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Current Snow/Travel Conditions for Feather Pass?

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Current Snow/Travel Conditions for Feather Pass?

Postby adixon » Mon Aug 29, 2011 10:38 am

I am an experieced backpacker and alpine mountaineer. I am putting and equipment list together for the Sierra High Route from Humphrey's Basin to Mammoth. Start date Sept 12.

Wondering if anybody has the current snow/travel condtions for Feather Pass. The only report I can find is from July. I have everything from trekking poles and YakTrax to crampons and axe (but obviously would like to leave the crampons and axe at home if not needed.)

Thanks, -A



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Re: Current Snow/Travel Conditions for Feather Pass?

Postby cgundersen » Mon Aug 29, 2011 1:13 pm

Hi,
If you check the photos of White Bear Pass that Drew posted (pg 17 of the backcountry updates, I think) that'll give you an idea of snow in that area. A duo I ran into at Teddy Bear Lake during the same time period had come over Feather and White Bear and they said White Bear was harder, because of a little uncertainty at the top about the best path. They had poles and lightweight boots, but no other snow gear. I'm sure there are enough tracks that you could leave the gear behind.
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Re: Current Snow/Travel Conditions for Feather Pass?

Postby BrianF » Mon Aug 29, 2011 1:19 pm

I'm curious as well - adixon I may see you there! I'll be heading into the Bear Lakes basin via Dancing Bear on 9/12 and leaving via Feather after spending a couple of days there. So if anyone has been in that area recently please pipe up. I am expecting some snow but nothing insurmountable with just trekking poles and boots.
BTW, I have alot of x-country hiking and mountaineering experience
The direction you are moving in is what matters, not the place you happen to be -Colin Fletcher
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Re: Current Snow/Travel Conditions for Feather Pass?

Postby adixon » Mon Aug 29, 2011 1:45 pm

cgundersen wrote:Hi,
A duo I ran into at Teddy Bear Lake during the same time period had come over Feather and White Bear and they said White Bear was harder, because of a little uncertainty at the top about the best path. They had poles and lightweight boots, but no other snow gear. I'm sure there are enough tracks that you could leave the gear behind.
cg


Thanks, that is very useful info......
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Re: Current Snow/Travel Conditions for Feather Pass?

Postby mcgloner » Fri Sep 09, 2011 2:15 pm

I will be attempting a similar trip (Humphreys Basin to Duck Pass via SHR), leaving on Sept. 12th also. The ranger at White Mtn. Ranger Station in Bishop reported that feather pass was not a problem and snow gear was not suggested. I spoke with him on 9/8/11.

I will be entering Darwin Canyon via Lamark Col and picking up the SHR around Darwin Bench...Does anyone know the current conditions on Snow Tongue or Alpine Cols?
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Re: Current Snow/Travel Conditions for Feather Pass?

Postby adixon » Fri Sep 09, 2011 2:40 pm

Thanks, based on that and the Aug 29 report, all agree that the SHR over Feather and through the Bear Lakes Region should be doable. -a
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Re: Current Snow/Travel Conditions for Feather Pass?

Postby stevet » Fri Sep 09, 2011 10:03 pm

I went over Feather Pass (n to s) on Tuesday 9/6. About 1 mile of snow cover from the tarn at the base of the ascent, partially frozen still, until about the last 40' of the climb. Went straight up the gut first thing in the morning with micro-spikes, no issue whatsoever.

It is also passable as a boulder hop on the east edge of the snow field. But first thing in the morning with spikes, the snow is fastest and easiest route to the top.
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Re: Current Snow/Travel Conditions for Feather Pass?

Postby adixon » Sat Sep 10, 2011 4:19 am

WOW! That is timely and useful info. What exactly do you mean by "micro spikes?"

Kahtoolas? Yack Trax?

-a
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Re: Current Snow/Travel Conditions for Feather Pass?

Postby stevet » Sat Sep 10, 2011 6:35 am

I had kahtoola's. My hiking partner Art, kako ice trekkers. Both were up to the task.
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Re: Current Snow/Travel Conditions for Feather Pass?

Postby adixon » Mon Sep 26, 2011 7:08 am

mcgloner wrote:I will be attempting a similar trip (Humphreys Basin to Duck Pass via SHR), leaving on Sept. 12th also. The ranger at White Mtn. Ranger Station in Bishop reported that feather pass was not a problem and snow gear was not suggested. I spoke with him on 9/8/11.

I will be entering Darwin Canyon via Lamark Col and picking up the SHR around Darwin Bench...Does anyone know the current conditions on Snow Tongue or Alpine Cols?


How did your trip go? Did you summit Feather Peak? -alan
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Re: Current Snow/Travel Conditions for Feather Pass?

Postby adixon » Mon Sep 26, 2011 7:18 am

stevet wrote:I went over Feather Pass (n to s) on Tuesday 9/6. About 1 mile of snow cover from the tarn at the base of the ascent, partially frozen still, until about the last 40' of the climb. Went straight up the gut first thing in the morning with micro-spikes, no issue whatsoever.

It is also passable as a boulder hop on the east edge of the snow field. But first thing in the morning with spikes, the snow is fastest and easiest route to the top.


A brief trip report that contains conditions for Feather, Gabbot, and Shout of Relief passes. (All have signficant snow but are generally low angle and passable mid-day without crampons when the snow is soft. And passable when cold with anything that has spikes, kahatoolas or what I brought, Camp xlc-490 crampons, http://www.camp-usa.com/products/crampons/xlc-490.asp that worked fine with my Inov-8 Terroc 330 trai runners. -a

My partner and I did 65+ miles or so on a section of the Sierra High Route.

Bishop to Red's Meadow. Challenging weather. Snow squalls.
Amazing hail storms. Rained every day. Usually from 2-8p--sometimes to
11p. Pyramid tarp froze solid each night. Very humid! Lot's of mist
and fog during the night. Sometimes the clouds had not cleared off by
8:00 the next morning. Only sunny 9:00am to possibly noon.
Nothing ever dried out and by Day 4 our bags looked more like cold,
damp dish rags than their lofty pre-trip warmness. (No time to stop
during the sunny part of the day to dry things out...)

Rain didn't leave a lot of time for hiking (gotta be done with your
high passes before weather hits--we accomplished this most days--but a
few times we were getting snow squalls, hail and/or rain as we came down
the last pass of the day) . We went from dawn (or before dawn under
headlamp) as far as we could until the weather came in. Usually
stopping no more than 15-30 minutes total during the day. That makes for a
long time under shelter. We were good and sick (bored to tears) of our
Supermid by the end of the trip (we cooked in it most nights
and mornings as well).

Still a lot of snow on Feather, Gabbot, and Shout of Relief passes.
Usually we hit our high passes middle to late in the the day and the
snow had softened up enough to make for decent travel w/o crampons.
Didn't slow us down too much. I used my crampons once, when we hit a
frozen snow field (with a long scary runout) early in the morning on
Shout of Relief Pass. Could have found a way aound it, but I had
crampons and it was a lot faster to strap them on than to find/climb a
laborious way around the snowfield.

Last day we got up at 4am and did the first couple hours under
headlamp (since we'd be hiking the Mammoth Ridge for a long time and
did not want to get electrocuted by a T-storm). We got to Red's Meadow
by 1pm :-)

We ended up taking 5-days to complete the route (including a 10:00 am
start on Day 1). Would have been nice to have even a few sunny
afternoon/evenings to allow some time to smell the flowers, even for a
few minutes--or even for a mid-day swim. Or with the extra hiking time
we could have reached Red's in 4 days and done some more of the SHR.

We were very happy with the equipment we brought, and our route
finding/navigation, pacing and distance traveled given the weather
conditions, and short time available for hiking. -a
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Re: Current Snow/Travel Conditions for Feather Pass?

Postby cgundersen » Mon Sep 26, 2011 9:45 am

Sounds like a wild several days; it's sad the weather was uncooperative as that's gorgeous country to have most of the peaks shrouded in cloud/fog. Sounds like those passes will still have a good snow base that will carry over into the coming winter. Could make for fun next year if there are big storms again!
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