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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Echo Lakes to American Lake 06/21 06/22

Postby will_jrob » Thu Jun 23, 2016 10:10 pm

Clear trail around Echo Lakes up to Haypress Meadows, then patchy snow, wet trail until the second Lake of the Woods jct. Watery trail with long stretches of tracked snow down the north slope to Lake Aloha. Area below Aloha has the rock channels filled with water/snow to at least Channel Lake.
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Emigrant 6/23-6/26

Postby kpeter » Sun Jun 26, 2016 5:31 pm

Water in the Emigrant: June 23-26

The fords over West Fork Cherry Creek--both the Pine Valley trail crossing and the use trail crossing on the way to Rosaco--were quite doable--knee deep at the former and not much more than that if you chose properly at the Rosaco crossing. All the other fords (Lily, Piute, Buck Meadow) were easily done with reasonable care--Lily can be stepping stoned now, Piute is calf deep, Buck Meadow is knee deep. While W Fork and Buck Meadow Creeks are roaring attractively over their cascades, many side steams are already dry. For example, the outlet to Big Lake has already completely shut off, and the Golden Staircase into Big Lake has only a tiny trickle.
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Emigrant 6/23-6/26

Postby kpeter » Sun Jun 26, 2016 5:37 pm

Snowline in Emigrant: June 23-28

I only encountered snow on the North facing slopes of Buck Meadow Creek's deep canyon near Wood Lake. Above 8000', shaded areas, north slopes. This was enough to put a dozen or so patches of snow over the trail, a couple of which needed somewhat careful negotiating. I'd say 5% snow cover--but I did not go all the way to Wood Lake or higher yet where more of the same could be expected.
Last edited by maverick on Mon Jun 27, 2016 2:08 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Pine Creek - Mt Julius Caesar: 6/24-26

Postby ksenn » Sun Jun 26, 2016 11:06 pm

Log crossing before Pine Lake was good around 830pm. Water was running over the rock crossing above Honeymoon Lake in the morning. Deep snow in places on the way to Granite Park, but easy to find a safe way. Water was about knee high and moving fast in general. Snow was soft but only post holed around the edges in the afternoon. The upper lakes/tarns were half frozen still. Lots of snow up to Italy Pass, but soft enough for trail runners in the late afternoon. Hardened up a bit around 7pm, but still ok with trail runners. Used the ice axe just in case. Lots and lots of snow west of Italy Pass. Jumble lake and Lake Italy still mostly frozen.
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Re: Pine Creek - Mt Julius Caesar: 6/24-26

Postby Sierra Miguel » Sun Jun 26, 2016 11:13 pm

ksenn wrote:Lots and lots of snow west of Italy Pass.


Thanks. How did the higher elevs look? We're hoping to go from Gabbot to North Col. next weekend.
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Re: Pine Creek - Mt Julius Caesar: 6/24-26

Postby ksenn » Mon Jun 27, 2016 9:54 pm

Sierra Miguel wrote:
ksenn wrote:Lots and lots of snow west of Italy Pass.


Thanks. How did the higher elevs look? We're hoping to go from Gabbot to North Col. next weekend.


Gabbot Pass

gabbot.JPG


I was kind of out of it and didn't get a picture toward North Col.
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Re: Pine Creek - Mt Julius Caesar: 6/24-26

Postby Sierra Miguel » Mon Jun 27, 2016 10:19 pm

Highly informative. I was expecting a bit less snow, but this looks great.

I was kind of out of it and didn't get a picture toward North Col.

This is most of it. I think BCS blocks the view of the rest and North Col.
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JMT (TM to Duck Pass Section) 6/19-6/23

Postby Snowtrout » Thu Jun 30, 2016 10:13 am

JMT from TM to Ducks Pass Trail 6/19-6/23. Only one wet crossing at the lake outlet below the north side of Donahue. Donahue pass was solid snow on both sides and we had a slushy 3-4 mile trek. We used microspikes to get over the north side but did not need them on the south side. Island pass was also a bit snowy but not as bad as Donahue. Lots of water to drink from everywhere until Reds Meadow. Bugs are also coming out in this area.

From Reds meadow to Duck Pass Trail, water is available in the creeks and a few of the seasonal snow melt creeks in the 5 mile dry section. Still lots of snow on the north side of Duck Pass with a few sketchy cross hill snow traverses. Being slushy was good but if it was icy, would have been scary. The trolley starts daily operation in the lakes basin area on July 1st.

We met the migration of PCT'ers and they had lots of stories and info about the trail conditions south. Silver pass and Muir pass areas had the most snow but Glen was the trickiest according to them.
Last edited by maverick on Thu Jun 30, 2016 2:23 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: Dusy Basin 6/24-30

Postby Wandering Daisy » Thu Jun 30, 2016 5:22 pm

Only snow patches on trail. Bishop Pass basically snow-free except for the flat snowfield on top. All lakes in Dusy Basin are ice-free. Streams are crossable (some need wading but not bad). Only small patches of snow in entire basin. Lakes on the north side (Bishop Lake) have a bit more snow patches. Getting very soggy and wet. Very green and flowers below 10,800 feet. Talked to people who went over Potluck Pass and Knapsack Pass. Knapsack, snow but not difficult. Potluck was very difficult with a cornice blocking the standard route. Class 3 rock to detour.

Went up to Treasure Lakes 6/29-30. Snow-free. Route up rib to the middle lake only had a few snow patches to get around. Lakes ice-free.

All week it was warm- very warm at night. Snow is melting fast. Got a good amount of rain 6/28. Rained from 3PM until 10PM. Lightning and thunder and a bit of rain 6/29.
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Yosemite 6/25-6/26

Postby SSSdave » Fri Jul 01, 2016 10:07 am

June 25/26 worked areas along SR120 in Yosemite. Very impressive displays of gaudy penstemon newberryi in many bedrock granite roadside areas that are now peaking. Also some Indian paintbrush in mix. Best are just east of Olmsted Point and along exfoliation exhibit curve at 7.8k on north side of Yosemite Creek canyon. At later location, lots of other species up atop rib 250 feet above road that also has some nice Sierra junipers.

Otherwise roadside areas 6k to 8k lots of species but would rate wildflower numers a 3 or 4 on 10 scale versus average years as mid to late spring was obviously a bit dry in these areas. Wet swampy meadow species above 6.5k have shooting stars, bistort, dog violets, buttercups, marsh marigold, and camas lilies but not yet the many mid summer species. At Tuolumne Meadows some shooting stars and cinquefoil but less than normal. Roadside areas above Tuolumne Meadows at 8.5k up to Tioga Pass few wildflowers yet. Nice shallow meadow pools around river edges for early/late reflections. Roadside most snow melted with patches in forest shadows with turf now changing from brown to greens. Lots of snowmelt flowing down from peaks so streams high and lots of wet mushy meadows areas. Cathedral Range and Sierra Crest peaks aesthetic patchy snow.
Last edited by maverick on Sat Jul 02, 2016 9:43 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Piute Pass Hunphreys Basin 6/26

Postby austex » Sat Jul 02, 2016 11:39 am

No real issues over the pass from North Lake. The last 100yds or so covered in snow. Very passable w/o any special equipment, just choose your time of day. Humphreys was pretty snow free. Summit Lake ice free, no snow on the trails.
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Clark Range Loop 7/1-7/5

Postby oliverlu » Wed Jul 06, 2016 4:56 pm

Illillouette Basin dry with smaller seasonal creeks already done until Clark Fork. Upper Ottoway Lake fringed with snow and covered with patches of ice.
Switchbacks up Red Peak Pass mostly snow free except for patches of firm consolidated snow. North side of Pass fully snow covered and trail hidden until the tarns at the edges of the bowl. Surface soft even early in the morning. Traction devices recommended but not necessary. Can descend via traverse w/poles safely. Glissade possible but you may need to self-arrest to avoid sliding into the exposed rocks at the base.
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