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Upper Twin Lake-Kaiser Wilderness

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Upper Twin Lake-Kaiser Wilderness

Postby riverwalker » Wed Jul 06, 2011 11:23 am

I am taking some beginning Boy Scouts up to this area next week. I was wondering if anyone has any info on snow and bugs.



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Re: Upper Twin Lake-Kaiser Wilderness

Postby Troutdog 59 » Wed Jul 06, 2011 12:53 pm

Depending upon when you go, it should be just about to open up. I was planning on trying a dayhike to those lakes this weekend, so I called the FS office in Tollhouse. They have had only a few reports, but said theres still 3 to 4 feet of snow on the north side of Potter Pass and she thought most lakes were still iced over. She didnt say the Twins were still frozen, but she did say nearby George (~9,100') was still completely iced over. That all seems about right based on my recent observations. I went over Kaiser Pass on June 25th and there was about 5 feet of snow on the north side of Kaiser Pass and the northern sides of the Kaiser Wilderness were blanketed. I did a nearby dayhike on 3 July up above Mammoth Pool to Lower Jackass Lake. I lost the trail due to snow cover at about 8,400/8,500 feet and the lake at ~8650 was mostly ice (~95%). Hope that helps!

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If you stand in the light, you get the feel of the night, and the music that plays in your ear......
In your mind you can hear, a voice so sweet and clear, and the music that plays in your head......
As it flows up from the ground, taking all that hear the sound, close your eyes, it’s about to begin.

R. Trower
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Re: Upper Twin Lake-Kaiser Wilderness

Postby windknot » Wed Jul 06, 2011 3:20 pm

Thanks for the info, Troutdog. Riverwalker, please post a report when you get back! I'm interested to know what the snow levels/lake thaws are looking like in the Kaiser Pass area right now.
A few backcountry fishing pictures: http://wanderswithtrout.wordpress.com/
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Re: Upper Twin Lake-Kaiser Wilderness

Postby Troutdog 59 » Fri Jul 08, 2011 8:10 am

My son and I are going to go up and try a dayhike to the Twins tomorrow (7/9) and I will provide an update upon our return, likley Sunday am.
If you stand in the light, you get the feel of the night, and the music that plays in your ear......
In your mind you can hear, a voice so sweet and clear, and the music that plays in your head......
As it flows up from the ground, taking all that hear the sound, close your eyes, it’s about to begin.

R. Trower
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Re: Upper Twin Lake-Kaiser Wilderness

Postby windknot » Fri Jul 08, 2011 10:40 am

Hope you two have a great trip! I'm looking forward to the report.
A few backcountry fishing pictures: http://wanderswithtrout.wordpress.com/
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Re: Upper Twin Lake-Kaiser Wilderness

Postby riverwalker » Fri Jul 08, 2011 11:47 am

Have a great trip Troutdog and I too am looking forward to the report.
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Re: Upper Twin Lake-Kaiser Wilderness

Postby Troutdog 59 » Sat Jul 09, 2011 11:59 pm

Made the trek to Upper Twin today with my son Josh and his GF Carrissa :) . While there was actually more snow than I expected on the approach (south side) to Potter Pass, the trail was easy to follow with a good path on the snow covered portions. We got a late start, but the snow was still nice and firm at about 11:00. A few downed trees and such across the trail but nothing that difficult. Potter Pass was snow free. I was a bit surprised to see 4 tents there.

We were back on snow again shortly after dropping down from Potter Pass and saw the most snow of the day in this area for the next 1/4 mile or so. We followed a path well worn by previous hikers and didn't have any problems making our way down towards the trail junction to the lakes. By the time we reached the junction to the lakes we we were out of the snow. Based on what I had seen coming up, I was actually surprised there wasn't more snow on the north side. We crossed drifts on the way to the lake, but mostly on the trail.

With it being a Saturday and the snow at higher elevations, there were several groups at the lake. I'd never been to the lake before, but it was obviously very high. There are trees in the lake all over the southern shore and small firs (4 - 6 ft) were 4 to 5 feet under water. We didn't explore the northern shore as that's were most of the other folk were, but it appeared mostly snow free.

We spent a few hours fishing and relaxing and had lunch. We talked about heading to over to check out a nearby lake I read about containing some good brookies on another members trout blog ;), but we opted on calling it good for spending the day at Upper Twin.

Weather was great (clear, mid 70's) and there was nary a skeeter to be seen. Lots of bird life and we heard lots of frogs in the meadow below Potter Pass and the tarn below Lower Twin. Definitly have a 7.5' Topo on hand. Helps out in the snowy areas.

I'll post some pics tomorrow.

Heres a few pics.

Trail on the way to Potter Pass

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Myself, Josh and Carrissa at Potter Pass

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Snow on north side of pass

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On the trail to Upper Twin

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Upper Twin Lake

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Last edited by Troutdog 59 on Mon Jul 11, 2011 10:08 am, edited 1 time in total.
If you stand in the light, you get the feel of the night, and the music that plays in your ear......
In your mind you can hear, a voice so sweet and clear, and the music that plays in your head......
As it flows up from the ground, taking all that hear the sound, close your eyes, it’s about to begin.

R. Trower
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Re: Upper Twin Lake-Kaiser Wilderness

Postby windknot » Sun Jul 10, 2011 10:55 am

Thanks for the report! Really glad to see that the lake was ice-free and fishable. Of course, I have to ask if you don't mind telling: how was the fishing? Also, did you check out Lower Twin at all?

There are a few nice lakes with good brookies written about on that blog. :) Kaiser is a wonderful little wilderness area, and there are several nice options for creative trips.
A few backcountry fishing pictures: http://wanderswithtrout.wordpress.com/
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Re: Upper Twin Lake-Kaiser Wilderness

Postby Troutdog 59 » Sun Jul 10, 2011 11:36 am

windknot wrote:Thanks for the report! Really glad to see that the lake was ice-free and fishable. Of course, I have to ask if you don't mind telling: how was the fishing? Also, did you check out Lower Twin at all?

There are a few nice lakes with good brookies written about on that blog. :) Kaiser is a wonderful little wilderness area, and there are several nice options for creative trips.


The bite was a bit slow, but fishing was good considering we only fished a couple hours at mid day. Nothing but dinks, but fish nonetheless. Silver spoons (Super Duper - Silver/red/prism; Z Ray - Z Hooker) worked the best for us, but we saw lots being caught on bait as well. All of our fish were rainbows that went from about 5 - 8". The fish were generally in good shape and pulled well enough on our UL spin rods to makes us think we had a larger prize at first. Gotta love the spirit of wild backcountry trout. We saw a few nicer brookies of about 10" maybe 12", but they did not hit our offerings. We did not fish Lower, but it looked interesting. Still an awesome day in a great little area. I will no doubt return and explore a few of your lakes ;) . My son had been in before and was our guide on the way in. Carrissa nabbed her 1st backcountry trout for the day as well, which is always cool:)
If you stand in the light, you get the feel of the night, and the music that plays in your ear......
In your mind you can hear, a voice so sweet and clear, and the music that plays in your head......
As it flows up from the ground, taking all that hear the sound, close your eyes, it’s about to begin.

R. Trower
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Re: Upper Twin Lake-Kaiser Wilderness

Postby maverick » Sun Jul 10, 2011 12:38 pm

Hey Troutdog 59

Thanks for the TR, and looking forward to seeing the pictures.
I hope you got a pictures of her catching her first trout!
Last edited by maverick on Sun Jul 10, 2011 12:40 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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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: Upper Twin Lake-Kaiser Wilderness

Postby riverwalker » Sun Jul 10, 2011 5:57 pm

Thanks for the TR Troutdog and the PM. You can ignore my PM as I think you answered all of my questions.
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Re: Upper Twin Lake-Kaiser Wilderness

Postby riverwalker » Sun Jul 17, 2011 9:12 am

I survived 5 days in the backcountry with 10 Boy Scouts. I had two great leaders help me keep my sanity. Thanks again for all the beta beforehand. The boys had a great time once the realized it. Image
At the trail head. They already look tired:)
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Lake levels were definitely high
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First fish....ever!
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Home for 5 days
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The hike out. The boys flew on the way out with visions of In&Out in their heads.
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I am glad we could give these boys this experience but boy am I glad it is over!
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