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 Wandering Daisy » Sun Jul 24, 2011 8:19 pm

The log crossing on WF Cherry Creek is half mile downstream of the Wood Lake trail (southern trail to Wood Lake). This puts you on the wrong side of Bucks Meadow Creek, which did not look like you could cross it in the mile before the trail crosses back to the south side. You would probably have to bushwhack a mile on the south side of the creek until you intersect the trail. One alternative is a longer and mostly off-trail route via Rosaco Lk, Pingree Lk, Leighton and Karls Lakes to Wood Lake. I have done this alternative and getting around Leighton Lake was time consuming- particulary when there is such high water. I did not see Cherry Creek near Piute Lake on the trail to the north. It may be crossable. The FS may have information on that crossing. This crossing is upstream of the confluence of Buck Meadow Creek, so it should have less water. I bet it is crossable up there.

The water is going down. Enitre islands of sand are now above water on Cherry Creek that are still moist, like they were submerged recently.

Well, seems I always pick the spot to fish where there are no fish!



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Re: 2011 BACKCOUNTRY CONDITIONS UPDATES

Postby justm » Sun Jul 24, 2011 9:24 pm

Thanks Wandering Daisey for the info. Now I'm thinking of going from crabtree trail head to Granite lake for the first night, second night will be at toejam lake and alot of different possibilities for the rest, I could drop down to Deer lake from that trail and avoid the cherry creek crossing all together ( which I've done before) but I'll have to deal with the sloshy snow meadow at whitesides meadow, plus mesquito infested spring meadow. Either way it's a tough log. Thanks for the info!! I'll report when I get back
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Saddlebag Lake, July 24

Postby AlmostThere » Sun Jul 24, 2011 9:30 pm

Went up there as part of a campout with my hiking group. The resort just opened - the campground is still closed. The taxi is running. We took poles and fished - went up the loop trail as far as Wasco, there is still ice in Wasco - Steelhead is nearly iced over per a buddy who jammed up the trail over the snow. There's significant amounts of suncupped snow in increasing coverage as you get further back on the loop. The east side of Saddlebag lake, the trail is merely wet in a few places. The west side of the lake, 2/3 of the trail is still under snow. Dayhikers were getting off the taxi, hiking out for about an hour, and showing up again at the shore - some of them were turning around at the first snowbank!

3 lb rainbows are biting well at the inlet of Saddlebag. The fish are making their way up stream to spawn. We saw stringers full of 12-15" bows in the hands of people climbing in their cars in the pullouts near the turnoff to Saddlebag.

Staff at the store said that Saddlebag was almost completely iced over last weekend - an indicator of the melt - and while we were fishing we saw skiers coming down to get the taxi! People are taking day packs and telemark skis, making their way up the snow to the top of the ridge near Conness, and skiing down.
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North Fork Big Pine Creek - Mount Sill

Postby KathyW » Mon Jul 25, 2011 6:27 am

Route taken: Started at the overnight (backpacker's parking lot) trailhead for the North Fork Big Pine Creek Trail and went as far as Sam Mack Meadow on Friday, July 22, 2011. On Saturday, I went from Sam Mack Meadow to Mount Sill via he Palisade Glacier/Glacier Notch/North Couloir, then on Sunday I backpacked out.

Difficult section encountered: There were no difficult creek crossings on this route. I hit my first snow patch just below Sam Mack Meadow, but it is not an issue and easily crossed. By about 11,500' the snow patches were bigger and the Glacier Trail gets pretty hard to follow. Then from about 12,200' until the top of the North Couloir (L-shaped snowfield) I was mostly on snow except for a short section of the chute to Glacier Notch that is melted out. Luckily the traverse that ends at the Class 4 section and the final scramble to the summit from the top of the Couloir was melted out or I would have turned around.

Special equipment needed/used: Ice axe, crampons, helmet to get to Sill, but no special equipment to get to Sam Mack Meadow.

Possible alternative routes: There are various routes up Sill.

The mosquitoes are out in full force - it was so bad at Sam Mack Meadow that I sat in my tent to eat, which is a no-no. The Deet didn't seem to make much difference - the bugs still attacked. It seemed like the mosquitoes were thickest between about 10,500' and 12,000'.

The flowers were really pretty too.

Some pics (I still have to work on labels): http://kathywing.smugmug.com/California ... 30_Z9st9Wm
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Re: 2011 BACKCOUNTRY CONDITIONS UPDATES

Postby cgundersen » Mon Jul 25, 2011 9:06 am

Kathy,
Looks like gorgeous weather and no sign of Lion Fire smoke creeping that far north. DEET resistant skeeters sounds ominous. Can't wait to make a blood donation........
cg
PS. Looked like a modest track through the snow (photo 63, I think).....did you have company?
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Re: 2011 BACKCOUNTRY CONDITIONS UPDATES

Postby quentinc » Mon Jul 25, 2011 1:31 pm

Really beautiful photos! Mosquitoes at 12,000 feet sounds truly ominous. I was hoping one could still hike above them.
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Re: 2011 BACKCOUNTRY CONDITIONS UPDATES

Postby BrianF » Mon Jul 25, 2011 1:40 pm

Thanks Kathy for the update and the warning about skeeters. I was planning on dayhiking up the north fork next weekend, maybe I'll go to White mountain instead. Great pics, I did the North Couloir route solo a number of years ago in late May of a dry year and conditions look about the same. That 4th class move is a bit tense solo unroped
The direction you are moving in is what matters, not the place you happen to be -Colin Fletcher
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Tuolumne Meadows to Agnew Meadows 7/18-7/23

Postby mshields » Mon Jul 25, 2011 11:45 pm

Route taken: Tuolumne Meadows to Agnew Meadows via JMT (July 18th - 23rd)



Difficult section encountered: Snow between the Lyell Fork crossing and Island Pass. Very manageable at this point due to established footprint routes and soft compacted snow. Be alert for voids and running water beneath the snowpack.



Special equipment needed/used:
Hiking Poles and Gaiters. The gaiters are not necessary, but I appreciated having drier feet than my fellow hikers.



Possible alternative routes: Not Necessary

I would like to thank everybody who posted conditions for this route prior to my departure especially Doyle. At this point, I think trail conditions are greatly improved and people can get out there and enjoy it like I did.

Here are a few pics from the trip
Lyell Canyon1.jpg
Lyell Canyon

Donahue Pass1.jpg
Donahue Pass

Island Pass1.jpg
Island Pass

1000 Island Lake1.jpg
1000 Island Lake

Garnet Lake1.jpg
Garnet Lake
Last edited by maverick on Tue Jul 26, 2011 8:30 am, edited 1 time in total.
Reason: Subject
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Re: 2011 BACKCOUNTRY CONDITIONS UPDATES

Postby Scouter9 » Tue Jul 26, 2011 10:07 am

Beautiful Shots, MShields!


Which route did you take from 1000 Island to Agnew Meadows? Can you give me a trail report for just that section? I'm taking some new backpackers there in two weeks.
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Re: Tuolumne Meadows to Agnew Meadows 7/18-7/23

Postby DoyleWDonehoo » Tue Jul 26, 2011 11:55 am

mshields wrote:I would like to thank everybody who posted conditions for this route prior to my departure especially Doyle.

Hey, no problem, and if I did anything to allow you to take those two pictures of Garnet and 1,000, then I am happy. I saved them for my own future enjoyment.
As for the conditions between 1KIL and Shadow Lake, I think the Garnet Lake picture answered that: Snowy patches here and there still (with well worn routes), but snow fading fast. That would be my guess anyway.
Thanks for the pictures MShields!
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Re: 2011 BACKCOUNTRY CONDITIONS UPDATES

Postby Ikan Mas » Tue Jul 26, 2011 12:21 pm

Thanks for the report on Donhue and 100-Island lake. I will be there next week and I'm looking forward to a great trip.
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Re: 2011 BACKCOUNTRY CONDITIONS UPDATES

Postby mshields » Tue Jul 26, 2011 10:13 pm

Scouter9 wrote:Beautiful Shots, MShields!


Which route did you take from 1000 Island to Agnew Meadows? Can you give me a trail report for just that section? I'm taking some new backpackers there in two weeks.


We took the JMT South to the Shadow Lake Junction, and then headed down to Agnew. There was a fair amount of snow on the north facing slopes leaving both 1000 Island and Garnet Lakes; other than that it was on/off patches. Given that you will be there in two weeks, I think it should be wide open by that time. Enjoy your trip, I think the greenery and wildflowers should be at their peak beauty!
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