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Conditions from Wolverton - Hamilton Lakes,via High Sierra T

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Conditions from Wolverton - Hamilton Lakes,via High Sierra T

Postby alij13 » Mon Jun 13, 2011 1:12 pm

Looking to do a 4 day hike to Hamilton lakes on the HST. Wondering if anyones been up there and has pictures of current snow conditions, or has any details on how the trail looks most recently. Or if anyone whos been in the area can give me some details on the trails. Planning on going 4th of July weekend. Thanks!



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Re: Conditions from Wolverton - Hamilton Lakes,via High Sierra T

Postby maverick » Mon Jun 13, 2011 1:16 pm

As of 6/8 these are the updated conditions on that section from the NPS:

"40% snow from Mehrten to Buck Creeks. 95% snow from Buck to Bearpaw. Steep, icy
slopes, knee-height stream crossings. Snow bridge at 7 mile creek is only way to cross
and is melting out. Avalanche between 7 & 9 Mile creeks, causing only crossing to be
on a steep, snow/boulder field, then it's solid, very icy and very steep from Buck Creek
up - crampons recommended."
HST= Wilderness Adventurer who knows no bounds, except for their own imagination.

Have a safer backcountry experience by using the HST ReConn Form 2.0, named after Larry Conn, a HST member: http://reconn.org
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Re: Conditions from Wolverton - Hamilton Lakes,via High Sierra T

Postby alij13 » Mon Jun 13, 2011 1:51 pm

Thanks, I've seen that desciption, I'm trying to see if anyones been in the area recently. Last year nps website and the rangers said Tuolumne Meadows was at 100% snow cover and when we got there with all of our winter gear, there was hardley any snow. Just trying to find out if the updates on nps are true or not! :) Would like to travel light this year.
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Re: Conditions from Wolverton - Hamilton Lakes,via High Sierra T

Postby maverick » Mon Jun 13, 2011 2:57 pm

Alij13 wrote "Just trying to find out if the updates on nps are true or not!"

I understand, the NPS, and NFS conditions updates can be dated sometimes, which
makes planning with info from sites like this one, much more usable.
By the way, welcome aboard!
HST= Wilderness Adventurer who knows no bounds, except for their own imagination.

Have a safer backcountry experience by using the HST ReConn Form 2.0, named after Larry Conn, a HST member: http://reconn.org
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Re: Conditions from Wolverton - Hamilton Lakes,via High Sierra T

Postby AlmostThere » Mon Jun 13, 2011 3:46 pm

I'd trust the NPS on that one. While the snow is definitely melting well now - things in Sequoia look significantly freer of snow than just a couple weeks ago - the lakes and destinations we usually head for this time of year are still locked in deep snow. I'm hoping for some good progress in the next couple of weeks or our annual July 4th backpack is going to freak some people out with snow camping!

I think we also need to be very aware of how dangerous the creeks are going to be over the next weeks. I've had dayhikes turned around by high water.
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Re: Conditions from Wolverton - Hamilton Lakes,via High Sierra T

Postby maverick » Mon Jun 13, 2011 3:51 pm

AlmostThere wrote "our annual July 4th backpack is going to freak some people out
with snow camping!"
Were is your annual outing taking place this year?
HST= Wilderness Adventurer who knows no bounds, except for their own imagination.

Have a safer backcountry experience by using the HST ReConn Form 2.0, named after Larry Conn, a HST member: http://reconn.org
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Re: Conditions from Wolverton - Hamilton Lakes,via High Sierra T

Postby AlmostThere » Mon Jun 13, 2011 4:03 pm

maverick wrote:AlmostThere wrote "our annual July 4th backpack is going to freak some people out
with snow camping!"
Were is your annual outing taking place this year?


I take a group of people to Ostrander Lake every year.

A recent trip report from this past weekend shows the ski hut there is still up to the window tops in snow. That's just over 7,000 feet elevation.
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Re: Conditions from Wolverton - Hamilton Lakes,via High Sierra T

Postby maverick » Mon Jun 13, 2011 4:09 pm

AlmostThere wrote "I take a group of people to Ostrander Lake every year."

Well that will be quite a different experience from what there used to.
I'm headed up the GCT on Wed, really hoping for some snow towards Waterwheel
and LeConte for photo purposes, but I doubt it.
HST= Wilderness Adventurer who knows no bounds, except for their own imagination.

Have a safer backcountry experience by using the HST ReConn Form 2.0, named after Larry Conn, a HST member: http://reconn.org
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Re: Conditions from Wolverton - Hamilton Lakes,via High Sierra T

Postby Saltydog » Thu Jun 16, 2011 5:24 pm

I gotta go with the "trust but verify" approach on this particular NPA posting. Can't reconcile it, particularly the 7200 for snow level, with the Milk Ranch webcam shots of the area





Maybe someone can interpret the above shots better than I can.
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Re: Conditions from Wolverton - Hamilton Lakes,via High Sierra T

Postby AlmostThere » Thu Jun 16, 2011 5:39 pm

Saltydog wrote:I gotta go with the "trust but verify" approach on this particular NPA posting. Can't reconcile it, particularly the 7200 for snow level, with the Milk Ranch webcam shots of the area


Pictures of a forest full of snow patches.

There are some areas that will be more melted out than others - Redwood Canyon for example. We went out last weekend and found snow covered by needles and leaves in the shaded parts of the canyon. Go higher and there will be more snow.

I am heading for Pear Lake in a couple weeks (unless I am part of a Search and Rescue recovery mission that weekend) to see just how much things are melted out in that area. I have a yen for the Tablelands.

Reconnaissance in the Kaiser Pass area shows similar - lots of forest that doesn't look snowy, but higher up, the road is edged by deep snowbanks.
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Re: Conditions from Wolverton - Hamilton Lakes,via High Sierra T

Postby Saltydog » Fri Jun 24, 2011 6:41 am

Alij:

I am in touch with a couple of other parties looking at Kaweah Gap, but no one going beyond Bearpaw till the 11th at the soonest. The SEKI report as of 6/20 has snow at only 60% above Hamilton, so it sounds like you ought to be able to find some clear trail and plenty of bare ground by the 4th:

"Mehrten Creek is waist-high and difficult to cross. Snowbridges at Seven Mile and Nine Mile Creeks are ready to give way. 35% snow from Mehrten to Buck Creek. 90% snow from Buck to Bearpaw. Steep, icy & snowy slopes. Crampons can be beneficial. Beyond 15 miles: Above Hamilton Lake, 60% snow. In Kaweah Gap, 100% snow. Big Arroyo, 100% snow at 10,000'. Kern Canyon is snow free. Changing daily. Avalanches seem to be rare."

Creek crossings seem to be the crux of the route. I am planning on going high for shallower crossings, avoiding snow bridges.

Let us know what you find up there, OK?

Thanks
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Re: Conditions from Wolverton - Hamilton Lakes,via High Sierra T

Postby alij13 » Tue Jul 05, 2011 3:56 pm

Thanks for all the posts!!!! The trip was amazing! Only real hazerdous river crossing was at Merthen Creek. Only a few snow patches from Buck creek up to Bearpaw (nothing you can't just go around) No snow on the trail up to Hamilton lakes. Made it halfway up to the Gap, with a few snow field crossings, but once you reach the tunnel, the snow field are heavy and were'nt able to cross without snow gear. The lakes had some snow in them still, but melting fast. The deer up there are not shy, one try to run off with my trekking pole! We were the only ones up at the lake, the crowds didnt start heading in til the 2nd. Beautiful hike, challenging, I highly recommend! I'm sure in the next few weeks you can make it to the Gap with no problems. :)
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