2011 BACKCOUNTRY CONDITIONS UPDATES | High Sierra Topix  

2011 BACKCOUNTRY CONDITIONS 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: 2011 BACKCOUNTRY CONDITIONS UPDATES

Postby ManOfTooManySports » Thu Jul 21, 2011 4:18 pm

"Plus I look all extreme with my axe on my pack, it helps diffuse that desk jockey flatlander sucking wind look that I always have on the trail."

You mean there's another reason to carry an ice axe?



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Re: 2011 BACKCOUNTRY CONDITIONS UPDATES

Postby KathyW » Thu Jul 21, 2011 5:09 pm

Thanks everyone for the great reports and pictures - they are very helpful!
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Re: 2011 BACKCOUNTRY CONDITIONS UPDATES

Postby East Side Hiker » Thu Jul 21, 2011 6:57 pm

What's his name, "Rogue," must be having the experience of his life. The '"creeks" are all over-bank-full. If not for my recent surgery, I'd be there, somewhere. I can't wait for my second trip (what a wh___). The water is cascading down.
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Re: 2011 BACKCOUNTRY CONDITIONS UPDATES

Postby Packtofish » Thu Jul 21, 2011 7:49 pm

maverick wrote:Packtofish wrote "Wow, brave kid." Really? Brave. :rolleyes:


Well I was going to say he was an idiot or had a rectal cranial inversion, but I tried to be nice...... :D
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Re: 2011 BACKCOUNTRY CONDITIONS UPDATES

Postby quentinc » Thu Jul 21, 2011 8:11 pm

Flux wrote:[
Plus I look all extreme with my axe on my pack, it helps diffuse that desk jockey flatlander sucking wind look that I always have on the trail.


It would take a lot more than an ice axe to make me look cool on the trail. But my Bora 95 backpack does seem to inspire awe. :smirk:
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Re: 2011 BACKCOUNTRY CONDITIONS UPDATES

Postby rlown » Thu Jul 21, 2011 8:29 pm

ok.. we're not out there to look cool. Rogue does have some experience. Let him be..

Ice axes are only cool if you know how to use them. And when that counts, it's not on your pack.
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Re: 2011 BACKCOUNTRY CONDITIONS UPDATES

Postby sparky » Thu Jul 21, 2011 11:11 pm

Yup conditions are pretty extreme right now, but getting around safely isn't exactly rocket science, just common sense. And I also want to echo some thanks also, this thread is very helpful.
There is a million ways to be human, all are worthwhile.

True happiness is the absence of striving for happiness.
-Chuang Tzu.
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Re: 2011 BACKCOUNTRY CONDITIONS UPDATES

Postby Flux » Fri Jul 22, 2011 9:24 am

Let me explain my experience with the snow on Agassiz and perhaps it will help a few others to make better decisions on gear. I am not by any means an experienced snow traveler and this was the second time I have taken an axe into the backcountry and both times I used them and was very glad to have them.

It was cold at night so the snow was definitely freezing up. We took off from camp around 9 or 10 and got to bishop pass in an hour tops. The snow at 12k was hard for the most part. We started up the snowfield at the base and it gradually gets steeper. I was OK with it as I felt without a pack I could stop myself if I slipped. There were rocks below the route. We got up to the choke on the right most chute up Agassiz and it was pretty steep right there. It was hard to kick into and I was more careful here and would not have wanted to continue on that steepness with the snow being hard like it was. We transferred across to the rocks here at the choke. Half way up the chute the pitch is very steep and I thought to myself that there was no way I would be in that chute even with crampons. One miss and you would be a missle heading to the rocks in the choke with how hard the snow was. I was scrambling on all fours at this section though, so it was steep

On the way down a couple hours later, the snow had softened considerably. I didn't test it on the steeps, but as soon as we were clear of the choke, we glissaded down without issue. I did my usual roll over to test my arresting and it was fine. We slid straight down the snow field and stopped before some rock no problem. Big difference in 3-4 hours in what the snow is like. I am not sure I would have glissaded that stretch in the morning. I am terrified of being a human missle.

Anyway, that's my experience with the snow around Bishop pass 11k and higher. There's alot of snow out there and I am sure these conditions are similar to most high places. The axe was a margin of safety I was damn glad to have and I don't think I would have been comfortable at all without it. Perhaps poles help out, but I can't say as i don't use them. Best of luck all.
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Re: 2011 BACKCOUNTRY CONDITIONS UPDATES

Postby kpeter » Fri Jul 22, 2011 11:15 am

Thanks, Flux. Was your axe useful just for going over the pass, or did it only become an issue when climbing from the pass to Aggassiz?
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Re: 2011 BACKCOUNTRY CONDITIONS UPDATES

Postby Flux » Fri Jul 22, 2011 12:59 pm

An axe would not be necessary just for the pass itself.
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Emigrant footnote

Postby Wandering Daisy » Sun Jul 24, 2011 9:23 am

Just a footnote to Carne_DelMuerto's excellent report of his July 14-17 trip. I basically did the same route July 21-23. Hot this time. Trail dusty for first few miles. Bear Lake invaded by Boy Scouts! Weekenders are out in force. Why anyone would do a day-hike from that trailhead is beyond me! After 8 miles it gets you into the good part of Emigrant Wilderness, but the first miles are really not that thrilling. Log crossing on Cherry Creek - moderately intense for me (I am not good at logs) but I would not wade that creek, even at low morning levels! I re-crossed 7AM - logs were a bit wet from dew- not a great idea. The crossing is difficult to find returning east-to west. I overshot and then had to go back to find it. Smaller streams still need wading, but easy. Mosquitoes moderate at dusk and dawn- no problem as long as you keep walking. Did not see a single person once I crossed Cherry Creek. Tons of Corn lillies (? Mules Ears) are just about to bloom. My feeble attempt at fly fishing in Cherry Creek netted nothing. Other than a few snow patches, everything is getting to be snow free. Still lots of water on trails.
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Re: 2011 BACKCOUNTRY CONDITIONS UPDATES

Postby justm » Sun Jul 24, 2011 5:22 pm

Thanks Wandering Daisey for that Emigrant trip report, I'm thinking about heading that way next weekend. How far did you go past the Cherry creek crossing? I would love to make it to the Buck lakes( excellent flyfishing there). By the way, it wasn't your flyfishing technique at Cherry creek that thwarted your catch, but that Cherry creek runs close to dry, in dry years, and only has very very small trout downstream, I mean like 3 inches small.
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