2019 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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SSSdave
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Re: 2019 Backcountry Conditions Reports

Post by SSSdave » Fri Jun 07, 2019 9:00 am

Yeah much of the Sierra has continued to be cloudy with cumulus build ups. The last clear EOSDIS WV image of the Hetch Hetchy zone was May 25 and that shows Laurel, Vernon, Edyth, Kibbie, Ardeth all melted out so now another 2 weeks hence much ought now be nicely dried out with wildflowers rising in the gruss flats. Still quite a bit of snow atop Moraine Ridge and Kibbie Ridge, especially Styx Peak and canyon below Lord Meadow. Down along the South Fork of the San Joaquin canyon, all the new May snow has since melted away so my tentative trip up to the Piute confluence is still looking certain once Kaiser Pass opens.

The CDEC Full Natural Flows are now showing with the last two days of warm weather, southern Sierra flows now at spring peak even higher than during the mid May storms. This coming Sunday and Monday are forecast to have the warmest days of the year to this point. San Jose forecast to reach 94F and San Francisco 85F with an offshore high pattern over the state. Thus the overall spring peak flows this year may occur on Monday and Tuesday and that also means biggest waterfall flows in Yosemite Valley and river whitewater. Am also expecting we will get a cloud free EOSDIS WV view during the heat spell.

http://cdec.water.ca.gov/reportapp/javareports?name=FNF








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Re: 2019 Yosemite 6/4-6/9

Post by Wandering Daisy » Sun Jun 09, 2019 7:40 pm

6/4 Glacier Point to LYV: no snow, a few fallen logs across the trail. The trail is a small stream on sections of the downhill section towards the JMT trail junction.

6/5 LYV: 1) Half Dome saddle- no snow, good big trail. Plenty of small water sources. 2) JMT - cross trail to Merced Lake -valley above Bunnell Falls; no snow easy creek crossings, only had to wade one (mid-calf deep). Trail somewhat faint through the recent burn area on the cross trail. Due to a storm I did not go to Merced Lake. Trail between the bridges was flooded in a few places. I suspect that the trail up to Merced Lake would be flooded across Echo Valley. Lots of water running down the slabs after crossing the south bridge across the Merced River. Had to wade a lot of them, very shallow ankle deep.

6/6 Above Bunnell Falls to LYV: lots of swampy conditions, one wade was mid-thigh deep (there was a detour but it was nasty, so I just waded). On the Mist Trail below top of Vernal Fall the steps were literally a stream! There was a heavy blowing "rain", not a mist! I have never seen it that wet. Backpacker's campground lower sites were flooded. Could not access campground via North Pines CG. Had to access from Mirror Lake TH or the Awahnhe?sp hotel parking lot.

6/7 Bridal Veil Falls up old Glacier Point Road to Pohono Trail: two major wash-outs at creeks, the larger had to be waded. Road very over-grown, lots of down trees, but all had good detours. Much of the pavement is now gone. 2) Pohono Trail to Stanford Point; no snow, good shape until the end of the uphill. Then nothing but deadfall, not sure I even was on the main trail. Plenty of water sources for drinking water along the route. Little stream just east of Stanford Point was running good.

6/8 1) Stanford Point to Dewey Point:
I missed the trail but cross-country was not bad. I ran into the trail at Crocker Point. 2) Dewey Point to Bridal Veil Creek bridge; lots of water sources, waded one creek, patchy snow but easy to skirt around the lower edges. Main problem was lots of deadfall tangles that were very slow getting around. 3) Bridal Veil bridge to Taft Point; a few snow patches, but LOTS of deadfall tangles. Not a lot of water on the trail. Probably the worst section for deadfall. 4) Taft Point to Glacier Point on the Pohono Trail; snow and very wet mess up to the trail junction- washed out and the trail not clear, but plenty of signs at the trail junction. A few snow patches down to Sentinel Creek and a few log tangles. Logs across Sentinel Creek. I took a use-trail along the steep sidehill of the rim that had one snow patch that I had to go up and around. I do not know about conditions on the main trail. This use-trail intersected the big main trail. Quite a few downed trees on the main trail.

6/9 Yosemite Valley:
Approaches to Swinging Bridge were flooded on 6/7 but not on 6/9. I have seen the Merced higher, today it was well below the bridge. Trail on the north side up from El Cap Meadow is flooded in places. The Merced is really flowing. No boating is currently allowed. Backpacker's campground no longer flooded as much- can go across bridge to North Pines but have to wade a bit and it is very muddy.

Anything out of Yosemite Valley and the Valley itself is now very CROWEDED! The falls are flowing great. Dogwood blooms gone in the Valley, but a few up higher. In spite of high water flows, the grasses are beginning to show drying. Lupine out but past prime. El Cap Shuttle is now running every 1/2 hour staring at 9AM.

Merced River at Pohono Bridge and Happy Isles projected to flood again this Wed! Conditions changing daily.
Last edited by Wandering Daisy on Sun Jun 09, 2019 8:15 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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Re: 2019 PCT Onion Valley to Mammoth Lakes

Post by Wandering Daisy » Sun Jun 09, 2019 7:52 pm

Here is the continuation of "Restless Kewi Adventures" PCT hike from Onion Valley to Mammoth Lakes. Be sure to view the videos too. The interesting thing is that she was following someone with snowshoes. She did not use them. Gives a perspective on the need for them. What amazes me is that in those conditions the days were 7-16 miles. And during the time period, lots of off and on snow and rain. Temperatures at night below freezing.

https://www.pcta.org/community/journalist/page/3/

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Kennedy Creek/Soda Canyon 6/7-6/9

Post by Flamingo » Sun Jun 09, 2019 10:26 pm

Hi All, June 7-9 I visited Kennedy Creek and Soda Canyon in Emigrant Wilderness. I attached a photo from Kennedy Lake, looking towards Big Sam. The snow line was at 7800' on north-facing slopes, while snow on south-facing slopes is patchy or nonexistent. The south face of Leavitt Peak (11,569') appears to be completely melted, whereas in Soda Canyon (north-facing) I encountered solid snow at 8000' and above.
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Last edited by Flamingo on Mon Jun 10, 2019 12:47 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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Day hike on Rubicon Trail, Lake Tahoe, June 8, 2019

Post by wildhiker » Sun Jun 09, 2019 10:52 pm

Hiked the Rubicon trail on the west shore of Lake Tahoe from Rubicon Point south down to and around Emerald Bay. Trail and surrounding forest completely dry. No mosquitoes. Viewed from this trail, the snow line appeared to be about 7000 feet elevation on the west shore, and about 8500 feet on the east shore (Carson Range). -Phil

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Camp Lake & Bear Lake 6/8

Post by maverick » Mon Jun 10, 2019 12:31 pm

Stanislaus NF:
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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, a HST member: http://reconn.org

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Charlotte Lake/Rae Lakes 6/8

Post by maverick » Mon Jun 10, 2019 12:48 pm


Posted on SNNC-TPP by Jesse Kempa:
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Professional Sierra Landscape Photographer

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, a HST member: http://reconn.org

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Echo Lake/Ralston Lake Desolation 6/9

Post by maverick » Mon Jun 10, 2019 12:53 pm

Posted on SNNC-TPP by Kimberly Kolafa:
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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, a HST member: http://reconn.org

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Re: 2019 Backcountry Conditions Reports

Post by bobby49 » Mon Jun 10, 2019 6:32 pm

Maverick, I saw the photos of Camp Lake and Bear Lake. I assume those were fairly recent. I'm just trying to figure out what it is going to look like in there around July Fourth, plus or minus one week.

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New Army Pass 6/8

Post by GGC23 » Tue Jun 11, 2019 8:59 am

Route taken: Day hike up to New Army Pass from the Cottonwood Lakes trailhead (Saturday, June 8)

Difficult section encountered:
The trail has only nuisance snow (i.e. small drifts but mostly clear) until the split for Cottonwood Lakes and New Army Pass. I headed up toward NAP, and the snow cover was all but 100% after that point. It's been really hot in Bishop for the past week and a half, and the snow was a gigantic slip and slide starting around 11 am. Even microspikes did nothing to help because there was a good 6 inches of slush and nothing for the microspikes to bite on to. In happier news, the snow below the top slush layer was pretty solid, so I rarely postholed past mid-calf. From High Lake to the top of the pass, the snow got much firmer. NAP was an awesome snow climb! Creeks are raging. I crossed Cottonwood Creek on a log in the morning that was 2 feet above the water. In the afternoon on my way out, that same log was submerged (but still crossable).

Special equipment needed/used:
Nothing except trekking poles and the ability to balance on super slippery snow until HIgh Lake. From High Lake to the top of the pass, I used crampons and an ice axe and was very glad that I had them. The snow on NAP is steep and the exposure is not insignificant. While someone who is more confident that I am could probably get by with only microspikes and an axe, I was glad for the extra bite I got from my crampons.

Possible alternative routes:
None that I know of, although if the creeks get any higher, I noticed many crossings within a few hundred yards up / downstream of the trail crossing that would allow for a safe crossing even in high water.

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