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2014 Drought?

Discussion 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.
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2014 Drought?

Postby tiffery23 » Mon Jul 07, 2014 4:44 am

Hi all,

First time on forum and first time backpacker. I was wondering if the recent
drought has had an impact on water levels and scenery of the alpine lakes in the Eastern
Sierra, such as Cottonwood, Rae, and Hungry Packer. Thanks!



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Re: 2014 Drought?

Postby austex » Mon Jul 07, 2014 6:00 am

Hi Tiffery. Welcome to the board. All sorts of good stuff and people here. As of now I would think most lakes above 10k are okay as we did get some snow. I don't know of any recent trip reports from any of those lakes you are interested in other than the Cottonwoods. Someone mentioned Blue Lake in Mosquito Reports in the last few days. In the upper right corner is a search area which can be a useful tool.
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Re: 2014 Drought?

Postby maverick » Mon Jul 07, 2014 7:32 am

Hi Tiffery,

Welcome to HST!
Scenery will be fine, just dry. Water levels wll be a little more evident in Sept.
in some places and water temps will be warmer.
HST= Wilderness Adventurer who knows no bounds, except for their own imagination.

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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Re: 2014 Drought?

Postby giantbrookie » Mon Jul 07, 2014 7:58 am

The vast majority of the high glacial lakes of the Sierra will show no sign of the dry winter, or even three dry winters in a row, which the Sierra has seen. Some of them (not the ones you mention) have a little bit of seasonal water level fluctuation which you'd see a bit more of following a dry winter, but this is still very small. Thus, I'd expect no visual difference in places such as Rae, Hungry Packer and the Cottonwoods, but there are some lakes at lower elevations on the west flank, for example, where you see a very small drop below high water line by fall. An example is a west flank lake at about 9000' elevation in the Hwy 168 country where I fished a bit over a week ago. It and all the other lakes I visited (3) on that trip were all up to their high water lines. When I visited in October of last year, these lakes were down about 1 to 2 feet below their high water lines.

The bottom line is that the 3 years dry years have a minimal impact on the water level in the glacial lakes. I backpacked in the High Sierra during some of the very dry years in the 70's and 80's and I don't recall any dramatic water level fluctuations then.
Since my fishing (etc.) website is still down, you can be distracted by geology stuff at: http://www.fresnostate.edu/csm/ees/facu ... ayshi.html
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Re: 2014 Drought?

Postby lensman137 » Mon Jul 07, 2014 1:04 pm

Ditto to the above. If you have to lake hop, just make sure you plan carefully (i.e.carry all the water you'll need to get the your next lake, or, know for certain that any creeks between that lake will still have water, which is easier said than done. I hate carrying extra pounds of water. [-( :-(
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