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Alta Peak Mid-December?

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Alta Peak Mid-December?

Postby Stevendanger75 » Tue Dec 11, 2012 11:20 am

Hi all,

I'm planning on getting one last hike in before the heavy snows set in, and I was thinking Alta Peak. From the Alta Peak Webcam, it looks like only the very top is covered in a light dusting of snow, however I read a TR from 23NOV that said knee deep snow was imminent towards the top.

http://www.kaweahcommonwealth.com/netcam/netcam.jpg

With this amount of snow, do you think I would be able to follow the traditional trail from Wolverton - prather gap - southern edge of tharp's rock - summit?

Or would this amount of snow require me to take a detour? It doesnt look like there is much snow, and therefore i'm not that concerned about avalanche danger, but obviously I will be vigilant.

Thank you,

Bryan



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Re: Alta Peak Mid-December?

Postby KathyW » Thu Dec 13, 2012 8:01 pm

It all depends on the snow level. If the trail is covered with snow after Panther Gap, you might want to stay higher than the trail between Panther Gap and Mehrten Meadow because the trail side-hills through that section and it can be pretty dangerous if icy. We did the hike to Alta Peak once in late November and were able to follow the trail through that section because there was only a small amount of snow. Another time I did the trek to Alta Peak in April and that section scared me. I had crampons and an axe, but that section was icy and it would be pretty nasty if I fell. I moved up above the trail was and it was pretty easy and safe to just roll along in the snow once I was up higher than the trail and not side-hilling on the steep section where the trail is. This map shows which way I went when the trail didn't work for me:

http://kathywing.smugmug.com/California ... p&lb=1&s=A

Be careful out there this time of year. It's not like in the spring when the snow is consolidated - it's more dangerous.
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Re: Alta Peak Mid-December?

Postby Stevendanger75 » Sun Dec 16, 2012 6:47 pm

Kathy-

I appreciate the reply, unfortunately I didn't see it until today, AFTER my return.

We were able to summit, barely, and like you said, the conditions were darn icy. There was no trail at all, so I had a grand time wading through some new snow.

We were able to manage without crampons, though they would have been extremely helpful. It was necessary to carve steps near the top, which my axe was able to do with relative ease.

V/R

Bryan
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