2016 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.
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ERIC
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Re: 2016 Backcountry Conditions Reports

Post by ERIC » Sat May 14, 2016 5:03 pm

Wow, great photos. Thanks.


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Snow Creek Yosemite 5/12-5/15

Post by Wandering Daisy » Mon May 16, 2016 4:12 pm

May 12-15. Upper part of Snow Creek Trail- patchy to mostly solid at trail junction. From junction to Natural Arch junction, mostly snow, some 2-3 feet deep. Walk on top OK in mornings. A pretty good footprint "trail" through the snow due to use.

Talked to a backpacker who started on the JMT. He got as far as Tuolumne and turned back because of crotch deep post-holing. He said it only got worse as he went up.

Patchy snow along Glacier Point Road. Panorama Trail totally dry. Four Mile Trail totally dry. Yosemite Falls Trail totally dry. Snow Creek Trail to rim totally dry.
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Jordan Hotsprings 5/15

Post by RoguePhotonic » Mon May 16, 2016 7:12 pm

Got back yesterday from working the trails at Jordan Hotsprings. I'm not sure if I can report that the trail head is even open yet as I have the gate combo and it was closed yet when I left the gate was open so you would have to check with the Forest Service.

Light patchy snow at the trail head. North facing slopes in dense forest at 9000 feet had about 70% snow coverage. The hot spring is in good shape.

After several years of very hard work we have finally opened the trail from Red Rock Meadow to Jordan Hotsprings. It's now passable to stock. Crews worked down to the Kern and I believe other areas there as well so should also be open. Don't have an exact report from the Kern Crew as we had different camps.

No mosquitoes.
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Humphrey's Basin 5/9-5/15

Post by paul » Mon May 16, 2016 9:48 pm

Skied over piute pass into Humphreys Basin Monday 5/9 thru Thursday 5/12. Road open to North Lake, but not to campground. Patchy snow on trail to Loch Leven, with biggest patch at bluff section just below Loch Leven. Patchy still around Loch Leven. We were able to ski from the far end of Loch Leven by staying away from the trail in the woods. And after Piute lake it's pretty solid snow. Solid snow on the west side of the pass; looking down toward Hutchinson meadow it appears that the snow stops short of the meadows, but we didn't go down nearly that far.

We also spent part of a day up Rock Creek on the 6th; road was closed at the pack station and pretty much snow covered from there up but hardly any snow below that.

In general, if you get above about 10k it looks like about typical for this time of year but below that it's under the average. In Humphreys Basin It looked about like an average year. All lakes completely frozen; Summit lake just starting to show a little bluish in spots, Lower Desolation and Desolation still solid white, skied across Desolation. Went up Four Gables and we were able to ski closer to the peak than I have previously on two other ascents, once in 2006 and once in 2014.

Also, on 4/30 and 5/1, was up around the Castle Peak/Round Valley/Basin Peak area. Snow there solid above about 7000 feet at that point, but it's been warm since. And the snow dropped off quick - at 6500 hardly anything, then at 7k a couple feet or more.

Will post some photos with a TR as soon as I get time.
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Re: 2016 Backcountry Conditions Reports

Post by ExploreABitMore » Tue May 17, 2016 8:54 am

Climbed up Mt Warren via Warren Fork after Tioga Road opened last Friday. Patchy snow by creek, pretty dry up to the big meadow area before ascending to the notch. Quite a bit of snow through meadow and up to notch, but the snow is much better than the scree/talus, so it's a good time to go up Mount Warren.

Also, hiked up to Mono Pass via Bloody Canyon. Dry for a while. Then, some patchy snow below Lower Sardine Lake, but nothing major. One creek crossing where you want to be careful about fragile snow bridges. Quite a bit of snow past Lower Sardine Lake, and then it looks a bit like a winter wonderland up around Mono Pass still.
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Re: 2016 Backcountry Conditions Reports

Post by Hobbes » Tue May 17, 2016 10:04 am

Early PCT hikers are crossing Forester:

https://www.instagram.com/trailpaint/

She mentioned they are wearing trail runners + Kahtoola hiking crampons (a little beefier than micro-spikes).

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Split Mountain 5/18

Post by BufordT » Sun May 22, 2016 11:26 pm

Did Split Mt. from the east side on 05/18/2016. Here is a picture of Upper Basin and Mather Pass. The shoreline of Red Lake (10,500') was freezing/melting with night/day, rest of lake frozen.
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Re: 2016 Backcountry Conditions Reports

Post by Hobbes » Mon May 23, 2016 6:49 am

Nice shot. BlueWater is up at Rae/Glen right now so he'll have some good photos. We're planning on heading over Lamarck next Monday.

Here are some shots of the PCT @ Mather & below Golden staircase:

https://www.instagram.com/p/BFvTjYVlED5 ... trailpaint

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Re: 2016 Backcountry Conditions Reports

Post by TahoeJeff » Tue May 24, 2016 11:21 am

There is probably 3"-4" of wet heavy snow in Deso this a.m. from last nights showers.
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Re: 2016 Backcountry Conditions Reports

Post by Hobbes » Tue May 24, 2016 4:18 pm

BlueWater sent me this short note today - he'll have pictures later:

The conditions were very good. Almost no snow (just a few inconsequential patches) until 11,000’, from there it was intermittent and easy to walk on with just trail runners. I didn’t use microspikes and even in the late afternoon/early evening the snow was still easy to walk on in trail runners. I brought snowshoes but only used them at the top 1/3rd of NAP.

Also, I've posted a link to these Finnish PCT hikers' IG account before. They are posting really, really good real-time trail intelligence. Check it out (each photo has commentary):

https://www.instagram.com/trailpaint/

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