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June Trip up Kibbie Ridge to Many Island?

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Re: June Trip up Kibbie Ridge to Many Island?

Postby Wandering Daisy » Mon Mar 19, 2012 1:15 pm

Last year's PCT journals have much to say about these conditions! With LOTS of unprintable explicitives! Yosemite seems to have abundance of these conditions! I should have added totally numb feet as an additional premium pleasure. Feels like you are walking on stumps instead of feet and the stinging is so sensational when they finally warm up. Oh, let me remember:

Wading waist deep in freezing water holding my pack above my head wallowing down Grand Canyon of the Tuolumne below Glen Aulin.

Slopping through muck above Little Yosemite Valley, alternating between mud, icy water, horrific mosquitoes and then, up on dry land to encounter a rattlesnake.

In Jack Main Canyon I had the added pleasure of several swift water thigh deep crossings and Tildon Lake was so thick with mosquitoes that I had to climb 600 feet up on the top of a hill to sleep. Next day I kept running into bears, about one per hour and after nearly 13 miles camped on another rock in Tiltil Valley which had competing amounts of mud and mosquitoes.

And Kennedy Canyon- here you get the added benefit of cow piles mixed in with the mud and icy water. Who could ask for more?

Oh, yes, the pleasures of early season backpacking! Cannot wait!



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Re: June Trip up Kibbie Ridge to Many Island?

Postby DoyleWDonehoo » Wed Mar 21, 2012 11:57 am

kpeter , I did not have time to read through all of this thread, so I hope I do not dupe anything here. We met on the Kibbie trail last year, and I had gone up Kibbie Ridge a ways that trip. There was snow then on the ridge, but the worst part was that the trail was nearly obliterated by deadfall (fallout from a recent fire), and the trail was very faint in places. I would like to know if they have cleaned up that trail this last year, so if anybody knows.... I would like to try again to get to the Boundary Lakes area (Many Island Lake is one of my all-time favs) with my noob backpacker friend. It is a great area.

Elsewhere I outlined a X-C route Via Kibbie Lake when there is snow on Kibbie Ridge.
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Re: June Trip up Kibbie Ridge to Many Island?

Postby SSSdave » Wed Mar 21, 2012 1:08 pm

I'm not a fan of early season hiking unless one is low enough to be well below the snow line in dry conditions. For many of the reasons WD mentioned and more. For photographers, too much snow of course tends to make landscapes even more contrasty thus more difficult to expose. Also not much color in frames with green vegetation still waking up and wildflowers absent.

In my experience, the mid to upper Cherry, Kendrick, and Falls Creek basins have the worst mosquito conditions in the Southern Sierra during many years and that usually peaks between early June and early July depending on snowpack and weather. The reason is obvious if one looks at that area's topo's. Heavily glaciated by ice cap depths, the landscape has a great many small depressions that fill with snowmelt and breed squeets. Probably the worst area of all is the Cow Meadow Lake, Lertora Lake, Huckleberry Lake zone about mid June.

Given that the still thin despite last week's storm Sierra snowpack is likely to melt off rather quickly, we are taking advantage of the likely lower number of squeeters to take a trip up Kibbie Ridge to the Huckleberry zone. Like a bit later than your trip because there will still be some mosquitoes. Would rather let them do their thing sucking blood from others and get eaten up by damselflies before we go. Besides July will be more a peak for wildflowers. And crossing Cherry Creek will be easier.

The uninteresting 9.5 miles 2100 foot vertical slog from Shingle Springs at 5800 feet to Styx Pass is not something we given our heavy packs will tackle in a single day. Instead reaching the trailhead likely 9pm to 10pm some Friday evening, we will headlamp night hike the first 2.8 milles to 6700 where a bit off trail acres of granite slabs at Snow Canyon overloook Cherry Creek Canyon. A good spot well off trail and away from any trail meandering bears. That will leave us less than 7 miles and 1200 feet to reach the pass zone that has nice photography if one knows what to do.

I've been to Boundary, Little Bear, Spotted Fawn, Flora, and looked down at Edyth from atop Nance Peak, so have done the quite interesting and well recommended tour of those parts. Note if there are a lot of squeeters about, the shores of Little Bear Lake may be about the best place one could sleep butt-nekid in the Sierra without worrying about blood sukkers. The shallow waters are covered with pond grass that have the largest population of the most voracious squeete-eaters, aka damselflies by far I've ever seen. If one is there in the usual late June hatch, dozens will be landing on you and all your gear continually.

In our case on day two, we'll meander slowly the 6 miles or so up Cherry Creek to reach the south side of outlet zone of the Huckleberry basin where two nicely smooth mini domes guard the entrance. Nice place to jump in the creek then lay on stream smooth polish. Just upstream is a veritable rainbow trout farm. Later afternon will climb up atop 8366. Will be out 8 or 9 days. Almost completed the very detailed itinerary and my daily photo route plans. Lots of 4x5 pics and fish. Our other big trip next summer will be a few weekes later into Minnow Creek areas.
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Re: June Trip up Kibbie Ridge to Many Island?

Postby rlown » Wed Mar 21, 2012 2:27 pm

Do people here really like Kibbie? what is the draw?
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Re: June Trip up Kibbie Ridge to Many Island?

Postby TehipiteTom » Wed Mar 21, 2012 2:35 pm

rlown wrote:Do people here really like Kibbie? what is the draw?

It's on the way to lakes that are much nicer?

That's all I got.
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Re: June Trip up Kibbie Ridge to Many Island?

Postby DoyleWDonehoo » Wed Mar 21, 2012 2:43 pm

rlown wrote:Do people here really like Kibbie? what is the draw?

The draw is that is one of the first areas to be snow free early season, which makes it somewhat popular. The lake is also pretty scenic for a low level lake. It is also the doorway to the Yosemite-EW area and its many lakes (Like the Boundary Lakes area). Yes, at the wrong time (July) it is a mosquito haven.
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Kibbie Lake looking towards Many Island Lakes up-canyon.
BL1.jpg
Boundary Lake
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Re: June Trip up Kibbie Ridge to Many Island?

Postby TehipiteTom » Wed Mar 21, 2012 4:51 pm

In fairness to Kibbie, I gather the part nearest the trail is kind of the least scenic. So I probably haven't seen its better sides.
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Re: June Trip up Kibbie Ridge to Many Island?

Postby DoyleWDonehoo » Wed Mar 21, 2012 5:07 pm

TehipiteTom wrote:In fairness to Kibbie, I gather the part nearest the trail is kind of the least scenic. So I probably haven't seen its better sides.

The trail starts out in hot dry transition zone and it is a slog to get to Kibbie Ridge. Kibbie lake is under 6500 feet, so there is that. The closer you get to Styx Pass, the better it gets. That whole Boundary Lake and Big Lake area is nearly one continuous ocean of white Yosemite pluton granite.
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Many Island Lake 2.jpg
Many Island Lake in its bowl, and the ramp leading down to it.
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Re: June Trip up Kibbie Ridge to Many Island?

Postby SSSdave » Wed Mar 21, 2012 5:24 pm

rlown wrote:Do people here really like Kibbie? what is the draw?


Rather large lake that is very deep on the glacially gouged out east side.

Relatively short distance from a trailhead with just a modest amount of uphill.

Easy to obtain a permit from Stanislaus National Forest. Can phone in even on day of departure get permit written up, put in night box, and picked up in night box on drive in.

Rather difficult to circumnavigate unless one has a bushwhackers badge. So few ever manage to reach east side. Thus seclusion if one wants it.

Tall cliffs on north and east sides that plumb drop into deep water. Low elevation lake that warms up by late August so taking a swim is reasonable as well as cliff jumping.

Mid east side, a bay with a cliff rising out of the water that makes for great echoes.

June waterfalls mid lake east side some of which drop directly into lake.

Visited by eagles.

Good population of rainbow trout planted from the late 1800s that have developed an excellent lake strain. Can witness considerable spawning late May on inlet stream.

Wonderfully large fragrant western azalea blooms grace some of its shores.

Acres of nice smooth granitoid gruss flats on southwest side that have nice belly flowers.

Can use a first day at Kibbie to eliminate a single long boring trail day to Styx Pass by after a first night at Kibbie angling crosscountry from back end of lake up towards Kibbie Ridge.
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Re: June Trip up Kibbie Ridge to Many Island?

Postby kpeter » Wed Mar 21, 2012 6:55 pm

Lots of useful observations here. Thank you!

Kibbie Ridge Trail condition

Doyle, yes, I remember our meeting well. Earlier in the thread Phoenix 2000 reported that last summer--must have been after you and I met on the trail--the Kibbie Ridge trail had been cleared, the deadfall removed and it is now easy to follow.

Mosquitoes.

The June trips I have done have been expressly designed to avoid mosquitoes by getting in before the hatch.

Mosquitoes begin hatching about 3 weeks after snowmelt and become unbearable for about four weeks after that. By 8 weeks after melt they usually are not too bad. (There are a few species of hardy anti-freeze mosquitoes that overwinter, but they never appear in great numbers. The horrible ones we usually notice take three weeks to become adults after their ponds thaw.)

You can avoid them by going very early or late--people on this board have observed that July is usually a bad mosquito month in the Sierras, while June and August are better. To give you some examples. 1) Last year I went to Kibbie the third week of June and had very few Mosquitoes--it was a bit too soon after the melt and they were just beginning. 2) Previous year I went in to Lake Vernon again 3rd week of June and saw my first mosquitoes on the way out. But nearly anywhere I have been in the Sierras in the first couple of weeks of July is mosquito saturated. The question is...in a dry year will the mosquitoes come out extra early? If it is too dry the hatch might happen in time to have a cloud waiting for me the first week of June. I guess I will find out.

Why Kibbie?

Strange to say, it has to do with my being a teacher. My school year begins in mid August, so if I want to do much backpacking I need to find places I can go in June and July. August is always great--it just is not long enough. NW Yosemite is low enough in elevation to be accessible in June in most years. Equally important, it has so much granite that the landscape seems gorgeous even though it is not alpine. In June, I am so starved for the wilderness that Kibbie can seem like Ediza to me. And to think of all those granite lakes behind Kibbie I have never seen....I am looking forward to this trip!
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Kibbie Lake, June 2011
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Re: June Trip up Kibbie Ridge to Many Island?

Postby DoyleWDonehoo » Wed Mar 21, 2012 7:44 pm

kpeter wrote:Earlier in the thread Phoenix 2000 reported that last summer--must have been after you and I met on the trail--the Kibbie Ridge trail had been cleared, the deadfall removed and it is now easy to follow. ...And to think of all those granite lakes behind Kibbie I have never seen....I am looking forward to this trip!

Thanks for the info! We may try it again this year early, maybe late May or in June.
Everything SSSDAVE wrote was right on, as kpeter undoubted saw.
The Boundary Lake area is one of the best places in the Sierra. You just have to pay with effort to get there. It is guarded by Kibbie Ridge which goes over 8000 feet (snow), by a X-C route out of Kibbie Lake, or via the Flora Lake route, which means a crossing of Kibbie Creek and following the mostly gone trail to Flora and the easy X-C to the Boundary Lakes. It all good...
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Re: June Trip up Kibbie Ridge to Many Island?

Postby kpeter » Sun Apr 15, 2012 1:21 pm

Now that we have had another week of April snow, the Kibbie Ridge snow gauge is showing about 22" of snow and 7" of water content at 6700 feet. Of the last half dozen years the year that comes closest to that is 2009.

Anyone backpack in NW Yosemite/Emigrant in early June 2009? What were the conditions like?
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