2015 Backcountry Conditions Reports | High Sierra Topix  

2015 Backcountry Conditions Reports

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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Re: 2015 Backcountry Conditions Reports

Postby robertseeburger » Mon Jun 22, 2015 1:20 pm

I thought a good way to see the overall Sierra snow conditions now is from the summit of Mount Goddard.
This was as of 6/16 and provides a good glimpse into the (lack of) snow levels.
Northwest toward Hell for Sure
P1010122.jpg

This looks more due north. Note the big lakes in Darwin Bench are still frozen.
P1010126.jpg

Wanda Lake free and clear
P1010127.jpg

Toward the Palisades, some snow but not much
P1010128.jpg

West Ionian Basin, all the lakes frozen, still plenty of snow.
P1010129.jpg

Toward Finger Peak, some snow near top of passes only. (north slopes)
P1010132.jpg

I had some minor difficulty on the north of Reinstein Pass on 6/17 with snow and moderate difficulty on northwest side of Finger Col ( snow coupled with large talus) on 6/19. I expect both of these to be free by now with the snowmelt. It was quite hot. Net is lakes were free below 11,800 feet and frozen at 12,000 feet as of a couple days ago. I expect all lakes to be free by July 1st.



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Re: 2015 Backcountry Conditions Reports

Postby maverick » Mon Jun 22, 2015 2:14 pm

Thank you Robert for posting these informative photo's. :thumbsup:
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: 2015 Backcountry Conditions Reports

Postby markskor » Fri Jun 26, 2015 10:13 pm

Just returned from 24 days of Yosemite ramblings - thoughts.

Weather was excellent at 8,000' - Mosquitoes still heavy above 9500 ' - water is drying up fast in smaller streams.

Good to hear Delaware North lost the concession. New company takes over March 1, 2016. Hopefully not as money-hungry and more aligned with rich traditions past. Not sure about the status of proprietary names of local places...Ahwahnee, etc.

The PCT and JMT hikers are now coming through Tuolumne in droves. Two 30-foot truck/cabs, parked in back of the store are filled with food resupply boxes. Mike, the postmaster there, comes out once (on the hour, starting at 9:00 AM) and asks who is here and needs their packages now - checks IDs - somehow sorts/finds all, and then brings out 20 - 30 boxes soon after - his own fricking amazing organizational process, and repeats the process every hour till dark.

The new free Valley - Tuolumne bus - will stop/drop off anywhere on route bus safe... runs 3 times a day from Valley (all Curry times- Lodge, 20 minutes later) - 7:45, 8:45, 1:30. Also 3 return free buses from Tuolumne daily to Valley - TM Visitors Center times -10:15, 1:15, 7:00 (PM). Initially they were only slated to go Valley - Olmsted Point but as buses could not make the sharp turn there, so they wisely decided to run them all the way to the Tuolumne visitors Center (1 1/2 miles short of the store)...saw 40 backpackers being dropped off in the rain - a mile short, supposedly to be picked up soon by a 20 seat mini-bus...now they run buses all the way/drop riders off at the TM store but when they make the return to Valley, boarding at the TM visitors center. All should eventually run out of the store soon - as it should be. Daily Valley to TM 5:00 PM YARTS starts July 1.

TM store now open till 8:00 PM - was closing at 5:00 till yesterday.

Speaking of PCT hikers, the leaders started coming thru 3 - 4 weeks ago - now the main group is due this week - (peloton?) - 3500+ started. And where the leaders deserve to be lauded - purists and amazing athletes, now many coming through are showing themselves to be true entitled douches. Last night TM BP, 30 came in as a group and all settled in 10 feet from my tent - did not even say hi. Overheard most saying that since they were PCT, they refused to pay the required campground fees. One by the trail name Lumberjack started breaking off standing timber/ trees in the campground. When I told him that was not real kosher...show some respect?...got the, "We are PCT!" Another started giving the postmaster chit about having to wait for another hour to get his package. Another started giving the store problems about the hiker box there not being available to take food out until afternoons..."It's our food." Many seen now have no money, no food resupply, crap gear, and no humility. Beer and trash. BTW, why do some hikers put their backpacks right on the picnic tables and leave them there - then sit at other tables? Limited seating? Backpacks do not need their own table?

Valley hit 100º last week - full.

TM gas station closing after season - Crane Flat station also slated for removal but this one could stay - talks are on-going.
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Re: 2015 Backcountry Conditions Reports

Postby TahoeJeff » Sat Jun 27, 2015 8:38 am

markskor wrote:true entitled douches

Great quote, sounds like something I would say...
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Re: 2015 Backcountry Conditions Reports

Postby sparky » Sat Jun 27, 2015 10:35 am

May I rant?

The clueless amung us. Too busy wearing the right clothing and growing the right beard. Always trying to "get" something. Trying to "get" the PCT. But they will never get it. They have all these trail angels and shop owners wiping their asses. Lone Pine and Bishop have been a **** show. Who the hell wants to hike with so many people? Its insane! A large group can become the antithesis of what it stands for.

I ended up having to hike on the PCT a week ago and everyone kept asking me if I was "on the PCT". My smart ass reply was "yes, we are ON the pacific crest trail, but I will be OFF it in a few miles to go elsewhere". I couldn't wait to be away from all those people.

When they leave the peaks will be sitting there silent, kissing the clouds.
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Re: 2015 Backcountry Conditions Reports

Postby schmalz » Sat Jun 27, 2015 10:42 am

sparky wrote:May I rant?

The clueless amung us. Too busy wearing the right clothing and growing the right beard. Always trying to "get" something. Trying to "get" the PCT. But they will never get it. They have all these trail angels and shop owners wiping their asses. Lone Pine and Bishop have been a **** show. Who the hell wants to hike with so many people? Its insane! A large group can become the antithesis of what it stands for.

I ended up having to hike on the PCT a week ago and everyone kept asking me if I was "on the PCT". My smart ass reply was "yes, we are ON the pacific crest trail, but I will be OFF it in a few miles to go elsewhere". I couldn't wait to be away from all those people.

When they leave the peaks will be sitting there silent, kissing the clouds.


I really enjoy PCT thru hikers. YMMV.
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Re: 2015 Backcountry Conditions Reports

Postby markskor » Sat Jun 27, 2015 11:35 am

schmalz wrote:I really enjoy PCT thru hikers. YMMV.

I too readily enjoy their company too...usually. As a past PCT trail alumni, (and a certified dirt-bag myself) - fit in easily - was fun to compare trail stories with most of the lead dogs - drinking beer on the TM picnic tables - trading food - a great social scene.
However yesterday, for the first time this season was embarrassed by the general PCT behavior. Many coming in had just gotten into TM - not yet over their week long Bishop hangover - then hitched to Mammoth and partied again - hitched to TM, and started doing the same...all starting out from Kennedy Meadows.
Many doing lots of hitch-hiking now...not much trail.

Even though I had a few more days left in the Meadows till OldRanger meets up with me in Mammoth - I had to leave there early as the enjoyment in TM had waned some with the obnoxious trash now too-oft seen.
BTW, most PCT are amazing but not all - now...expect more problems to come through soon. Things will improve/ will be better after the peloton has passed on.
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Re: 2015 Backcountry Conditions Reports

Postby ERIC » Sat Jun 27, 2015 12:29 pm

Back to the topic plz...
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Re: 2015 Backcountry Conditions Reports

Postby MountainMinstrel » Sat Jun 27, 2015 10:42 pm

Interesting comments on PCTers. I was just hiking off of Sonora Pass and found them to be great folks. I even hauled 5 of them from Kennedy Meadows back up to Sonora Pass in my 69 VW camper. Not only were they very grateful for the ride (a couple of them have dreamed of riding in a "hippy bus") they were willing to cover the cost of fuel. I was invited to join them back on the trail for a while but without a permit and needing to deal with life at home I chose not to. It was tempting though. Although I do not understand the need to do the PCT, I must say that I admire their willingness to leave all of life's responsibilities behind and set aside the time to do this. over all I have had great experiences with those on the PCT/
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Re: 2015 Backcountry Conditions Reports

Postby ERIC » Sun Jun 28, 2015 8:27 am

K, please stay on topic or start a new thread.
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High Sierra Trail, June 17-22 2015

Postby HikingGeek.com » Mon Jun 29, 2015 12:57 pm

Route taken:High Sierra Trail, Crescent Meadows to Whitney Creek. Cross Country to PCT. JMT & Mount Whitney Main Trail to Whitney Portal - June 17-22 2015

Difficult section encountered: Not difficult, just requires attn early morning - ice/snow on Main Mt. Whitney Trail above 12,400.

Special equipment needed/used: Not needed, just be careful on ice/snow

Possible alternative routes:

Notes: The trail is basically clear all the way to Whitney summit. No ice left on Precipice Lake and others we saw west of Whitney. Photos and details are available here:
HST - http://www.hikinggeek.com/2015/06/25/hi ... 7-22-2015/
MWMT - http://www.hikinggeek.com/2015/06/24/mt ... e-22-2015/
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Pine Creek Pass, Bear Lakes Basin, Granite Park, 6/24 - 6/28

Postby jonster » Tue Jun 30, 2015 2:30 pm

Route taken: Pine Creek Pass -> Merriam Lake -> Feather Pass -> Bear Lakes Basin -> Dancing Bear Pass -> Italy Pass -> Granite Park

Difficult section encountered: North side of Feather Pass half way down hit a large snow patch. Post-holed to my knee on 2nd step. Chose to route around all snow after this.
Looking back at this snow patch after coming down feather:
Image

Transitioning from Dancing Bear Pass to Italy pass: Many soft and deep snow patches. Lots of ups and downs in order to avoid snow patches especially above 11,800'.
Looking back towards Dancing Bear Pass on the way to Italy Pass:
Image

Special equipment needed/used: none

Possible alternative routes: From Dancing Bear drop directly to Jumble Lake and take the normal use-trail to Italy Pass. May be quicker but the snow is disappearing fast.
Last edited by jonster on Tue Jul 07, 2015 9:06 pm, edited 4 times in total.
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