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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Re: 2011 BACKCOUNTRY CONDITIONS UPDATES

Postby mshields on Tue Jul 12, 2011 9:06 pm

Doyle,

Thank you for your post/pictures on the itinerary from Shadow Lake to 1,000 Island Lake; they are much appreciated. This is my first post, but I have been an active viewer on HST for the last couple years. I have plans for what I thought would be a leisurely trip (July 19th-23rd) from TM to Agnew Meadows via the JMT and Shadow Lake trail. I was wondering what your thoughts were on this trip and whether it would be a good idea to embark on it? Did you run into any other hikers on your itinerary who had come from the TM direction ? Any other members input would be appreciated.

Thanks



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Re: 2011 BACKCOUNTRY CONDITIONS UPDATES

Postby DoyleWDonehoo on Wed Jul 13, 2011 7:19 am

mshields wrote: I have plans for what I thought would be a leisurely trip (July 19th-23rd) from TM to Agnew Meadows via the JMT and Shadow Lake trail....Did you run into any other hikers on your itinerary who had come from the TM direction ?

I met a JMT hiker on "Garnet Pass", and he said it was all snow from Lyle Canyon to 1,000 Island Lake (10K IL). In a weeks time it may be improved but I would still expect a lot of snow. By the time you got to 10K IL, you can decide if you want to take the JMT or the River Trail (or the PCT High Trail) to Agnew or not. We came back along the River Trail (from Badger Lake) and it was quite something with all of the raging waters. There are some major falls I have never heard about, and some very nice camp sites. You could always pop up to snow-free Shadow Lake from River Trail.
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Re: Loon Lake Trail to Rockbound Lake 7/9-7/10

Postby FeetFirst on Wed Jul 13, 2011 10:45 am

EGBill wrote:Route taken: Loon Lake trail to Rockbound Lake

Difficult section encountered: A few trees down on the trail along side Loon Lake, after that no problems. Snow Free. Buck Island Lake and Rockbound Lake were full to the brim with water!!


Special equipment needed/used: None


Possible alternative routes: None


Thank you. Were you able to park at the TH parking lot? With the campground being closed, I was concerned that the gates would be locked. Also, I got a "hmm...that's a good question," when I called the Pacific RD HQ.

Did the trail to Rubicon Reservoir appear to be snow free as well? Thanks.
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Re: Loon Lake Trail to Rockbound Lake 7/9-7/10

Postby EGBill on Wed Jul 13, 2011 12:44 pm

FeetFirst wrote:
EGBill wrote:Route taken: Loon Lake trail to Rockbound Lake

Difficult section encountered: A few trees down on the trail along side Loon Lake, after that no problems. Snow Free. Buck Island Lake and Rockbound Lake were full to the brim with water!!


Special equipment needed/used: None


Possible alternative routes: None


Thank you. Were you able to park at the TH parking lot? With the campground being closed, I was concerned that the gates would be locked. Also, I got a "hmm...that's a good question," when I called the Pacific RD HQ.

Did the trail to Rubicon Reservoir appear to be snow free as well? Thanks.


We parked at the Boat Dock Parking lot ($7) as they were still cleaning up the campgrounds. The camp host is there for collecting day/overnight fees for the Boat Dock area.

There was no snow around Rockbound at all. I didn't see for certain that there wasn't snow at Rubicon Reservoir, but as warm as it was, I don't think so. I didn't see much snow and the only snow I saw was up on the north facing peaks way above the trail. But there was a LOT of water in the lakes... :D
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Cottonwood pass to Whitney portal 7/9-11/2011

Postby raphus on Thu Jul 14, 2011 7:54 am

Route taken:
Horseshow meadow / Cottonwood pass / Siberian oupost / Rock Creek / Crabtree meadow / Guitar Lake / Mt Whitney / Whitney Portal

Difficult section encountered:
Snow has almost completely melted until Guitar Lake (and mosquitoes are still relatively quiet).
Small snow fields on both the western (above Guitar Lake) and eastern (above Trail Camp) switchbacks to Trail Crest / Mt Whitney, but they can be crossed with just boots/poles.
Lower Rock Creek crossing is swift in the evening, but there's convenient logs just upstream the trail.

Special equipment needed/used:
We used microspikes on the hard morning snow traverse (very handy but not required).
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Re: 2011 BACKCOUNTRY CONDITIONS UPDATES

Postby Coolbreeze on Thu Jul 14, 2011 10:39 am

NPS Trail Conditions page has been updated:

http://www.nps.gov/seki/planyourvisit/t ... UMP_115626
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Re: 2011 BACKCOUNTRY CONDITIONS UPDATES

Postby papercup on Fri Jul 15, 2011 3:47 am

Here are two photos-- one is of the snow covering the use trail just below the top of Old Army Pass, the other is of the cornice at the edge of New Army Pass, both taken on 7/8.
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Re: 2011 BACKCOUNTRY CONDITIONS UPDATES

Postby mschnaidt on Fri Jul 15, 2011 6:07 am

Thanks for the pics Papercup. I'm hoping Army melts out a bit more in the next 10 days.
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Re: 2011 BACKCOUNTRY CONDITIONS UPDATES

Postby hiker00 on Fri Jul 15, 2011 6:52 am

mschnaidt wrote:Thanks for the pics Papercup. I'm hoping Army melts out a bit more in the next 10 days.


Yes Thank you for the pics!

I am hoping for the same...hitting the trail on the 25th and don't want to change my plans but will if the snow does not clear on the New Army Pass.
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Re: 2011 BACKCOUNTRY CONDITIONS UPDATES

Postby mp88 on Fri Jul 15, 2011 7:12 am

Great information & awesome photos, I have been section hiking the PCT for a couple of years now and the time is almost here for my Sierra section (Kearsarge Pass to Reds Meadow) starting 8/10/11. I will be keeping a close eye on this thread and the skeeter report because it looks like it’s a mess out there right now (snow, bugs, high water, etc..). Happy trails and safe travels this summer to all you intrepid human beings not sitting on the couch in front of the TV.
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Desolation Wilderness 7/12-7/16

Postby Wandering Daisy on Sat Jul 16, 2011 1:37 pm

Route Taken: (7/12 - 7/16) Desolation Wilderness: Echo Lake, Aloha Lake, day trip to Mosquito Pass, PCT north, trail to Half Moon Lake, day hike loop x-country up to intersect PCT, climb Dick's Peak, run ridge to Mt Tallac, down to Gilmore Lake back to Half Moon Lake, x-country directly to Suzie Lake, PCT back to Aloha Lake, side trip to Jabu Lake, Tamarck Lake, Ralston Lake, and back out.

Difficult sections: solid snow from Haypress Meadows onward, steep drifts in trees, very icy early AM, otherwise solid and easy to walk over, PCT south side of Dick's Pass has one huge drift exactly on the trail. Big cornice/drifts on norh slopes above Heather Lake, Susie Lake and north sides of the penninsulas on Aloha Lake. Haypress Meaodow is a swamp. Steep snow on north side of Dick's Peak- so you have to climb a short class 2+ section where the "trail" goes around on the north side.

Special equipment: trekking poles, crampons or yak tracks if you want to go over the snow before the sun hits it. Waterproof boots if you care about dry feet (I do not), large dry campsites hard to come by - ideal conditions for a bivy sack or other small footprint tent. Snow can be difficult if you do not have shoes with aggressive treads. Tennis shoes do not work.

Alternate routes: regular trail to Half Moon Lake is a mess- swampy and lots of steep drifts - you can cut down to the lake from the PCT (before the snow drifts on the PCT) or easy cross country on the northeast side of Susie Lake (stay high on benches).
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Agnew Meadow to Yosemite Valley 7/4-7/9

Postby HikeSierraNevada on Sat Jul 16, 2011 3:02 pm

July 4-9, 2011
Route: Mammoth to Yosemite Valley via PCT High Trail to 1,000 Island Lake, then JMT to Island Pass, Donohue Pass, Lyell Canyon, Tuolumne Meadows, Cathedral Pass, Long Meadow, Half Dome.

Difficult sections: Route finding difficult for many hikers for miles on snow near/over Island Pass and Cathedral Pass. "Trail" disappears after each storm. Snow was well consolidated in mornings. Some postholing in afternoons, not bad for us. Water crossings a mix of snow bridges, logs, rock hopping and a few wade-thrus. Some of these snow bridges will be collapsing soon. Be careful.

Special equipment: GPS strongly recommended in combination with map and compass. Used MSR Ascent snowshoes over Donohue Pass, per Ranger's insistence - not necessary but they worked well and then we geocached them in Tuolumne Meadows. Also used Microspikes on mild slopes and frozen snow for traction - not necessary either but they reduce slipping. Rocky Gore Tex socks worked great once the boots got soaked. Very nice to put on dry socks under these while your boots dry out. These socks dry very quickly - nice lite luxury item, but expensive.

Awesome trip for my wife and I. Met interesting people including PCT and JMT thru-hikers. Will post pix and slideshow soon.
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