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2011 BACKCOUNTRY CONDITIONS UPDATES

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South Lake to Bishop Pass 7/11-7/14

Postby Flux » Sun Jul 17, 2011 9:26 pm

South Lake Trailhead to Bishop Pass 7/11-7/14:

Snow was mostly clear on the trail up to above Spearhead Lake. Above there it was alot of snow and very wet sections of trail. Bishop Pass pretty much covered.

Lakes all clear to Spearhead, above that they were 50-50 with no visible fish activity. Dusy Basin was very patchy and the trail looked 50-50 as well. Lower lakes were open in Dusy:

Some pics from Agassiz:
Dusy
Image

Big Pine Creek
Image

View to the South
Image

Northish overlooking the Bishop Pass Drainage and on to Humphreys at top right

Image

Have much higher res pics that give more detail PM me if interested



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Re: 2011 BACKCOUNTRY CONDITIONS UPDATES

Postby cgundersen » Mon Jul 18, 2011 10:18 am

Hi Flux,
Thanks for the shots; they match well with the excellent TR Silverfox posted a couple days ago. Dusy's cleared out a lot since I went through with my wife; I've gotta get some photos from her to help chart the melt.
cg
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Re: 2011 BACKCOUNTRY CONDITIONS UPDATES

Postby R Dog in Tahoe » Mon Jul 18, 2011 1:45 pm

Hi HikeSierraNevada,

Thanks for the update on the trail conditions. I'm taking the same route July 24 to July 30. I'm curious about the total time you spent hiking in snow vs. dirt trail. Also, what was Lyell Canyon like? Is the river flooding the trail?
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Re: 2011 BACKCOUNTRY CONDITIONS UPDATES

Postby rams » Mon Jul 18, 2011 7:16 pm

We day-hiked from Onion Valley to Golden Trout Lake (7/16/11).
The trail to Golden Trout Lake was snow-free beyond the stream crossing above the waterfall but became difficult to follow with water hiding portions of it around the area where it supposedly leaves the hillside to join the creek. Additionally, the creek in this area was still covered in snow. We had never hiked here before and weren't sure about the course of the creek under the snow. Not wanting to risk falling through, we climbed the talus on the hillside above the creek for about 100 yards before spotting the trail emerging out of the snow below us. We got back to the trail below the open meadow where the trail forks to the unnamed lakes north of Golden Trout Lake. At this point, the trail kept alternating between snow-covered and melted-out, though the meadow itself was snow-free. There were lots of fallen trees as well. Unfortunately I didn't get photos where the patches of snow were huge (ie, where we first lost the trail shortly after the top of the waterfall). Here are the smaller patches of snow covering the trail, though:

golden trout trail1.jpg


golden trout trail2.jpg


After the fork, it looked like it'd be easy to get up to the bench holding the unnamed lakes (ie, no snow-travel required until the bench), so long as you hadn't already lost the trail when hiking near the creek.

golden trout trail3.jpg


We lost the trail in snow again and ended up finding a use trail up the hiker's left side of the creek spilling down from Golden Trout Lake (official trail is on the other side) until we reached an unnamed lake. From here you could scout Mt. Gould if you wanted to climb it from this side.

golden trout trail4.jpg


Golden Trout Lake itself is not completely thawed but is on its way.

golden trout trail5.jpg


If you've never hiked this trail, I'd say be ready to do some talus hopping since chances are you'll lose the trail in a few spots. On the plus side, we didn't posthole once throughout the day (we were out from 9 am to 6 pm) despite all the snow. There were lots of suncups, however.
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Jack Main Canyon 7/16-7/19

Postby sparky » Tue Jul 19, 2011 8:17 pm

July 16-19

Jack main canyon VIA beehive....trail underwater in spots in east end of canyon, shin deep. Past trail junction to wampama falls, again trail underwater, knee deep. I was out voted as you can't see the trail emerge from the water. There is a possible bypass that requires off trail navigation through forest and class 2 rock. We turned around halfway through bypass because of time constraints but enjoyed the lake we were skirting on the bypass.

The river crossing at the far east end of jack main to head toward wampama was chest deep. We abandon the route and turned back due to depth. Watched the river rise dramatically during day 2. Patchy snow on jack main trail between wilma lake and trail junction to wampama. Very fresh very large mountain lion tracks in snow.

Original route was the dam at hetch hetchy through jack main canyon to tilden lake looping down through tiltill valley, to the dam. Turned into an out and back with a little variation for spice on the way back. Ranger P Roe's description and warnings of the conditions were spot on, he knows his stuff......but it was still AMAZING!
Last edited by sparky on Wed Jul 20, 2011 10:20 am, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: 2011 BACKCOUNTRY CONDITIONS UPDATES

Postby quentinc » Tue Jul 19, 2011 9:04 pm

Flux, thanks for the report. Thinking of heading into Dusy and maybe over Knapsack next weekend.
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New Army Pass 7/16

Postby Packtofish » Wed Jul 20, 2011 8:58 am

New Army Pass - 7/16/2011

My wife and I did a three day hike up through Cottonwood Lakes Basin and a dayhike up Langley this last weekend. Conditions were beautiful, trail is completely snow free till just above Long Lake. The skeets were out in force in the meadows during the day, but it wasn't too bad at the lakes. I'd give it a rating of "mildly annoying" on the skeet scale. New Army Pass still has some snow covering the trail and the use of an ice axe proved helpful, but not necessary in midday. There are currently two traverses of about 30ft and 75ft and then it's dry trail on either side. It was a little sporty for my wife who had never experienced anything bordering class 2, let alone a snow slope. It was a non issue if you were careful as there are some nice kicked steps across the areas. We went up to the Left of all the snow trying to stay on a dry rock line, but in hindsight that turned out to be much more effort and exposure than just staying on the trail and doing the traverse. Once on top of the pass all is clear and open as far as I could see and I talked to a guy coming out of Miter that said Sky Blue was clear. Old Army Pass was still a snow climb and I would not recommend heading that way with full packs unless you are comfortable with some mixed climbing.

Here's a few pics.....

Image
Image
Image
Image
Image
Looking towards the top of Langley
Image
Last edited by maverick on Wed Jul 20, 2011 10:04 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: New Army Pass 7/16

Postby Ursula » Wed Jul 20, 2011 4:31 pm

Gorgeous photos! Thanks for posting them. It give the rest of us an idea of the snow melt and it is so nice to see things finally clearing out!

Packtofish wrote:New Army Pass - 7/16/2011

My wife and I did a three day hike up through Cottonwood Lakes Basin and a dayhike up Langley this last weekend. Conditions were beautiful, trail is completely snow free till just above Long Lake. The skeets were out in force in the meadows during the day, but it wasn't too bad at the lakes. I'd give it a rating of "mildly annoying" on the skeet scale. New Army Pass still has some snow covering the trail and the use of an ice axe proved helpful, but not necessary in midday. There are currently two traverses of about 30ft and 75ft and then it's dry trail on either side. It was a little sporty for my wife who had never experienced anything bordering class 2, let alone a snow slope. It was a non issue if you were careful as there are some nice kicked steps across the areas. We went up to the Left of all the snow trying to stay on a dry rock line, but in hindsight that turned out to be much more effort and exposure than just staying on the trail and doing the traverse. Once on top of the pass all is clear and open as far as I could see and I talked to a guy coming out of Miter that said Sky Blue was clear. Old Army Pass was still a snow climb and I would not recommend heading that way with full packs unless you are comfortable with some mixed climbing.

Here's a few pics.....

Image
Image
Image
Image
Image
Looking towards the top of Langley
Image
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7/19-7/20 Clouds Rest-Sunrise-Cathedral

Postby ChinMusic » Wed Jul 20, 2011 8:34 pm

7/20: Clouds Rest - zero snow to south, very little snow on north, no traction devices

7/19: Sunrise Camp to Sunrise Lakes - little snow camp side. Still some 10-ft deep spots going down to the lakes. Route finding fairly easy. No traction devices

7/19: Cathedral Pass - some minor snow. Route finding fairly easy. No traction devices.
Last edited by maverick on Thu Jul 21, 2011 8:42 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: 2011 BACKCOUNTRY CONDITIONS UPDATES

Postby Flux » Thu Jul 21, 2011 9:42 am

quentinc wrote:Flux, thanks for the report. Thinking of heading into Dusy and maybe over Knapsack next weekend.


Should be pretty good at that point. Things are changing quick, but there will be snow. Extra socks and an axe. Crampons would be good if you hit steeper sections early up high. But if you wait them out, the sun will gush em up.
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