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Current conditions on Yosemite

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Current conditions on Yosemite

Postby bdynkin » Sun May 13, 2012 7:54 pm

We are going to a trip in Yosemite: Mono Meadows - Merced Pass - Fernandez Pass - Post Peak Pass - and then to Merced Lake and return to the Valley. Our departure day is next Monday (5/21). What's the worst (impossible?) water crossings on this route this early in the season? Would you take snowshoes? Crampons? Ice axes?

We are fairly experienced (wife/husband from Boston) and been to Sierra several times (several sections of Rope's Sierra High Route) but certainly not Sierra experts.

Any insight is appreciated,

Thanks in advance



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Re: Current conditions on Yosemite

Postby oldranger » Sun May 13, 2012 9:58 pm

bdykin

I will be starting from the s. going into the same area and have been monitoring the snowsensor at Ostrander lake for the past couple of months. It is at 8200 feet and basically zeroed out on May 8. The sensor is on a n. aspect but in an open meadow. This does not mean that there is no snow in the area but by the 21st you can be confident that snow cover will be intermittent at most at that elevation. The high temps at the sensor have been in the mid 60s for the past few days and are expected to stay pretty warm at least thru sunday. I suspect creek crossings could be interesting but be patient and you should find logs or logjams to cross creeks. You definely will not need snowshoes, ice ax, or crampons, but expect some snow on the trail above 9000 feet on n. slopes. Trails may be difficult to follow in those conditions so you should have the skill to navigate off trail as that is what snow covered trails are like. I would expect the approach to Fernandez pass will have some snow. Dropping down to the n. from Post Peak Pass will have snow. Trekking poles with at least small baskets are helpful. The ford across the Triple Peak Fork is sandy but if it it is too deep, again hike up or downstream aways to look for a log or logjam. If you encounter snow the earlier in the day you start the better (unless the snow surface is icy). Otherwise you may end up crotch deep and post holing. My expectation is that s. slopes will be clear up to nearly if not all the way to 10,000 ft and above. It is likely that someone will post a TR from this weekend that will make the situation more clear than my educated speculation. Also it is unclear what impact the windstorm last fall had in this area. So it is possible that you may encounter significant numbers of trees across the trail below treeline. I also expect some skeeters anyplace without snow.

If, between Merced and Fernadez Passes you encounter two old farts arguing and giving each other grief, one short and good looking and the other rotund and ugly--I'm the good looking one and Markskor is the round one. :D

Mike
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Re: Current conditions on Yosemite

Postby bdynkin » Mon May 14, 2012 8:42 am

Great, thank you! Frankly, I'm most worried about the water crossings at low elevations on the 1st day of the hike on Illiluoette creek. Even though it's low elevation, if this creek is raging now...
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Re: Current conditions on Yosemite

Postby markskor » Mon May 14, 2012 8:48 am

bdynkin wrote: Frankly, I'm most worried about the water crossings at low elevations on the 1st day of the hike on Illiluoette creek. Even though it's low elevation, if this creek is raging now...

If starting Mono Meadows, there is a bridge that crosses Illilouette and the first day crossing should not be a problem there... many other smaller crossings later up to Merced Pass but expect not anything that drastic.
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Re: Current conditions on Yosemite

Postby bdynkin » Mon May 14, 2012 12:09 pm

Great, thank you!
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Re: Current conditions on Yosemite

Postby AlmostThere » Tue May 15, 2012 7:52 am

Somewhere on one of the Yosemite forums, a dude (Chick-on, actually or bill-e-g) posted gps coordinates for a large log down across Illilouette Creek.

Tho I would bet you there are others - there have been no shortage of log crossings since last November.
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Re: Current conditions on Yosemite

Postby snusmumriken » Tue May 15, 2012 6:26 pm

No real insight, but here it goes anyway.

Was in Yosemite over the weekend. Our trip only took us to only 8500 feet and there was essentially no snow at all up to that elevation. A few small patches on a tree covered north facing slope, we took the opportunity to throw a couple of snow balls at each other at that spot. Didn't run into any more snow.

In the distance we could see snow covered peaks though, looked like the snow line was somewhere between 9000 and 10,000 feet as Clouds Rest just had patches but some of the higher peaks were entirely snow covered.

It was warm, felt like summer, nice t-shirt and shorts weather. So the snow is certainly melting rapidly right now. For me melting snow is hard to travel on, wet and slushy, post-holing on every step. But I don't really think any tools such as snowshoes or ice-axe are going to help, just patience and a good supply of dry socks.

Have a great trip, take lots of pictures and share them with us when you return.
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Re: Current conditions on Yosemite

Postby bdynkin » Wed May 16, 2012 2:45 pm

Thank you all for your input!

I have to say that I'm not a big fun of forums but I feel comfortable here! Will post conditions and a brief report when we return.

As for crampons and ice axes - yes, I'm getting an impression that these would not be needed in that mushi snow. Snowballing crampons are much worse than bareboot!

If we are reasonably fast and the conditins are not too difficult I'm hoping to make our trip a bit longer: instead of going directly to triple peak junction from Post Peak Pass we may go back over the ridge via Isberg Pass, camp and spend the next day exploring the area near Isberg Lakes.

Again, thank you for your help and keep tuned for the conditions report.

Boris
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Re: Current conditions on Yosemite

Postby oldranger » Wed May 16, 2012 2:55 pm

Boris,

Isberg lakes are nice. but if you haven't been in the area I would consder either/both Harriet Lake Basin and the Merced Peak/Red Peak forks area. From Harriet you can get down to the lower trail along the Merced pretty easily by following Forester Creek down to the Merced. It is a little shrubby near the high trail but just for a short distance.

Mike
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Re: Current conditions on Yosemite

Postby norak » Wed May 16, 2012 8:03 pm

We drove over Tioga Pass this past weekend - at the pass there was maybe a foot of snow on the ground and Ellery and Tioga Lakes still had a lot of ice, but Tuolumne Meadow was completely snow free (but very swampy). Looking north, Donohue Pass was solid snow.

Nora
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Re: Current conditions on Yosemite

Postby TehipiteTom » Thu May 17, 2012 9:14 am

markskor wrote:
bdynkin wrote: Frankly, I'm most worried about the water crossings at low elevations on the 1st day of the hike on Illiluoette creek. Even though it's low elevation, if this creek is raging now...

If starting Mono Meadows, there is a bridge that crosses Illilouette and the first day crossing should not be a problem there... many other smaller crossings later up to Merced Pass but expect not anything that drastic.

Wait, what? There wasn't a bridge there in 2009...did they build one since then?
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Re: Current conditions on Yosemite

Postby RoguePhotonic » Thu May 17, 2012 10:37 am

We drove over Tioga Pass this past weekend


Did you stop by the grill area? I'm sure it's closed but I have been digging around the net trying to find an opening date without luck.
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