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conditions sierra high route

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conditions sierra high route

Postby BBchris » Mon Jul 25, 2011 10:17 am

I just found this site and have found it very valuable. thank you to all that make it happen.

I'm planning the sierra high route beginning the 1st of august for 14 days.

I did about 3/4 of the trip last august.
I'm a level 4 and comfortable on class 2 or 3. but not very experienced with snow travel.

looking for current conditions and especially on the passes.



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Re: conditions sierra high route

Postby cgundersen » Mon Jul 25, 2011 10:28 am

BBchris,
By now, I'd guess everything that still has snow is so well trampled that you'll have no problems except where high water forces you to take detours which are also likely to be well marked. The thing that may give you more trouble is smoke from the fire burning in the lower Kern basin. See this link (which also links to webcams):
http://inciweb.org/state/5/

When it started, this fire was expected to burn ~6500 acres, but it sailed by that mark and now is projected to exceed 20,000 acres. That is a lot of smoke and it tends to accumulate in the Kern basin at night and then go wherever the wind blows it. Barring rain or steady wind from the North, your route will take you through lots of smoke.
cg
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Re: conditions sierra high route

Postby cgundersen » Mon Jul 25, 2011 10:34 am

BBchris,
My apologies, I read this as the High Sierra route, which is very different. Anyway, Zoltan's recent report on conditions west of Taboose should give an idea of conditions you could expect in the early High Route stretches on the Monarch Divide and Kathy Wing's photos from Mt. Sill give an idea of the area up by the Palisades. I went over Muir Pass in late June and there's no problem there (Silverfox has a great, more-recent thread on this part). Still, you'll be seeing plenty of snow!
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Re: conditions sierra high route

Postby jfelectron » Wed Jul 27, 2011 10:44 am

Everything above 10.5-11k is still very very snowy and frozen, though it depends heavily on the aspect and exacty how much snow a particular basin saw. I can't speak to the southern most portion of the SHR (in KCNP) as we connected via Piute Pass a little over a week ago. All the lakes in eastern Humphries basin were still frozen though thawing. The SHR approach to Puppet pass is entirely snowbound from Mesa Lake on. We decided to approach the pass via Square Lake and the little drainage behind it, which was oddly snow free. The entire French Lakes Basin was frozen with only very minimal melting of the lakes. The trail up to Meriam Lake is snow free as are the meadowlands to the southeast of the lake. Meriam and all the lakes up that drainage are frozen and surrounded as of last week by deep, heavily suncupped snowfields. The headwall of Feather Pass is normally a class 3 scramble when melted out, but is currently a very steep snowfield that turned us back. It would require technical equipment and the knowledge to use it. Things are melting, but there is still a awful lot of snow 11k+, so its hard to say what things will look like for you.
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