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November 1st Trip Suggestions

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November 1st Trip Suggestions

Postby jasonmark » Thu Oct 27, 2011 12:57 am

Hi,
I want to start a 5+ day trip in the Sierras next week and I'd love to get some input. I realize its very late in the year, but this is the free time I have and I want to make it happen. First, I'll give a little info about my experience:
Level 3 - Numerous backpacking trips, some x-country travel
comfortable with:
Class 3 - Terrain/pass/x-country, moderate river crossing, snow
I've also hiked on a couple of glaciers, but dont want to on this trip cause its solo. I am totally open to someone who might want to join in however. I've never been to the Sierra Nevada, but I've done some winter mountain hiking in Germany and New Zealand. I'm good with a map and compass, but havent done high altitude cross country in the snow.
I'm just looking to have a nice hike, get out in the snow, see some intense natural beauty and not worry about serious danger too much. Fire is a big plus. Can do 5+ days, at least 1 layover.
any advice/info/input is much appreciated!
Thanks,
Jason



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Re: November 1st Trip Suggestions

Postby fishmonger » Thu Oct 27, 2011 10:29 am

Mammoth weather dweebs are expecting winter to finally kick in within the next few days, and a possible storm in a week.

I'd stay in an area where you can bail easily, e.g. hike Yosemite Valley to Mammoth on the JMT, where you can get out pretty easily within a day from almost anywhere on that trail.

Right now there's very little snow left from the early October storm, but if it comes down again, the fresh stuff will be difficult to travel on, even if you bring snow shoes.
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Re: November 1st Trip Suggestions

Postby tim » Thu Oct 27, 2011 11:06 am

I may try and go to Pear or Emerald Lake in SEKI early next week for a quick 1-2 night trip (fires might be allowed at Emerald below 9400ft but I'm not sure). That's a nice place to base yourself for a quick out and back with some wandering in the Tablelands/Alta Peak, and has an easy bailout to paved road at Wolverton (via the Hump trail not the Watchtower if its snowy).

But as Fish says, best to be out of the backcountry by Thursday afternoon (11/3) if you don't want to get caught in what's looking increasingly like a cold storm that will last for several days (possibly from Thursday night on and off until Tuesday) with snow levels at 6000-7000ft or lower. On the other hand, if you can get away this weekend then you might fit in a 5 day trip with very pleasant conditions.
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Re: November 1st Trip Suggestions

Postby maverick » Thu Oct 27, 2011 5:33 pm

Hi Jason

Welcome to HST!
As the previous post mention this time of the year can be dicey, and the weather can turn
ugly very quickly.
The forecasts look fine till Thursday as of now, but as you probably know this can change
very quickly.
Would recommend that you keep an eye on the weather, and if things are looking good
than go visit the Minarets out of Mammoth, but take extra gear just in case you get
surprised.
I too am keep an eye on the weather, and if the weather holds up till next Sunday I too
will head up to the Minarets Tue or Wed till Sunday.
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: November 1st Trip Suggestions

Postby jasonmark » Thu Oct 27, 2011 7:36 pm

Thanks for the suggestions! much appreciated
A friend in Sonoma also suggested the minarets and I think I might be leaning in that direction. What is the best weather source for this area? I usually use NOAA. Would you start at agnew meadows or elsewhere? Any favorite routes/destinations? What is the best way to get to the trailhead? Any road closures? Are fires possible? Anything else?
thanks again for any thoughts, info, wisdom, etc.!
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Re: November 1st Trip Suggestions

Postby tim » Thu Oct 27, 2011 8:20 pm

Remember that the road into Devils Postpile is supposed to close on Oct 31, and in any case no overnight parking is permitted in the valley now. It sounds like the road closure date is regardless of weather conditions: http://www.nps.gov/depo/planyourvisit/hours.htm

You might need to go in via Agnew Lake/Gem Lake next week or take a long walk down from Minaret Vista. No fires allowed in most of that area, see Exhibits F and G in this document: http://www.fs.usda.gov/Internet/FSE_DOC ... 189333.pdf

For weather links start here: http://mammothweather.com/howards-favor ... ite-links/
The GFS 16 day plot is the best long range forecast you are likely to find that's easy to understand.
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Re: November 1st Trip Suggestions

Postby maverick » Fri Oct 28, 2011 12:13 pm

NOAA for me too, but also may use more localized weather forecasts, but nothing
is etched in stone, so don't trust anything more than 3 days out, especially this
time of year.
You have 3 realistic options, one is Rush Creek Trail, then the trail from starting
from Minaret Summit, and the trail starting from Horseshoe Lake.
If a storm comes in laying down a couple of feet of snow the Lake Mary Road
will close for the season, so keep that in mind when going!
Not sure whether the Minaret Summit area would stay open either.
Of the three, and the one I would use is the Minaret Summit option.
There are several trip reports to this area here on HST, use the search feature.
Highlights of the area are, 1000 Is Lake, Lake Ediza, Garnet Lake, Minaret Lake
Cecile Lake, and Iceberg Lake, just to name a few.
You could go up the Shadow Creek Trail to Ediza Lake, do a day hike up to Iceberg
Lake area.
Continue on using the JMT to visit Garnet, and 1000 Is Lake, and use either the
River Trail or the High Trail back to the Agnew Meadows area.
Another option that is longer would be to take the trail to Minaret Lake, and take
the Cecile-Iceberg Lake cross-country route to get to Ediza Lake, and then use the
JMT to get to Garnet, and 1000 Is Lake.
You will need ice axe and/or crampons for the Cecile-Iceberg section, especially with
the current low temps which will turn the crossing of steep snowfield into hard ice.
If the storm is predicted for Sunday you should try to get down to the Agnew area by
Friday, and be ready to get up to your car, just keep an eye on the sky, mother nature
will give adequate warning most of the time, if one pays attention to the tell tale
signs.
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: November 1st Trip Suggestions

Postby tim » Sun Nov 06, 2011 10:59 pm

I hope your trip turned out OK. My kids were in Yosemite on a school trip last week and woke up on Friday morning to 3 inches of snow on the valley floor. Must have been a cold weekend in the high country!
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