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2014 Feb 1 Kern River Snow survey

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2014 Feb 1 Kern River Snow survey

Postby John Dittli » Wed Feb 05, 2014 5:33 pm

Just in from 12 days on the Upper Kern survey. Maverick asked that I give an update, so I figured I'd better before it all changes this weekend!

Our route went from the Horseshoe Rd over Cottonwood pass, PCT/JMT north to upper Tyndall Creek, Kern River Canyon to Golden Trout Creek and back out over Cottonwood.

The first half was warm and clear with highs in the 40's and lows in the 20's. The latter part was highs in the 20's and lows to -6°.

Good skiing to the base of Cottonwood Pass, then hiking down to Big Whitney Mdw and up to Siberian Pass
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Big Whitney


Good skiing across Siberian Outpost but thin snow on rocks required walking into Rock Creek
_MG_2247.jpg
Siberian


We "skied" down Rock Creek then hiked to Guyot Pass
_MG_2258.jpg


A bit of skiing north of Guyot
_MG_2270.jpg


Then hiking until ~1/2 mile south of the Crabtree Divide. From there we could ski all the way into Wallace Creek. Keep in mind, with the exception of meadow grass and DG, all skiing was restricted to the actual trail alignments.
_MG_2272.jpg
crabtree

Untitled_Panorama1-2.jpg
Wallace Creek


From Wallace we almost kept skis on snow to Tyndall
_MG_2284.jpg
"skiing" north out of Wallace Creek
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Forester Pass


From Tyndall, we took the old trail into Kern Canyon
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Re: 2014 Feb 1 Kern River Snow survey

Postby John Dittli » Wed Feb 05, 2014 5:50 pm

We skied about a mile of canyon before taking skis off until Natural Bridge
Untitled_Panorama1.jpg
Kern Canyon
_MG_2364.jpg


We were in the canyon when the storm hit
_MG_2385.jpg
_MG_2392.jpg


Fortunately the storm left 6-8" of new snow on bare ground, this allowed us to ski the old Hockett Trail all the way from Natural Bridge over Cottonwood Pass back to our ride.
_MG_2410.jpg
Little Whitney Mdw
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Big Whiney Meadow
_MG_2422.jpg
Cottonwood Pass


As for the data: it was dry out there, but it's been drier. Most courses (from Piute Pass south) measured (for Feb 1) more water than '76 and '91 and some more than '77, '87 and '07.
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Re: 2014 Feb 1 Kern River Snow survey

Postby maverick » Wed Feb 05, 2014 5:57 pm

Thank you JD for the information and the great photo's that you provided with it. :thumbsup:
It's great to hear that things are not as bad up there and will hopefully get better
now that the storm door has finally opened.
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Re: 2014 Feb 1 Kern River Snow survey

Postby rlown » Wed Feb 05, 2014 6:09 pm

nice report. still you should be on 10' of snow about now. appreciate your work!
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Re: 2014 Feb 1 Kern River Snow survey

Postby John Dittli » Wed Feb 05, 2014 6:29 pm

yes, I should have mentioned: we were measuring from 1 to 3 inches of water. Usually we would be measuring around 10 to 20" of water.
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Re: 2014 Feb 1 Kern River Snow survey

Postby intrek38 » Wed Feb 05, 2014 8:30 pm

Even though I don't do winters, this is just Incredible. Thanks for the report,
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Re: 2014 Feb 1 Kern River Snow survey

Postby maverick » Wed Feb 05, 2014 8:35 pm

JD wrote:
As for the data: it was dry out there, but it's been drier. Most courses (from Piute
Pass south) measured (for Feb 1) more water than '76 and '91 and some more
than '77, '87 and '07.


It would be interesting if you could post some photo's from the same area (if you have
any) while you were out on a snow survey during any of those drought years you mention
for a comparison, especially since the Governor office called this the worst in the last
100 years.
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Re: 2014 Feb 1 Kern River Snow survey

Postby Rockchucker » Wed Feb 05, 2014 8:50 pm

Wonderful pictures! Thank you, Kern valley looks awfully dry.
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Re: 2014 Feb 1 Kern River Snow survey

Postby John Dittli » Wed Feb 05, 2014 9:05 pm

I don't think I really have anything from those years, but in '76 most of the Kern courses were measuring zero on Feb 1 according to data.

But to put the current drought in perspective; the High Sierra is just a small fragment of the overall water situation in California and it is the only part that I can comment on. And this would be a good time to include the needed disclaimer; that all of this is my opinion and not that of the the California Department of Water Resources.

Beyond that, what will be of historical significance, if it plays out; is three very dry years in a row.
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Re: 2014 Feb 1 Kern River Snow survey

Postby Rockchucker » Wed Feb 05, 2014 9:16 pm

I'm still holding out for a wet march!
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Re: 2014 Feb 1 Kern River Snow survey

Postby jimmeans » Thu Feb 06, 2014 9:16 am

John,

How do you get up/down Horseshoe Meadows Rd to perform the survey? Does Inyo County unlock the gate at the bottom for you, or are you hiking it up and down?

Jim
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Re: 2014 Feb 1 Kern River Snow survey

Postby John Dittli » Fri Feb 07, 2014 12:42 pm

jimmeans wrote:John,

How do you get up/down Horseshoe Meadows Rd to perform the survey? Does Inyo County unlock the gate at the bottom for you, or are you hiking it up and down?

Jim


The USFS drives us up to the snow line.
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