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Looking for snow and cold, July 7-9

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Looking for snow and cold, July 7-9

Postby nazdarovye » Sat Jul 01, 2006 9:37 am

Probably the opposite of what most everyone is looking for...but I and another tester for BGT are looking for where to find our best chance for cold and snow in the Sierra this coming weekend. We're testing some gear that still needs a good workout below freezing.

I know this is dependent on whatever weather system rolls in this coming week, but where do you all think we're likely to find the coldest temperatures in the Sierra Nevada?



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Postby hikerduane » Sun Jul 02, 2006 8:24 pm

Steve, from my campsite at Buck Island, on the outside, north edge of Desolation, Tells Peak and an adjoining peak were still covered nearly solid with snow. Doesn't mean it is freezing up there though. Friday night was nice, when I went to bed after dark I still had my shorts and shirt on was all. Elev was only around 6100'. Good luck finding temps that low this far north. Go to 11,000' to 12,000', past experience, it is still freezing in July at those elevations even without snow. This was around Magee Pass and the Bear Basin area where I had to roll over and put MY feet on Pooch when he was still alive.
Piece of cake.
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Postby nazdarovye » Sun Jul 02, 2006 9:56 pm

Thanks, Duane - at least that points us in the right direction. We'll post to the NorCal list when we have a destination figured out. Saw your report on the Rubicon overnight - glad to hear you outran (most of) the mosquitoes!
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Postby SSSdave » Wed Jul 05, 2006 12:39 pm

Your best bet would be a high elevation basin or valley with considerable northern exposures and or forest that has a bottlenecked canyon that dams downslope airflow. Such basins become cold air reservoirs overnight due to canyon bottlenecks that dam up cold air behind. A good example of such a place in a highway area is Hope Valley at 7k along SR88. Below Sorensen's Resort, the canyon narrows. In the winter sunrise temps at the SR88/89 junction are often in single digits while nearby Luther Pass at a higher 7.7k on SR89 is in upper 20s. During the early summer a place like Hope Valley without snow is too ground warmed by sun to get too cold at night. Thus a better bet is such a basin that is still well above the snowline as snow absorbs little sunlight and remains cold. I'm sure you don't want to hike out to too remote a location in the backcountry just to run your test. For an area near highways, you might try 20 Lakes Basin above Saddlebag.

For midsummer conditions coldest places are high steep north facing basins with large talus. Probably the coldest such place I know is at Goethe Lake. That is southwest of Piute Pass a bit about 11k. The whole basin above the lake is north facing talus and permanent snowfields with a steep narrow bottleneck at the mouth of the lower of two lakes. On many summer mornings nearby popular Muriel Lake can be nearly calm. Walking up to the higher Goethe Cirque, one will notice a chilly breeze coming down the outlet stream. Once getting to the lower lake it can be amazingly windy as all the cold air funnels through the narrow gap.

http://www.topozone.com/map.asp?lat=37. ... -118.70111
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Postby nazdarovye » Wed Jul 05, 2006 4:09 pm

Super-helpful, Dave - we'll check out your suggestions.
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