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Glenn Pass conditions? Rae Lakes Loop...

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Glenn Pass conditions? Rae Lakes Loop...

Postby AK26 » Sun Jun 02, 2013 12:28 am

Hi

We're heading out to do the Rae Lakes Loop next week and am wondering if anyone can report on the conditions over Glenn Pass. The NPS website reports on 5/26 "mostly snow-covered with switchbacks buried" requiring spikes and ax for the northern side of the pass, but the NPS reports are usually conservative. http://www.nps.gov/seki/planyourvisit/trailcond.htm

Anyone been up there lately who can comment on the conditions? Are ice ax and spikes needed over the pass?

Our plan was to complete the loop clockwise. I figure we can ascend the pass by following other people's tracks. We do not have any snow climbing gear.

Either way, i'll report back next week... Thanks!



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Re: Glenn Pass conditions? Rae Lakes Loop...

Postby tim » Sun Jun 02, 2013 6:45 am

AK26 wrote:Anyone been up there lately who can comment on the conditions? Are ice ax and spikes needed over the pass?

Our plan was to complete the loop clockwise. I figure we can ascend the pass by following other people's tracks. We do not have any snow climbing gear.


We were in Paradise Valley last weekend and met people coming down from Rae Lakes. They had done the loop anti-clockwise and said it was much better to descend the north side of Glen Pass ("a snow slide") but said it was sketchy because they broke through to the rocks below a couple of times. They said the climb would have been hard in reverse, presumably because the trail was hidden. No snow below Rae Lakes. I didn't see any evidence they had ice axes, just poles. I don't know about spikes, but suspect the snow was too soft for them to help
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Re: Glenn Pass conditions? Rae Lakes Loop...

Postby maverick » Sun Jun 02, 2013 11:33 am

The northern side as with most passes will hold snow longer. Have been over Glen
with snow, not this year, but timing getting the timing right makes all the difference
this time of the year. To early and it will be icy, hard snow, to late in the day and it
will be to soft. Also using poles makes a difference, and spikes come in handy if you
hit it a little early which is better than to late in the day.
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Re: Glenn Pass conditions? Rae Lakes Loop...

Postby vhsvhs » Sun Jun 02, 2013 6:39 pm

Hey AK26! I did the Rae Lakes loop this weekend. (My trip report is coming ASAP.) The south side of Glen Pass is clear of snow. The north side of Glen Pass holds a 200 meter snow field across the switchbacks; it looks semi-sketchy from below, but it was actually quite safe. There are well-worn boot tracks across the snow, which helped a lot. I brought my ice axe, but I didn't need it. Trekking poles and running shoes were fine. I crossed the snow around 10:30 am, and I post-holed only once. I talked with a JMT thru-hiker who crossed the snow the day prior at 3:30 pm, and he said he post-holed every other step (yikes!). So, I think microspikes are unnecessary; the problem right now is rotten snow (i.e. post-holing), not icy slopes. Hit the snow early, be cautious, and you'll be fine.
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Re: Glenn Pass conditions? Rae Lakes Loop...

Postby AK26 » Sun Jun 02, 2013 11:51 pm

vhsvhs,

Thanks for the hint. I guess timing is everything. Ascending Glenn Pass at the right time is key.

BTW... I enjoyed reading your trip report. Your photos are beautiful! I am attempting the loop this Wednesday. Hopefully more snow has melted by then.
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Re: Glenn Pass conditions? Rae Lakes Loop...

Postby AK26 » Wed Jun 19, 2013 5:26 pm

I just wanted to report back and let everyone know that we did the loop without any hiccups. We had a great time and there was hardly anyone on the trails. We hiked the loop in 4 days, 6/5 to 6/8, and stayed at Upper Paradise Valley, Rae Lakes, and Junction Meadow for the 3 nights.

There was some snow that covered the trail up from Rae Lakes to Glenn pass, but it you follow other people's track you should be fine. The only hard part is the large patch of snow right before the pass, but if you cross the patch of snow at the right time, around 10:30am, and take it slow you shouldn't have any issues, other wise you'll be post holing the whole way.

I did the loop with my wife and two of my buddies.
Here are some pictures from the trip in chonological order if you're interested:
http://www.flickr.com/photos/akfong26/s ... 209961676/

FYI: Mosquitos are out in full force at the lakes! Bring DEET and a head net!

Thanks to everyone for the post trip reports, especially vhsvhs...
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Re: Glenn Pass conditions? Rae Lakes Loop...

Postby Jim F » Thu Jun 20, 2013 10:02 pm

Further Update:

Yesterday (June 19) I hiked up from the Rae Lakes to Glen pass ( named after USFS ranger Glen H. Crow). Only a few steps (placed in the deep frontprints left by others) are needed to cross the snowfield near the top.

Interestingly on the pass I encountered a PCT hiker and his two mules. Each mule was carrying about 80 pounds of supplies. I had departed to the south before they began their descent to the Rae lakes. Presumably they did fine through the little remaining snow.

After lunch I gave some PCT hikers a ride from Onion Valley into Independence for a ressuply. It was clear that the hiker with the mules had an advantage!

Apparently yesterday the mosquitoes in the area were discouraged by the windy conditions.

Jim F
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