2018 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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maiathebee
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Echo Lakes --> Lake Aloha 6/2-6/3

Post by maiathebee » Sun Jun 03, 2018 9:18 pm

Route taken: Echo Lakes boat taxi, PCT up to Lake Aloha, then back along the entire Echo Lakes trail for exit.

Difficult section encountered: patchy snow beginning at Triangle Lake junction, almost full coverage from Lake of the Woods junction on to Aloha. Many misleading tracks from confused day hikers, follow your map!

Special equipment needed/used: Trekking poles were fine. Gaiters helpful since snow was so soft, postholing a lot.

Possible alternative routes: Could come in from the Susie side but you'd still hit a lot of snow between Susie and Heather, and then between Heather and Aloha.
Last edited by maiathebee on Mon Jun 04, 2018 2:48 pm, edited 1 time in total.


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GCT Out & Back From Tuolumne 5/31-6/3

Post by Wandering Daisy » Mon Jun 04, 2018 10:08 am

Grand Canyon Tuolumne, 5/31-6/3 In-and-out from Tuolumne Meadows

Tuolumne Meadows to about 1.5 miles upstream of Pate Valley, then return.

NO snow at all! Waterfalls are amazing! Still have to wade through a section in Glen Aulin (mid-calf deep) and VERY cold. Crossing of Register Creek knee deep on me, mid-calf for a normal size person. Not hard at all. I waded the smaller streams on the way down from Tuolumne simply because I hate log crossings. If you have high top boots, you could just walk through quickly.

Trail Conditions: plenty of use down to Glen Aulin (the camp is open, but I did not stay there). Some wading just above the top of California Falls. Pretty good condition to Return Creek Bridge. Trail goes to pot on downward. Damage last year, not much use this year. Tons of logs across the trail. Much over grown areas of head-high brush. A few wash outs. Places where the trail is really faint- easily lost (however you cannot really get "lost" in the canyon). Rattlesnakes from Return Bridge downstream. Although I did not go through it, I met three fellows who came down from White Wolf and they said there is a big rock slide over the trail just below where I had gone. They also said the damaged bridge at Pate Valley is not bad- just scary since there are no hand rails and a lot of missing boards. It is however, a 100% "die if you fall off" situation. Depends on your tolerance of risk if you want to cross. Crossing the river is NOT an option.

Definitely plan on wading, so take wading shoes if you want dry feet. Very hot! I wished I would have taken my sun-brella instead of rain jacket. Did not need my big sleeping bag. Head net and DEET a must (not for mosquitoes right now, but all those other annoying bugs). I personally would not have done it without a tent just to get out of the bugs and tons of huge ants on the ground. I never used the rain fly.

Be careful near the falls. It is hard to safely get close. The falls are really too much white water for easy photography. Still great to see.

As I was coming back yesterday, I ran into a group carrying kayaks planning to go down the falls (except portage down Waterwheel) and take out (return) from Cathedral Falls. I cannot imagine hauling kayaks back up that route! Anyway, I suspect they will put up some video on Kayak blogs soon.
Last edited by maverick on Mon Jun 04, 2018 11:16 am, edited 1 time in total.
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South Fork Big Pine 6/1-6/3

Post by maverick » Mon Jun 04, 2018 11:19 am

Evan wrote on SNCC-TPP:
South Fork, Big Pine Creek conditions. The stream crossing before going up the head-wall below Willow Lake isn't exactly a piece of cake right now. But, maybe ~100 feet upstream from trail was an easier crossing. Patchy snow below Brainered lake, easy to lose trail in a couple spots. Finger lake is still mostly frozen over and fairly extensive snow above 11k. But, well consolidated with very little post-holing, at least when/where I traveled. Firebird Peak is a nice climb right now and accessible to mere mortals. Norman Clyde and Middle Palisade still had their winter coats on, some avy debris fields, etc.
Campsite at Willow Lake
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Ostrander Lake 6/1-6/3

Post by maverick » Mon Jun 04, 2018 11:23 am

Deen Keenville wrote on SNCC-TPP:
Just got back from Ostrander Lake in Yosemite off Glacier Pt Rd. No snow, very few skeeters, lovely weather! 8,500 ft.
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LLV 5/1

Post by maverick » Mon Jun 04, 2018 4:34 pm

Phypl on MP wrote:
Above photo taken last Friday. We couldn’t quite make our hike to Ruby Lake. Hit a bunch of snow at 11k and started postholing. But it’s heated up considerably since Memorial Day weekend, when there was some rain.
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I don't give out specific route information, my belief is that it takes away from the whole adventure spirit of a trip, if you need every inch planned out, you'll have to get that from someone else.

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Bear Spire Region 5/3

Post by maverick » Mon Jun 04, 2018 4:37 pm

Matt Thomsen on MP wrote:
Lots of snow around Bear Creek Spire as of yesterday. Snow line starts around 11,000’. Hard snow in the morning and gets really soft around noon. Skis or snow shoes would be helpful.

Looking at Abbot, Petite Griffon and Mills. Just north of Bear Creek Spire. This photo is taken around 12,000’.
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I don't give out specific route information, my belief is that it takes away from the whole adventure spirit of a trip, if you need every inch planned out, you'll have to get that from someone else.

Have a safer backcountry experience by using the HST ReConn Form 2.0, named after Larry Conn, an HST member: http://reconn.org

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Mt Lyell 5/27

Post by maverick » Mon Jun 04, 2018 4:42 pm

Jt Newgard on MP wrote:
We were up by Mt Lyell last weekend (5/27). Can confirm the snow is pretty funky right now. My hunch is the extra late season snow hasn't gone through the usual number of consolidation cycles yet.

So both the postholing on the approach, and wet slides in steeper areas are big concerns.

We climbed up Lyell entirely on snow. Hit it very early morning, and kicked through maybe 6" of soft, new stuff to more solid layer below. But by the time we hit Maclure around 10 am, conditions were total garbage. It was prime wet slide time with the sun baking that east face. So we turned around.
Photo #1 Maclure, #2 Lyell headwall.
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I don't give out specific route information, my belief is that it takes away from the whole adventure spirit of a trip, if you need every inch planned out, you'll have to get that from someone else.

Have a safer backcountry experience by using the HST ReConn Form 2.0, named after Larry Conn, an HST member: http://reconn.org

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Wolverton>Tablelands>Elizabeth Pass 5/26-5/27

Post by notis » Mon Jun 04, 2018 8:42 pm

5/26/2018 - 5/27/2018

Route taken:
Wolverton>Pear Lake>Tablelands>Pterodactyl Pass>Horn Col>Elizabeth Pass>High Sierra Trail>Wolverton

Difficult section encountered:
Snow above 10k feet. Will post a TR soon. Succinctly...we post-holed for stretches of the Tablelands, and it was getting worse, even just at 9am (sun hits Tablelands for much of the day). Making poor time; three passes to get over in one day; weather moving in...we turned back just beyond Lake 10559.

Special equipment needed/used:
Microspikes and ice axes necessary for the passes mentioned. Although we did not reach them, this is my recommendation based off of snow levels observed.

Possible alternative routes:
Start very early (we started late from Emerald Lake at 6am). Can't speak to the whole route.
Last edited by maverick on Tue Jun 05, 2018 10:29 am, edited 1 time in total.
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6/2 - 6/418 emigrant wilderness

Post by frozenintime » Wed Jun 06, 2018 1:22 pm

crabtree > gem lake > retraced our steps back to piute creek > off trail up canyon to granite lake > bear lake > crabtree.

west fork cherry creek was up to my bellybutton (i'm 6'1") and pretty tough at 5 PM.
it was a foot or two lower the next morning, easy but absolutely freezing.

snow line was ~8500 feet on south facing slopes. we encountered virtually no snow heading to granite lake until we were quite close to the lake itself, which was surrounded by snow and 3/4ths frozen (and very beautiful).

quite a bit of snow on the descent from granite to lily creek, and then lots of runoff in the valley creating lovely little temporary waterfalls and creeks everywhere.

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Cottowood/New Army Pass 6/6-6/10

Post by maverick » Mon Jun 11, 2018 11:53 am

Mike Pilarski on SNCC-TPP wrote:
Just returned from doing a four day loop out of Horseshoe Meadows to Cottonwood and promised an update. Conditions were absolutely phenomenal this weekend with zero snow. No micro spikes needed. Pics are in order of trip explanation below...

Thursday we did six miles on the Cottonwood trail, then at the fork we hopped on the New Army Pass trail towards Cottonwood lakes 1 & 2. Then pressed on around the corner and set up camp at Long Lake.

Friday we went up New Army Pass and literally only needed to go through ten feet of snow at the very top, that was it. Then continued down the other side and made our way to Soldier Lake where the fish did not bite, but still beautiful lake. This too was about a 6 mile day.

Saturday we made our way back and connected to the PCT. This was the beginning of looping our way back towards the trailhead. Made our way to Chickenspring Lake for another six mile day. Note, this lake does have a lot of PCT hikers camping out, so you will not be alone. We also experienced wind on this day, but thankfully it died out.

Woke up Sunday and headed towards Cottonwood Pass and back to the car. This was about five miles and all downhill butter.....always nice ending a trip with some easy downhill.

This is now at the top as one of my favorite loops with reasonable mileage done each day and lots to see....conditions were just awesome.
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I don't give out specific route information, my belief is that it takes away from the whole adventure spirit of a trip, if you need every inch planned out, you'll have to get that from someone else.

Have a safer backcountry experience by using the HST ReConn Form 2.0, named after Larry Conn, an HST member: http://reconn.org

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