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High Water

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.

Re: High Water

Postby East Side Hiker » Wed Aug 10, 2011 7:36 am

Last weekend, I spent three days below Carson Pass. We did the Winnemucca Lk trail and back to Woods Lk (the snow field to Round Top Lk and back to Woods Lk didn't interest us). There was still a lot of snow and the creek was pumping. I can only imagine what its like on higher trails. We did have a lot of skeeters, but it was manageable. The sub-alpine is still in early bloom, so it will be in full bloom in a week or so. The alpine bloom will have to wait.



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Re: High Water

Postby Snow Nymph » Wed Aug 10, 2011 9:14 am

We dayclimbed Mt Baldwin on Sunday. Normally we would start at Convict Lake, but the bridge crosssing was washed out a few years ago. I saw a photo here, I think, showing the creek on July 10 and it looked gnarly. We took a different route, starting at Laurel Lakes Road (4x4/high clearance required). Good decision going that way!

From the Sierra Wave:

"The Mono County Sheriff Search and Rescue (SAR) Team responded on August 7, 2011, to a request for aid to hikers unable to cross Convict Creek. A father was hiking out of the back country with his two teenage children when they became stranded at the trail crossing of Convict Creek due to deep and swift water. The bridge at this site between steep canyon walls was washed out some years ago, and hikers have been required to ford the creek. A hiker on the downstream side of the creek was asked to get help, and he walked out and called the Sheriff’s Department. The SAR Team was dispatched to the area, and 5 team members with swift water rescue gear staged at the Convict Lake Marina. The group was ferried across Convict Lake by boat and hiked toward the stranded party. Prior to arriving at the location, the family was found on the trail, continuing their walk out, having been assisted across by other people in the area. There were no injuries and the group declined any medical treatment."
Expose yourself to your deepest fear; after that, fear has no power, and the fear of freedom shrinks and vanishes. You are free . . . . Jim Morrison


http://snownymph.smugmug.com/
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Re: High Water

Postby gcj » Wed Aug 10, 2011 3:55 pm

A brief (and incomplete) history of Convict Creek bridges: A photo essay.

1st image shows the confluence of Convict Creek (running across from right center toward the left) and the outlet stream of Genevieve Lake (forground) in Convict Canyon. No bridge. I had to alter my plans from climbing Red Slate and/or Baldwin and opted instead to follow the stream from Genevieve. I enjoyed a lovely camp at Cloverleaf and traversed the summits of Bloody and Laurel to return to the TH.
198207.jpg


I was back two years later in 1984 to climb Baldwin. I was relieved to find a new bridge over the creek, but wait a second...
198409_a.jpg

There seems to be something wrong here...
198409_b.jpg

I'm not 100% sure, but I aways thought this may have been the result of an avalanche. Probably during the previous winter or spring of 1983- one of the heaviest snow packs on record.
198409_c.jpg


Fast forward another year, another trip up Convict Creek. In August, 1985, I found yet another brand new bridge with a very substantial concrete support in the middle.
198508.jpg

Okay! This one's gotta last 100 years or more (I thought). Yup, and the feds and the state will never run out of the money to build these things, right? :wink:
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Re: High Water

Postby RichardK » Mon Sep 12, 2011 3:15 pm

South Fork Big Pine Creek

The log bridge about 1.8 miles up the trail was destroyed over the winter by an avalanche. You can cross at the horse crossing 30 feet downstream of the former bridge. The trail splits and short branches lead to either spot. On Labor Day, the creek was about 18 inches deep in the morning and 2 feet in the afternoon. The water force was strong enough that you needed to concentrate to maintain balance. Everyone we saw on the trail had some sort of water shoes or sandals tied to their packs.
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Re: High Water

Postby East Side Hiker » Thu Apr 12, 2012 4:33 pm

Hey, been awhile.

Any high water this spring?
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Re: High Water

Postby East Side Hiker » Tue May 15, 2012 4:45 pm

Its either high or low. Last year, it was low until the end of the season, then it busted. This year, its sorta the same (late snows). But the flows can't be that high this year as in a normal year. I cant say for sure because I haven't been there and seen it yet.

Why worry about it? Just be cautious and, as usual, and go for it.

Every single year, we have to deal with a different environmental condition. And we generally have a great time.
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Re: High Water

Postby Wandering Daisy » Sun May 17, 2015 6:02 pm

This is a useful web page. check out the "Snowmelt Runoff Volume Forecasts"

http://cdec.water.ca.gov/rivforecasts.html

Looks like most streams are still rising, with probable peak flows between 5/24 and 6/10. Probable peak flows are the most likely 50% probability; maximum peak flows are 10% probability. A few examples.

Merced at Pohono- probable peak flows at 5/27, maximum peak flows at 6/5
Tuolumne at Don Pedro- probable 5/24 max 6/8
King at Pine Flat- probable 5/29 max6/9
Keweah at Lake Keweah- probable 5/23 max 5/31
Kern at Lake Isabella - probable 5/28 max6/9
Carson at Woodford- probable 5/26 max 6/8

These predictions change daily as new weather data is gathered. Peak flows up in the headwaters will occur earlier by a few days.
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Re: High Water

Postby SSSdave » Tue May 19, 2015 7:45 am

Deep layer of dust here haha. Led me to some links I had not seen before. CDEC has a history of changing their web pages frequently.


Also like this page for assessing what is vaguely going on in particular river basins. Numbers at bottom calculate from what has occurred during the month. The % of Historic Averages is a good measure of water conditions. Shows the Kern basin has averaged just 11% of average over May so far with just 283 cubic feet per second down at Isabella reservoir. That says one is likely to find easy spots to ford most everywhere on the main branch. On the other hand the Tuolumne River is much higher at 30% of normal with a current flow of about 1800 cfs because the last few weeks storms have focused in that region.

Daily Full Natural Flows for May 2015

http://cdec.water.ca.gov/cgi-progs/stages/FNF
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Re: High Water

Postby Harlen » Tue Apr 11, 2017 1:26 pm

Thanks for the useful thread. May I include a probably "useless" point from our family backpacking history? Never let your wife (or at least my wife, if you happen to be with her) attempt to chuck her boots across the river before the barefoot crossing. Her underhand fling once sent the boot straight up, landing in the middle of a freezing stream, and guess who had to chase it down? Yes, I recommend you just leave my wife out your next trip. Harlen. :smirk:
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Re: High Water

Postby SSSdave » Fri Jun 09, 2017 8:42 am

(Adding useful info to this old thread.)
I originally used to wade streams barefoot despite the pain. The worst issue of hiking barefoot is most stream bottoms at crossing points have rock cobbles that one's feet slide about on smashing painfully into the spaces between. The cold water well before feet might end up numb, become painfully hypersensitive as the cold reaches down into the bones of the foot and compresses fluids including nerves inside. And that pain also causes one to move slowly in order to not jam against rocks.

Because of that even though I rarely see explanations as to why haha, are recommendations to instead wade in one's hiking boots. Besides preventing foot pain, boots also allow one to move across like a bull quickly, more balanced, and stable.

Well that might not be much an issue if one has lightweight mostly synthetic boots because they don't take that long to dry out reasonably. However as boots become more leather and more heavy duty, like mine, it can take a long time to dry out. In winter snow conditions are likely to remain wet inside a remaining trip while in summer, until one has a sunny layover day where one can put them out in the sun a few hours. In other words an issue to consider, hiking in damp, chilly, unpleasant, more blister tendency, boots a few days or a painful wade that is more likely to cause a slip and fall.

What we have been using the last few years are Wiggy's Waders that weigh just 10 ounces that I've plugged a few times on this board because it is an obscure product that hardly anyone is familiar with:

http://www.wiggys.com/clothing-outerwea ... ht-waders/

WW are obviously not robust, light duty, intermittent use, thus likely to require leak checking after any use that can be done simply by filling them with water. They are no use if depth is more than low thigh deep as water will pour in from the open top that is somewhat loose, but if deeper than that then one has more serious issues anyway. We have used mine numbers of times over a few years now and it makes a huge difference. They do take time to put on and take off so not like someone wearing Crocks in shorts just barreling across. However with Crocks, one will still have to endure some cold while not with WW. However we are most often hiking in long pants during mosquito season so would otherwise have to strip down or change to shorts anyway. I will recommend getting the largest size in order that in a group with larger people everyone's boots can fit down inside easily. After each person gets across, they remove them, put a smooth rock inside, and toss them back across at a narrower stream spot.

Now what if a wade is above low thigh depth or one does not have WW's or Crocks? That is a reason to carry a few small thin mil weight kitchen plastic trash bags and duct tape. At a crossings before I bought WW, at wades, I would remove my long pants into shorts, remove my socks, then put both into my pack, and put the sock-less boots back on. Next put the plastic bags over my boots, then wrap duct tape around the top of each bag to my leg. Doing so then wading across will not prevent all water from seeping down below the duct tape top as that will start to fail since the adhesive has not had time to set, however as long as one moves across reasonably quickly, one's boots will be far less wet, often just a wee damp on the outside.

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Re: High Water

Postby rlown » Tue Jun 27, 2017 7:42 pm

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Re: High Water

Postby SSSdave » Fri Jun 30, 2017 11:53 am

Tragedy again at Wapama Bridge. Another person washed off the bridge on Falls Creek. Link has an interesting video.

http://www.sfgate.com/bayarea/article/M ... o-13010239

snippet:

A hiker slipped on one of the bridges spanning Yosemite's Wapama Falls last week and tumbled into the raging cataract above the Hetch Hetchy Reservoir, park officials said. The 66-year-old man was killed in the plunge. His body was pulled out of the reservoir, the source of San Francisco's drinking water.

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