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Rae Lakes area-smokey?

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Rae Lakes area-smokey?

Postby sandiegonate » Mon Aug 24, 2015 4:42 pm

A few friends and I have been looking fwd to this trip since April. The plan was Onion Valley->Charlotte Lake on Labor day. Day 2 to the Rae Lakes or Dragon lake. Day 3 is a layover exploring 60 lakes basin. Then make our way out spending the night at Kearsarge lakes.

Anyone been up there lately give me a smoke report? I can handle a little smoke here and there, but I don't want to be breathing heavy smoke for 5 days. If the smoke is too bad, does anyone have suggestions for an alternate/less smokey 3 or 4 nighter? I still have 2 weeks but I'm trying to come up with some contingency plans. Thanks in advance!



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Re: Rae Lakes area-smokey?

Postby MountainMinstrel » Mon Aug 24, 2015 5:06 pm

Just an old musician who loves the Mountains.
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Re: Rae Lakes area-smokey?

Postby maverick » Mon Aug 24, 2015 5:07 pm

SEKI NPS:

Cedar Grove and Road's End

The road into Cedar Grove and Road's End is currently closed due to firefighting operations on the Rough Fire.

Lewis Creek and Kennedy Pass

8/21 - Expect smoke impacts. Low visibility and poor air quality.

5/27 -Trail is Overgrown and hard to follow around frying pan meadow, and also has a few trees down. Light snow on the south side of Kennedy Pass. North side is covered and steep.

Copper Creek and Granite Pass
8/21 - Expect smoke impacts. Low visibility and poor air quality.

Woods Creek, Bubbs Creek, and Glen Pass (Rae Lakes Loop)
8/21 - Expect smoke impacts. Low visibility and poor air quality.


7/14- Clear, Free of snow. Stock Passable.

Pinchot Pass
7/14 - Clear, Free of snow. Stock Passable.

Forester Pass
8/21 - Expect smoke impacts. Low visibility and poor air quality.

7/14- Free of snow.


http://www.nps.gov/seki/planyourvisit/trailcond.htm
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: Rae Lakes area-smokey?

Postby sandiegonate » Mon Aug 24, 2015 5:17 pm

Thanks to both of you. Although it's not very encouraging, I'll keep an eye on those links over the next week or so and make a decision.
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Re: Rae Lakes area-smokey?

Postby skyliner » Sun Aug 30, 2015 8:24 pm

OP, I did your route, more or less, this weekend:
  • Fri 8/28: Light smoke in Onion Valley; moderate smoke on the Kearsarge Lakes side of the pass (visibility ~5 miles) 3:30-5:30 pm, then light smoke into evening. Spent the night at Kearsarge Lakes.
  • Sat 8/29: Zero smoke in the morning (yay!) till about 11am approaching Glen Pass, then light smoke south of the pass chased me up the canyon. Light/moderate on the Rae Lakes side, that became heavy (3 miles vis.) around 5pm and got even worse towards dusk. Spent the night at middle Rae.
  • Sun 8/30: Light smoke in Rae basin and in the canyon south of Glen Pass. Severe (0.5-1mile vis., couldn't even see the valley floor, let alone the far side) from above Charlotte Lake all the way back to Kearsarge Pass, then 1-2mile vis east of the pass. Still pretty bad down in Independence and points north, but totally clear in Lone Pine on the drive home


Looked very smoky north of Rae Lakes, but I didn't make it that far. From Glen Pass, Sixty Lakes looked about as smoky as Rae.

Note that (for me) even the worst smoke conditions are still much tamer than standing downwind of an average campfire. After 6 hours in the bad stuff today just some minor eye and sinus irritation, no coughing. It ruins the photos and not seeing the scenery makes hiking a drag, but it's still physically doable. (and all my gear now smells like woodsmoke until I can air it/clean it)

I'll second Oleander's tips over the on main 2015 thread: http://www.highsierratopix.com/community/viewtopic.php?f=34&t=12301&start=48#p100333

Northbound JMT/PCT hikers remarked that conditions were better further south. Can you string something together out of Horseshoe Meadows or Whitney Portal?

Bottom line, it's really a roll of the dice with the fire conditions and wind direction. Best of luck!
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Re: Rae Lakes area-smokey?

Postby sandiegonate » Mon Aug 31, 2015 4:12 pm

Thank you very much for the update skyliner! We're still gonna drive up on Sunday with our fingers crossed since all 4 of us took next week off. Gonna study the wind forecast and make a choice when we get to the ranger station in lone pine. Camping at Cottonwood lakes with day hikes to mt Langley and making a loop outta old\new army pass is the backup plan right now. Option #3 is mt san gorgonio, but we can do that pretty much any time...although last time we made plans for lost creek and mt Grinnell it was promptly scorched from the lake fire 1 week before we were to arrive. Jeez
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