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TR: Wolverton to Alta Peak and Alta MeADOW

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TR: Wolverton to Alta Peak and Alta MeADOW

Postby Trailguru » Tue Jul 19, 2011 2:40 pm

Just came back from a trip to the Wolverton area of Sequoia. We left Los Angeles at 9:00pm instead of leaving at 3:00-4:00am the next day as we usually do because we wanted to avoid CarMaggedon.

Got to the Wolverton trailhead by around 2:00am where we crashed for the night and got up soon afterwards at 6:00am. After getting up and preparing the gear and a light breakfast we started the hike at 8:00am. The hike was uneventful till midway up to Panther Gap where we started to see our first patches of snow. It was a glimpse of things to come as the patches of snow started to appear with more frequency the higher we got up. We were able to get to get our first view of the canyon at Panther Gap where we could see to the Southeast the mountains of Mineral King. The snow was heavy above 11,500ft on all the peaks especially the North facing slopes. Being that we were South facing I didn't think snow would be problem getting to Alta Peak. How wrong we were!

Soon we were running into dayhikers who turned back because of the steep ice field on the way to the mountain. After a moment of contemplation we decided to move ahead and attempt the summit. It was a big gamble as not being able to make it would have meant that we would have to lose the entire day and not be able to make it to either Moose Lake or the summit. About 1 mile from the Summit we ran into the dread snowfield. We tried to cross it by climbing up to the rocks. After several attempts and over an hour just trying to clear that obstacle we ran into this other party that said the summit was nothing but snow and ice in the last 1/2 mile. That fact demorilized us as the trail seemed clear past that snow field blocking us. We decided to turn back and camp at Alta Meadow. The Ridge and slope that connects Alta Meadow to Moose Lake was free of snow but we were too tired to attempt camping at Moose Lake. The fog that had rolled in earlier at Panther Gap had enveloped the whole entire canyon by the time we got to the meadow and visibilty got down to less than 50ft at some points. We headed back the following day on Sunday to a trip where we couldn't make it to either Alta Peak nor Moose Lake.

Will be heading back soon... Also, Hwy 198 about 15 minutes past the Park Entrance had a major construction going on and delays were about 20-30minutes



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Re: TR: Wolverton to Alta Peak and Alta MeADOW

Postby maverick » Tue Jul 19, 2011 3:22 pm

Trailguru wrote "About 1 mile from the Summit we ran into the dread snowfield. We
tried to cross it by climbing up to the rocks. After several attempts and over an hour
just trying to clear that obstacle we ran into this other party that said the summit
was nothing but snow and ice in the last 1/2 mile. That fact demorilized us as the trail
seemed clear past that snow field blocking us."

Hi Trailguru

First, thanks for taking the time to write up the TR.
Second, don't let not summiting demoralize you, enjoy your experience, savor the
moments you all had together, and feel good about your decision about not having the
"summit at all cost" attitude that gets many folks in trouble, it shows a lot of maturity.
You all made the correct decision, and will have ample chances to do it at another time.
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: TR: Wolverton to Alta Peak and Alta MeADOW

Postby windknot » Wed Jul 20, 2011 9:52 am

Thanks for the report, it's good to know that there's still a lot of snow up there.
A few backcountry fishing pictures: http://wanderswithtrout.wordpress.com/
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Re: TR: Wolverton to Alta Peak and Alta MeADOW

Postby marvinartist » Thu Jul 21, 2011 8:34 pm

Hi, I'm leaving for a trip out of Wolverton on July 31 so I have a few questions, if you don't mind.

How was the mosquito situation?

Where was the best water source between Wolverton and Alta Meadow?

How deep was the snow in the areas you described?

How difficult is the hike from Wolverton to Alta Meadow?

Where would be the best place to establish a "base camp" in the area?

Thanks!
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Re: TR: Wolverton to Alta Peak and Alta MeADOW

Postby AlmostThere » Thu Jul 21, 2011 8:43 pm

marvinartist wrote:Hi, I'm leaving for a trip out of Wolverton on July 31 so I have a few questions, if you don't mind.


A separate thread is more appropriate. Also look at the sticky on how to request trip advice.
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Re: TR: Wolverton to Alta Peak and Alta MeADOW

Postby marvinartist » Thu Jul 21, 2011 8:50 pm

Thanks, I did the separate post but figured it wouldn't hurt to directly address the guy who just got back from where I'm going in case he wasn't checking new threads.
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Re: TR: Wolverton to Alta Peak and Alta MeADOW

Postby Trailguru » Thu Jul 21, 2011 11:15 pm

marvinartist wrote:Hi, I'm leaving for a trip out of Wolverton on July 31 so I have a few questions, if you don't mind.

How was the mosquito situation?

Where was the best water source between Wolverton and Alta Meadow?

How deep was the snow in the areas you described?

How difficult is the hike from Wolverton to Alta Meadow?

Where would be the best place to establish a "base camp" in the area?

Thanks!


Hi Marvinartist,

The Hike was beautiful and snow was only in certain spots like the Shady area. But the snow in the section we turned back had about a 45 degree slope and it was all ice. Even at 1pm it was too hard that we didn't feel like going directly over it so we took the rocks above. As far as mosquitos went there were NONE till we got back to the car (which coincidentally was also my one bite of the whole trip)

We also camped right by Alta meadow. As you head down the trail to Alta Meadow from the Junction with Alta Peak, you will see the trail open up to a nice large flat area. Honestly, we would have pushed to Moose Lake from there but since we only had one day and had to leave the following we decided to camp by the meadow.

I will post pics soon when my sister returns my camera.
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Re: TR: Wolverton to Alta Peak and Alta MeADOW

Postby marvinartist » Fri Jul 22, 2011 12:24 am

Thanks, I appreciate your response. I'm hoping for a heat wave to burn off some of that snow. I don't have crampons.
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Re: TR: Wolverton to Alta Peak and Alta MeADOW

Postby AlmostThere » Fri Jul 22, 2011 4:18 am

My hiking group went Tuesday. The snow at the top is suncupped and a number of people didn't have crampons - all summitted. All had poles.

There are three water sources, one a spring running down across the trail just before the meadow.

There are established campsites at the meadow, one right at the end of the maintained trail, others down the ridge.

Take your bear canisters, there are active bears in the area. I camped there before - a bear woke me up tearing apart a log.

The hike isn't difficult at all until you get to the last two mile climb to the peak. The snow field might be, depending on your comfort level with sloped snow. Don't do what you are not comfortable doing.
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