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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connorpjack
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Re: 2012 BACKCOUNTRY CONDITIONS REPORTS

Post by connorpjack » Fri Jun 01, 2012 1:33 pm

cgundersen wrote:connorp & quentin,
Connor:Thanks for the photos; they're the best indication yet of conditions up there and you apparently got out just in time to miss the late snow that Q got! Bet the hot springs were welcome!
Quentin: Any bugs or did the snow force 'em to break out the heavy clothing?
cg
Nope... snow got us haha. Which was quite a bummer. Bit more info here: http://www.whitneyzone.com/wz/ubbthread ... #Post24572" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;








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oldranger
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Sorthern Yosemite Loop 5/22 - 6/1

Post by oldranger » Fri Jun 01, 2012 7:44 pm

Southern Yosemite- Chiquito TH to Buena Vista Lake, Hoover Lake, over Buena Vista Crest down to Morain Meadows up to Breeze Lake, across to Chain Lakes, out to Chiquito TH today. A few trees down, creek and river crossings easy, most snow was in thick forest on n. slope between moraine Meadow and Breeze. Still easy to follow the trail. No apparent snow on w. side of Fernadez pass. May 22-June 1 good weather except for a bit of snow on Friday and Saturday of Memorial Day weekend.

TR to come.

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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landESCAPE
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Bishop Pass - Dusy Basin | 6.01.2012-6.03.2012

Post by landESCAPE » Tue Jun 05, 2012 6:23 pm

Route taken:
South Lake --> Bishop Pass --> summit of Mt. Agassiz --> upper and lower Dusy Basin --> South Lake



Difficult section encountered:
Almost no snow at all. And this pass is nearly 12000' and north facing!
There were just a few small snow patches along the trail, none of which were over ~100 feet long. Only one small patch was on the actual switchbacks to the pass, and there were some footprints in it but it was also easily avoidable. A few snow patches on Agassiz made the basic class 2 east face route a little trickier...I had to make a few class 3 moves to get around them...but it still wasn't too bad. (Climbing down in the dark, on the other hand, was a little more interesting...)
I could see Muir Pass from Dusy Basin and there was still a significant amount of snow left on it, though it looked passable. I was several miles away though so don't quote me, though ;)
Bishop and Saddlerock Lakes had a little floating ice in them on June 1, but it was all gone two days later. Dusy lakes still had some (see attached photo) but it was melting fast and will probably be gone in a week.


Special equipment needed/used:
None. I brought microspikes but all they did was help balance the pack.
I did use trekking poles, but I always use trekking poles...so no problem. :)


Possible alternative routes:
Pretty much anything...it's all open!
Thunderbolt Pass, Knapsack Pass...all looked clear.
Perfect time to be out there...hurry before the mosquitoes come and get you!
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Xosob
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Cirque Peak 6/6/12

Post by Xosob » Wed Jun 06, 2012 6:02 pm

Route taken: Horseshoe Meadows - Cottonwood Pass - SW slope of Cirque Peak - Cottonwood Pass - Horseshoe Meadows

Difficult section encountered: None other than tediousness of sand, which might be a result of going from sea level to summit in ~30 hrs

Special equipment needed/used: None (no trekking poles brought) -- weather was warmer than predicted by NWS, barely a breeze, no insects at all throughout route

Possible alternative routes: None considered

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Talimon
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Cottonwood Pass, Miter Basin, New Army Pass, 6/4 - 6/8

Post by Talimon » Sat Jun 09, 2012 3:44 pm

Route taken: Cottonwood Pass - Soldier lake - Miter Basin (Sky Blue lake) - New Army pass

Difficult section encountered: East side of New Army pass has some snow pack, was about knee-high. A good passage way has been made, however. Seems to be covering the last switchback, and a small portion of the second to last one.

Special equipment needed/used: None. Between the passageway already carved and a little scrambling on surrounding boulders it is easy enough to pass. Only difficulty might be locating the way if coming from the west side, as the snow is covering the trail.

Possible alternative routes: Old army if needed, but really not necessary. I imagine it will be almost fully melted within a week.

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Wandering Daisy
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Lunden-GCT-Ten Lakes Yosemite 6/5-6/9

Post by Wandering Daisy » Sun Jun 10, 2012 9:29 am

Route Taken: Lukens Lake TH- Pate Valley- Grand Canyon Tuolumne - Glen Aulin- Ten Lakes- x-c through Ten Lakes - Grant Lake - x-c to Halfmoon Meadow - Yosemite Creek- over pass to Tuolumne draiange - out Lukens Lake. June 5-9

Conditions: delayed 1.5 hours on Tuesday because Tigoa Road was closed due to snow! Started 11:30, about an inch of new snow covered everthing, cold (wore jacket for most of day). Thankfully cool in the canyon. Trail from Lukens Lake avoids the downed trees on the main trail below Harden Lake. Lots of water- all small drainages with flow - this is probably temporary due to recent snow. Major streams are really low. Judged on a Memorial Day trip 2003 at peak runoff, the river is down about 5 feet. Two stream crossings only ankle deep. "Swamp" below Glen Aulin only mix of mud and ankle deep water, but still had to get wet (in 2003 it was crotch deep). Little snow left after the recent snow melted. Trail that goes to Ten Lakes from Tenaya Lake was snow free - one or two small patches. It actually is a well designed trail - right up to snow banks on north side of Tuolumne Peak, but trail dry! Breezy and cold night of June 8, thin ice on some low lying puddles. Trail from Yosemite Creek back to Lukens Lake had numerous downed trees. White Wolf road closed when I went in, opend on June 9. Essentially NO mosquitoes yet!

Route difficulty and detours: no difficulty - no detours needed. No special equipment needed, however wading shoes were nice. LOTS of elevation gain and loss and trekking poles very useful.

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Xosob
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Rush Creek-1000 Is Lake-Mt.Davis-Donohue Pass/Peak 6/9-6/11

Post by Xosob » Tue Jun 12, 2012 2:48 pm

Route taken: Rush Crk TH - Clark Lks - 1000 Island Lk - N Glacier Pass/Mt Davis - 1000 Island Lk - Donohue Pass - Donohue Pk - Donohue Pass - 1000 Island Lk - Clark ks - Rush Crk TH

Difficult section encountered: Snow on east side of N Glacier Pass & on route to Mt Davis, but soft after 9 AM; snow in patches among talus above 11500' on Donohue that made scrambling more challenging (didn't want to step in soft snow to have it collapse on me)

Special equipment needed/used: Poles & microspikes on snow on route up to N Glacier Pass; microspikes probably not needed, but poles were useful. Poles on snowfields on route up to Mt Davis.

Possible alternative routes
: Scrambled over rocks on route from N Glacier Pass to Mt Davis to avoid drop down to Lk Catherine, but looked possible to go up slope from Lk Catherine to summit of Davis. I probably went too far towards the ridge on the approach to Donohue, thinking that the more southern exposure would reduce snow. Might be better to take standard NW slope up to Donohue.

quentinc
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Glen Pass -- 6/9 - 6/11 (and a tip on the JMT)

Post by quentinc » Tue Jun 12, 2012 5:33 pm

Route taken: Onion Valley, Kearsarge & Glen Passes to Rae Lakes. Arrowhead Col (?) into 60 Lakes Basin to near Gardiner Pass.

Difficult section encountered: None really. There is far less snow on Glen Pass than there was last year the first week of August! There are a few post-holing opportunities if you're not careful. There is virtually no snow in 60 Lakes Basin until you get near Gardiner Pass (or similar elevations).

Special equipment needed/used: Poles on Glen Pass. Microspikes might be helpful if you're crossing early a.m.

Possible alternative routes: None, although if I had an extra half-day I would have climbed Mt. Cotter.

Other tips: Met several JMTers coming south. They said the only other pass with snow was Muir, and it was easily negotiable. There are mosquitos during the day in bright sunshine and none in the morning/evening. :confused:

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Old_Hiker
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Cottonwood Pass to Soldier Lake June 12-14

Post by Old_Hiker » Fri Jun 15, 2012 10:42 am

Just last year I complained about how much snow there was in this area and it was two weeks later! This year the opposite is true. The water level is the lowest I've ever seen in 20 years of backpacking here. There was no water between Chicken Springs Lake and Rock Creek! Even the water in Rock Creek [junction of Soldier Lake trail and Army Pass trail] was shallow enough, one could easily walk over rocks to cross. Weather was great - highs in mid 60's and lows ~ 33.

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Re: 5/20-5/27 High Sierra Trail (Crescent Meadows to Mt. Whitney

Post by mshields » Sat Jun 16, 2012 12:11 am

connorpjack wrote: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" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;
Jack,

Thanks for the post and pictures (good stuff!) I will be doing the same route in a few weeks. Wow! What a difference a year makes in terms of the snowpack.

I am interested in hearing where your favorite camp spots were. Any additional info and/or advice would be much appreciated.

Cheers,

Michael

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