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Conditions mid-June in the Cottonwood lakes area this year?

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Re: Conditions mid-June in the Cottonwood lakes area this year?

Postby maverick » Fri May 04, 2012 5:44 pm

Hi Slugman,

Welcome to HST!
You will not have any problems picking up permits. Snow and/or crosscountry eliminates
a very large percentage of folks this time of the year.
You sound/say that your group is comfortable with snowy condition, so getting to
Miter Basin should not be an issue.
Hopefully by then we will have a TR posted here on HST to this area which will
further enlighten you, and everyone else wishing to know the current conditions in
the backcountry. Please post a TR & pic's when you have get back.
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: Conditions mid-June in the Cottonwood lakes area this year?

Postby Slugman » Sat May 05, 2012 2:58 pm

Thanks, maverick. I do indeed feel welcome here. :)

Yes, snow travel is practically required up here in the frozen north of Washington. Last year there was 10 feet on the ground at Chinook pass east of Mt Rainier, after the 4th of July, and the pass is only at 5,400 ft. I hiked to Park Butte Lookout on the shoulder of Mt Baker, in mid-August, similar elevation, and almost the whole trip was on snow. Last year was unusual, but we don't typically melt out around here until mid-July.

I will most definitely post a report and pictures. I live for that, believe me. On the northwest's top hiking forum, nwhikers.net, I've posted almost 250 trip reports in 9 hiking seasons.
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Re: Conditions mid-June in the Cottonwood lakes area this year?

Postby cahikr » Tue May 08, 2012 6:31 pm

Ok, I,m asking how do you reserve a permit online at recreation.gov for the cottonwood lakes area?
I have looked at their site and all I get are campground areas.
I am planing a backpack over memorial weekend starting at trail pass, and coming out on new army.
I would just like to avoid going to the ranger station for my permit the day of our hike as we will be arriving before 6 am Sat. the 26th.


Bill Morell wrote:Please be aware that getting a permit reservation over the phone is a thing of the past. You need to log on Recreation.gov. in order to "reserve" a permit. Ask me how I know.......
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Re: Conditions mid-June in the Cottonwood lakes area this year?

Postby tim » Tue May 08, 2012 7:29 pm

cahikr wrote:Ok, I,m asking how do you reserve a permit online at recreation.gov for the cottonwood lakes area?
I have looked at their site and all I get are campground areas.
I am planing a backpack over memorial weekend starting at trail pass, and coming out on new army.
I would just like to avoid going to the ranger station for my permit the day of our hike as we will be arriving before 6 am Sat. the 26th.


Tricky because Trail Pass is non-quota so you can't pre book at all. Typically you need to pickup even a pre booked permit at the ranger station (Desolation Wilderness is a rare exception). Your best bet is to phone the ranger station in Lone Pine and ask for a night box pickup. That may be allowed though may depend if you are going into SEKI (sounds like you are).
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Re: Conditions mid-June in the Cottonwood lakes area this year?

Postby Slugman » Tue May 08, 2012 8:45 pm

The Inyo website says that if it is non-quota, you can self-register after hours (maybe).

"When Quotas are not in effect (winter season and non quota trails):

Permits are available the day before your intended entry date
During business hours, permits must be obtained in person inside the visitor center.
After business hours, permits can be self issued outside the visitor center.
Reservations are not needed for winter season trips, the number of permits that will be issued is unlimited."

However, when I clicked on the link for "How to obtain a wilderness permit", it had this to say:

"If your trip includes travel in Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Park you must pick up the permit in person during open hours, night-drop permit service is not available. Please contact the visitor center nearest the trail you plan to visit, or call for wilderness information at 760-873-2483."

I'd be interested to hear what they tell you, as I may be arriving in Lone Pine after closing hours the night before my trip in mid-June. We may just have to wait until the next morning to get our permit, not that big of a deal, just a slight inconvenience.
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Re: Conditions mid-June in the Cottonwood lakes area this year?

Postby cahikr » Wed May 09, 2012 2:00 pm

Talked to a ranger at the Lone Pine office and they told me to call 2 day's before the trip and that they would fill out the permit and put it in the night box for my early morning pickup.
This is the only way to get a permit for this area without actually going into the office during normal buisness hours.
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Conditions mid-June in the Cottonwood lakes area this year?

Postby Bluewater » Thu May 10, 2012 12:52 am

Thanks for the after hours permit info cahikr. I will also be there over Memorial Day weekend, first Sierra trip of the season. Maybe we'll see you on the trail.
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Re: Conditions mid-June in the Cottonwood lakes area this year?

Postby bluefintu » Fri May 11, 2012 12:55 am

Hi Slugman,

I took my son last year to the Mitre Basin in August last year. First stop was at Chicken Spring Lake then to Soldier Lake. From the west side of the lake, maybe 1/2-3/4 of the lake, you just walk straight up to the west and stay high as you head north. It maybe a bit boggy in some areas as you head to Sky Blue or Iridescent so stay high. Another option I would do next time would for me is to stay at a creek crossing just west of Cirque Peak, maybe another mile or two and way less crowded. Have fun.

Don
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Re: Conditions mid-June in the Cottonwood lakes area this year?

Postby Slugman » Fri May 11, 2012 10:42 am

Thanks, blue, that's just the kind of personal information that is so helpful. I also got some info on a great campsite past Chicken Spring lake from a thread here about the best Sierra campsites.

My friends asked me about fishing, should they bring their gear and get licenses? It appears that the fishing season for Cottonwood lakes doesn't start until July 1st, so they are out. And the lakes like Sky Blue and Iridescent seem like they are too high to be all melted out by the time of our trip. That would leave just Chicken Spring and Soldier as possible fishing lakes. My feeling is that they should leave the tackle home, save it for some future trip, maybe next year, during prime time.
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Re: Conditions mid-June in the Cottonwood lakes area this year?

Postby bluefintu » Fri May 11, 2012 11:41 pm

Hey Slugman,

If you guys make it to Sky Blue or Iridescent make sure you have fishing gear. You don't need much stuff other than those little tube jigs or flies. Make sure you guys have a fishing license or pay the nine hundred dollars minimum ticket.

If you guys hit the upper lakes, they won't want to hit Cottonwood Lakes, well as you said it's closed. I'm not sure if the upper lakes will be open, but, Chicken Springs Lake,shhh has fish, we didn't fish there. Soldier lake has small fish that will take lures. I wish I was going.

Don
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Re: Conditions mid-June in the Cottonwood lakes area this year?

Postby Slugman » Sat May 12, 2012 5:57 pm

Oh, I already told one of the guys that if he brings a rod, he better have his license, no fooling around there. We're going in my vehicle, and it's a long walk back to Everett, WA, where he lives. I've never been in trouble with a ranger, for a simple reason: I play by the rules. Much of WA state wilderness is lightly regulated and has minimal enforcement, but we also have areas with plenty of rangers and rules, like Olympic NP and Mt Rainier NP, so we know how to stay out of trouble. I see on the CA website that there are one-day and two-day fishing licenses, not very expensive, no problem there.

Bluefintu, the party size limit is eight, and we will only be four or five, let us know, no reason you can't come along, unless you can't, if you know what I mean. What else you got going on in mid-June?
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Re: Conditions mid-June in the Cottonwood lakes area this year?

Postby markskor » Sat May 12, 2012 6:20 pm

Just a few thoughts.
We hit Horseshoe Meadows at noon and made South Fork Lake our first night - (Clearly posted trail signs seen at Horseshoe) instead of Chicken Spring - whatever - really no good fish in either lake. After walking up and aside the Cottonwoods, did OAP to Soldier. BTW, Great sites to camp with bear boxes at Soldier but the fishing was fickle and disappointingly small. Up the ridge to Miter basin next - first part of trail is obvious, but when approaching Sky-Blue it is easy to get cliffed out going up. I had asked Doug Jr. at the Portal to draw a "best route" up on my TOPO as we were going over Crabtree Pass after staying a few days at SB.
FYI, There are big Goldens at SB so fishing can be worthwhile. Upper Crabtree was even better for fishing - just ask the captain.
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skye blue route.JPG
Miter route to Sky Blue
Mountainman who swims with trout
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