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Temperatures at higher elevations

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Temperatures at higher elevations

Postby amigo » Mon Aug 08, 2011 3:02 pm

Hi folks. I'll be in the Ansel Adams Wilderness next week. Approx what temperature range should I expect at night at Thousand Island Lake? Trying to be prepared clothing and bag-wise.

I hear it's a busy area for bears. What are the recommended steps to take if one is roaming around camp? Any problem taking a water bottle into the tent with me at night?

Agnew Meadows to Ediza L to Garnet L tio Thousand Island L, return via PCT. Any issues with water crossings?

Coming on the 120 from the east on Friday late afternoon/evening (the 19th). How long should we realistically expect to be in a lineup before we get into the Valley and the campgrounds?

Thanks.



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Re: Temperatures at higher elevations

Postby cgundersen » Mon Aug 08, 2011 3:18 pm

Amigo,
You'll definitely need to take bear cans, and as long as you cram everything edible or scented into the cans, you'll be OK. Bodie State park (~40 miles NE of Mammoth) has been recording the low temps in the whole US (upper 20s, low 30s) and you'll be several thousand feet higher, so expect mid-20s at night, possibly chillier. For those well-trodden trails, you should have no problems with water crossings. There's a big bridge on the way up to Shadow and from there to Ediza and beyond you should be OK. It's a fabulous route, hope it's great!
cg
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Re: Temperatures at higher elevations

Postby amigo » Mon Aug 08, 2011 3:51 pm

Argh! As low as mid 20's!? I really didn't expect it to be that cold. Was expecting mid to high 30's at worst. Glad I asked. Better make sure I'm well equipped. Thanks for the info.
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Re: Temperatures at higher elevations

Postby no2haven » Mon Aug 08, 2011 4:42 pm

Take it with a grain of salt, but...

http://forecast.weather.gov/MapClick.ph ... tType=text

...its a clickable map, too.

The MMSA patrol's website also has temperature readings from the ski resort at 10k and 11k. http://patrol.mammothmountain.com/. Take those with a grain of salt as well (open mountaintop vs cold lake basin).
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Re: Temperatures at higher elevations

Postby rlown » Mon Aug 08, 2011 8:03 pm

The rule of thumb is that for every thousand feet you go up, you lose 3 degrees Fahrenheit air temp. The temp you will experience also depends on current weather conditions (high pressure, low pressure, cold front, warm front). My general "Sierra bag" for Summer/Fall is a 15 degree bag. If you're carrying a tent, that adds 10 degrees easy. My bag is rarely zipped up, ever. More of a quilt at that point. I go with the 15 because,well, sometimes things can change in a bad way.

I check the weather forecast before I go and choose the best suited bag. I think right now and for the next few weeks, the problem will be with skeeters.

I have a 40 degree bag that I took (with tent) one August and it was very comfy. Just depends on what the weather might throw at you.
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Re: Temperatures at higher elevations

Postby lambertiana » Mon Aug 08, 2011 8:44 pm

I have only spent two nights at Thousand Island Lake, in late July 2003. Morning lows on that trip were around 35-40.

I have spent a lot of July/August nights in the Sequoia/Kings Canyon high country, most of it higher than Thousand Island Lake, and I have seen a wide range of temperatures, depending on location. Anything from 25-45 would not come as a surprise, and that is what I usually plan for when I am out in mid-summer.
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Re: Temperatures at higher elevations

Postby Hobbes » Tue Aug 09, 2011 4:40 am

I like to use the NOAA fire weather forecast for California. It has a detailed 3 day projection including highs, lows, humidity, trends, etc for base & 7k elevation.

http://www.wrh.noaa.gov/sto/cafw/southfwz.php

Try zones #273 & 226.
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Re: Temperatures at higher elevations

Postby Wandering Daisy » Tue Aug 09, 2011 9:14 am

I am confused. By "the valley" do you mean Yosemite Valley or Devil's Postpile? If coming via 120 and camping in Yosemite Valley, why? If you mean Devil's Postpile, the road is slow (you need a campground permit to drive your car in) but does not back up. Plan on 40 mph going over Tioga - good chance you will get stuck behind a RV. The entrance station can be a 15 minute wait- mostly less. The biggest delay may be just getting out of the Bay Area. From Sacramento, I always take 50 to Mormon Emigrant, 88, then over Monitor Pass, 395 to Mammoth. This avoids Tioga Pass. Good route if you come from the north Bay Area- much longer if you come from south Bay Area. I plan on 4.5-5 hours Sac to Mammoth. There are also good free camping areas en route- top of Monitor Pass, down by creek just off road to Virgina Lakes.
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Re: Temperatures at higher elevations

Postby amigo » Tue Aug 09, 2011 9:26 am

Why Yosemite Valley? Simple. We live out east and have never been to the Sierra Nevada or Yosemite NP. This trip will comprise of backpacking (Ansel Adams) followed by some day-hiking in Yosemite. Being our first (perhaps last) time there we wanted to see Yosemite Valley. We're planning on a day-hike up Clouds Rest (staying at Tuolomne Meadows) and a day-hike from Porcupine Creek trailhead down back into the Valley via Yosemite Falls (we're taking the shuttle from the Valley to the trailhead) which means we'd be camping in Yosemite Valley for at least one night, possibly two. Perhaps we didn't choose the best time of the year, but that's why I asked. I'd like to have an idea of what kind of nightmare we're possibly getting ourselves into.
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Re: Temperatures at higher elevations

Postby Wandering Daisy » Tue Aug 09, 2011 12:47 pm

Sorry- I misread-- guess you are coming from the east- from Reno? Huge lines into Yosemite Valley are usually a function of holidays- Memorial Day and Labor Day are hideous. IMid-week would be better simply because of better chances of finding a campsite.

I seldom go to Yosemite Valley in the summer. But I do have the advantage of living close by so have no reason to go in the summer. But, this year, some of the disadvantages are mitigated by the high snow pack. Falls should still be running. So far, we have had an unusually cool summer- not sure that will last. Unfortunately there currently is a fire that is spewing smoke into Yosemite. Even without a forest fire, air quality in the valley in the summer is poor, due to the campfires. It still will be spectacular, but photos may not turn out as wished.

I assume you already have camping arrangements- if not, you may not find a campsite in the valley. Camp 4 (the walk-in campsite in Yosemite Valley) is likely to be full by Friday afternoon. The best thing is to arrange your wilderness permits so you can stay in the backpackers campground (allowed day before and day after any overnight hike). Suggestion- even if you plan to do a one-way hike in one day from Tuolumne to the Valley, permit for a 2 day hike, timed so that you can legally stay at the backpacker CG the night you want to do this. If there are 2 of you, then each get his own permit for two people, staggered such that you both are covered for 2 nights in the backpacker CG. It will be quite hot- so bring hot weather hiking clothes for Yosemite Valley.
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Re: Temperatures at higher elevations

Postby amigo » Tue Aug 09, 2011 1:50 pm

Thanks for the info. We have a limited amount of time so had to plan out every day. Drive from San Francisco to Mammoth Lakes, 3 day backpack in Ansel Adams Wilderness. 4th day would be a free day where we make our way to Tuolumne Meadows (TM) to backpacker's CG. After 2 days of hiking, we're back in Yosemite Valley (YV) backpacker's CG - we first get into the valley on a Friday evening but already have permits so we can stay in the backpacker's CG. I have read that holidays are horrible but we're just not sure how long we might be in a car lineup to get into the valley on a Friday evening coming from TM region. I guess we'll just have to play it by ear.
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Re: Temperatures at higher elevations

Postby Wandering Daisy » Tue Aug 09, 2011 4:54 pm

Because of the limited camping in Yosemite Vallley, most cars are day-trip people. In the evening most of them are going out, so it does back up on the out road- particularly between Curry Village and Yosemite Falls. Rush hour is about 4-6 PM. Since you are coming in, you will not likely have lines, but expect 20-30 mph. I would go directly to Curry Village (follow signs- stay on main road- do not turn off it). From Curry Village it is a short drive to North Pines, where you go in and temporarily park to unload your gear. You then have to move your car to permanant parking. Although park personel always say you must park at the BP parking lot, you can also park at Curry Village. Technically, Curry Village is private and they can boot you out, but they never have. There are bear boxes in the dirt parking lot. Be sure to not leave even one crumb in your car! After the crowds leave, you can more easily go down valley to Yosemite Village and Yosemite Lodge area. The Mountain Bar at Yosemite Lodge is quite nice with reasonably priced bar type food. For lunch outdoor patio next to the mountaineering store has a great taco salad. You can buy beer in the store next door and have it with your taco salad. Curry Village all-you-can eat breakfast is better than Yosemite Lodge cafeteria. You can also shower at Curry Village. You are within walking distance to the Awahane Lodge from the BP campground. Does not cost anything just to go look at it! The best thing you can do right now is get a good map of Yosemite Valley and study it so you can get around more easily.
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