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High Water

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: High Water

Postby SSSdave » Mon Jul 04, 2011 10:59 am

One of the biggest dangers in the backcountry when facing dangerous conditions is impatience.

Where streams with high flows narrow to the point of being jumpable, they are going to be deep and fast. Not a place to gamble unless one has some certainty. If one is making an iffy jump across to a lower position, it may be difficult or impossible to cross back. Thus one jump attempt only.

If one is sure about making it, just go for it. But if not, instead of giving into impatience especially when solo, one ought to take the time to try tossing important not to get wet items in one's pack across first. It might not be the exact spot of the jump and one has to be aware of not tossing to a location items could roll down into water. For instance sleeping bag, gloves, coat, etc. In his case he might have shoved the phone inside the stuff sack. We've tossed sleeping bags across streams many times.

If tossing items across is not possible because of distance, and a stream can be jumped or recrossed otherwise, one might try carrying or jumping across first with items that are most important not to get wet. I sometimes do that on log and logjam crossings with just my sleeping bag and camera gear. Then go back for the rest. Will take more time but if a crossing is a gamble, better to play safe.

Also if that guy had not been so lucky to find someone elses tracks, he might have easily gone over someplace other than Forester Pass and gotten into additional life threatening situations. The idea of no paper maps at all while just relying on a battery operated phone, does not sit well with this person. A large scale map at say 250k:1 scale would still be very helpful orienting.

David



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Re: High Water

Postby wildrose » Tue Jul 05, 2011 10:47 am

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Re: High Water

Postby Cross Country » Tue Jul 05, 2011 4:25 pm

I read this and wept. Then I ranted. My wife politely listened. She has wadded the Kern River with me below the forks.

THIS YEAR IS DIFFERENT!!!

I have been very [vocal] here on HST about this and I'm sure that I'm right about this and I almost never say that I'm sure.

The conditions SHOULD change peoples plans. Why do people have to be so stubborn? It makes some die and I will NEVER get to read what they would have written and much much worse.

These two (and others) might read this and say "this could never happen to me". I wouldn't bet on that.



Emigrant Wilderness this July:

by texan on Mon Jun 27, 2011 5:54 pm. I'm headed in on the 14th no matter what the conditions.

by pork50 on Mon Jun 27, 2011 6:00 pm. I will go no matter what.

I believe can I make case on these two comments (examples) alone. I found these in ten minutes. Imagine how many similar comments (examples) I might find if I did a serious search. I would refer these two people to this string. I'm not denigrating these two people. I truly want them to save their own lives.


These two (and lots more) might say "this could never happen to me". Don't be so sure.
Last edited by Cross Country on Tue Jul 05, 2011 6:18 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: High Water

Postby maverick » Tue Jul 05, 2011 5:55 pm

Hi Wildrose. You probably missed it, but all ready posted here viewtopic.php?f=1&t=6502

CC, check your PM's please.
Last edited by maverick on Tue Jul 05, 2011 6:17 pm, edited 2 times in total.
Reason: update
HST= Wilderness Adventurer who knows no bounds, except for their own imagination.

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: High Water

Postby oldranger » Wed Jul 06, 2011 7:01 pm

Tom,

I think you are overstating the issue--going and not knowing when to turn back are not the same thing.
I'm going and have a low elevation alternative if conditions are not within my comfort zone. I will not cross snow bridges this time of the year, use two trekking poles when fording, won't ford anything deeper than mid thigh unless the water is moving slowly and I can see the bottom clearly, won't hike in the bottom of a snow covered canyon (probable snow covered water somewhere), and won't go onto a snowslope that a thrown rock won't stop sliding on. These conservative limits make me feel pretty comfortable about heading out before the snow is gone. Russ and I were talking a while ago and one issue is that some people don't realize how bad it gets without actually seeing the raging creek they intend to cross, then, hopefully, reality sets in and they temper their plans.

For those of us who fish getting to a lake soon after iceout can be a great experience,

Mike
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Who can't do everything he used to and what he can do takes a hell of a lot longer!
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Re: High Water

Postby rlown » Thu Jul 07, 2011 12:03 pm

What OR said. Basically, if you look at a creek crossing, and you even think it looks daunting, turn around or drop pack and look for a safer crossing. Live to hike another day.
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Re: High Water

Postby SSSdave » Sun Jul 10, 2011 2:49 pm

Report from another site, rangers describing the JMT/PCT at Bear Creek, 9550 feet, as now being impossible to cross. Two women swept downstream swam out. Expected this and it may last so into July. Option to hike out via backtracking over Selden Pass and then out via Florence Lake ferry. Also a gamble would be to backtrack to the Lou Beverly Lake trial ford the lake outlet (gamble) on the and then hope to cross the East Fork via usual logjam well upstream of the South Fork confluence. But then again that may be a difficult ford if there is no logjam though not serious as the main branch at 9550.
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Re: High Water

Postby Mike M. » Mon Jul 11, 2011 4:24 pm

From Erin S''s PCT journal, some harrowing stream crossings in Northern Yosemite last week:

http://erinspctjournal.blogspot.com/201 ... sings.html

http://erinspctjournal.blogspot.com/201 ... thing.html

Mike
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Re: High Water

Postby kpeter » Tue Jul 12, 2011 4:39 pm

Mike M. wrote:From Erin S''s PCT journal, some harrowing stream crossings in Northern Yosemite last week:

http://erinspctjournal.blogspot.com/201 ... sings.html

http://erinspctjournal.blogspot.com/201 ... thing.html

Mike


Yes, that does look harrowing. Imagine being stuck midstream with no one to help.

Dumb question--do these incredible trail reports (complete with photos) get posted somehow as they hike? Or do they post them only when they periodically reach electricity? I'm amazed by the great through hiker blogs but have no idea how they get the information out while they are hiking.
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Re: High Water

Postby gary c. » Tue Jul 12, 2011 4:51 pm

Some of the resupply points have internet access that they allow through hikers to use and I believe that Erin is even able to post some of her reports from her smart phone when she can connect.
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Re: High Water

Postby DoyleWDonehoo » Mon Jul 18, 2011 8:58 am

I have noticed that some people here at this board have blithely stated that water levels have peaked. That may be so, but especially this year, for us there is little difference between "insanely high" and "really high" water levels. While snow is now pretty much absent below 8500 feet, there is plenty of snow above 8500 feet, and last week I saw drifts at least 20 feet deep, all of which means the water levels in streams are high and are going to remain that way for a while yet.
You best defense is to plan around questionable crossing whenever possible, cross at low flow, extensively search for safe crossings/logs up and down streams, turning back, and other defensive decisions.
Find gaging stations on-line near your proposed route like this one:
http://ca.water.usgs.gov/webcams/happyisles/
And of course, check this web site for TR and current conditions. Don't let wishful thinking ruin your trip.
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CampRiver1.jpg
San Joaquin River at about 8600 feet below 1,000 Island Lake less than a week ago.
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Sierra Trails:
http://www.doylewdonehoo.com" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;
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Re: High Water

Postby Cross Country » Mon Jul 18, 2011 9:51 pm

I second what Doyle says: "Don't let wishful thinking ruin your trip", or worse yet kill you and ruin yours and someone else's life.
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