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TR: 2012-05-12 Cottonwood Lakes loop dayhike

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TR: 2012-05-12 Cottonwood Lakes loop dayhike

Postby jimmeans » Sat May 12, 2012 10:25 pm

Wade C. and I made the Cottonwood Lakes loop dayhike today. Nice mid 50s temperatures were a relief from the 90s in the Owens Valley. Our loop took us up the North Fork of Cottonwood Creek on the New Army Pass trail alternative. We followed this trail until we hit the outlet creek from Long Lake, and then we returned via the South Fork of Cottonwood Creek. We ended up covering 12.2 miles in about 7 hours including a nice lunch break at the highest of the South Fork Lakes.

We encountered very little snow on the trail going up. There was one downed tree across the trail about 1 mile from the trailhead, but it was easily bypassed. The only place that snow was really a problem was when we were trying to find the trail coming down from Cirque Lake to the lowest of the South Fork Lakes. Even in this area there wasn't really much snow, but because we we doing some boulder hopping the snow was adding some danger because snow and boulders don't mix well this time of year.

We didn't hike north from the New Army Pass trail, so we could only see Cottonwood Lakes #1 & #2. Lake #2 still had some ice on the south end, but this was the only ice we saw on any lake today.

Although there were about 10 cars at the trailhead, we didn't see a soul until we were within a mile of the trailhead on our return. We did encounter a hitchhiker on the drive up to the trailhead in the morning, and this turned out to be Dave Turner returning to the top after one of his paraglider descents.
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Re: TR: 2012-05-12 Cottonwood Lakes loop dayhike

Postby windknot » Sat May 12, 2012 10:29 pm

Thanks so much for the report! Looks like you had a great day.
A few backcountry fishing pictures: http://wanderswithtrout.wordpress.com/
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TR: 2012-05-12 Cottonwood Lakes loop dayhike

Postby Bluewater » Sun May 13, 2012 4:35 am

Thank you for your trip report and photos! Beautiful weather yesterday. Is that a photo of NAP with snow/cornice along the top?
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TR: 2012-05-12 Cottonwood Lakes loop dayhike

Postby Hobbes » Sun May 13, 2012 5:43 am

Bluewater wrote:Is that a photo of NAP with snow/cornice along the top?


Here's what the view from NAP looked like last Sept. I guess this year it will look like this by July (if not earlier).

Image

This year, July 1st is on a Sunday. The area might look like Crowley.
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Re: TR: 2012-05-12 Cottonwood Lakes loop dayhike

Postby jimmeans » Sun May 13, 2012 6:16 am

Bluewater wrote:Thank you for your trip report and photos! Beautiful weather yesterday. Is that a photo of NAP with snow/cornice along the top?



Yes, the third and fourth photos are my attempt to show NAP. Since I've never been over NAP (I've been over OAP several times), I'm not sure exactly where the pass crosses the ridge.
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Re: TR: 2012-05-12 Cottonwood Lakes loop dayhike

Postby markskor » Sun May 13, 2012 6:55 am

jimmeans wrote:
Bluewater wrote: Is that a photo of NAP with snow/cornice along the top?


Yes, the third and fourth photos are my attempt to show NAP. Since I've never been over NAP (I've been over OAP several times), I'm not sure exactly where the pass crosses the ridge.

On the close-up shot of NAP, the trail crosses the "cornice" at the far right side of picture - next to that single big rock among the white snow, jutting into the sky-line.
Been over NAP a few times and from the picture and past experience - conditions look quite do-able from the photo...have crossed over Nap on much harsher conditions. Looks open enough for me.
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Re: TR: 2012-05-12 Cottonwood Lakes loop dayhike

Postby maverick » Sun May 13, 2012 11:59 am

Thanks Jimmeans for the TR and pictures.
What a difference from a year ago in June when Quentinc posted his TR from this
area. viewtopic.php?f=1&t=6366&p=44119#p44119
HST= Wilderness Adventurer who knows no bounds, except for their own imagination, and where the trail ends is where our adventures begin.

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: TR: 2012-05-12 Cottonwood Lakes loop dayhike

Postby jimmeans » Sun May 13, 2012 12:18 pm

markskor wrote:On the close-up shot of NAP, the trail crosses the "cornice" at the far right side of picture - next to that single big rock among the white snow, jutting into the sky-line.
Been over NAP a few times and from the picture and past experience - conditions look quite do-able from the photo...have crossed over Nap on much harsher conditions. Looks open enough for me.


Markskor,

If I understand your description, the trail crosses the the ridge near the big rock in the center of this picture:

P1010212.jpg


Is this accurate?
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TR: 2012-05-12 Cottonwood Lakes loop dayhike

Postby Bluewater » Sun May 13, 2012 12:20 pm

Thanks for the details and photos of NAP. This forum is great! Your info is very much appreciated.
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Re: TR: 2012-05-12 Cottonwood Lakes loop dayhike

Postby markskor » Sun May 13, 2012 2:38 pm

jimmeans wrote:
markskor wrote:On the close-up shot of NAP, the trail crosses the "cornice" at the far right side of picture - next to that single big rock among the white snow, jutting into the sky-line.
Been over NAP a few times and from the picture and past experience - conditions look quite do-able from the photo...have crossed over Nap on much harsher conditions. Looks open enough for me.


Markskor,

If I understand your description, the trail crosses the the ridge near the big rock in the center of this picture:

P1010212.jpg


Is this accurate?

A few long traverses/ switchbacks on the way up - trail not visible in picture but obviously dry and easier as you go up...In the end, maybe 30 feet of snow to cross...The final approach found us with the big rock mentioned on our immediate left. POC
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