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2011 Skeeter Reports

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: 2011 Skeeter Reports

Postby rkelty » Sun Aug 14, 2011 3:18 pm

Just back from a lovely trip, Wolverton/Tablelands/Pterydactal/Horn Col/Deadman Canyon/Roaring River/Avalanche Pass/Sphinx Creek/Cedar Grove. Took a mosquito hat - wore it. As you may imagine the mosquitos are still out due to the wet year. Had mosquitos every night and most days except at Roaring River. I would guess they were a 3 at Pear Lake Ranger Station and up into the lower Tableland. Also a 3 to 4 throughout most of Deadman. Few as it got drier up Avalanche (flies!) and at least a 4 at The Sphinx Creek crossing. None by the time you hit Bubbs Creek. As an aside, most incredible flowers in Deadman!. Happy hiking!

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Re: 2011 Skeeter Reports

Postby CarlC » Sun Aug 14, 2011 10:18 pm

Emigrant Wilderness 8/11-8/14

Hyatt Lake - 3. Out during the day, but tolerable; really bothersome dusk and morning.
Upper Buck Lake (vicinity) - 5. Worst I've ever seen. Clouds of skeeters. No escape, they found us on granite slabs, away from water, everywhere. Unbearable at all times. Heavy on trail out to West Fork Cherry Creek crossing. After that, they dropped to a 1-2 all the way in to Crabtree.
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Re: 2011 Skeeter Reports

Postby calipidder » Mon Aug 15, 2011 8:58 am

Week of August 6-13:

East side Taboose Pass: On the 6th there were none. On the descent they were just starting, somewhere between 1 and 2.

Bench Lake: We stayed 2 nights. The first night was 2 because there was a light breeze and we were camped in an exposed spot. On our second night it was stiller and it was a 3.

Arrow Peak/Pass: Completely miserable between Bench Lake and Arrow pass. 4-5. Swarmed even while moving. Yes, I have lots of photos where there are hundreds in the way of a pretty view. Once we hit the pass and headed up the cl2 route to the peak there were none - a good breeze kept them at bay. But this small corner of the sierra had the worst mosquitoes I have ever experienced. Ugh.

Cartridge Pass: from the SoFoKings and up the switchbacks to the lake there were none. At the big lake to the pass they were a 3.

Upper Basin: Surprisingly light. A 1-2 during the days when we hiked through.

Lake 3535 in Upper Basin: Not as bad as expected. somewhere between 2 and 3 depending on temperature and breeze. It was a new hatch and they seemed confused about what to do - they'd fly around and swarm but not really land or bother us most of the time - there was about an hour every morning and evening where they would be bad but then they'd go back to minding their own business.

Split Mtn: Same as 3535 up to the saddle, then none. But the polemonium bloom is incredible!
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Re: 2011 Skeeter Reports

Postby MADgenius » Mon Aug 15, 2011 11:18 am

Back from 8 days backpacking in Sequoia NP from Aug 4th-Aug 12th.

Our route was HST to Kaweah Gap, cross-country over Lion Rock Pass and down to Tamarack Lake, brief stroll on Elizabeth Pass Trail, cross-country over Pterodactyl Col and down the Tablelands, Pear Lake Trail back to civilization.

Within these dates and this region, mosquitoes were generally a 1 below 8k or above 10k, and a 2 between 8k-10k. The only location we encountered mosquitoes at a 3 or 4 was the swamp above Tamarack Lake.

Overall, surprised to find so few skeeters. We brought headnets and DEET but only used the former in the swamp just mentioned, and the latter occasionally during a few morns or aft'ns.

Last edited by MADgenius on Mon Aug 15, 2011 12:10 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: 2011 Skeeter Reports

Postby SSSdave » Mon Aug 15, 2011 11:20 am

Pic of bro Joe's pants above socks while we enjoyed bs'ing at camp, dusk Saturday 8/13/2011.


Morning McGee Creek Trailhead 7.8k to Horsetail Falls 8.2k, 1
Morning Horsetail Falls to Beaver Pond 9.0k, 2

Above the Beaver Pond varies as always with landscape, vegetation, wind, and time of day.
At or near wet meadows sunset, 5.
Daytime after sun hits landscape in wet meadows and lush stream areas , 3-4.
At or near wet meadows before sun hits landscape, 2.
At or near wet meadows hour after sunset, 2.
In open rocky areas, 2.
Behind clumps of trees in open rocky zones, 2-3.

We camped adjacent to lush wet meadows 4 days and had to protect ourselves from mosquitoes most of our 5 days. Both of us had full mosquito battle gear on most of the time, full nylon long pants, nylon shell, neck drape caps, and applied DEET all day when necessary. On most trips with 3-4 conditions I infrequently get bit and don't let them ruin my adventures. We had a great time and mosquitoes were simply a minor nuisance despite being in conditions many backpackers would find unbearable.

Most bites are always the same on my hands and wrists after getting my hands in water that washes off DEET. And of course there are a lot of reasons for we backpackers to be putting our hands in water all day. Early in the trip I got bit on my hands and wrists more than usual because I was a bit lazy so became more diligent. Had old bottle of 100% DEET Jungle Juice that once applied, they avoided getting anywhere near hands or head they preferred and instead frustratingly bent their probosci trying to poke through my impenatrable nylon clothes. With weak DEET concoctions, they'll continually dive bomb and bump into or land on skin, probe, then fly off. With Jungle Juice, they smell the stuff inches away from the skin, veer away without ever landing, quickly decide to avoid the favored head completly, and don't become an annoying cloud buzzing about one's head.

Saw good numbers of other backpackers on trail, and about landscape near Big McGee Lake at 10.3k which most camped at. We were basecamped well down canyon. About half those I saw were wearing conventional hiking shorts, t-shirts, and ordinary baseball style hats swatting about and obviously annoyed.
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Duck Pass, Silver Pass, Fish Creek 8/12-15

Postby tomba » Wed Aug 17, 2011 10:28 pm

Duck Pass, Silver Pass, Fish Creek (area south from Mammoth Lakes); 8/12-15

Route taken: Lake George TH, Deer Lakes, Duck Lake, Purple Lake, Lake Virginia, Tully Hole, Squaw Lake, Silver Pass, back to Papoose Lake, Lake of the Lone Indian, Wilber May Lake, Grassy Lake, cross Fish Creek, Purple Lake, Ram Lake, X-country to Glennette Lake, Purple Lake, Duck Lake and Pass, down to trailhead.

Most of the route mosquitoes were at 1-3. Deer Lakes afternoon were bad at 4. Duck Lake evening/morning was good at 0-1. Purple Lake and Lake Virginia were at 3-4, mid-day. Near Fish Creek afternoon it was 3-4. Strangely, exactly at the bridge on JMT it was 0-1. Silver Pass and lakes before/after it was at 2-3 (late evening and morning). Wilber May Lake, Grassy Lake were at 4 around noon and afternoon. After Fish Creek crossing late afternoon it was 5. The basin of Ram and Glennette Lakes was at 0 late morning/noon.
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Re: 2011 Skeeter Reports

Postby Scouter9 » Thu Aug 18, 2011 8:11 am

Agnew Meadows to Thousand Island Lake, Aug 13-15

Route: High Trail to Badger Lakes (camp); PCT to Thousand Island Lake (camp); River Trail to Agnew Meadows.

We were warned of heavy swarming, and received a report from compatriots on their way out from Vogelsang on the 12th that some of their Scouts were nearly anemic from blood loss to vampire skeeters up there, so we were prepared: Deet (Ultrathon), Pyrethrin treated pants, shirt and headnets, Picarin spray for use on trail and these "mosquito bracelets" I found at REI. (We wear them, not the bugs.)

--High Trail: a "1" or a "2". We saw virtually none, and hiked without our outer shirts in the sun, among blooming wildflowers.
--Badger Lakes: Lower at a "3" and Upper at a "2". There were a few floating around, but no swarms. We didn't use headnets, but we wore our miracle bracelets during dinner. The bracelets worked so well that the mosquitos all moved to Omaha (note later for product endorsements). On the 15th, we met a crew that camped at Badger on the 14th, and they also reported very low skeeter action.
--Thousand Island Lake: "3". Now, on our way in, hikers coming out reported gnarly swarms and warned of many bugs in the air. They were all either wearing headnets or leering at those with them. So, we busted ours out and went in to find a site up and away from the water (which we did). There were swarms, but they were not aggressive and we waded, swam, pumped water, cooked and ate without our headnets. We used the nets for fishing along the rocks and shore and just at dusk. We also wore the bracelets, which smell like citronella FYI.
On Monday, the lake was breezy and predicted for strong winds in the afternoon -- likely to blow the skeeters away.
--River Trail: "2"
--Agnew Meadows: "2"
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Re: 2011 Skeeter Reports

Postby Rich.Walker » Thu Aug 18, 2011 12:29 pm

Aug 8 - Aug 13

John Muir Wilderness: Woodchuck Country and Crown Valley area
looped from Rancheria trailhead to Woodchuck and Crown Lakes, then out via Crown Valley Station

Mosquitoes as bad as I've ever encountered in the Sierras. No respite even at 45 degrees temperatures at night in open dry areas. Pretty much at levels 4-5 throughout the 6 day trip. Biting flies coming on strong towards end of trip (first time seeing small yellow flies). Flowers, however, incredibly numerous, large and in full bloom. Snow plants just having come up at 8000', about a month later than average.

When the flowers are good, the bugs are bad.
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Re: 2011 Skeeter Reports (in San Jose!)

Postby bheiser1 » Thu Aug 18, 2011 9:20 pm

Mosquito problems in San Jose!!!
No indication of a rating from 1-5 though :D

But seriously, I hope there's no West Nile in the Sierra, given how heavy the skeeters are this year.
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Re: 2011 Skeeter Reports

Postby Mike M. » Fri Aug 19, 2011 11:25 am

Just back from a two week trip in the southern Sierra. Skeeters were bothersome for the duration of the trip, but not awful except in the area around Gallats Lake (a 5 -- bad bad bad) and in Milestone Basin (3 to 4 depending on exposure and time of day, even high up in the basin). Lower Crabtree Meadow was awful at dusk in the meadow itself (4 to 5), but just a few hundred yards to the west, where I camped, there is good drainage and a nice breeze and the skeeters were more than tolerable (less than a 2). I only used the mosquito headnet once (at Gallats Lake) but liberally applied 30% DEET every day of the trip. I "cowboy" camped every night, not pitching a tent even once. The weather was spectacular -- with 11 or the 14 days being perfectly cloud free.
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Re: 2011 Skeeter Reports

Postby Wandering Daisy » Sat Aug 20, 2011 8:00 pm

Aug 14-20.
Aug 14- Roads End, Kings Canyon to Sphinx Creek junction- 2 dusk only
Aug 15-up trail, bushwhack up Sphinx Creek to Lk at 10,500- 3 near creeks and meadows, 2 otherwise
Aug 16-upper lakes- climb Mt Francis Faraquar- none to a few at dusk
Aug 17- over Sphinx Col, climb North Guard- camp at Big Brewer Lake- 1-2 surprisingly only about a 2+ at the "swamp" in upper Brewer Basin
Aug 18- Back at Lake 10,500-- a few more than before
Aug 19- Back at Sphinx Creek junction-had to wear head net around the lower Sphinx Lakes, none at the junction camp spots
Aug 20- back to Road's End- just a few

A nice breeze most of the trip probably saved us.
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Re: 2011 Skeeter Reports

Postby KathyW » Sun Aug 21, 2011 11:48 am

8/19/11: Piute Pass Trail to Loch Leven/Emerson: 1 in the morning and 3 in the afternoon. Zero between Loch Leven and Emerson's summit.

8/20/11: Bishop Pass Trail to Mount Agassiz: 0 in the morning and 2 in the afternoon. Zero between Bishop Pass and the summit of Agassiz.
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