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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Little Lakes Valley, Rock Creek 5/19/12

Postby 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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Postby 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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Postby 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?
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Miter Basin, Mt. Langley

Postby 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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Postby exodus » Wed May 23, 2012 12:28 pm

Hey Flux,

Were the other lakes up to Chickenfoot ice-free?

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Postby ceragold5150 » Thu May 24, 2012 8:10 pm

Kathy, thanks for the beautiful photos. Wow. Ceragold
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White Wolf - Tuolumne Meadows 5/22 - 5/25

Postby 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.
Tuolumne Meadows
LeConte Falls.jpg
LeConte Falls
Doyle W. Donehoo
Sierra Trails:
http://www.doylewdonehoo.com" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;
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North Dome 5/26 - 5/28

Postby 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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Kibbie Ridge/Eleanor/Hetch Hetchy

Postby AlmostThere » Mon May 28, 2012 7:18 pm

Route taken: From Shingle Springs TH into the park, up to Kibbie Lake, down to Eleanor Lake, dayhike over to an overlook of Hetch Hetchy, back to trailhead.

Difficult section encountered: There are deadfalls but none that are impossible to work around or over.

Special equipment needed/used: None

Fish caught: rainbows out of Eleanor, one silver phase.

Permits checked: wilderness and fishing.

Bears sited: none, but there is a warning for White 90 (at Eleanor) who steals empty backpacks and sneaks up on unattended food.

Weather: snow was 1-2 inches deep on the trail around Kibbie but was slushy and melting even while more was lightly falling on Saturday.
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5/20-5/27 High Sierra Trail (Crescent Meadows to Mt. Whitney

Postby connorpjack » Mon May 28, 2012 10:37 pm

Route taken: High Sierra Trail

Difficult section encountered: Kaweah Gap on May 22nd, ~1 ft. snow above lower Precipice Lake, ~2 ft. above upper Precipice Lake. Snowshoes needed if you don't want to scramble the rocky bits.

JMT on Whitney is clear except for some icy patches. Microspikes recommended.

Special equipment needed/used: Snowshoes needed, Kahtoola Microspikes used

Possible alternative routes: Scramble the scree west of the trail. Pretty gnarly though.

Photos: http://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set= ... 3174594591
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Wolverton - Tablelands 5/26 - 5/28

Postby norcalhiker » Tue May 29, 2012 7:31 am

May 26th-28th

Route taken:

Wolverton to Tablelands in Sequoia NP via Pear Lake. Got up to the Kings-Kaweah Divide. Attempted to cross country to Elizabeth Pass trail but clouds came in and I couldn't find the route in ~30ft visibility. Retreated the way I came.

Difficult section encountered:

None. Snow was rare on the trail to Pear Lake (not a problem). Cross country up to the Tablelands was virtually snow free (shaded aspects still had snow but were easy to avoid). Upper Tablelands and the divide is about 60% well consolidated snow with no postholing.

Fresh snow fell on Friday-Saturday (6 inches). I set trail in it to Pear Lake. It was all melted by late Sunday.

Special equipment needed/used:

None. I brought crampons and ice axe for the traverse. Didn't use them.

Possible alternative routes:

None needed.
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Tioga Rd - Upper Cathedral Lake May 26-27

Postby juscro » Tue May 29, 2012 10:44 am

Route Taken: Standard trail up to upper cathedral lake

Light flurries and 4-6 inches of fresh snow on trail saturday afternoon. Upper cathedral 2/3 frozen. Dipped into the high teens through the night. Weather resulted in having the entire lake to myself on the saturday of a holiday weekend. Same light snow coverage up and over saddle down budd creek drainage with a few drifts encountered.
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