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.
User avatar

Re: 2011-07-01 Cherry Lk, Kibbie Lk, Inferno Lakes (NW Yosemite)

Postby texan » Wed Jul 06, 2011 9:09 am

tomba wrote:
texan wrote:Thanks for the report. When did you go on this trip. I am curious. There still a lot of snow around.


Last weekend, starting on 2011-07-01, as mentioned in the post title. I have added this in the message body to make it clearer.


Thanks Tomba I appreciate it.

Texan



User avatar
texan
Topix Regular
 
Posts: 229
Joined: Sat Jan 17, 2009 12:47 pm
Experience: N/A

User avatar

Ostrander & Hart Lakes 7/2-7/4

Postby AlmostThere » Wed Jul 06, 2011 9:54 am

Route: Ostrander and Hart Lakes, Yosemite NP, southwest region 8,600+ feet elevation

Date: 7/2 - 7/4

Trail conditions:
patchy snow - many patches were totally melted when we came back out. Mud. some deadfall easily worked around. Going cross country to Hart involved sloped snow, but was not difficult to stay on less steep slopes and toe-dig where necessary. Poles helped a lot. Not walking near rocks/fallen trees helped a lot. Stream crossings on trail - none other than hop across. Stream crossed on the way to Hart was safe wading, tho cold.

Other notes: Fish biting real well at Ostrander - caught and released 12 and kept 2 brook trout. Hart had some ice but it was even noticeably melted from the hour before when we passed. Pictures from 3-4 weeks ago showed snow up to the window tops at the ski hut; all that snow is completely gone. The campsites around the lake are melting free tho there are still some patches in shaded areas. Horse Ridge is still snowed under pretty well but melting like crazy, you can hear the water rushing out from under the snowbanks.
Last edited by maverick on Wed Jul 06, 2011 11:36 am, edited 1 time in total.
Reason: Added subject
User avatar
AlmostThere
Topix Fanatic
 
Posts: 1761
Joined: Wed Jun 24, 2009 4:38 pm
Experience: N/A

User avatar

Leavitt Meadows/Beartrap Lake

Postby no2haven » Wed Jul 06, 2011 3:00 pm

Route taken: Leavitt Meadows - Beartrap Lake - Leavitt Meadows
Date: 7/2 - 7/4

Trail conditions: Hot, dusty up to 8k feet. Creeks up to Long Canyon Creek are passable via nearby logs (the one over Yparraquirre Canyon creek isn't for the faint of heart, though wide and stable). Long Canyon Creek had no visible log jams from the trail and was 3+ feet deep, cold, and fast. Ran into a trio of backpackers (much braver than I) that crossed the West Walker...they reported 40 feet wide, chest+ deep, and fast. It looked worse than that from the trail in most places. Patchy snow started ~8800 feet, with substantial drifts (5-6 feet) up to ~9000' in forested areas, and solid coverage above that on all aspects. Easy to kick steps in the early morning, but rapidly became sloppy and post-holing before noon. It's melting fast.
User avatar
no2haven
Topix Acquainted
 
Posts: 74
Joined: Wed Jul 06, 2011 2:41 pm
Location: Berkeley, CA
Experience: N/A

User avatar

Re: 2011 BACKCOUNTRY CONDITIONS UPDATES

Postby punks4wilderness » Wed Jul 06, 2011 8:34 pm

heading out to crabtree trailhead tomorrow for 4 days. I called the rangers office today and they said as far as they know no one has made it past the bear lake/camp lake region. We had planned to make it to gem lake/wire lakes area. We'll see how it goes and i'll share the info when we get back.
User avatar
punks4wilderness
Topix Newbie
 
Posts: 1
Joined: Tue Jul 05, 2011 8:08 pm
Location: modesto, ca
Experience: N/A

User avatar

Re: Leavitt Meadows/Beartrap Lake

Postby TehipiteTom » Thu Jul 07, 2011 8:06 am

no2haven wrote:Route taken: Leavitt Meadows - Beartrap Lake - Leavitt Meadows
Date: 7/2 - 7/4

Trail conditions: Hot, dusty up to 8k feet. Creeks up to Long Canyon Creek are passable via nearby logs (the one over Yparraquirre Canyon creek isn't for the faint of heart, though wide and stable). Long Canyon Creek had no visible log jams from the trail and was 3+ feet deep, cold, and fast. Ran into a trio of backpackers (much braver than I) that crossed the West Walker...they reported 40 feet wide, chest+ deep, and fast. It looked worse than that from the trail in most places. Patchy snow started ~8800 feet, with substantial drifts (5-6 feet) up to ~9000' in forested areas, and solid coverage above that on all aspects. Easy to kick steps in the early morning, but rapidly became sloppy and post-holing before noon. It's melting fast.

Was up there at the same time (more leisurely trip--we camped on the river near Lane Lake and dayhiked up the canyon). I did most of those streams as wet boot crossings, and they were about shin deep on me (probably higher in the afternoon); Long Canyon Creek stopped us, though. I didn't even consider crossing the West Walker.
User avatar
TehipiteTom
Founding Member
 
Posts: 814
Joined: Thu Aug 24, 2006 8:42 am
Experience: Level 4 Explorer

User avatar

6/23-7/3 Dusy Basin, Muir Pass, McGee Lakes, Evolution Basin

Postby cgundersen » Thu Jul 07, 2011 10:35 am

ROUTE: South Lake to Bishop Pass to Dusy Basin to Le Conte Canyon over Muir Pass to McGee Lakes (over ridge from Evolution Basin) loop back through McGee Basin to Evolution Basin and Haeckel Canyon over Fiske Col and return to South Lake.

We left on June 23 and returned July 3rd and there was pretty much solid snow above 10,500 ft everywhere. But, there was rapid melting occurring, and parts of Le Conte Canyon that had been in full winter garb were clear when we came through on the return trip.

We had no special gear because the snow conditions were great if one waited for a bit of warm up in the morning and then avoided the late afternoon mush. Slogging through the snow was plenty of exercise.

One Dicey Spot: The descent from Dusy is complicated by the huge creek flow below the bridge. The lower crossing is a pain, but there are cairns marking spots that one can cross upstream from the trail. It's still awkward with full packs, so use care!

Cg
Last edited by maverick on Thu Jul 07, 2011 12:25 pm, edited 3 times in total.
Reason: date
User avatar
cgundersen
Topix Expert
 
Posts: 655
Joined: Sun Jul 16, 2006 1:07 pm
Experience: N/A

User avatar

Shepherd Pass, PCT/JMT between Tyndall & Wright Creeks, Barn

Postby KathyW » Thu Jul 07, 2011 10:36 am

I backpacked over Shepherd Pass 7/3/11 and then continued south on the PCT to Wright Creek. From Wright Creek, I day hiked to Mount Barnard. Then, I came back out the same way.

Shepherd Pass Trail: The creek crossings are not too difficult, but you can't jump or rock hop across them. You will have to wade across 5 crossing including the one at Anvil Camp. There are a couple of small snow patches between Mahogany Flat and Anvil Camp - no big deal. There are a few snow fields between Anvil Camp and the big snowfield below Shepherd Pass - again, no big deal.

Here's the snowfield at Shepherd Pass on 7/3: http://kathywing.smugmug.com/California ... 41_kCZGRZ2

Here's the snowfield at Shepherd Pass on 7/6: http://kathywing.smugmug.com/California ... 99_HdKk4V7

The snow was soft when I crossed it. I did use my axe, but didn't need the crampons. I would still bring my crampons because you never know when that snow is going to be icy and because people aren't always considerate of the next climber coming up because they glissade right through the uphill boot tracks. Everyone's comfort level is different; so you have to make your own judgment about crampons/axe.

There's about the same amount of snow in that area as there was the last time I went over Shepherd Pass (the first weekend in July 2005 when we did Williamson).

Creek Crossings on the PCT/JMT: I was only on the PCT/JMT for about 4 miles. I hit the PCT/JMT at Tyndall Creek. I was going south; so I didn't have to cross the creek. Tyndall Creek was raging and there was a note at the junction that said it was safer to cross one-mile upstream where the creek splits. I then went south to Wright Creek, which is also raging. If you go upstream to where the creek splits it is also easier to cross - you might have to go 0.5 mile or more upstream. Wright Creek was deep enough that the bottom of my pack got wet.

It's really wet out there - especially, on the west side of the pass. The snow is melting off fast, but that makes the trails wet and the remaining snowfields sun-cupped slush fields.

Don't forget to bring a couple of extra pairs of socks, some sandals or other shoes you can wear in camp because your boots will likely be wet and you'll want to have dry feet at camp overnight. I kept my boots dry until Shepherd Pas by switching to sandals to cross the creeks, but after that it was too wet to try to keep the boots dry. I hiked in wet boots the rest of the time, but it wasn't bad because I had extra dry socks and my sandals to wear at camp. Don't forget to line your pack with a garbage bag or put your gear in separate plastic bags because it's very possible your pack will get wet, but that will be okay if your gear (especially, your sleeping bag is in a plastic bag).

More pictures from that area:

http://kathywing.smugmug.com/California ... 36_hRGXRvX

I still need to sort through the pictures I uploaded and label them. It's fast and easy to upload them, but not so fast and easy to go through and delete redundancy and label the photos.

I got a good look at Tyndall, but I only say the top of Williamson from Barnard. I didn't go check out Williamson Bowl. I could see toward Forester Pass, but I could not see the pass and didn't meet anyone who had gone over it recently. I met a couple of people who were headed that way though. From what I could see - there's likely still a good amount of snow on Forester Pass.

Mosquitoes: I didn't see any on the way in, but a few weak ones appeared at Wright Creek and then on the way out I noticed there were a few hanging around at Anvil Camp; so they're just starting to come out in that area. Bring the insect repellent because it will get worse before it gets better.
User avatar
KathyW
Founding Member
 
Posts: 347
Joined: Thu Aug 26, 2010 6:19 pm
Experience: N/A

User avatar

Re: Avalanche Pass-Big Meadow-Cloud Canyon 7/1-7/4

Postby KathyW » Thu Jul 07, 2011 10:39 am

sparky wrote:Avalanche pass is snow free. Big wet meadow is flooded, lots of mosquitos in cloud canyon.. Brewer creek is nasty. Was very hot, and waters rose dramatically during the day.

Got glimpses of colby pass and elizibeth pass looking south up the canyons both of which has lots of snow. Elizibeth appeared to have a cornice. Very large waterfall flowing out below colby pass...is that always there? Tablelands looked patchy in spots solid in others


Thanks for the update - the bugs are going to bad this year.
User avatar
KathyW
Founding Member
 
Posts: 347
Joined: Thu Aug 26, 2010 6:19 pm
Experience: N/A

User avatar

Re: 2011 BACKCOUNTRY CONDITIONS UPDATES

Postby quentinc » Thu Jul 07, 2011 12:53 pm

Kathy, thanks for that report. How was Wallace Creek (if you got that far)? I have some friends who were planning on the JMT starting on July 10, and they are now looking for alternatives since they aren't experienced with rough conditions. I was going to suggest they head down to Junction Meadow from the JMT and then loop south along the Kern.
User avatar
quentinc
Topix Expert
 
Posts: 890
Joined: Tue Nov 01, 2005 10:28 pm
Location: Los Angeles
Experience: N/A

User avatar

Re: Leavitt Meadows/Beartrap Lake

Postby no2haven » Thu Jul 07, 2011 12:55 pm

TehipiteTom wrote:Was up there at the same time (more leisurely trip--we camped on the river near Lane Lake and dayhiked up the canyon). I did most of those streams as wet boot crossings, and they were about shin deep on me (probably higher in the afternoon); Long Canyon Creek stopped us, though. I didn't even consider crossing the West Walker.


Yeah, most of those creeks are easy boot crossings too...I just don't like getting wet, and will take the easy log over shallow water every time. Yparraquirre creek actually stopped us on the way in - we didn't like our chances on THAT log (~5 foot drop over a nasty, turbulent flow) with backpacks to upset our balance. I couldn't find anything less than knee-high on that crossing though, neither in the afternoon nor early the next morning. Maybe we didn't look far enough upstream. The log wasn't a problem with dayhiking packs, however.

We ran into one guy that said the West Walker up by Piute Meadow is much more manageable than lower in the canyon. But I agree with you...the people we ran into that crossed in the lower canyon were crazy. Fremont Lake isn't worth it and will be just as pretty in a month when the water calms down.
User avatar
no2haven
Topix Acquainted
 
Posts: 74
Joined: Wed Jul 06, 2011 2:41 pm
Location: Berkeley, CA
Experience: N/A

User avatar

Re: 2011 BACKCOUNTRY CONDITIONS UPDATES: Wallace Creek/Forrester

Postby cgundersen » Thu Jul 07, 2011 1:51 pm

Quentin,
My wife and I gave a ride to a guy who hiked the JMT from W portal and exited via Bishop Pass. He said he had to go about a mile upstream to find a place to cross Wallace, and even so it was mid-chest. But, that would have been around June 30, so it could be better, it could be worse. His worst day was going over Forrester. Massive sun, few tracks and snow forever. But, he made it over after camping by Tyndall Creek the night before. From the tracks we saw on Muir Pass on June 25th, quite a few folks had made it over the high passes on the PCT/JMT, some with snowshoes, most without. There are some motivated souls out there!
cg
User avatar
cgundersen
Topix Expert
 
Posts: 655
Joined: Sun Jul 16, 2006 1:07 pm
Experience: N/A

User avatar

Re: 2011 BACKCOUNTRY CONDITIONS UPDATES

Postby KathyW » Thu Jul 07, 2011 2:19 pm

quentinc wrote:Kathy, thanks for that report. How was Wallace Creek (if you got that far)? I have some friends who were planning on the JMT starting on July 10, and they are now looking for alternatives since they aren't experienced with rough conditions. I was going to suggest they head down to Junction Meadow from the JMT and then loop south along the Kern.


I did not go as far as Wallace, but I met a guy coming north that had crossed it. He said Wright was worse than Wallace, and you can cross Wright as long as you're willing to hike upstream until you find a good place to cross.
User avatar
KathyW
Founding Member
 
Posts: 347
Joined: Thu Aug 26, 2010 6:19 pm
Experience: N/A

PreviousNext

Return to Conditions Reports and Information



Who is online

Users browsing this forum: Bing [Bot] and 9 guests