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mosquito logic

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mosquito logic

Postby schmalz » Wed Jun 26, 2013 9:55 am

I'm trying to narrow down some plans for a trip in 10 days. After last weekend, mosquitoes are on my mind. I'd like to not have them be a major factor if possible. I'm getting my wife out there for the only time this year and the first time since 2010.

I know that elevation is the best indicator, so at that point lower would probably be better?

What other factors should I consider?

Should I assume the western and center sierra are worse than the eastern sierra?

Should I assume that the further south, the less bugs I will hit? Horseshoe meadows seems like it never got any.



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Re: mosquito logic

Postby millertime » Wed Jun 26, 2013 10:26 am

I had a almost identical experience to your recent TR when I was pretty novice and visited McGee Creek Canyon. It was the first week of July, we started hiking late, drove up from near sea level, got swarmed mid hike and never got out of them, hiked myself into minor altitude sickness (which I've never repeated). The mosquitoes stayed out until it was pitch dark, and were out as soon as the faintest light in the sky was visible in the morning. Still can't describe how terrible the swarm was with words. Even with a net and no altitude sickness I wouldn't have wanted to be there.

It was 2010 and there was a good amount of snow melting, the whole canyon was wet and anywhere remotely near water was the swarm. We made it to 10,000ft and it was worse there as it got more wet and flat with pools and streams and meadows everywhere. I imagine if you found a spot without water nearby, i.e not in a canyon or basin, that there should be less mosquitoes.

Thats my eastern sierra mosquito experience.
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Re: mosquito logic

Postby schmalz » Wed Jun 26, 2013 11:27 am

I realize this is a pretty pointless subject as I doubt anyone feels like they can really predict this. However, maybe some of you will chime in anyways.

For the weekend of 7/6, which of these locations do you think would have more mosquitoes?

a - Peter Pande Lake
b - Lower Wonder Lakes

Peter Pande is over 1,000 feet lower, but I can see there being a lot more snow there.
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Re: mosquito logic

Postby cgundersen » Wed Jun 26, 2013 12:13 pm

schmaltz,
judging from Kathy Wing's report on Miter Basin, the bugs were OK till she hit Lone Pine Creek. From the way bugs were coming on as we left the western Silver Divide on June 8th (via McGee Creek) that whole area should belong to bugs well into July. Since there was much less snow further south, I'd guess you'll be better off aiming as southerly as possible, but that may be problematic with your dog. If you can do it, either wait till later July or be prepared to donate a little blood.
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Re: mosquito logic

Postby maverick » Wed Jun 26, 2013 12:18 pm

Lower elevation will start to get better then followed by higher elevations.
Avoid marshy areas and large wet meadows. Check the mosquito updates.
If you want the safest bet go in August.
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Re: mosquito logic

Postby schmalz » Wed Jun 26, 2013 12:53 pm

I have no flexibility for the timing unfortunately. I wish I could delay the trip to August. Cottonwood seems like the only safe bet.
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Re: mosquito logic

Postby Wandering Daisy » Wed Jun 26, 2013 1:00 pm

Peter Pande Lake- forested with swampy outlet area = good chance of mosquitoes.

I just read a PCT journal- mosquitoes horrible in northern Yosemite right now. We just had 1-2 inches of rain in the mountains (north of Yosemite) Sun-Tue and now record heat is predicted, as well as calm winds. This is not good for avoiding mosquitoes! So-- do not come up here.

I would stay up on ridges and pray for wind.
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Re: mosquito logic

Postby maverick » Wed Jun 26, 2013 1:06 pm

Go, just take all the countermeasures.
http://www.highsierratopix.com/communit ... +avoidance
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Re: mosquito logic

Postby SSSdave » Wed Jun 26, 2013 3:56 pm

Read the reports and choose something that has recently been verified as reasonable. However would not trust terse reports. Just choosing something say south would be simplistic. All regions of the Sierra have their wet marshy shady areas and sunny bedrock dry areas. Thus one needs to consider the local environments.

For example, generally areas down at the bottom of heavily forested canyons with high north facing areas above of still melting snows, will continue to breed mosquitoes due to seeps and water inside talus fields while canyons with scattered forest. little talus and no melting snows above will be much drier with far fewer mosquitoes.

viewtopic.php?f=34&t=9131

Then read the avoidance thread maverick linked.
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Re: mosquito logic

Postby schmalz » Wed Jun 26, 2013 4:07 pm

SSSDave - Thanks.

I'm pretty well aware of the basic ideas. Stay away from water, marshy areas, get in the wind, wear clothing etc.

There is so much unique variablity within the Sierra though, which is why I thought some people with more experience might be able to chime in.

For example, let me try to articulate some of my own thoughts on the subject:

Last year I hardly saw a mosquito on the east side of the crest. I hike the sabrina lake trail on 6/10, south lake trail on 6/17, whitney on 6/24, and rock creek on 7/1. Hardly saw a skeeter east of the crest on all of those trips. It seemed so dry that they just didn't have anywhere to breed.

So, when I planned this year's Big Pine trip that I did last weekend, I figured that since we are having similar conditions this year then it wouldn't be too bad. Now, obviously the heat and lack of wind helped, but the area was also much wetter than I expected. Why was it wetter? My theory is that the glaciers around Big Pine are making the area wetter right now than other nearby areas that don't have glaciers. Additionally, the basin I was in was mainly north facing, so that might have been a big factor as well.

My experience is limited, so these are all guesses more than anything, which is why I was hoping that maybe someone here might chime in.

With that in mind, I was seeing if I could cherry pick a spot that was more likely to not be buggy. I don't know why, but I have a hunch that the wonder lakes might not be too bad in 2 weeks but I could be totally offbase.
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