Conditions Request: X-C Minaret --> TM (N Glacier, Blue Lake, Sluggo, Russell passes)

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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TFTF
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Conditions Request: X-C Minaret --> TM (N Glacier, Blue Lake, Sluggo, Russell passes)

Post by TFTF » Sat Aug 10, 2019 9:29 am

Leaving in a week. Planning to roughly follow SHR from Minaret Creek to Blue Lake Pass, and then Skurka's version of Yosemite High Route to Lyell Fork.

Curious about:
- Snow conditions on N Glacier, Blue Lake, and Russell passes (I have not been over these passes before)
- Outlet of Twin Island Lakes
- (Less importantly) mosquitos
- Anything else you think I should be aware of on this route

Past experience for reference: Have done several sections of SHR, but not in a high-snow year.

Many thanks!








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talleycat
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Re: Conditions Request: X-C Minaret --> TM (N Glacier, Blue Lake, Sluggo, Russell passes)

Post by talleycat » Sun Aug 11, 2019 10:32 am

I hiked from Minaret Lake to Blue Lake Pass the first week of August. There was a good deal of snow on N. Glacier Pass on 8/2, so I found my crampons and ice ax helpful. I crossed Blue Lake Pass on 8/5, and it was pure joy---free of snow and great fun to ascend. The view there is unparalleled!

I forded the lower Twin Lake, above the stream, and it was just fine (hip high, and I'm 5'8"---no current to speak of). Tip: don't try to follow the shoreline close to the lake (steep outcrops will block you). Climb over the top of the knoll, walk until you can see the outlet, and then turn around---there's a talus chute visible on the lake side that offers relatively easy descent to the shore.

The trickiest pass for me on this section was, surprisingly, Whitebark Pass. The north side is almost entirely snow-covered, and steep. I took a lateral line to the highest rock outcrop, descended the rock, and was able to safely glissade from there to the bottom.

The descent to Iceberg Lake was also tricky---not snow, but loose scree---and both Cecile and Iceberg had big ol' snowfields where the crampons and ice ax came out to play.

Mosquitoes are most places. Bring your headnet!

Hope this helps. Have fun out there!

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TFTF
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Joined: Wed Jul 23, 2014 4:44 pm
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Location: Oakland, CA

Re: Conditions Request: X-C Minaret --> TM (N Glacier, Blue Lake, Sluggo, Russell passes)

Post by TFTF » Sun Aug 11, 2019 7:52 pm

Very helpful - thanks so much!

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