction Meadow-Lake
Reflection-Longley Pass-Cinder Col-Sphinx Col-Sphinx Lakes-Roads End

Difficult section encountered on this trip:
- Lost of snow on northern side of Glen Pass icy in the morning hours.
- Bubbs Creek crossing very difficult, found the best crossing point 400 yards west
of the usual low water crossing section.
- Big cornice encountered on Longley Pass, which was bypass by climbing rocky
section north of the pass (class 3).

Special equipment needed/used:
- Ice Axe
- Crampons
- Trekking Poles

Possible alternative routes:
- When crossing Bubb's, I notice a section about 100 yards further west that looked
much easier.
- Should have bypassed the cornice on the southern side, route looked barely class 2.
Have a safer backcountry experience by using the HST ReConn Form 2.0:
http://reconn.org

Professional Landscape Photographer
http://www.WildernessApertures.com
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Clouds Rest 5/30/2011

Postby tuolumneranger on Sat Jun 04, 2011 7:48 am

Route taken: Yosemite Valley to Clouds Rest via Little Yosemite Valley

Difficult section encountered: -After 8200', snow coverage is 100% - not as difficult as other sections as others have traveled here and created boot packed sections
-Summit still holds on to extremely dangerous conditions, rocks steps are almost completely covered in snow
-Stability of the summit snow ridge is questionable at best
-Summit should only be attempted by those comfortable on snow and ice (with all sorts of exposure)

Special equipment needed/used: - Ice axe
- Crampons

Possible alternative routes:
None that are easier/more accessible at this time
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North Dome 5/31/2011

Postby tuolumneranger on Sat Jun 04, 2011 7:57 am

Route taken: Yosemite Valley via Upper Yosemite Falls --> North Dome --> Yosemite Valley via Snow Creek

Difficult section encountered: - Yosemite Point to the footbridge above the Snow Creek switchbacks is still 95% snow covered (BRING YOUR MAP AND COMPASS! or extra batteries for your GPS unit...trusting the footprints of those who have travelled before you is a pretty big leap of faith)
-Lehamite Creek crossing getting HIGH in later hours

Special equipment needed/used:-Snowshoes would prove helpful
-Ice axe

Possible alternative routes:
None that are easier/more accessible
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Re: 2011 BACKCOUNTRY CONDITIONS UPDATES

Postby Wandering Daisy on Sat Jun 04, 2011 9:23 am

Is North Dome snow free? Would there be snow-free camping on the top flat part?
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North Dome 5/31/2011

Postby tuolumneranger on Sat Jun 04, 2011 1:35 pm

The top of North Dome is snow free - keep in mind you have to be a half mile behind the rim of the Valley to camp. The area of trees at the base, where camping is permitted (and popular), is nearly completely snow free.
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Little Lakes Valley 6/7

Postby hikerchick395 on Wed Jun 08, 2011 8:00 am

Well, I didn't go very far into the backcountry but did want to mention conditions in the Rock Creek area (June 7.) There is still a bit of ice on Rock Creek Lake. The road around the lake is still closed. The main road is closed at the pack station.

Past that he road has about 75% snow coverage then the pavement had black ice to avoid in morning temps. Mosquito Flat's restrooms are open and there is at least one campsite across the bridge that is snow free. Mack Lake was mostly frozen. Trail was icy snow on my way in, but roughed up so easy walking, and was softening and getting slippery on my way out...10ish am. Some minor postholing by others observed. Only one party, overnighting, in the backcountry (ice on their vehicle) and no dayhikers while I was there.
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Last edited by maverick on Wed Jul 06, 2011 10:42 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: 2011 BACKCOUNTRY CONDITIONS UPDATES

Postby norcalhiker on Sun Jun 12, 2011 2:42 pm

From June 10-12th, I drove over Carson Pass, backpacked up Wolf Creek to near Wolf Creek Pass and drove back over Ebbetts Pass. There is tons of snow and it made me sad.

The eastside is a little less snowy. It was snow free for the first 2.5 miles up Wolf Creek, then patchy until about 4.5 miles in. That puts the snow line at about 7,200ft, in contrast with the west side where the snow line appeared to be continuous around 6,500ft. Snow depth is highly variable, but anything above 7500ft would be constant snow. The high country would be better on skis. Depth at 8,000 ft ranged from zero (certain aspects) to over ten feet, with an "average" of perhaps 6 feet. In Wolf Creek, snow was consolidated spring snow and only a little (1 foot deep) postholling was experienced in the afternoon.

I'd guess that the PCT is nearly entirely covered in snow with only rare aspects being snowfree, but the valleys generally still being snow covered.

Ugh.

I'm rethinking entering the high country until late July. ](*,)
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Re: 2011 BACKCOUNTRY CONDITIONS UPDATES

Postby rlown on Sun Jun 12, 2011 2:44 pm

i think we all cry with you..
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Big Pine 6/11/11

Postby DAVELA on Mon Jun 13, 2011 9:56 am

Route taken: SOUTH FORK BIG PINE CREEK TRAIL TO WILLOW LAKE AND BEYOND



Difficult section encountered:
CREEK IMPASSABLE DUE TO WASHED OUT BRIDGE!
CREEK IS RAGING, NOWHERE TO FORD AND no snowbridges.Tons of snow up the couloirs.
Snow everywhere!



Special equipment needed/used:
N/A



Possible alternative routes:
N/A
Last edited by DAVELA on Wed Jun 15, 2011 9:59 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Cottonwood Pass, Miter Basin, Langley 6/13/11

Postby quentinc on Tue Jun 14, 2011 10:57 am

Route taken:
Horseshoe Meadow > Cottonwood Pass > PCT > Rock Creek/Soldier Lake > Miter Basin> back to Rock Creek & day hike of Langley > back out on PCT

Difficult section encountered:
Snow coverage pretty thick at 10,500 +. Anything off trail (except in HS Meadow area). Many thru-hikers have come through the PCT. In a few sections the footprints diverge all over the place. Late afternoon/early evening was posthole hell in some places (especially off-trail, of course)

Special equipment needed/used:
None -- gaiters, non-waterproof GoreTex shoes, hiking poles (I left my snow baskets and brains in the trunk --- big mistake!). I did use Microspikes to get over Cottonwood Pass, but only because I was too stubborn to drop elevation and approach the top more sensibly.

Possible alternative routes:
Your backyard.
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Convict Creek 6/14/11

Postby John Dittli on Tue Jun 14, 2011 8:45 pm

Route taken:
Convict Creek 6/14


Difficult section encountered:

A couple of large snow patches to old bridge crossing
Very thick snow bridge 1/4 mile down stream
Upper Convict drainage 100% covered

Special equipment needed/used:

skis


Possible alternative routes:
Walk the Sky: Following the John Muir Trail
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