2014 Backcountry Conditions Reports | High Sierra Topix  

2014 Backcountry Conditions Reports

Questions and reports related to Sierra Nevada current and forecast conditions, as well as general precautions and safety information. Trail conditions, fire/smoke reports, mosquito reports, weather and snow conditions, stream crossing information, and more.

Piute Pass>San Joaquin Bridge 6/19-6/21

Postby Backpackingmom » Tue Jun 24, 2014 8:56 am

Piute Pass to San Joaquin JMT/PCT Bridge

Hey fellow backpackers. We took a 38 mile 3-day trip (training for the Colorado Trail) and had gorgeous weather and great conditions.

Piute Pass: Snow field almost gone. Probably about 400 feet of sun cups. Easily navigated around 11 am - noon. Snow was soft but firm.

Lakes: All lakes had no ice or snow!

JMT/PCT San Joaquin Bridge: Some skeeters (I posted a Mosquito trip report) about a 2.5 here, some feet needed. Also, this are is SUPER crowded as the PCTers are coming thru!

Great trip!!

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Desolation Wldrns (Middle Velma & Schmiddell) 6/17 - 6/20

Postby Kent » Thu Jun 26, 2014 3:12 pm

Trail is dry and in good condition almost everywhere thru trail jctn at the Rubicon...only a few exceptions. However the upper ~2/3 of the Blakely Trail to Schmidell has numerous portions with runoff on the trail. (Lots of skeeters this section too 3-4; will post this to other thread too).

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Re: 2014 Backcountry Conditions Reports

Postby maverick » Thu Jun 26, 2014 3:21 pm

Hi Kent,

Welcome to HST! Thank you for your report, and also for passing along this information
to your fellow HST members! :thumbsup:
Professional Sierra Landscape Photographer

I don't give out specific route information, my belief is that it takes away from the whole adventure spirit of a trip, if you need every inch planned out, you'll have to get that from someone else.

Have a safer backcountry experience by using the HST ReConn Form 2.0, named after Larry Conn, a HST member: http://reconn.org
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Crest M>Precipice>9 Lakes>Lonely Lake>Tablelands 6/24-6/29

Postby Wandering Daisy » Mon Jun 30, 2014 1:33 pm

Crescent Meadow-Big Five Lakes, return via Tablelands to Wolverton TH. 6/24- 6/29.

NO snow, except a small patch on the little lake on the top of the Tablelands, very small patch at Precipice Lake.

Incredibly low water in creeks. More like late August conditions. The water is already late season warm - (confirmed with a jump into the lakes each night). No crossing more than knee deep (and I am short!)- most ankle deep (would run through if my shoes did not have so many holes).

Very warm days, even at 11,000 feet. Trail already dusty.

Although not as brilliant as in a normal year, the wildflowers are in full bloom. HST from Hamilton Lake to Nine Lakes Basin is full of wildflowers.
Last edited by maverick on Fri Jul 04, 2014 3:12 pm, edited 2 times in total.
Reason: Added date
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East Ridge of Mt. Brewer 7/4-7/6

Postby orbitor » Mon Jul 07, 2014 11:46 am

Route taken: Onion Valley - Kearsarge Basin - Vidette Meadow - Bubbs Creek - East Lake, then reverse

Difficult section encountered: Bubbs Creek flowing strong at 8200 ft at beginning of July. Accessing the trail to East Lake requires fording the stream. Crossing on rocks or logs is not possible. Must take boots off and wade to the other side. Water level is about knee to thigh high in deepest section.

Special equipment needed/used: Trekking poles, walking stick or anything else that can be used for balance. The current is strong and destabilizing without additional leverage. Can cross barefoot, but water shoes or sandals would make stepping easier and more secure.

Possible alternative routes: None. Crossing the stream here is the only way to get on the trail to East Lake.
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Rock Creek 7/5

Postby SSSdave » Mon Jul 07, 2014 1:46 pm


Rock Creek July 5, 2014. Was about Box Lake when from a rib above the lake heard splashing below. Looking down in an area with lots of water grass, saw something big, colored tan brown like a deer, but fatter. Thar be a BEAR ! Yes a young bear trying to take a shortcut across a channel separating arms of the lake was apparently not too keen on swimming so after it got tangled up in the grass where the lake got deeper, it turned around and make great splashing noises bounding back to shore. Tried to put my 55-210 APS-C lens on quickly for a video but was all over too quickly. First bear I've ever seen about Rock Creek and also never saw so many day hikers there, quite the zoo, as it was the holiday weekend. So yeah bear canister land now.
Last edited by maverick on Mon Jul 07, 2014 1:49 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Reason: Subject Title Changed/Dates Added
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Chain Lakes 7/4-7/6

Postby thepreciselife » Mon Jul 07, 2014 3:06 pm

7/4 - 7/6 Quarts Mtn Trailhead to Chain Lakes

No snow, perfect weather, clear skies, lakes were glistening and streams were flowing nicely.
Only one stream .9 miles before Chain Lakes so take enough water for those first 5 miles.
Not until you take that first breathe of fresh air surrounded by nature, will you realize this is where you were meant to be.
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Grouse Lake Tahoe NF 7/4-7/5

Postby wildhiker » Tue Jul 08, 2014 11:13 pm

Grouse Lakes roadless area (just north of I-80), Tahoe National Forest, 7/4-7/5

Elevations 6500 to 8000 feet. Warm but breezy to cool you off. Snow all gone. Wildflowers still profuse, but past the peak. Shallow lakes warm enough to swim (for my wife, at least!). Really, conditions looked like August. Mosquitos minimal.

We hiked from Grouse Ridge Lookout on the Glacier Lake trail to its namesake lake, then cross-country up over Black Buttes ridge and down the other side to Beyers Lake trail, which we took to Baltimore Lake (a bald eagle flew right over us here) and out faint trail and ducked route to Baltimore town site (nothing left) and good overlook of Phoenix Lake. Route back was cross-country around the east side of the Black Buttes and then around the north end to Five Lakes Basin to pick up use trails back up to Sand Ridge and then Sand Ridge trail back to parking lot.

Problems: Some tricky route-finding on the cross-country on back side of Black Buttes. Rounding the north end, the only way we could find led down a narrow defile that was close to class 3. It would be nasty if filled with snow or snow runoff in early season. Glacier Lake and Five Lakes Basin had multiple camping parties; the back side of Black Buttes was empty. This route is mostly on ridges or high on granite slopes. Occasional lakes were the only water sources.

Last edited by maverick on Wed Jul 09, 2014 9:32 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Mono Pass Trail to Parker Pass to Koip Pass/Peak 7/5/14

Postby KathyW » Wed Jul 09, 2014 2:52 pm

7/5/14 - Mono Pass Trailhead in Yosemite to Parker Pass and then on to Koip Pass and Koip Peak in the Ansel Adams Wilderness. Snow is not an issue and there is still plenty of water along the way. Flowers are blooming, but overall it doesn't look like early July out there - just too dry for this time of year.

I met a mountain lion on the trail in the morning just before dawn not too far from the trailhead - I was lucky to be able to see it and even luckier that it let me continue on my way. Very scary to me, but I did remember to put the hands over my head and back away slowly.

Some pics if anyone is interested in conditions in that area:

http://kathywing.smugmug.com/California ... l-Adams#!/
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Colby>Forester Pass>Kern River 6/24-6/29

Postby rscofield » Thu Jul 10, 2014 8:35 pm

As of last week in June:
Colby Pass- snow free
Forester Pass- snow free at pass but about 20 to 30 feet of well trampled snow on ridge in switch backs on north side
Kern River crossing at Junction- is this really the Kern...
Ability to find water when needed- no prob
Last edited by maverick on Mon Jul 14, 2014 5:34 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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