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Tehipite Valley - early season?

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Tehipite Valley - early season?

Postby norcalhiker » Sat Mar 24, 2012 4:47 pm

I'm considering heading into Tehipite this memorial day weekend. Bad/good idea?

I'm a strong hiker (thruhiker+, etc).

Any predictions on snow travel and stream crossings?

The idea is day one to the valley. Day two day hike up and down the valley and day three back to the car.

Is there are stream crossing that blocks access early season?



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Re: Tehipite Valley - early season?

Postby fourputt » Sat Mar 24, 2012 5:32 pm

Even with the relatively dry year it's likely you won't be able to cross Crown Creek, restricting your visit to west of the crossing. Little Tehipite is worth a visit, but you'll be missing the prettiest, IMHO, part of the Middle Fork Trail between Crown Creek and Blue Canyon Falls.
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Re: Tehipite Valley - early season?

Postby TehipiteTom » Sun Mar 25, 2012 6:24 am

Also, one day to the valley is extremely ambitious. 18 miles in, and the last 3 miles or so dropping into the valley are steep (as in, barely the pretense of switchbacks; as in, first time I was there a horse had fallen off the trail the day before) with a lot of loose ankle-buster rock in the lower portion--in other words, a certain amount of care required. Not a section I'd like to do at the end of a super-long day; YMMV.
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Re: Tehipite Valley - early season?

Postby norcalhiker » Sun Mar 25, 2012 8:23 am

Good advice!

I asked about creek crossings because I suspected that it wasn't feasible. Thanks for confirming that! I also think that Tehipite would be best in the fall. Cooler temps, fewer bugs, no worries about creeks.

How does one visit the valley to see peek wildflower bloom? I assume that it happens quite early.

Late June in a "normal" melt year should be passable right? Anyone have early season experience?

I'm not worried about the 18 mile day. I've done 18 by lunch more than once. Have 8K+ miles underfoot and my highest mileage day is well over 50. I've also been to the top of the switch backs and down just a little bit. Back in scouts an adult leader slipped on the switchbacks, scraped his shoulder and we aborted the trip. Been wanting to head back ever since!
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Re: Tehipite Valley - early season?

Postby fourputt » Sun Mar 25, 2012 9:10 am

Yosemite Valley at the same elevation would be the equivalent of peak wildflowers, so around May 1.

It was possible during the '87-'92 drought to cross Crown safely (after finding one's way through the snow from Wishon) in early May because the creek splits into two manageable channels in the Gravel Flat. That configuration still exists but a channel of the Middle Fork has since joined it above the split. We fished there last September so this is recent. Here's a picture of the confluence:

http://www.flickr.com/photos/fourputt/6 ... 7626494325

As for fewer bugs, well, later than we went!
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Re: Tehipite Valley - early season?

Postby richlong8 » Tue Mar 27, 2012 3:23 pm

I plan to get down to Tehipite this year as well. I have been thinking the first week of July this year, with the low snowpack. I want the water levels to be down enough to have good fishing and easy to get in the water. It is pretty easy to get a permit for this area, so I am just going to keep watching the snowpack, and river flows, and make a decision when it becomes obvious that July meets what I am looking for. Otherwise, last August, early September is my next opportunity. I don't know of a sensor that measures the Middle Fork, but if I watch the main KIngs and the Kern, it should give me a feel for the conditions. Thanks for sharing the great pics, really looking forward to this trip.
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Re: Tehipite Valley - early season?

Postby Jimr » Tue Mar 27, 2012 4:13 pm

I'll be in Tehipite Valley July 10th through 12th. Headed out the 9th and back by 13th.
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Re: Tehipite Valley - early season?

Postby DoyleWDonehoo » Tue Mar 27, 2012 4:36 pm

norcalhiker wrote:I'm not worried about the 18 mile day. I've done 18 by lunch more than once. Have 8K+ miles underfoot and my highest mileage day is well over 50.

Depends though. If you have been on the trail for a while, then the long miles days are easier, especially on good trail.
Best case, If you start this hike early in the morning, you have to do miles on true wilderness trails (faint in places with plenty of deadfall early season) with lots of gain and loss, then you are presented with a 4000 foot drop into the canyon at a time your legs will have already have had a good workout. The drop into the canyon will have the front of your thighs trembling by the time you get to the bottom. Unless you are in top condition, expect soreness.
The usual scenario is getting the permit, and making the long drive to the TH (make sure your valuables are out of sigh in your vehicle: cars have been robbed in this area). Now you have a late morning start. By the time you get to Crown Valley, it is fairly late day, and there is good camping in the area. The next morning you are in great position to hike over to the verge and down into the canyon, with plenty of time left over to explore, which is in a limited area early season, because crossing Crown Creek is, as others have said, impossible early season. Oh, and watch out for snakes, so don't be in a hurry.
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Up ahead, the beginning of the 4000 foot plunge to the bottom of the valley.
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http://www.doylewdonehoo.com" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;
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Re: Tehipite Valley - early season?

Postby maverick » Tue Mar 27, 2012 5:32 pm

Why day hike into TV with so many things to see like Blue Canyon Fall, Silver Spray Falls
Painted Rock, Tehipite Dome, and the Middle Fork Kings.
Spending at least 3-4 day in TV is much more deserving of such a beautiful, and remote
location.
Would love to see the valley in full bloom, most likely in May, but getting the timing right
is not easy with all the variables when it comes to wild flowers.
Have only heard unsubstantiated rumors of the Lupine, Indian paint brush, and Mariposa
lily that supposedly carpets the valley floor at full bloom. Unfortunately my two trips
have been in mid season, and by then most of the flowers are done or at there end,
especially if it the temps have been high. Have asked backpackers, and NPS about
this, but no info available.
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: Tehipite Valley - early season?

Postby richlong8 » Tue Mar 27, 2012 7:31 pm

My plan is to take a minimum of 5 days for the trip. I would prefer 6, and may take as many as 9. If the ranger station at Prather handles permits like most, I won't be able to pick it up in a night box, only in person, because I will be going into a national park. I hate that rule. It makes it very difficult to get early am starts, and really is not neccessary, in my opinion. Anyway, I will take at least 1 and half days to get down, maybe 2, if I decide to take a longer route, via Spanish and Geraldine Lakes. For me, 18 miles, just to get there in one day, maybe if it was all all level, but the last part from Poop Out Point, looks as steep as it gets. I am hoping I can do it the first week of July, but we will see how many late season storms we get, and how quickly it gets hot, and melts the snowpack.
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Re: Tehipite Valley - early season?

Postby Jimr » Wed Mar 28, 2012 8:39 am

I may add a 6th day to my trip as well. If my partner can't negotiate his timing conflict, it will be solo for me and another day. Sounds like you're planning a Friday night drive?
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Re: Tehipite Valley - early season?

Postby richlong8 » Wed Mar 28, 2012 1:48 pm

I would probably pickup the permit very early in the morning from the nightbox at the Prather staion, if the ranger station will accomodate. I only have to make the drive from Bakersfield. This is a solo trip for me- my normal hiking partner got a new job, and has no vacation yet. He was not excited about that steep drop into Tephite Valley anyway, but once he caught some fish, he would have forgiven me! I am building the trip around the fourth of July holiday, which is midweek, but I am not sure exactly on my entry and exit dates.
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