2012 BACKCOUNTRY CONDITIONS REPORTS | High Sierra Topix  

2012 BACKCOUNTRY CONDITIONS REPORTS

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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2012 BACKCOUNTRY CONDITIONS REPORTS

Postby maverick » Fri Apr 20, 2012 1:27 pm

This is not a place to post trip reports, but a place for members to
post current conditions experienced in the backcountry on recent trips.
Posting photo's of these difficult sections encountered is encouraged.
This will give other members considering visiting, or traveling, through
the same location a heads up on difficult sections, so they can plan/prepare
accordingly.
This is a quick reference for members, with up to date information saving
time from having to look through numerous trip reports to gather pertinent
information for an upcoming trip.
Just paste the form below, and fill out the info.


In the "Subject" section post the area you visited, include the date.



Route taken:



Difficult section encountered:



Special equipment needed/used:



Possible alternative routes:


SAMPLE:

Subject: Rae Lakes-Lake Reflection-Sphinx Lakes 7/12/12 to 7/18/12

Route: Roads End-Upper Paradise Valley-Rae Lakes-Glen Pass-Junction Meadow-Lake
Reflection-Longley Pass-Cinder Col-Sphinx Col-Sphinx Lakes-Roads End

Difficult section encountered on this trip:
- Lost of snow on northern side of Glen Pass icy in the morning hours.
- Bubbs Creek crossing very difficult, found the best crossing point 400 yards west
of the usual low water crossing section.
- Big cornice encountered on Longley Pass, which was bypass by climbing rocky
section north of the pass (class 3).

Special equipment needed/used:
- Ice Axe
- Crampons
- Trekking Poles

Possible alternative routes:
- When crossing Bubb's, I notice a section about 100 yards further west that looked
much easier.
- Should have bypassed the cornice on the southern side, route looked barely class 2.
HST= Wilderness Adventurer who knows no bounds, except for their own imagination.

Have a safer backcountry experience by using the HST ReConn Form 2.0, named after Larry Conn, a HST member: http://reconn.org



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Panorama Trail - Pohono Trail 4/23-24

Postby Wandering Daisy » Tue Apr 24, 2012 8:56 pm

April 23-24
Route: Panorama Trail to Glacier Point, hike up Sentinal Dome, plan was to continue down Pohono Trail to Wawona Tunnel- turned back at Taft Point TH.

Difficulties: soft snow and post-hole between Glacier Point Road and the rim. Hit it 3-4PM and it was very soft- very slow. Part of the reason for turning back is that I was tired, and post-holing to Bridalveil Creek (first legal camping spot) would have been too much with too much uncertainty too late in the day. The snow was last weeks new snow on top of a little bit of old snow.
Equipment needed: probably should still consider snowshoes on north facing slopes.

Alternate Route: Stay on south facing slopes. It looked amost clear all the way to the top of Clouds Rest. Very little snow on the Merced drainage up to Bunnell Point. Another difficulty to my plan was that I had counted on Glacier Point Road being closed. When it opens, camping along the route is very restricted. Had I been able to legally camp on Taft Point, I probably would have continued.

Although Glacier Point Road is open, the rangers do not recommend parking a car up there overnight, because if they get new snow, they will close the road.

As of 4/23 -- John Muir Trail above the junction that goes back down to Emerald Pool is closed. I however did go up it (because the ranger who gave me my permit said it was open). It is passable, with the icy section having a 10-inch slot next to the rock wall so that you can get by it.

Four Mile Trail - closed. I talked to a fellow who went up it anyway, and he said the large snowfield is still there and so it is a fall-you die situation. If you take ice axe (or crampons) and know snow travel you should be OK. Rumor has it, that it is to open tomorrow.

Storm coming in tomorrow. It is forecast to have snow down to 6,000 feet by Thursday. They say not large amounts. Current conditions may change tomorrow!

Panorma Trail totally snow free. Looked like trial to Half Dome shoulder also dry.

Conditions are changing rapidly. DO NOT count on anything a ranger tells you. Trails that they say are open are closed; trails that they say are closed are open.
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Birch Lake 4.28-4.29.12

Postby KathyW » Mon Apr 30, 2012 9:09 am

Birch Lake Trail to Birch Lake.

Only a couple patches of easy to cross snow between the trailhead at 6500' and Birch Lake at 10800'. No equipment required to get to the lake and I camped on dry ground at Birch Lake

Difficult section encountered: The trail officially ends before the lake, but stay high and you will find a use trail and/or ducked route to follow much of the way to the lake. Snow conditions are crappy above the lake - I tried to go up to "The Thumb", but gave up before getting very high up because it was taking too long picking through the mixed conditions including icy/wet slabs, loose rocks, and patchy snow.

Special equipment needed/used: None to get to Birch Lake, but you'll want an axe and crampons to go higher, but at the same time it would be hard to stay on snow above he lake because it's so patchy.

Some pics (I haven't sorted through these yet): http://kathywing.smugmug.com/California ... &k=dmL5sWf

It seems to be a crappy year for early season snow climbs, but it should be a nice long summer season; so there's not too much to complain about. Carrying that heavy pack after a winter of day hiking sure is interesting.
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Re: 2012 BACKCOUNTRY CONDITIONS REPORTS

Postby richlong8 » Mon May 07, 2012 3:22 pm

Thanks Kathy. Was the lake free of snow and ice yet?

Whoops! The excellent photos show the lake is not iced out yet....I posted the ? too quickly.
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Re: 2012 BACKCOUNTRY CONDITIONS REPORTS

Postby KathyW » Wed May 09, 2012 6:30 am

A lot more of that ice has probably melted by now. The lake was melted at the outlet and there are some nice campsites in that area; so getting water from the lake was not a problem.
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Laurel Lake, Yosemite NP (Hetch Hetchy region) May 5-6

Postby AlmostThere » Wed May 09, 2012 7:13 am

Route taken: from the Dam to Beehive to Laurel Lake (originally headed for Vernon, a companion's gimpy hip motivated slight deviation that would help us avoid making him climb a lot the second day)

Difficult section encountered: downed trees on trails around Laurel. There were a few patches of snow around Beehive. Wasn't a ton of water - creeks were a little high but not raging. Plenty of stable log crossings. No mosquitos yet! but there will be soon, standing water all around in tree wells and the night temp was not horribly cold.

Special equipment needed/used: none

Possible alternative routes: we went cross country from Laurel down to a trail junction on an easier grade out of respect for gimpy. The worst of it was maneuvering through buckthorn.

Fish weren't biting at Laurel! :(
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Re: 2012 BACKCOUNTRY CONDITIONS REPORTS

Postby oldranger » Thu May 10, 2012 5:51 am

AlmostThere

we went cross country from Laurel down to a trail junction on an easier grade out of respect for gimpy. The worst of it was maneuvering through buckthorn.


Did that last year! Worked but a little nasty!

Mike
Mike

Who can't do everything he used to and what he can do takes a hell of a lot longer!
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Taboose Pass Trail - and then over to Striped Mtn 5.11-5.12

Postby KathyW » Sun May 13, 2012 8:57 am

Route taken: Taboose Pass Trail up to Taboose Pass and then over to Striped Mountain

I backpacked up to Taboose Pass and then did the hike/scramble up to Striped Mountain this week. I don't have a long history with trips to the Sierra, but in the 12 years I've been heading up there this is the least amount of snow I've seen this time of year (at least south of Big Pine). There were a few patches of snow up near Taboose Pass, but nothing that wasn't easy to cross. I never used my crampons the whole trip. On some of the snow up near Striped I used the ice axe a couple of times, but never felt the need for crampons. Also, the creek crossings were easy - I didn't even have to take my boots off to cross.

Some photos showing conditions: http://kathywing.smugmug.com/California ... &k=vNGMVxm
Last edited by KathyW on Tue May 29, 2012 5:03 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: 2012 BACKCOUNTRY CONDITIONS REPORTS

Postby richlong8 » Sun May 13, 2012 9:40 am

Your trips never cease to amaze me! I just bought an Olympus EP-3. I hope I have better luck.
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2012 BACKCOUNTRY CONDITIONS REPORTS

Postby Bluewater » Mon May 14, 2012 5:37 pm

Beautiful photos and great views! Thank you for posting your album.
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Re: 2012 BACKCOUNTRY CONDITIONS REPORTS

Postby KathyW » Tue May 15, 2012 6:34 am

richlong8 wrote:Your trips never cease to amaze me! I just bought an Olympus EP-3. I hope I have better luck.


I picked up that XZ-1 cheap on Ebay - it was used and refurbished (at least it was supposed to be refurbished); so I doubt you'll have the same problems with a new Olympus camera. I've been through a number of Olympus Cameras and never had to send one in for repairs before. I have on of those E-PL1's that came out a few years ago - I might play with that one again for a while, but your EP-3 is a lot nicer camera than the older E-PL1 I have. I never buy any of the real expensive cameras, but it seems like I buy a lot of cameras. I really like the XZ-1; so I hope they fix it for free or at least for less than it would cost to buy a new one - I didn't get any warranty info with it; so I have a feeling I'll be getting charged for the repairs.
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Kaiser Wilderness May 13

Postby AlmostThere » Tue May 15, 2012 7:48 am

Route taken: road to Kaiser Pass to Sample Meadow, trail to Round Meadow.

Difficult section encountered: trees in the road to Sample, trees across trail here and there

Special equipment needed/used: none

Possible alternative routes: Kaiser Wilderness is a small place, you could easily hike around it in a day on the loop trail. There are lots of trails crisscrossing it.

The pass is open and drivable, someone needs to get a chainsaw out the forest service roads still. (we were in jeeps and on a search, so we drove around.) There is deep-ish snow along the sides of the road and lower down there's scattered and melting patches here and there. Trails are boggy in places due to this. Potter Pass still has snow coverage with postholing of about a foot. Trails are not flagged, be a good navigator if you go in the next week or so, snow should be gone quickly.

We were there on a search for a lost backpacker who due to inexperience and slowness got separated from his more experienced companion. He did exactly what he was supposed to - camped and waited - and we found him easily. So my total time on this outing was hours, not days, and we experienced many easy log crossings across swollen creeks at night.
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