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Best Guess on Snow in Late June?

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Best Guess on Snow in Late June?

Postby cunningkeith » Tue May 24, 2016 1:20 pm

I’m trying to plan a three-night trip in late June and would appreciate your expertise/best guess on what the snow coverage in SEKI will be during that time. I don’t normally backpack in the Sierra, so I don’t really have a good idea of how the meltout has historically worked from the end of May to late June.

I’m considering two options:

Option 1: Roads End, up Copper Creek, then from Monarch Divide, go off trail for 10 miles(ish) somewhere. Any suggestions are appreciated!

Option 2: Mineral King, up Sawtooth Pass and then play around off trail for a few days. Again, suggestions are appreciated.

Right now, it looks like the Monarch Divide option is currently holding 50-100 inches, whereas the Sawtooth Pass option is holding far less (20-30 inches). I think I’d prefer Monarch Divide, but if folks think that all of it will be under five feet of snow in late June, then I’d appreciate any ideas on the Mineral King option.
I know there are lots of variables with snowmelt, but I’d love to hear your best guess!

I’m a Level 4 hiker with plenty of snow, off-trail experience; but I’d rather not do a trip that is completely on snow. Thanks!



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Re: Best Guess on Snow in Late June?

Postby balzaccom » Tue May 24, 2016 2:08 pm

Too soon to say for sure, but you can expect the month of June to be generally warm and sunny. That means most of the snow will be gone from most parts of the Sierra--certainly that south-facing slope of Copper Creek Trail. You'll probably only find snow on the north faces by the end of June...
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Re: Best Guess on Snow in Late June?

Postby maverick » Tue May 24, 2016 3:27 pm

Hi Keith,

Highlights of the Monarch Divide IMO, are the Swamp and Slide Lake Basin's, then going down to the Gorge of Despair to the edge of Tehipite Valley. You should be able to access the area by the end of June via Harrington Pass. Was planning a trip there this year to photograph the run-off, but the storm in May and now this current one, has delayed all my early season photography plans.
Volcanic Lakes are quite pretty too, but be prepared, both places will have a lot of mosquito's.
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Re: Best Guess on Snow in Late June?

Postby AlmostThere » Tue May 24, 2016 8:45 pm

The trailhead for Monarch Wilderness (Deer Cove?) is roped off and closed. You'll want to check with the park on the status of the other trails - the Rough Fire has done a lot of damage in that area.

You can also ask when Mineral King Road opens.

It's snowing right now.
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Re: Best Guess on Snow in Late June?

Postby cunningkeith » Wed May 25, 2016 2:28 pm

Thanks everybody for the super-helpful suggestions.

"Gorge of Despair" is not exactly the most welcoming name I've ever heard. :puke:
But it looks great, and off the radar for sure.

I'm also looking at stringing together Volcanic Lakes, Glacier Lakes, and Kid Lakes. Are there common routes for dropping into these basins? Looking at my topo, the drops into Volcanic and Glacier lakes look pretty straightforward. But is there a recommended pass to get from Glacier Lakes to Kid Lakes?

Thanks again!
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Re: Best Guess on Snow in Late June?

Postby maverick » Wed May 25, 2016 4:17 pm

AT wrote:
The trailhead for Monarch Wilderness (Deer Cove?) is roped off and closed. You'll want to check with the park on the status of the other trails - the Rough Fire has done a lot of damage in that area.


This is correct, the Deer Cove Trail is closed, but the Lewis Creek Trail is open, there is fire damage, but Fry Pan Meadow was spared, as was the Grizzly Lakes area, either would make a decent first night campsite before heading over Harrington Pass (class 2) the next day.

3 nights will be a way short for this trip, you should add 2 nights, all these areas deserve exploration. If you decided to go to the western end, you can use Gimme Pass to access Swamp Lakes from the Slide Lakes area, then head down Slide Creek to the very last lake before it descends down towards Tehipite Valley, and from there you can up and go over the ridge into Kennedy Canyon via this pass. The problem from here is that the Kennedy Canyon Trail is an unmaintained trail, which is not possible to follow once you get down far enough into the canyon, so it is not worth trying to follow, at that time I climbed over the ridge to gain access into the Dead Pine Ridge section, the top section had difficult dwarf aspens to get thru, but once over you can pick up the trail again at the top section of Dead Pine Ridge towards Volcanic Lakes.


Keith wrote:
I'm also looking at stringing together Volcanic Lakes, Glacier Lakes, and Kid Lakes. Are there common routes for dropping into these basins? Looking at my topo, the drops into Volcanic and Glacier lakes look pretty straightforward. But is there a recommended pass to get from Glacier Lakes to Kid Lakes?


The Kid Lakes area can be access be using the following two passes:
Kid Pass: viewtopic.php?f=31&t=13433#p100673
Glacier Saddle: viewtopic.php?f=31&t=12184&p=91627&hilit=glacier+saddle#p91627

Volcanic Lakes can be easily accessed from the trail where the outlet creek from Lake 9702 crosses the trail, and Glacier Lakes to Kid Lakes can be access by heading east from where the trail from Volcanic Lakes meets the Granite Pass trail, there is a small lake north of Lake 10172, stay a little north of it and go over the pass into Glacier Valley right below Lake 10492, circumvent the lakes northern side to its eastern side where you follow the creek up that heads up towards Glacier Saddle.
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: Best Guess on Snow in Late June?

Postby cunningkeith » Fri Jun 03, 2016 4:54 pm

Thanks again for the detailed descriptions. They are much appreciated!
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