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Early season hiking

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Early season hiking

Postby BudBundy » Mon Apr 02, 2012 11:58 am

Hello everybody. I am new to this site, but I am so glad to have found it. I have perused through some of the posts and I can just tell that there are a great group of people here. i already thank you for some of the great information I have received through my own researching of this site.

I was writing this first post in hope of getting some advice for some early season day hikes.

I am taking 3 friends of mine out to the Bishop or Mammoth area on the final weekend of April, and would like some advice of any backcountry lakes that would be accessible during this early season.

I know the snow levels are much lower and not as thick this year, so Im hoping that may help in finding a good route this early in the season for a great day hike to a beautiful lake.

Is it too early to know? Are there are some areas that that historically are open earlier in the season??

I want to thank you for any information. I really appricate any help I can get and as I learn more about this wonderful area I would definitely be happy to share. I have always been into hiking, but I have now finally gotten some of the tastes of the sierras and I am looking to hang out there just as much as I can in the following years!! Im so very excited



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Re: Early season hiking

Postby maverick » Mon Apr 02, 2012 12:45 pm

Hi BudBundy,

Welcome to HST!
Appreciate your enthusiasm to get out, but April will be too early for any of the
backcountry lakes out of Mammoth or Bishop.
You can check back here to see if anyone posts any TR's into either of these area, but
in the mean time your stuck with the info you get from the Inyo NF site.
http://www.fs.usda.gov/detail/inyo/recr ... rdb5186993
http://www.fs.usda.gov/detail/inyo/recr ... rdb5136876
I don't give out specific route information, my belief is that it takes away from the whole adventure spirit of a trip, if you need every inch planned out, you'll have to get that from someone else.

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: Early season hiking

Postby tim » Mon Apr 02, 2012 2:43 pm

The Rock Creek road should be open at least to the pack station by then (it was plowed by mid April even last year). According to the snow survey (http://cdec.water.ca.gov/cgi-progs/snow/DLYSNOWDP) there is only about 5 inches of snow (not snow water equivalent) there right now. For a day hike, heading up to Little Lakes basin might be quite pleasant if you are happy to walk in very wet, possibly snowy conditions.
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Re: Early season hiking

Postby paul » Mon Apr 02, 2012 10:01 pm

It's looking more and more likely that you'd be able to get up to Loch Leven (on the way to Piute Pass) on the last weekend in April. There will still be some snow on the trail, But I'll bet it's doable by then. In 2008 I went in that way for a ski trip on the 28th or 29th and had to walk all the way to Loch Leven before I could ski. And that year had more snow than this is shaping up to. But you can't be certain.

Also, the road might be open to South Lake - the last Saturday in April is the first day of trout season and the road crews try to get as many access roads as possible ploughed for the fishermen - and you might be able to get up to the first lake or two on that trail. Parchers' resort may have info on that:

http://parchersresort.net/index.html
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Re: Early season hiking

Postby BudBundy » Thu Apr 05, 2012 11:18 am

Thank you so much for the replies!!

I will definitely look into everything you have mentioned.

I am kinda bummed that its very early in the season, but this is the only weekend I can get some of my friends out with me.

I hope that possibly we get lots of sun, and maybe things will look better towards the end of the month.


Has anyone here hiked out of the Bishop Pass Trail early in the season???

Are the trails just covered in snow? Is there any way to find out??

Sorry for asking so many questions... If South Lake is still frozen, does that mean the surrounding areas will be covered in snow? Will all the lakes be frozen since South Lake is frozen up the Bishop Pass Trail??


Im just worried about taking my friends to an awesome place. It will be their first time coming outdoors and I have a good feeling that this trip will shape their futures concerning the outdoors.
I really need to make it a fun trip. Not just walking through miles of snow..

We'll see I hope things work out, thanks again!!
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Re: Early season hiking

Postby BudBundy » Thu Apr 05, 2012 11:36 am

Sorry I have another question..

http://cdec.water.ca.gov/cgi-progs/snow/DLYSNOWDP

How accurate is this site?? It seems pretty awesome!! Sorry im such a noob!!
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Re: Early season hiking

Postby Troutdog 59 » Thu Apr 05, 2012 11:49 am

Its been some time since I fished the Bishop Lakes area, but I beleive that South Lake is typically not accessible for the opener. Alot of folks hike into it and Sabrina for ice fishing, but its typically still snowed in at that time. That said, I would have never even thought Loch Leven would be accessible at that time, so you never know. Again, its been awhile since I have been in the area, so maybe in a low snow year it would work. If South is frozen, the lakes above it likely will be as well and there would be snow on the trails. If you are set on the area, you might want to call Jared at Parchers Resort on the So Fk of Bishop Creek just before your trip as he could give you a good update on the conditions. If its a low snow spring, the Sherwin Lakes out of Mammoth may open up by then as they sit at about 8,600 feet. South Lake sits at about 9,800 feet, so the end of April is pretty early.

PS. Same Bud Bundy from the SCSF site down south?
"Don't accept that what's happening
Is just a case of others' suffering
Or you'll find that you're joining in
The turning away"
D. Gilmour, Pink Floyd
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Re: Early season hiking

Postby paul » Thu Apr 05, 2012 6:35 pm

BudBundy wrote:Sorry I have another question..

http://cdec.water.ca.gov/cgi-progs/snow/DLYSNOWDP

How accurate is this site?? It seems pretty awesome!! Sorry im such a noob!!



The remote sensors that this data is from are pretty accurate, but not dead on. Many of the sensor sites are also measured manually several times a year so you can see at those points what the difference is. But they are generally pretty close (I've been watching these things pretty regularly for many years as part of planning backcountry ski trips).

This page gives you all the snow data you can handle and more, but it takes time to figure out where everything is hidden and how to get around:

http://cdec.water.ca.gov/snow/current/snow/
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Re: Early season hiking

Postby oldranger » Fri Apr 06, 2012 10:51 am

Adding to what Paul said , Most sensor sites are also checked manually (as well as many sites without sensors) around the first of the month. I've been pleasantly surprised how close the sensor data is to manually measuring and weighing the snow.

We have had pretty detailed discussions of snowsensors and snowpack on several threads in HST. As Wandering Daisy pointed out in another thread you have to be carefull about extrapolating from a snow survey site to the area as a whole. When many sites indicate there is no snow there may still be 50% snow cover or more in the area or just over the ridge on a north facing slope the snow cover may be 100%. So you really should know the terrain of the site and the area you are going to extrapolate to. Also it is important to know that the water content of the snow pack is the critical element not the depth. A foot of new snow can disappear rapidly in April because there can be less than 10% water in the snow. Old snow may be over 50% water (ice) and thus will take longer to melt (unless it is dirty).

Finally be aware that sometimes there are bizarre fluctuations in snow sensor readings. You just need to throw them out.

Enjoy your trip.

Mike
Mike

Who can't do everything he used to and what he can do takes a hell of a lot longer!
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Re: Early season hiking

Postby BudBundy » Fri Apr 06, 2012 3:01 pm

Thanks again everybody!

Yes this is Daniel and I frequent ScSurffishing.com. Another great site with the BEST people you will find on the web. Sorry maybe I shouldnt say BEST, but they make it seem like they are. Good to find you up here TroutDog!!

Anyways, Ive learned a lot so far this week. I hope to learn more in the following weeks and hopefully plan a great day trip with my buddies. Thanks for any help that you guys can provide or have already!!!

Daniel
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