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Crazy weather - a non trip report

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Crazy weather - a non trip report

Postby schmalz » Tue Jul 23, 2013 8:17 pm

There is a big monsoon in the Sierra right now. I headed up the pine creek trail yesterday for my big trip of the year. Weather forecast was iffy but I can't reschedule so I try to remain optimistic. Plus, my noon start time made the overcast weather a blessing. ran into marksor and oldranger on the way up which was very pleassnt. I was at honeymoon lake at 5, and the weather hasn't changed so I continued to my ideal stopping point at granite park. 15 minutes later, torrential hail downpour. No cover anywhere. Callie and I rushed back to honeymoon, and I have to set upturn tent in a downpour or Callie will be in trouble. By the time we are in the tent, the inside of it is soaked, Callie and I are soaked, and my gear is a bit wet too. Definitely some lessons learned there. It rained all night and there was some lightning too. Spending 13 hours in small tent with a wet dog is as fun as it sounds like. In the morning, it was still raining and the sky was overcast. I had to bail to dry gear and do a more reasonable trip with calli. In bishop now and will be trying a different trip tomorrow.



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Crazy weather - a non trip report

Postby schmalz » Tue Jul 23, 2013 8:29 pm

Things are already looking better up there - FYI. The whole crest was getting drenched for a few hours right before sunset, but it cleared a bit, unlike last night.
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Re: Crazy weather - a non trip report

Postby jessegooddog » Tue Jul 23, 2013 9:31 pm

That lightening was blinding last night, couldn't even sit outside to watch it like the night before. So sorry you and Callie were wet all night, that just sounds miserable.
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Re: Crazy weather - a non trip report

Postby The hermit » Tue Jul 23, 2013 9:52 pm

Glad you were able to adapt.
My dog really freaks out w/ thunder so I know how it is.I aways bring a pack towel.also my bag is in a drybag just in case
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Re: Crazy weather - a non trip report

Postby Ballpeen » Wed Jul 24, 2013 9:25 am

I was at Rae Lakes on Monday night and had a similar experience. Heavy rain with an hour or two of lightning and thunder, sometimes just two seconds apart. Glad I didnt have a dog with me.

I managed to stay relatively dry, but it sure wasnt relaxing! I woke to drizzle, and decided to git, thinking I'd stop at kearsarge lakes if things started to improve. They didnt, and I kept on trucking to onion valley, rather than do a repeat on Tues night.

Being relatively new to backpacking, I'm wondering how common these conditions are in the summer in the Sierra. I've been caught in brief downpours before, but this was something else. Is it a common thing folks just deal with, or something they avoid when it is forecasted?
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Re: Crazy weather - a non trip report

Postby markskor » Wed Jul 24, 2013 11:42 am

Typically, June Sierra weather offers blue skies and no rain ...July brings the southern monsoons.

Two types of Sierra storms:
From the north - wind blows in; puffy clouds start building by noon, darker by two, thunderstorms around 4:30, and clear by sunset. These storms are typical anytime and are always welcome.

From the south-east- Usually no wind and storms build up all day, starts early. Rain from this type storm can last overnight. Thunder/ lightening may or may not be present. These are the monsoons and can keep you tent-bound for days...trip busting suckage storms.

Last Monday, Mike woke me up pre-sunrise - somewhere Granite Park. "Red sky in morning...from the south"..."Lets call it a trip and hike out now." So we did.
Pine Creek trail, about 2 miles above the Mine in the Sky (good book about the big tungsten mine in Pine Creek), we spotted a solo hiker and his dog coming up - both sporting heavy packs...hot and muggy day.
As we got close, he greeted us with, "Ah, two well known members from HST." Somehow he recognized us under 15 days of trail dirt...amazing. Spent a few enjoyable minutes with another HST member...Schmalz...on the trail. Cool!
Looked a bit overloaded but so did we two weeks earlier...fun meeting and a great dog too.
Mountainman who swims with trout
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Re: Crazy weather - a non trip report

Postby Ballpeen » Wed Jul 24, 2013 1:11 pm

Marksfor - Thanks for the info. Next time thunderstorms are forecast, I'll be sure to check if they are monsoonal. Its good to be able to make that distinction.
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Re: Crazy weather - a non trip report

Postby Mike M. » Wed Jul 24, 2013 2:23 pm

We ran into really crappy monsoonal weather last year in mid August during our two week hike out of South Lake. On our first day out, it rained hard for six hours beginning in early afternoon. But we were hell bound to continue our hike and did. What followed was 12 days of bleak, dreary, moody weather -- an interesting backdrop for our route through the Ionian Basin. Some mornings we would wake to a blue sky, others not. But by noon it was almost always clouded over. We got rained on a few times, but nothing major until the night of 8/21. I like to sleep out in the open and I avoid putting up my tent if I can. This night, south of Reinstein Pass, the clouds had dissipated and I was sleeping under the stars. But while I was sawing logs, clouds had rolled in and around 2:00 am (technically the morning of the 22nd) the skies lit up and it rained and rained the rest of the night. I was caught without my tent up. I raced to my pack, covered it with a trash bag and stuffed me, my sleeping bag and sleeping pad into my tube tent (which was not set up) and just rode the storm out. The next morning was bright and sunny and everything was dry in an hour or two, including my down bag. By 11:00 the clouds were building up again and the whole dreary cycle was starting again.

This pattern continued until the last two days of our hike, when fine weather returned. Ironically, when we picked our wilderness permit up at the Bishop ranger station, the posted weather report was for improving weather, with mostly sunny conditions for the next 10 days. Weather wise, last summer's trip was the worst I have experienced, but I would do it again in a minute.

I bought a lightweight tent (1 lb 12 oz Easton) to take with me this year!

Mike
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Re: Crazy weather - a non trip report

Postby tim » Wed Jul 24, 2013 9:11 pm

Yes that night of Aug 21/22 last year was pretty spectacular - we were at Tyndall Creek and had several inches of hail with lightning really close by for the best part of an hour (JMT hikers up near Forester Pass had it much worse than us).

What was strange was that there was no sign it was coming - the evening had clearing weather and seemed just like the previous few nights, with no sign of trouble on the horizon. I believe the storm was a front that came in from the west, so it wasn't specifically monsoonal, and that cleared out all the showery weather that there had been in the previous week or so. I'd guess the setup was a bit like what we have now, with a low sitting off the SoCal coast, sucking up the monsoonal moisture from the south, and then when the low center finally moved onshore we got a frontal band of heavy rain.
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Re: Crazy weather - a non trip report

Postby balzaccom » Fri Jul 26, 2013 11:55 am

WE cut our trip short as well this last week...but just headed out sooner. We were going downhill and West, so we missed most of the worst of the storm. Had one thunderstorm hit us in Jack Main Canyon...
Balzaccom

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Re: Crazy weather - a non trip report

Postby schmalz » Sun Jul 28, 2013 8:36 pm

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