2016 Backcountry Conditions Reports | High Sierra Topix  

2016 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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Lodgepole to Twin Lakes 5/28 - 5/30

Postby robow8 » Tue May 31, 2016 4:18 pm

Silliman Creek below knee wade. A little patchy snow below Cahoon Gap, mostly snow on the North side to Clover Creek. Patchy snow and lots of snowmelt on the trail th Twin Lakes, becoming all snow just below the lakes. Some bare patches around the lakes, which are partially frozen. 3 feet of snow in the shade.

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5/29: Desolation Wilderness- Lake Sylvia

Postby ksenn » Tue May 31, 2016 6:54 pm

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Route taken: Lyon's Creek Trail to Lake Sylvia

Difficult section encountered: Trail is a running stream or swamp if not covered in snow. Patchy snow below 7400ft increasing to 100% coverage around 7800ft. Lake is mostly frozen over, starting to melt around the edges. Lyons creek is high and fast. Postholed a few times up to my thighs.

Special equipment needed/used: None, but may want waterproof footwear if adverse to getting wet feet.




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Clouds Rest 5/26 - 5/30

Postby oliverlu » Tue May 31, 2016 6:58 pm

Approached from North, patches of snow on south facing fire-burned area beginning at 8700. Full consolidated coverage at 9,000. 3-4' consolidated knife ridge of snow covering the granite steps leading towards summit at 9,900'. South approach mostly clear with sporadic patches of snow.
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Chicken Spring Lake 5/28 / Shepherd Pass Trail 5/29

Postby dougieb » Tue May 31, 2016 7:09 pm

5/28 Hiked from horseshoe meadows to Chicken Spring Lake and then just above the lake to look west. There was very little snow on the trail until Chicken Spring Lake which was mainly frozen. About a 50/50 spread between dry and snow covered areas. Looking to the west, golden trout meadows down there had very little to no snow from what I could see.

5/29 Hiked along Symmes Creek on the Shepherd's Pass trail and it was beautiful. The water is flowing pretty well but it is all below knee high and easy to cross. There was no snow for us but we only went to about 7000 feet so duh. Snow looked like it was peppered around 10,500 in that drainage.
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Sabrina Basin 5-26 through 5-29

Postby snevill » Wed Jun 01, 2016 9:21 am

Hiked out of Lake Sabrina to Blue Lake. The trail was under snow in a number of places and there were a number of spots with precarious snow crossings. Blue Lake was mostly frozen and the surrounding areas had about 50% snow coverage. The trail to Dingleberry Lake required a detour around a steep snow crossing. We didn't venture beyond Dingleberry due to the conditions (and incoming weather).
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Re: 2016 Backcountry Conditions Reports

Postby ExploreABitMore » Wed Jun 01, 2016 4:36 pm

Looks like a forest fire in the Kennedy Meadows area just started up. Didn't notice it around lunch time, came out to go home and there it was. Looks to be just a little north of Sawtooth Peak.
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Summit Lake 5/27-5/30

Postby Snowtrout » Wed Jun 01, 2016 6:11 pm

Summit Lake TR: 5/27-5/30
Hiked out of Shake Camp on Friday evening and got about 3 miles in before making camp. Saturday: saw some snow around 7500', lots of snow drifts around 8000-8500 on East, West & North facing slopes. At 9000', lots of deeper snow banks. At 9400', snow was 2-6' deep depending on location. Summit lake was 75% iced over with only around the shore areas open water. Tried to make it to Maggie lakes but with the trail junction sign for windy gap only 1' above the snow, we returned back to Summit lake and found the only camp spot near the lake that was not wet. Sunday: like partially froze back up but quickly melted by 9am. Too many hikers up there (+20) to stay, so we headed back down to the Tule River. Snow was melting fast on the way down and with these hot temps, the snow is going to go fast.
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Treasure Lakes June 3, 2016

Postby Shawn » Fri Jun 03, 2016 9:19 pm

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Route taken:
Did a quick day hike to Treasure Lakes out of South Lake above Bishop. The Treasure Lakes "trail" was in dismal condition, the upper third of my route was ad hoc due to snow.

Difficult section encountered:
Due to very warm temps, it was a post-hole horror show on the upper elevation on approach to the lakes.

Special equipment needed/used:
Hiking poles helped with the soft snow / post-hole extraction tools. :smirk:

Possible alternative routes:
I just made my own path when I encountered continuous snow. It is melting fast so it shouldn't be an issue for much longer.

Note: On my way down I encountered three fisherman that lost the trail and seemed, um, significantly delayed in a forested area no where near the trail. I gave them an extra map I had and provided some instructions to get them back on course. If you are not comfortable navigating off trail, and the trail unexpectedly disappears due to snow, perhaps the best choice is to turn around and try another day.



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Emigrant-N Yosemite, May 30-June 4

Postby Wandering Daisy » Sat Jun 04, 2016 4:51 pm

Road to Shingle Springs TH is in good shape.

Kibby Ridge trail, in better shape than 2009, but new deadfall and overgrown sections. Several wet bogs, but mostly quite dry.

North facing slope down to the unnamed lakes west of Mecur Peak melting snow- some 3-foot drifts, LOTS of water, every topographic indentation a pond.

Little or no snow on route: Styx Pass - Boundary Lake - Little Bear Lake - Spotted Fawn Lake- Flora Lake - Barrett Lakes - Many Island Lake.
Day-hike to Inferno Lakes - pretty solid snow on north facing slopes, no snow on south facing slopes.
A majority of the watershed of these lakes have already melted, so lakes are high and full, but creeks are reasonable- wade to cross but not deep.
What amazed me, was how warm the water was in the lakes and small creeks.

On the way out I dropped down to Lord Meadow, Cherry Creek is HUGE! and still icy cold.

All week it was HOT! The snow is going fast at this elevation (7000-8000 feet). A few snow banks below Styx Pass were totally gone on the way out. I doubt it got below 50-60 degrees at night.

Wildflowers just beginning to bloom, the best is yet to come. Willows getting buds.

The road up to Cherry Lake really shows the devastation from the Rim Fire. Among all the burn, this year's wildflowers are in full bloom.
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Deso High Country June 2-3

Postby Vaca Russ » Sun Jun 05, 2016 8:47 am

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I hiked into and camped at the Dicks Lake outlet. The next morning I climbed Dicks Peak via the north face.

Northern Deso is completely snow free.

1 Northern Deso.JPG

Susie is half ice free, Half Moon is starting to clear.

2 Susie Half Moon.JPG

Pyramid, Jacks and Agassiz still hold plenty of snow.

3 Py, Jacks Agassiz.JPG

Dicks and Fontanillis are frozen solid...The Velma's are clear.

4 Dick, Font, Velm.JPG

Last year WD asked about the pass above and between Island and Clyde...here is this year's photo:

5 Pass above Clyde.JPG

I wouldn't recommend trying to cross Dicks Pass without an ice ax and crampons.

6 Dicks Pass.JPG

Please see a full report here:



Last edited by Vaca Russ on Mon Jun 06, 2016 6:41 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Desolation Wilderness, Echo to Aloha, June 3-4

Postby FeetFirst » Sun Jun 05, 2016 2:37 pm

Echo Lake TH west to far northwest end of Aloha via PCT. Trail was clear & dry till spur trail to boat taxi at upper Echo Lake. From there to intersection for Triangle Lake trail is under 2"-5" of running water. From there (Haypress Meadow) all the way to Lake Aloha basin is under multiple feet of snow. Gained the snow free shoulder up to Jabu Lake and scrambled the ridge up near Cracked Crag en route. Dropped back down to Le Conte Lake where I camped for the night. Found a dry section of the PCT which looked like it was dry all the way up towards Heather Lake.

Snow shoes not needed. Snow was consolidated and no post-holing involved, but it has been warm up there and things are changing quick. I had micro spikes, but didn't use them. Some hills required mini kick steps for good footing (trail runners). Gore-tex socks kept my feet warm & happy. Basic route finding required from Haypress Meadow west. However, most of the route was starting to get a pretty good boot track.

Echo Lakes

trail above boat taxi spur

Haypress Meadow

Jabu Lake

Crystal Range from Jabu Lake

Lake Aloha & Pyramid Peak

Lake Aloha towards Mosquito Pass

Lake Le Conte

Lake Le Conte

dry camp between Le Conte & PCT

from camp looking towards Mosquito Pass
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West side Ansel Adams Trail heads opening up 6/4

Postby Troutdog 59 » Sun Jun 05, 2016 8:03 pm

Went up sky Ranch Rd above Fresno Dome yesterday with the idea to possibly day hike to Grizzly Lake, but mostly to check the access to the Quartz Mtn trail head. Alas, we couldn't make it to either due to snow just past the 4x4 road to Iron Lakes. Looks like it should be gone in another week or so. We headed over to the Beasore Mdw Granite Creek area to explore. Granite Creek is ripping, even the East Fork, but no issues getting to Isberg or Mammoth trail heads with the exception of a pretty good bog just before the Mammoth TH. Beautiful day and nice to see the areas creeks with water.
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