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

Postby 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.



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

Postby 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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Cottonwood Pass to Soldier Lake June 12-14

Postby 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

Postby 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


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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Gem Lake overnighter-- 6/16-17

Postby no2haven » Sun Jun 17, 2012 9:14 pm

Route taken: Crabtree Meadows -> Piute Meadows -> Groundhog Meadows (yes, we missed the trail to Piute Lake in the granite) -> Gem Lake. Return via Piute Lake with a side trip to Bear Lake.

Difficult section encountered: None if you discount the mosquitoes. W. Cherry Creek ford was a rock-hop at the junction with Buck Meadow Creek, and a knee-deep ford in slow water at Piute Lake. All other creek crossings were rock-hops.

Special equipment needed/used: None.

Other tips: Bring headnets and mosquito-proof clothing - mosquitoes are in full force and DEET wasn't quite enough to keep them at bay.
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Lamarck Col, Muir Pass 6/16 - 6/18

Postby quentinc » Tue Jun 19, 2012 1:26 am

Route taken: North Lake, Lamarck Col, Evolution Basin, Muir Pass and back.

Difficult section encountered: A lot of post-holing near the top of Lamarck Col. Problem was going over late in the day both times; probably easier earlier in the day. Little snow encountered anywhere else. No snow on top of Muir Pass, and only a few patches looking down on the south side.

Special equipment needed/used: Poles & gaiters on Lamarck. Snow is soft, so nothing more is needed.

Mosquitoes are out in force in the Lamarck Lakes area.
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Green Lakes overnighter, Hoover Wilderness

Postby wildhiker » Mon Jun 25, 2012 11:17 pm

Route taken: Green Creek trailhead to camp at East Lake, then dayhike up to Summit Lake.

Difficult section encountered: None. Had to wade one stream crossing above East Lake - the rest were rock-hops. No snow except patches on north faces of the highest peaks. Trail dry and in excellent condition. Gale force winds drove us out after one night of planned 3 nights, but at least they knocked the mosquitoes down. It was quite a sight to see the 1 to 2 foot high wind-driven waves crash on the shore of East Lake. Bigger wind gusts drove a curtain of spray across the lake and onto the shore. Here's a photo of the waves on East Lake just after sunrise when winds were moderating from their nighttime howl.

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East Lake, Hoover Wilderness
P1040480.jpg (25.27 KiB) Viewed 600 times


-Phil
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Pants Pass, Lion Rock Pass, Horn Col 6/22-23

Postby RoguePhotonic » Tue Jun 26, 2012 1:25 pm

Its too hard to format it right on this moble device so i will keep it simple.

Pants Pass June 22. 70% snow on east side. None on west.

Lion Rock Pass 1 70% snow on north side. None on south.

Lion Rock Pass 2 95% snow on north side. None on south. Both 1 and 2 on the 22nd.

Lion Lake Pass. June 23. No snow pn south side. 80% on north.

Cloud Canyon head wall June 23. 70% snow. Horrible post holing!

Deadman Canyon head wall. June 23. 30% snow on east side. West side including
Elizabeth Pass trail is free of snow.

Horn Col June 23. No snow on either side of pass.

Tablelands are free of all snow.
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Scimitar-Cirque-Jigsaw Pass 6/18-6/21

Postby vhsvhs » Thu Jun 28, 2012 1:58 pm

Scimitar Pass (Big Pine Creek south fork). June 18th. The route is snow-free on both east and west sides.

Cirque Pass. June 18th. The route is snow-free on both east and west sides.

Jigsaw Pass (Big Pine Creek north fork). June 21st. The route is 95% snow-free on both east and west sides. There are a couple small snow patches on the east side. These patches can be avoided, or can be used for glissading.
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Re: 2012 BACKCOUNTRY CONDITIONS REPORTS

Postby cgundersen » Thu Jun 28, 2012 2:15 pm

vhsvhs,
if you have time to post a trip report, it'd be great to hear about that route, and/or see photos!
cg
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Granite Park - Italy Pass, July 3

Postby no2haven » Sat Jul 07, 2012 10:25 pm

Italy Pass: Snow free. From Granite Park: (Extremely) well-ducked route is in the granite on the left (as you ascend) above the grassy area, although you really can't go wrong as you approach the headwall. Ducked route up class 1-2 ledges on the headwall starts all the way to the left. Route is snow-free visually to Jumble Lake. Did not descend to Jumble.

Dancing Bear Pass: Two large snow patches will need to be crossed when traversing from Italy Pass. Didn't look bad. There is water in the tarn at the pass, no snow on the north side.

Granite Bear Pass: Solid snow coverage over top third of the east side of the pass, from one side to the other.

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Dancing Bear Pass from the north, 7/2/12

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Italy Pass from the east, 7/2/12

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Granite Bear Pass from the east, 7/2/12
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Edison Lake July 15

Postby AlmostThere » Sun Jul 15, 2012 5:07 pm

Just got back from a weekend at Edison Lake.

Tho this is not the usual format, I thought it was worth posting because it has an impact on so many. The ferry is not likely to be running beyond next week. SoCal Edison is releasing water at a rate of 18" per day and the lake was so low that the fishing was crappy and kayaking around the dam end of the lake we could see the bottom and were navigating around sand bars. We had to put in at the boat ramp instead of from the loop at the end of the campground, because portaging kayaks across mud and silt is no fun.

There was a miserable small amount of water flowing in - sad, dry year. :(

The ferry at Florence has a better chance of continuing as it is a deeper lake.

Hardly any mosquitos, and the trail crews were busy - they cleared along the lake trail and up to Devil's Bathtub. We saw them cutting trees on the way back from the Bathtub.
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