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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Horseshoe Meadow-Soldier Lakes 7/3-7/6

Postby GunnyJC » Tue Jul 12, 2011 10:41 am

We spent July 3rd to July 6th in the Horsehoe Meadows - Cottonwood Pass - Soldier Lakes area and very similar findings to what Papercup posted earlier. The trails were 99% snow free and easy to follow. Likewise, we saw hardly anyone out there which I thought was amazing considering it was 4th of July week, but I'm not complaining one bit. There was two other tents at Chicken Spring Lake and we had Lower Soldier Lake to ourselves for 3 nights. Sure wish the weather would have been better though as we had a lot of pea sized hail, rain & t-storms three days in a row. Still loved being out there though.
Last edited by maverick on Tue Jul 12, 2011 11:37 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Maggie Lake 7/9-7/10

Postby tomcat_rc » Tue Jul 12, 2011 1:42 pm

Summit Trail to Maggie Lakes July 9-10, 2011

Trailhead - open
Trail condiitons -
Meadows - wet and flowing
Snow coverage - 1/4 mostly still on northern and shaded area. Downed trees were more of a disctraction than snow navigation was.

Maggie Lakes - all open for camping with just a couple of small snow patches left.

On way out we noticed fire burning to east. We assume Little Kern area. FS lists as Lion Fire under controlled observation.
Last edited by maverick on Tue Jul 12, 2011 1:54 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Kearsage; Glen; 60 Lakes -- July 9 - 12

Postby quentinc » Tue Jul 12, 2011 3:51 pm

Kearsarge Pass is melting fast. Two patches just before the winding winding winding switchbacks, well worn with boot tracks and soft by 9 a.m. West side will be snow-free by next weekend. The permit office will warn of fallen trees -- they are on drugs.

Snow starts on JMT above Charlotte Lake -- about 60% cover. Easy but following the trail gets a bit confusing in one spot. Glen Pass: easy from the south. North is covered, but boot tracks and soft conditions make it OK. It was arduous getting back over from the north courtesy of some a-hole thru hikers who glissaded down the boot tracks.

60 Lakes Basin, contrary to what the ranger would have one believe, is easily navigable. Only the highest lakes have any ice. The north saddle entrance (above Arrowhead Lake) was a bit difficult -- by far the hardest part of the trip. Stream crossing below Arrowhead is waist deep, but slow.

Secondhand info on the JMT to the South. Things have improved drastically. There was a hot dog concession on top of Forester Pass over the weekend!
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Minarets from Shadow Lake to 1,000 Island Lake July 9 to 12

Postby DoyleWDonehoo » Tue Jul 12, 2011 8:38 pm

For the last four days I have been hiking in the Minarets, the crux being from Shadow Lake to 1,000 Island Lake. Speaking for that area, I would say from 8500 feet to 9000 feet, expect any combination of snow coverage from nothing to 100%, depending on location and how much sun it gets. From 9000 feet to 10,000+ feet it is pretty continuous, with some dry patches here and there, with sections of very deep drifts, maybe more than 20 feet deep in some places (like gullies). So if you go there anytime soon, be prepared for travel over hard packed snow, very icy and slick in the mornings, and softer in the afternoons. Also be prepared to face snow bridges and (unavoidable) steep traverses and other complex situations associated with these conditions. The pictures below should give you some clues. O:) I will try to do a TR soon.
Attachments
Garnet1.jpg
The JMT on the north shore of Garnet Lake near the outlet. The lead hiker fell and nearly went in (he said), and bent his hiking pole. Be careful out there.
SGarnet1.jpg
The pass south of Garnet Lake looking south.
DaveTrail2.jpg
Some typical trail along the way.
DWDGarnet2.jpg
A picture of me at Garnet Lake.
Last edited by DoyleWDonehoo on Wed Jul 13, 2011 8:49 am, edited 3 times in total.
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Re: 2011 BACKCOUNTRY CONDITIONS UPDATES

Postby rlown » Tue Jul 12, 2011 8:46 pm

Nice. feeling better everyday about pushing back my fishing trip..
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Loon Lake Trail to Rockbound Lake 7/9-7/10

Postby EGBill » Tue Jul 12, 2011 9:25 pm

Route taken: Loon Lake trail to Rockbound Lake

Difficult section encountered: A few trees down on the trail along side Loon Lake, after that no problems. Snow Free. Buck Island Lake and Rockbound Lake were full to the brim with water!!


Special equipment needed/used: None


Possible alternative routes: None
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Re: 2011 BACKCOUNTRY CONDITIONS UPDATES

Postby mshields » Tue Jul 12, 2011 11:06 pm

Doyle,

Thank you for your post/pictures on the itinerary from Shadow Lake to 1,000 Island Lake; they are much appreciated. This is my first post, but I have been an active viewer on HST for the last couple years. I have plans for what I thought would be a leisurely trip (July 19th-23rd) from TM to Agnew Meadows via the JMT and Shadow Lake trail. I was wondering what your thoughts were on this trip and whether it would be a good idea to embark on it? Did you run into any other hikers on your itinerary who had come from the TM direction ? Any other members input would be appreciated.

Thanks
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Re: 2011 BACKCOUNTRY CONDITIONS UPDATES

Postby DoyleWDonehoo » Wed Jul 13, 2011 9:19 am

mshields wrote: I have plans for what I thought would be a leisurely trip (July 19th-23rd) from TM to Agnew Meadows via the JMT and Shadow Lake trail....Did you run into any other hikers on your itinerary who had come from the TM direction ?

I met a JMT hiker on "Garnet Pass", and he said it was all snow from Lyle Canyon to 1,000 Island Lake (10K IL). In a weeks time it may be improved but I would still expect a lot of snow. By the time you got to 10K IL, you can decide if you want to take the JMT or the River Trail (or the PCT High Trail) to Agnew or not. We came back along the River Trail (from Badger Lake) and it was quite something with all of the raging waters. There are some major falls I have never heard about, and some very nice camp sites. You could always pop up to snow-free Shadow Lake from River Trail.
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Re: Loon Lake Trail to Rockbound Lake 7/9-7/10

Postby FeetFirst » Wed Jul 13, 2011 12:45 pm

EGBill wrote:Route taken: Loon Lake trail to Rockbound Lake

Difficult section encountered: A few trees down on the trail along side Loon Lake, after that no problems. Snow Free. Buck Island Lake and Rockbound Lake were full to the brim with water!!


Special equipment needed/used: None


Possible alternative routes: None


Thank you. Were you able to park at the TH parking lot? With the campground being closed, I was concerned that the gates would be locked. Also, I got a "hmm...that's a good question," when I called the Pacific RD HQ.

Did the trail to Rubicon Reservoir appear to be snow free as well? Thanks.
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Re: Loon Lake Trail to Rockbound Lake 7/9-7/10

Postby EGBill » Wed Jul 13, 2011 2:44 pm

FeetFirst wrote:
EGBill wrote:Route taken: Loon Lake trail to Rockbound Lake

Difficult section encountered: A few trees down on the trail along side Loon Lake, after that no problems. Snow Free. Buck Island Lake and Rockbound Lake were full to the brim with water!!


Special equipment needed/used: None


Possible alternative routes: None


Thank you. Were you able to park at the TH parking lot? With the campground being closed, I was concerned that the gates would be locked. Also, I got a "hmm...that's a good question," when I called the Pacific RD HQ.

Did the trail to Rubicon Reservoir appear to be snow free as well? Thanks.


We parked at the Boat Dock Parking lot ($7) as they were still cleaning up the campgrounds. The camp host is there for collecting day/overnight fees for the Boat Dock area.

There was no snow around Rockbound at all. I didn't see for certain that there wasn't snow at Rubicon Reservoir, but as warm as it was, I don't think so. I didn't see much snow and the only snow I saw was up on the north facing peaks way above the trail. But there was a LOT of water in the lakes... :D
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Cottonwood pass to Whitney portal 7/9-11/2011

Postby raphus » Thu Jul 14, 2011 9:54 am

Route taken:
Horseshow meadow / Cottonwood pass / Siberian oupost / Rock Creek / Crabtree meadow / Guitar Lake / Mt Whitney / Whitney Portal

Difficult section encountered:
Snow has almost completely melted until Guitar Lake (and mosquitoes are still relatively quiet).
Small snow fields on both the western (above Guitar Lake) and eastern (above Trail Camp) switchbacks to Trail Crest / Mt Whitney, but they can be crossed with just boots/poles.
Lower Rock Creek crossing is swift in the evening, but there's convenient logs just upstream the trail.

Special equipment needed/used:
We used microspikes on the hard morning snow traverse (very handy but not required).
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Re: 2011 BACKCOUNTRY CONDITIONS UPDATES

Postby Coolbreeze » Thu Jul 14, 2011 12:39 pm

NPS Trail Conditions page has been updated:

http://www.nps.gov/seki/planyourvisit/t ... UMP_115626
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