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Trail conditions? - Ediza Lake to Minaret lake

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Trail conditions? - Ediza Lake to Minaret lake

Postby BruceB » Fri Sep 02, 2011 9:05 pm

I'm hoping to do the loop trail from Reds Meadow via Ediza lake and Minaret lake in mid-September. Can anyone tell me what the conditions are passing Iceberg and Cecile lakes. Specifically, has the snow cleared enough to not worry about ice axe/crampons?

I've not done this loop before. Any recommendations on which way is best way to go - clockwise or counter clockwise?

Thanks.



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Re: Trail conditions? - Ediza Lake to Minaret lake

Postby Immelman » Mon Sep 05, 2011 4:49 pm

Hi,

I did this trip a couple of years ago and it was fantastic. We went counter clockwise, and ended up traversing around the western shore of cecile lake below the minarets. However, I also regard it as a mistake I made as we went across the (small) snowfield on the SE shore of iceberg w/o crampons or ice axe; I do not have mountaineering experience. It was one of those retrospective things... if someone had fallen....

With that said that was two years ago, and the snow field was small. I have not hiked it since then. I was going over the sierra today after seeing your post and snapped this (poor) camera phone photo for you. There is a pretty good sized snow field around iceberg leading to the incline up to cecile. Cecile looked to be clear; I think in the photo the snow there is a reflection. With the runout being ice/snow bridged over the edge of iceberg lake I would not want to do that w/o the appropriate gear and training to self-arrest.
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Re: Trail conditions? - Ediza Lake to Minaret lake

Postby ManOfTooManySports » Mon Sep 05, 2011 11:37 pm

We did this trip September 2006. There's a discussion and photos of the route on this thread: viewtopic.php?f=1&t=6644

Looking at the awesome areal photo, I would definitely bring an ice ax for the Iceberg Lake traverse. But I would not let needing that protection deter me from taking the trip.

The other thing is to know that there is a use trail that drops into Minaret Lake from Cecile Lake that avoids the class 3 section from the Sierra High Route. Of course, I don't know how to find that use trail, since we didn't discover it until after doing that class 3 section....
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Re: Trail conditions? - Ediza Lake to Minaret lake

Postby Flux » Tue Sep 06, 2011 9:31 am

Here's two photos from my buddies (mlca) dayhike up Ritter a week ago 8/29.

Definitely take an axe minimum and you may want to be doing this later in the afternoon so the snow is soft. It looks like the entire slope above iceburg is snow with no way around it. As far as the different routes down from Cecile to Minaret, the class 3 is on the left side of the lake (when facing toward Minaret) and the class 2 is on the right. We went the class 3 and almost missed it until I kind of haphazardly saw a cairn. It looks like it's a cliff, but it's some ledges that let you down. It's on the extreme left hand side of the shelf at the outlet down to Minaret.

Image

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Re: Trail conditions? - Ediza Lake to Minaret lake

Postby mikeymike » Tue Sep 06, 2011 5:54 pm

hey

my friend and I just did this hike in the opposite direction- starting at AM, to 1000 Island Lake, then to Ediza, Iceberg, over to Cecile and Minaret, then out of Reds. (8/28-8/30) Trip report to come.

There's still A LOT of snow above Iceberg. We crossed at around 4pm, right when the sun was shining on the field. We did it with trekking poles and kicking big steps into the slush, but doing it with the proper equipment is a much better idea. (We did it slowly- took us about an hour- one other group zipped by us in the opposite direction.) There were plenty of people crossing the snow field that day- it'll be easy to see old tracks.

Around Cecile- still lots of snow on the West Bank, and other small fields on the way to/from Minaret- but those can be bypassed by choosing alternate routes (unlike the massive field above Iceberg).

We took a photo of the couple that just finished crossing as we got there- the one attached only shows about half of the field, to give you an idea. good luck.
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Re: Trail conditions? - Ediza Lake to Minaret lake

Postby mpeters » Wed Sep 07, 2011 10:48 pm

_MG_3577.jpg
Iceburg Lake snow traverse from Cecile outlet, 9-1-11


Mikeymike has it right -- we crossed the snow traverse at Iceburg on 9/1 around 1:00 pm. Hiking poles were helpful and i'd consider them minimum equipment, even with the soft snow. Just go slow and there will likely be some good steps to follow.

No issues with the two small snow traverses above Cecile as they weren't very long and the snow was soft.

We were hiking from Minaret north and there was a bit of a use trail at the inlet end of Minaret that made that passage rather simple, just some loose rocks to battle but nothing approaching class 3(IMO).
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Re: Trail conditions? - Ediza Lake to Minaret lake

Postby BruceB » Thu Sep 29, 2011 6:49 pm

Thanks for all the advice and photos.

We hiked this loop 9/21-23, incredibly stunning and beautiful.

We travelled counter clockwise. The snow field between Iceberg and Cecile lakes is just a traverse now, all the ascending is on scree/rock. However, the trail in the snow is very light, no real steps, just pounded flat spots. A slide would take you straight into the lake with a very difficult recovery. We used crampons and crossed at 10:30am. It took crampons very well, like a walk in the park. I'm glad we had them as it made the traverse a no brainer. A better option than ice axes I think.

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There's just smallish snow patches around Cecil, easy to avoid.

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There was some discussion in earlier posts about the 2nd class decent, and where is was. We found it quite by accident. There is a very small lake (pond) over a small ridge on the SE edge of Cecil Lake. On the SW side of this small lake is another small ridge. This is where the 2nd class route descends. It's an easy trail, just a little loose here and there with scree/sand. It's also worth going to this small lake and scrambling out along the exit stream (south side) to a nice rock slab with stunning views of Minaret Lake below and the Sierras stretching way to the South.

Bruce
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Re: Trail conditions? - Ediza Lake to Minaret lake

Postby cgundersen » Fri Sep 30, 2011 9:20 am

Bruce,
Dynamite shots of one of the great loops in the Sierra; looks like there will be plenty of residual snow to contribute to this winter's accumulation!
cg
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Re: Trail conditions? - Ediza Lake to Minaret lake

Postby quarter_doc » Mon Jun 30, 2014 1:53 pm

Anyone done this more recently than 2011?

I'm looking to do an Ediza and Minaret lakes loop at the middle/end of July (2014) and would love to know if I'll actually need crampons (since I don't currently own any!) :)

Thanks!
~MP
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Re: Trail conditions? - Ediza Lake to Minaret lake

Postby BigMan » Mon Jun 30, 2014 5:49 pm

Here's Iceberg Lake on June 17, 2014
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Iceberg Lake June 17.jpg
In wilderness lies the hope of the world.
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Re: Trail conditions? - Ediza Lake to Minaret lake

Postby balance » Tue Jul 01, 2014 1:28 am

in 1991 I went Agnew Meadows to Ediza Lake, camped. To Iceberg Lake then Cecile Lake (a very refreshing swim), camped. Then to Minaret Lake and back to the trailhead. Don't know if you'll need crampons, but you'll want to have footwear with good tread. The last 70 feet up to Cecile Lake was pretty steep, hardpacked dirt. Not really climbing, but a slip would have consequences.

Holy smokes. Looking at my log book, was it really that long ago? :nod:

Peace.
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Re: Trail conditions? - Ediza Lake to Minaret lake

Postby balance » Tue Jul 01, 2014 10:51 am

quarter_doc please note:

If you don't have crampons, that would seem to indicate you don't have experience using crampons. If you were to buy crampons, would you then just go out and use them with the price tag still hanging on them? Or would you learn and practice on snow at a recreational area first?

Perhaps even more important: Do you have an ice ax? Have you practiced self arrest? Using crampons without an ice ax is like peanut butter without jelly. You could get in a sticky situation. Well, not exactly. You could get hurt real bad or die. You do not want to get your first practice off-trail in unfamiliar conditions, with rocks or a freezing lake as a possible destination. Although this is a low snow year, being determined to go off trail unprepared at a certain time and place sounds like a recipe for disaster.

Please note: I'm not assuming anything, but asking questions based on the limited amount of information contained in your inquiry. From the implications of your question, I would guess you are not Ed Viesturs.

I'm sure you'll find a suitable trip and have a great time in the Sierra this July. Have you considered the HST meet-up at Wallace Lake? It fits your schedule.

Peace.
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