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).
Last edited by maverick
on Sat Jul 16, 2011 5:09 pm, edited 1 time in total. Reason: Subject, bold highlight