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 papercup » Fri Jul 15, 2011 5:47 am

Here are two photos-- one is of the snow covering the use trail just below the top of Old Army Pass, the other is of the cornice at the edge of New Army Pass, both taken on 7/8.
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New Army Pass.jpg
New Army Pass.jpg (39.96 KiB) Viewed 725 times
Old Army Pass.jpg
Old Army Pass.jpg (56.32 KiB) Viewed 723 times



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Re: 2011 BACKCOUNTRY CONDITIONS UPDATES

Postby mschnaidt » Fri Jul 15, 2011 8:07 am

Thanks for the pics Papercup. I'm hoping Army melts out a bit more in the next 10 days.
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Re: 2011 BACKCOUNTRY CONDITIONS UPDATES

Postby hiker00 » Fri Jul 15, 2011 8:52 am

mschnaidt wrote:Thanks for the pics Papercup. I'm hoping Army melts out a bit more in the next 10 days.


Yes Thank you for the pics!

I am hoping for the same...hitting the trail on the 25th and don't want to change my plans but will if the snow does not clear on the New Army Pass.
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Re: 2011 BACKCOUNTRY CONDITIONS UPDATES

Postby mp88 » Fri Jul 15, 2011 9:12 am

Great information & awesome photos, I have been section hiking the PCT for a couple of years now and the time is almost here for my Sierra section (Kearsarge Pass to Reds Meadow) starting 8/10/11. I will be keeping a close eye on this thread and the skeeter report because it looks like it’s a mess out there right now (snow, bugs, high water, etc..). Happy trails and safe travels this summer to all you intrepid human beings not sitting on the couch in front of the TV.
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Desolation Wilderness 7/12-7/16

Postby Wandering Daisy » Sat Jul 16, 2011 3:37 pm

Route Taken: (7/12 - 7/16) Desolation Wilderness: Echo Lake, Aloha Lake, day trip to Mosquito Pass, PCT north, trail to Half Moon Lake, day hike loop x-country up to intersect PCT, climb Dick's Peak, run ridge to Mt Tallac, down to Gilmore Lake back to Half Moon Lake, x-country directly to Suzie Lake, PCT back to Aloha Lake, side trip to Jabu Lake, Tamarck Lake, Ralston Lake, and back out.

Difficult sections: solid snow from Haypress Meadows onward, steep drifts in trees, very icy early AM, otherwise solid and easy to walk over, PCT south side of Dick's Pass has one huge drift exactly on the trail. Big cornice/drifts on norh slopes above Heather Lake, Susie Lake and north sides of the penninsulas on Aloha Lake. Haypress Meaodow is a swamp. Steep snow on north side of Dick's Peak- so you have to climb a short class 2+ section where the "trail" goes around on the north side.

Special equipment: trekking poles, crampons or yak tracks if you want to go over the snow before the sun hits it. Waterproof boots if you care about dry feet (I do not), large dry campsites hard to come by - ideal conditions for a bivy sack or other small footprint tent. Snow can be difficult if you do not have shoes with aggressive treads. Tennis shoes do not work.

Alternate routes: regular trail to Half Moon Lake is a mess- swampy and lots of steep drifts - you can cut down to the lake from the PCT (before the snow drifts on the PCT) or easy cross country on the northeast side of Susie Lake (stay high on benches).
Last edited by maverick on Sat Jul 16, 2011 6:09 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Agnew Meadow to Yosemite Valley 7/4-7/9

Postby HikeSierraNevada » Sat Jul 16, 2011 5:02 pm

July 4-9, 2011
Route: Mammoth to Yosemite Valley via PCT High Trail to 1,000 Island Lake, then JMT to Island Pass, Donohue Pass, Lyell Canyon, Tuolumne Meadows, Cathedral Pass, Long Meadow, Half Dome.

Difficult sections: Route finding difficult for many hikers for miles on snow near/over Island Pass and Cathedral Pass. "Trail" disappears after each storm. Snow was well consolidated in mornings. Some postholing in afternoons, not bad for us. Water crossings a mix of snow bridges, logs, rock hopping and a few wade-thrus. Some of these snow bridges will be collapsing soon. Be careful.

Special equipment: GPS strongly recommended in combination with map and compass. Used MSR Ascent snowshoes over Donohue Pass, per Ranger's insistence - not necessary but they worked well and then we geocached them in Tuolumne Meadows. Also used Microspikes on mild slopes and frozen snow for traction - not necessary either but they reduce slipping. Rocky Gore Tex socks worked great once the boots got soaked. Very nice to put on dry socks under these while your boots dry out. These socks dry very quickly - nice lite luxury item, but expensive.

Awesome trip for my wife and I. Met interesting people including PCT and JMT thru-hikers. Will post pix and slideshow soon.
Last edited by maverick on Sat Jul 16, 2011 6:14 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: 2011 BACKCOUNTRY CONDITION Photos - Mammoth to Yo Valley

Postby HikeSierraNevada » Sat Jul 16, 2011 5:32 pm

Some Pix from conditions report posted above.
Attachments
Cathedral_Pass_Area.jpg
Cathedral Pass Area.
Route finding difficult for many here.
Trail finally visible going around Columbia Finger
Donohue_Pass.jpg
Donohue Pass 360deg Pano
IslandLakePano.jpg
1,000 Island Lake on July 4
Just Starting Melt Out
Last edited by HikeSierraNevada on Sun Jul 17, 2011 6:30 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Tamarack - El Cap 7/13-7/15

Postby wiseblood » Sat Jul 16, 2011 8:20 pm

Tamarack Flat Campground -> El Capitan ... 7/13-7/15

No snow until a quarter-mile from Ribbon Meadow, then patchy, but with easy-to-follow footprints. Ribbon Meadow is boggy, with plenty of mosquitoes. Trail a little hard to follow at Ribbon Meadow, since it's underwater for a bit. Ribbon Creek about 6 inches high. No other snow or stream crossings the rest of the way to El Capitan.
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Re: 2011 BACKCOUNTRY CONDITIONS UPDATES

Postby Ikan Mas » Sat Jul 16, 2011 8:54 pm

July 15-16

Route taken:
Penner Lake from Carr/Feely Lake Trailhead
No snow in the parking area, but plenty along Feely Lake and beyond in the trees. Many people headed to Penner.
Trail to Round Lake was difficult to find in the snow.

Difficult section encountered:
None. Lots of snow in the shady areas. Exposed areas are clear. Lakes are ice free.

Special equipment needed/used:
None.

Possible alternative routes:
Suggest going somewhere else or go during mid-week. People are hitting the Grouse Ridge area very hard as it is accessible. Parking lot was full by Friday noon. There were 30 campers at Penner Lake and all but me each had to light an unnecessary campfire. --Too Many! :mad:
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South Lake to Bishop Pass 7/11-7/14

Postby Flux » Sun Jul 17, 2011 9:26 pm

South Lake Trailhead to Bishop Pass 7/11-7/14:

Snow was mostly clear on the trail up to above Spearhead Lake. Above there it was alot of snow and very wet sections of trail. Bishop Pass pretty much covered.

Lakes all clear to Spearhead, above that they were 50-50 with no visible fish activity. Dusy Basin was very patchy and the trail looked 50-50 as well. Lower lakes were open in Dusy:

Some pics from Agassiz:
Dusy
Image

Big Pine Creek
Image

View to the South
Image

Northish overlooking the Bishop Pass Drainage and on to Humphreys at top right

Image

Have much higher res pics that give more detail PM me if interested
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Re: 2011 BACKCOUNTRY CONDITIONS UPDATES

Postby cgundersen » Mon Jul 18, 2011 10:18 am

Hi Flux,
Thanks for the shots; they match well with the excellent TR Silverfox posted a couple days ago. Dusy's cleared out a lot since I went through with my wife; I've gotta get some photos from her to help chart the melt.
cg
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Re: 2011 BACKCOUNTRY CONDITIONS UPDATES

Postby R Dog in Tahoe » Mon Jul 18, 2011 1:45 pm

Hi HikeSierraNevada,

Thanks for the update on the trail conditions. I'm taking the same route July 24 to July 30. I'm curious about the total time you spent hiking in snow vs. dirt trail. Also, what was Lyell Canyon like? Is the river flooding the trail?
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