2012 BACKCOUNTRY CONDITIONS REPORTS

Questions and reports 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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KathyW
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Re: 2012 BACKCOUNTRY CONDITIONS REPORTS

Post by 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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AlmostThere
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Kaiser Wilderness May 13

Post by 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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Flux
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Little Lakes Valley, Rock Creek 5/19/12

Post by Flux » Mon May 21, 2012 10:23 am

Route taken: Mosquito Flats to Chickenfoot Lake (10,700)

Difficult section encountered: None, no snow up to Chickenfoot

Special equipment needed/used: None

Hiked the standard trail up to Chickenfoot and all was snow free. Snow level was right above there at about 11k with some aspects snow free. Chickenfoot was 75% iced. Just an FYI and a gauge for those looking to head into the area. The Hourglass was still snow with the exception of a small section at the top. I imagine the Gems, Treasures, and Dade lake are still iced.

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richlong8
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Re: 2012 BACKCOUNTRY CONDITIONS REPORTS

Post by richlong8 » Mon May 21, 2012 3:27 pm

Rowell Meadow to Lost Lake, Ranger Lake, Seville, etc; Patches of snow/ drifts, from 8000 foot and and higher-no big deal. Snow line is probably 9500-10000 feet. All lakes ice-free, accessible, and all creeks easy fords.

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cgundersen
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Re: 2012 BACKCOUNTRY CONDITIONS REPORTS

Post by cgundersen » Mon May 21, 2012 4:17 pm

Hi Kathy,
Great shots of the Taboose/Striped Mtn, but one question: your post says 4-11-4/12 and your gallery is dated May. I'm presuming it was May, since you had the Birch Lake report from late April. Correct?
Thanks,
cg

quentinc
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Miter Basin, Mt. Langley

Post by quentinc » Tue May 22, 2012 8:17 pm

Route taken: Cottonwood Pass to Sky Blue Lake (day 1). Day hikes up to Crabtree and McAdie Passes (day 2). Mt. Langley (day 3), back over Cottonwood (day 4). (10,700)

Difficult section encountered: None -- the snow melt is almost 2 months ahead of last year! There is snow above SBL, although nothing major. There's a very small patch of snow at Cottonwood Pass.

Special equipment needed/used: None

It's like mid-July, except that SBL is still iced over. Below SBL, Miter Basin is dry like September conditions. A couple told me that NAP was very doable.

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exodus
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Re: 2012 BACKCOUNTRY CONDITIONS REPORTS

Post by exodus » Wed May 23, 2012 12:28 pm

Hey Flux,

Were the other lakes up to Chickenfoot ice-free?

Thanks,
Brian

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ceragold5150
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Re: 2012 BACKCOUNTRY CONDITIONS REPORTS

Post by ceragold5150 » Thu May 24, 2012 8:10 pm

Kathy, thanks for the beautiful photos. Wow. Ceragold

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DoyleWDonehoo
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White Wolf - Tuolumne Meadows 5/22 - 5/25

Post by DoyleWDonehoo » Sun May 27, 2012 3:12 pm

Well, I fear that any report I could give would be rendered obsolete by last Friday's weather. In any case...
I had planned to go from White Wolf (closed) May 22 to Tuolumne Meadows (three nights) to May 25, up the Grand Canyon of the Tuolumne River with my noob friend. As it turned out, we got a very late start. Two points of interest:
1) The main trail that starts down into the canyon (north of White Wolf): We had gone no further than one set of switchbacks when we ran into one of the most horrific dead-fall blockages I have ever seen. A group of massive huge trees were across the trail and as far up and down the slope as far as I could see. I spent about an hour exhausting myself (without a pack) trying to find a way around it. I found that if I went very high and traversed a steep slope, I could bypass it. No go. I did find the very faint rim connector trail that takes you to the eastern spur down into the canyon, but by that time I figured it was too late to attempt getting to the bottom of the canyon with a tired and slow noob and the possibility of further blockages. Just no time. So we stayed at Harden Lake for the night. The lake was fairly full, there were a few 'skeeters, and it was cold and windy. We just barely had time to set up and eat before nightfall.
2) The park has been busy removing the old road to Harden Lake, and the new trail adds a bit more uphill on its way to Harden Lake.

SO the next day we quickly got a ride to Tuolumne Meadows, got a new permit and hiked to McGee Lake for a two night stay and a tour of all of the major Tuolumne River falls, which were after all the purpose of the trip.
I got some satisfaction letting a few groups heading down river know about about the dead-fall blockage (When you get to the junction coming out of Pate Valley and the canyon, TAKE THE LEFT TURN AT THE JUNCTION!!).
Friday started out very cold (39 degrees by the time I left camp), got cloudy, and just as we got back to the TH it was snowing in earnest. And by the time we got to the pizza deck in the Valley, it was snowing a bit there too. An interesting trip.
So, in short, a few mosquitoes in the swampy areas, which were probably slammed by the recent snow (which probably will be gone in a day or two), not much snow to speak of below 9000 feet, but plenty above on the north slopes. See the pictures below.
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tim
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North Dome 5/26 - 5/28

Post by tim » Mon May 28, 2012 6:21 pm

Just got back from our trip to North Dome (out Sat, back Mon) with my youngest son and his friend (6 and 8 respectively). Very snowy on Saturday (4-6 inches on the ground at 8000ft) and we were one of the few going out there because the Tioga Rd was closed until 1pm. But it melted off quickly on Sunday and we had two great days. Now there's almost none left below 9000-10000 ft or so. Of course no bugs either.

Will post a full trip report with photos later.

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