2010 Skeeter Updates | High Sierra Topix  

2010 Skeeter Updates

Discussion 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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Re: 2010 Skeeter Updates

Postby ChinMusic » Mon Jun 28, 2010 9:13 am

I don't think it has been mentioned but a solid strategy is to treat your hiking clothing with permethrin prior to your trip. I find mosquitoes standing on my shoulder dead, not even being able to fly away. I have not had mosquitoes drill down through my clothing if it had been treated.

http://www.austinkayak.com/products/1865/Sawyer-Military-Style-Clothing-Insect-Treatment.html

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Re: 2010 Skeeter Updates

Postby Wandering Daisy » Mon Jun 28, 2010 7:59 pm

Just got home from 3-day trip up Rush Creek to Lost Lakes and Alger Lakes. Trail adjacent to Silver Lake is bad in early AM - swarmed while going up trail. No mosqitoes at Gem Lake or above(Sat). Coming out today, moderate mosquitoes at Gem Lake but wind kept them down. None at Alger Lakes (total snow). One lone skiter on my tent screen this morning at Lost Lakes (again, total snow except for a few dry spots on rocky ledges). Lots of standing water between Waugh Lake and Gem Lake -hard to tell if buggy because wind was really blowing today. A few mosquitoes at Rush Creek trail juction to Alger Lakes today - none on Sat. I think they are just about ready to be a real swarm!
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Re: 2010 Skeeter Updates

Postby kevcon123 » Tue Jun 29, 2010 9:41 am

Hi,

Just got back from 3 day trip in the Carson Iceberg Wilderness. Went up Arnot Creek Trail to PCT (almost) back down to Half Moon Lake and out the Disaster Creek trail.

Skeeters = 1

The water and stream crossing are absolutely bananas
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Re: 2010 Skeeter Updates

Postby maverick » Tue Jun 29, 2010 12:55 pm

Tuolumne Meadows at Soda Springs 1
Western end at the Sunrise Trailhead 3-4
Glen Aulin-Waterwheel Falls 0
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Re: 2010 Skeeter Updates

Postby diesel » Tue Jun 29, 2010 2:32 pm

Hiked the grand canyon of the tuolumne river (White Wolf to tuolumne meadows): mosquito rating is a 2-3, probably closer to 2.
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Re: 2010 Skeeter Updates

Postby maverick » Tue Jun 29, 2010 5:00 pm

Hi Diesel

What areas were you encountering 2-3's on the trip?
I was at Wildcat Point on night one, above Waterwheel night 2-3, and Glen Aulin on
night 4, and only saw a handful of skeetrz at dusk on the entire trip.
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Re: 2010 Skeeter Updates

Postby diesel » Tue Jun 29, 2010 7:56 pm

Should have been more specific. I didn't see any mosquitos at waterwheel either, though about 2 miles west where we camped, there were a few. Not very many at glen aulin either.

I recall encountering the most mosquitos somewhere along the trail as we approached pate valley.

I probably exaggerated the number as I'm one of those unlucky people who is always getting hit hardest by the mosquitos. I've got bites all over, despite bringing the 100% DEET
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Re: 2010 Skeeter Updates

Postby EpicSteve » Tue Jun 29, 2010 8:19 pm

Cold Springs Summit (off Beasore Rd, above Bass Lake) to Chilkoot Lake and Little Shuteye Peak, 06/26/10: #1. There were a few skeeters now and then, but none were landing, biting, or even following me. There was runoff everywhere and I had to cross many small streams and swampy areas, but I think there's still too much current in these areas for any serious hatching.
____________________________________________________________________________________

I don't want to derail this thread too much with a related tangent, but SSSdave made some great points and I'd like to discuss them a bit. Over the past several years, I've changed my clothing strategy for protection from bugs and sun. I've been very pleased with the results. I used to always hike in nylon running shorts, cotton tee, and bandana. I always assumed that was the best combination for avoiding heat exhaustion. But I often came home burned and bitten, no matter how much sunscreen and repellent I used.

Since then I've switched to thin, extremely well-ventilated nylon full-length pants and long-sleeved shirt. (I HIGHLY recommend RailRiders Eco-Mesh pants and shirt. Although expensive, they're ultralight, durable, and really well designed.) I ditched the bandana in favor of a rain hat that doubles as a sun hat. I also bought a mosquito head net. It doesn't have the plastic hoop that SSSdave mentioned, but the brim of my OR Nimbus Hat holds it away from my face even better than those hoops do. And the hat isn't any hotter than a baseball cap, despite the Gore-Tex membrane. I hate wearing a hood, so the hat is awesome when it rains too. Dave made a great point about the use of a neck flap. I wish my hat had one. Maybe I can add one using velcro patches. Hmmm... :-k

In my recent efforts to lighten my load, I've also added an extremely light and thin windbreaker, to maximize the effectiveness of my insulating layers, rather than carry an additional insulating layer. Turns out this is a very effective piece of armor against skeeters too, when combined with my nylon shirt underneath. I've been bitten through the pants, but they definitely decrease the bites (and sunburns!) I receive. I haven't found any pants that are the equivalent of the windbreaker as far as being ultralight, but I'm considering Permethrin treatment for the pants and shirt.

I'm a bit concerned about any possible negative health effects from wearing a garment that's been treated with repellent, so I need to find out more about Permethrin. I can't even stand getting bug repellent on my hands (since it's essentially poison), so I always use the Cutter stick. You just rub it on like a stick deodorant. I don't like sprays either, because it's hard to control where the repellent is being applied and I always end up breathing some of it.

As far as time of day to avoid skeeters, I don't pay attention. I like to hike all day and don't usually stop to camp until just before dusk. I put on "battle gear" if needed as soon as I stop to make camp. If I'm hiking through an area with really heavy swarming, I just increase my pace until I reach a better area. I only stop to reapply repellent if the bugs are driving me mad and I can't outrun them. But I usually avoid applying any repellent unless the bugs are really bad to begin with.

Campsite selection is definitely key. Avoiding standing water is obvious and I prefer a somewhat exposed site to a wooded site, to catch a little breeze. This not only decreases the bug problem, but also decreases condensation in my tent. But of course those benefits have to be weighed against other concerns, like the hazards of lightning and strong gusts in an overly exposed site. There's usually a happy medium, if you're willing to take the time to really look and don't insist on camping as close to a lake shore as possible.

Speaking of lakes, I hope most hikers think to rinse themselves off well away from streams and lakes before jumping in for a swim. When I was younger I didn't think to do this until I noticed a scum of sunscreen and repellent rising to the surface of the lake from my body. :eek:

Then there's the good ol' campfire. Always an effective bug deterrent, but not always allowed or advised, depending on fuel scarcity and forest fire danger, of course. I don't usually build one, but I've been known to reconsider due to the skeeter population.

If all of the foregoing seems too obvious, then I apologize. But for the less experienced hiker, perhaps some of it is useful. Anyone know what the heck Permethrin really is?
“I don’t deny that there can be an element of escapism in mountaineering, but this should never overshadow its real essence, which is not escape but victory over your own human frailty.”

- Walter Bonatti
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Re: 2010 Skeeter Updates

Postby SSSdave » Wed Jun 30, 2010 12:16 am

Found on the web the Dorfman Pacific sun hat we've been using now for over a decade:

http://www.usatoolmart.com/Safety-55360 ... _MC12.html

info on the link:
===============================
• CoolMax lining moves moisture away from your body and keeps you cool
• Supplex fabric is shrink and fade resistant
• Removable shroud covers neck, ears and face
• A great hat for extended outdoor wear
• Oversize brim for extra protection

Product Description
Our microfiber supplex cap with CoolMax is great for a long day in the sun. The mesh vents on the crown allow air to flow while the CoolMax lining wicks away moisture and keeps you cool and dry. The rear strap is adjustable with a pressure snap to hold the cap securely on your head. It also has a chin strap that can be used to hold it down in the wind or put up in the crown of the cap out of the way. Overall, a great value in a protective sun hat.
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What makes it different from usual sun hats is the neck drape is removable as there is a velcro attachment along the bottom edge of the hat from where it protects the ears, all the way around. Note the drape can be seen to overlap instead of merely extendind down from the hat edge. The vast majority of sun hats with neck drapes have the drape permanently sewn on. However one really will have times when removing the drape is preferred. Not only can one fully remove the drape, but also one can move the attachment back so one's ears are fully exposed while the neck is only protected. I do find neck drapes tend to reduce the keen sense of sound one might experience so for that reason if mosquitoes are minor, I may adjust it so. And if one is sweating lugging a heavy pack uphill, there aren't squeeters about, and the sun is not an issue, removing the drape will aid ventilation. Note the brim of this hat is larger than usual to increase sun blockage. One thing for certain is almost all these sun hat designers don't seem to be aware of is how functional these designs are with a few extra features for keeping mosquitoes away.

http://www.amazon.com/dp/B003P36KEE/ref ... hisProduct

Here's another product with a detachable drape and only $10:

http://www.usatoolmart.com/Safety-55360 ... 5S47F.html
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Re: 2010 Skeeter Updates

Postby huts » Wed Jun 30, 2010 5:14 pm

Horseshoe Meadow, South Fork Cottonwood Creek - 3. 6/26-28.
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Re: 2010 Skeeter Updates

Postby balzaccom » Sun Jul 04, 2010 8:57 pm

Hoover Wilderness, West Walker River area:

Fremont Lake, 8.5 Headnets, Deets, and prayers all in frequent use.

Cinko lake, 1. Amazing what a little elevation will do for ya!

Long Canyon, 9100 feet---5 or 6. They were fierce for a bit, then the cool evening shut them down.

West Walker trail from Leavitt Meadows to Long Lakes....every time you cross a creek, you will be swarmed.
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check out our website: http://www.backpackthesierra.com/
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Re: 2010 Skeeter Updates

Postby giantbrookie » Mon Jul 05, 2010 1:57 pm

June 27. Ostrander Lake and vicinity. Elevation range 7000-8700. Temp range alleged 70-87 (estimated lower). Sporadic breeze. Absolutely zero mosquitoes. Can't explain why there weren't any. It was plenty warm enough and the breeze was sporadic and the lower areas had been thawed long enough to breed 'em, one would think. Surreal in a very pleasant way.

July 3-4 Weaver Lake . Elevation range 8200-8700. Temp range. 70's during afternoon, mid 40's lows. Sporadic breeze. Very light mosquitoes, although my son Lee was annoyed during the morning at Weaver Lake. He sustained a total of about 9 bites on the trip, most of them on his back through his tee shirt. He does not wearing the sort of get up I wear (see below). In any case, for me 3 consecutive days in the backcountry without a single bite is a record for non-fall trips--I don't think I'd ever gone a day outside of fall without a bite in the Sierra.

Regarding mosquitoes, my experience has been that local weather conditions seem to be the biggest factors with warm nights and breezeless days being horrific regardless of the location, so as long as it's below snowline. This is why I don't really pay much attention myself to 'mosquito' reports because I bad experience at any one place may be not so bad a day later with a change in weather conditions. I always hike with a fairly protective get up. I have a long sleeve shirt (North Face, vintage 1999--have two of these that I rotate--purchased expressly for mosquito protection and hiking comfort in warm conditions after a mosquito plagued dayhike to Sunrise Lakes) with good zip and vent fixtures that keeps me cooler in hot weather than a tank top or tee shirt, yet gives me much more mosquito protection. Although mosquitoes can bit through this fabric, I think, they seldom do because it does not hug the skin in too many places--shoulders may be the only vulnerable place. I always wear fairly baggy pants, so I rarely am bitten on the legs. My current favorites are surplus fatigues that I find very versatile and comfortable over a range of temperatures (plus they are rugged and wear well). If the mosquitoes get really bad I put on a head net hat which I carry on nearly ALL trips (fall trips I don't, as a general rule). Lastly, I have never outgrown the fun of just seeing how many I can smack and kill. I am a very poor percentage shot for a mosquito--not that they have a big enough brain to figure that out--for my A.A. defenses are formidable and deadly. Very few targets picked up at Weaver. About dozen kills versus no bites.
Since my fishing (etc.) website is still down, you can be distracted by geology stuff at: http://www.fresnostate.edu/csm/ees/facu ... ayshi.html
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