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2019 Backcountry Conditions Reports

Posted: Mon Apr 29, 2019 12:09 pm
by maverick
This is not a place to post trip reports, but a place for members to post current conditions experienced in the backcountry on recent trips.
This will give other members considering visiting, or traveling through that same location a heads up on difficult sections, so they can plan accordingly.

Please, do not request information about particular sections of interest that you are about to visit, your post will be deleted.

Please include the area you visited and the dates of your trip in the "Subject section" above!

Copy and Paste this outlibe below, and fill out the info.

Route taken:

Difficult section encountered:

Special equipment needed/used:

Possible alternative routes:


Subject: Roads End>Rae Lakes>East Lake>Longley Pass>Sphinx Lakes 7/4-7/12

Route: Roads End-Upper Paradise Valley-Rae Lakes-Glen Pass-Junction Meadow-Lake Reflection-Longley Pass-Cinder Col-Sphinx Col-Sphinx Lakes-Roads End

Difficult section encountered on this trip:

- Lost of snow on northern side of Glen Pass icy in the morning hours.
- Bubbs Creek crossing very difficult, found the best crossing point 400 yards west of the usual low water crossing section.
- Big cornice encountered on Longley Pass, which was bypass by climbing rocky section north of the pass (class 3).

Special equipment needed/used:
- Ice Axe
- Crampons
- Trekking Poles

Possible alternative routes:

- When crossing Bubb's, I notice a section about 100 yards further west that looked much easier.
- Should have bypassed the cornice on the southern side, route looked barely class 2.

Re: 2019 Backcountry Conditions Reports

Posted: Tue Apr 30, 2019 8:03 am
by oldranger

Getting a bit anal here. But if so time of day encountering conditions is critical. For example a steep snow field can be glazed ice early, perfect grip a couple of hours later then post holing hell even later

Sunrise and Tenaya Lake 5/4

Posted: Mon May 13, 2019 5:40 pm
by maverick

Pohono Trail 5/12-5/13

Posted: Wed May 15, 2019 10:23 pm
by maiathebee
Route taken: Pohono Trail from Tunnel View to Taft Point TH in Yosemite

Difficult section encountered: 70% snow cover between Stanford Point and Bridalveil Creek, 90% snow cover between Bridalveil and Taft Point, 100% snow cover on Taft Point trail to the TH at GP road. The snow made progress slow (it was that snow in the woods where there are 4 foot banks to climb and descend near every tree), but worse than that was the deadfall and down trees. I counted 22 in a 10 minute section that was particularly bad.

Special equipment needed/used: Trekking poles, gaiters. The snow is soft.

Possible alternative routes: none

Happy Isles to Echo Creek Figure8 "loop" 5/14-5/15

Posted: Wed May 15, 2019 10:29 pm
by maiathebee
Route taken: Happy Isles --> Mist Trail --> Merced canyon --> Echo Creek --> JMT --> Happy Isles

Difficult section encountered:
Lots of deadfall and downed trees on the JMT between the Clouds Rest connectors (along Sunrise Creek). Also the annoying stream crossing in LYV is totally washed out, but can be avoided by going south to a log crossing.

Special equipment needed/used:

Possible alternative routes:
eh, just do it but know it will be slower than later when the trail is clear

Deer Cove-Grizzly Lake 5/23-5/24

Posted: Sat May 25, 2019 6:59 am
by commonloon
Route: Deer Cove tailhead -> Frypan Meadow -> Grizzly Lake (Out and back) 5-23,24

Difficult section encountered on this trip:
- Snow leading to Grizzly Lake was soft, unconsolidated and wet. I post holed like crazy (w/ my snowshoes on). I had intended to go to Harrington Pass/Mt Harrington; I turned back. I did sleep in - was post holing at approx at 9am. Shaded areas in trees were a bit better as expected.
- The trail has limited water availability.

Special equipment needed/used:

- Ice Axe (never used)
- Crampons (never used)
- Snowshoes

Possible alternative routes:

- Lewis Creek trail also leads to Frypan, etc. but would involve more creek crossings.

- No bugs.
- No creek crossing challenges (Thanks again limpingcrab for the suggestion on route).

About the Snow:

- Snow started around 7500 ft. This looked like recent stuff. 100% around 8200 ft.
- Warm night with cloud cover. Think this prevented refreeze.
- Much of the post-holing was from shrubs and rocks (elephant traps).
- Snow 1-2 ft near Grizzly.
- Lots of wind-driven drifts.

Re: 2019 Backcountry Conditions Reports

Posted: Sat May 25, 2019 7:37 pm
by maverick
Would you have any photos looking up towards the Harrington Pass area, planning to go over towards mid or late June for a revisit. Thanks

Re: 2019 Backcountry Conditions Reports

Posted: Sun May 26, 2019 6:08 am
by commonloon
I think this is the closest I have. It is right before Grizzly lake, a little left (west) of where the "Trail" would be (near where the trail makes a sharp right).

Enjoy your trip!!


Re: 2019 Backcountry Conditions Reports

Posted: Sun May 26, 2019 9:06 am
by maverick
Thank you.

Big Pine North Fork 6/2

Posted: Mon Jun 03, 2019 3:03 pm
by maverick
Posted on SNCC-TPP, by John Hutchinson:
We made an attempt on Sill yesterday. We had scrapped our plan for the swiss arete due to recent snowfall and continuing unsettled weather. Trail is clear to 9200, becomes continuous snow at 2nd lake. We took the Sam Mac meadow approach on snowshoes (lovely) tedious off-camber traverse along Galey. Switched to crampons for the chutes (this section was hard). The L-couloir was beautiful pristine snow with fresh snow falling. The traverse was snowy and it was too sketchy for our party so we turned around at 13900. This was fortuitous as we got hammered with heavy snow on the descent. Beautiful back there now! First, second and third lakes still mostly frozen.

Photo from the cliff bivy at second lake.