No Snow in the Crystal Basin | High Sierra Topix  

No Snow in the Crystal Basin

Discussion about winter adventure sports in the Sierra Nevada mountains including but not limited to; winter backpacking and camping, mountaineering, downhill and cross-country skiing, snowboarding, snowshoeing, etc.
User avatar

No Snow in the Crystal Basin

Postby Vaca Russ » Thu Jan 30, 2014 8:19 am

This year we chose to do our annual visit to the backcountry of the Crystal Basin and were told by the forest service we didn’t need to do our normal winter hike of over 6 miles. “They” said we could drive all the way up to the gate. From there it is only a half mile hike into the bunkhouse. “They” said there was no snow, so we planned on riding our bikes.

Sport and I made it most of the way to the gate in spite of a very icy drive. Good thing we brought the 4 X 4. It turns out a tree had fallen about a mile before the gate. This obstacle required a little more hiking than we had planned…but, that’s what we do.

1 Hike In.JPG


2 Sport In.JPG


Hopefully these next pictures illustrate the difference in snow fall from 2013.

3 Crystal Range 2013.JPG


4 Crystal Range 2014.JPG


5 Flag2013.JPG


6 Flag2014.JPG


7West Meadow.JPG


8 West Meadow 2014.JPG


We enjoyed our evening together by putting together a puzzle. Unfortunately other activities kept us from finishing the puzzle. :wink:

9 Puzzle Start.JPG


10 Flag.JPG


To be continued…
” Auto racing, bull fighting, and mountain climbing are the only real sports … all others are games.”- Ernest Hemingway



User avatar
Vaca Russ
Topix Expert
 
Posts: 661
Joined: Mon Aug 16, 2010 3:12 pm
Location: 1060 West Addison Street, Chicago, Ill
Experience: Level 4 Explorer

User avatar

Re: No Snow in the Crystal Basin

Postby Vaca Russ » Thu Jan 30, 2014 8:25 am

The next morning we hiked out to meet the kids.

11 Departure.JPG


This is the first of three trees blocking access to the gate.

12 Tree Hike.JPG


The boys had a blast hiking in the snow.

13 Snow Hike.JPG


Eventually we made it back to the bunkhouse.

14 Bunkhouse.JPG


The princess elated in her discovery of a tiny house.

15 Princess.JPG


The kids helped us finish the 1000 piece puzzle.

16 Puzzle Finish.JPG


That evening we collected some wood and built a fire in the pit. We then hike about a third of a mile into the darkness to observe the stars. The boys decided we should head back to the bunkhouse when they heard the coyotes start to sing.

17 Fire Pit.JPG


We read in the Logbook that if we climbed the hill behind the bunkhouse we would observe some great views. Well, the hill is covered with trees so the view is not that great but we did do some rock climbing.

18 Rock Climb.JPG


We took one last group picture at the bunkhouse before departing.

19 Group.JPG


We had an enjoyable hike out.

20 Hike Out Group.JPG


Hopefully this recent storm is adding snow to our parched mountains. We really need precipitation.

Thanks for reading our report.

-Russ
” Auto racing, bull fighting, and mountain climbing are the only real sports … all others are games.”- Ernest Hemingway
User avatar
Vaca Russ
Topix Expert
 
Posts: 661
Joined: Mon Aug 16, 2010 3:12 pm
Location: 1060 West Addison Street, Chicago, Ill
Experience: Level 4 Explorer

User avatar

Re: No Snow in the Crystal Basin

Postby Jason » Thu Jan 30, 2014 11:50 am

Very cool! Thanks for the report. I just wish you were reporting tons and tons of snow. It's a crazy year.
User avatar
Jason
Topix Regular
 
Posts: 233
Joined: Fri Jun 19, 2009 11:13 am
Experience: N/A

User avatar

Re: No Snow in the Crystal Basin

Postby maverick » Thu Jan 30, 2014 5:19 pm

Wow, what a contrast. Thanks for sharing your delightful pictures of the family.
HST= Wilderness Adventurer who knows no bounds, except for their own imagination.

Have a safer backcountry experience by using the HST ReConn Form 2.0, named after Larry Conn, a HST member: http://reconn.org
User avatar
maverick
Forums Moderator
Forums Moderator
 
Posts: 8029
Joined: Thu Apr 06, 2006 5:54 pm
Experience: Level 4 Explorer

User avatar

Re: No Snow in the Crystal Basin

Postby kd6swa » Fri Jan 31, 2014 7:44 am

Vaca Russ and Sport - nice job keeping the children engaged in activities since there were no cell phone, computers, televisions or electricity! :D :thumbsup:

73
KD6SWA
User avatar
kd6swa
Topix Acquainted
 
Posts: 57
Joined: Mon Jan 07, 2013 3:55 pm
Location: Fairfield, California
Experience: N/A

User avatar

Re: No Snow in the Crystal Basin

Postby FeetFirst » Wed Apr 09, 2014 11:57 am

Vaca Russ,

Have you been up there lately? I'm thinking of going in this Sunday for a night or two and trying to decide where to go in Deso/Crystal Basin to avoid deep snow (I know, shouldn't be too hard right?!). Most likely I'll be entering from either Loon or Echo, but nothing is set in stone.

I've been checking out the CDEC sensors (http://cdec.water.ca.gov/cgi-progs/mapp ... =18&quad=4) to get an idea, but those things can be in a hole, in a shadow, all day and don't really tell the overall story well. Anyways, any insight is greatly appreciated. Thanks.
I'm still rather convinced that you can achieve more than you've ever dreamed of if you just lower your standards.
User avatar
FeetFirst
Topix Regular
 
Posts: 250
Joined: Fri Apr 22, 2011 11:35 am
Location: West Sacramento, CA
Experience: Level 1 Hiker

User avatar

Re: No Snow in the Crystal Basin

Postby Vaca Russ » Mon Apr 14, 2014 10:48 am

FeetFirst wrote:Vaca Russ,

Have you been up there lately? I'm thinking of going in this Sunday for a night or two and trying to decide where to go in Deso/Crystal Basin to avoid deep snow (I know, shouldn't be too hard right?!). Most likely I'll be entering from either Loon or Echo, but nothing is set in stone.


FF,

I just saw your post. No, we haven't been up there recently. We have been mostly hitting the slopes. :)

You are probably up there right now! Please let us know what you found regarding snow depth.

I usually rely on this web site for snow depth information:

http://www.nohrsc.noaa.gov/interactive/ ... &js=1&uc=0

I have found it pretty reliable but I have run into snow (Pinenuts) when this site said it was clear.

Thanks,

-Russ
” Auto racing, bull fighting, and mountain climbing are the only real sports … all others are games.”- Ernest Hemingway
User avatar
Vaca Russ
Topix Expert
 
Posts: 661
Joined: Mon Aug 16, 2010 3:12 pm
Location: 1060 West Addison Street, Chicago, Ill
Experience: Level 4 Explorer

User avatar

Re: No Snow in the Crystal Basin

Postby FeetFirst » Mon Apr 14, 2014 11:37 am

Thank you for the response, Russ. That modeled snow depth map looks really useful. I've used a similar one linked to the USGS website (I think), but this one appears a bit more user friendly - thanks.

I ended up doing a short overnight trip in Tahoe NF, Big Bend>Lock Levens area (http://www.hillmap.com/m/ag1zfmhpbGxtYX ... ICAk6D9CQw). Snow was sparse below 6100 and dependent on exposure above that. The north facing slope up to the lakes was a post-holing nightmare. I broke through the 1-2 foot of crusty snow to the hidden mangle of boulders and manzinita underneath multiple times and have some pretty good cuts and bruises on my shins as reminders to never do that again. The trail was only visible for the first 1/2 mile or so and after the railroad tracks (6,100 ft.) there was about a foot of snow on the ground with more as you gained elevation. The weather was gorgeous, but a bit gusty at times. It cooled off quick in the evening and felt colder than reported (30 deg. F). I pretty much took a straight line back to the road in the morning and ended up at the Rainbow lodge so I had to walk the road back to my car. #-o Not one mosquito the entire time! :thumbsup: If no more storms hit the area I'd guess it will be in pretty good shape by Memorial Day. I'll update my post with pictures tonight.
I'm still rather convinced that you can achieve more than you've ever dreamed of if you just lower your standards.
User avatar
FeetFirst
Topix Regular
 
Posts: 250
Joined: Fri Apr 22, 2011 11:35 am
Location: West Sacramento, CA
Experience: Level 1 Hiker

User avatar

Re: No Snow in the Crystal Basin

Postby FeetFirst » Mon Apr 14, 2014 11:08 pm

Here are a couple of pictures from my trip.

At the start:
Image

UPRR tracks:
Image

Seasonal creek after RR tracks:
Image

Working my way up:
Image

...and up:
Image

Image

Image

Image

LNT:
Image
I'm still rather convinced that you can achieve more than you've ever dreamed of if you just lower your standards.
User avatar
FeetFirst
Topix Regular
 
Posts: 250
Joined: Fri Apr 22, 2011 11:35 am
Location: West Sacramento, CA
Experience: Level 1 Hiker


Return to Winter Sports



Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 3 guests