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ski touring with my dog

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ski touring with my dog

Postby Harlen » Sat Mar 11, 2017 9:03 am

I am an experienced Nordic skier who now has a fine dog to accompany me. This rules out (if I must stay legal) my favorite national park routes, so I was hoping to get some recommendations from this forum on some of the best ski touring to be done on the dog-friendly National Forest lands. I am coming from near the Bay Area, and am looking to spend 4-5 days out somewhere in the area from Mt Shasta through to Sequoia Kings. I don't need huts, but would prefer a fire, and I would really like to avoid trails shared by snow mobiles. Any suggestions out there? I really appreciate it. Cheers, Harlen



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Re: ski touring with my dog

Postby paul » Sat Mar 11, 2017 10:57 am

If you want to avoid snow machines you should look at the wilderness areas that are not in National parks. The ones I have real experience in on the west side are Desolation, Emigrant and DInkey Lakes. I have skimmed the edge of Mokelumne and Carson Iceberg. On the other side of the range, Humphreys basin in the John Muir Wilderness is great touring and fairly good access, though of course a significantly longer drive while the passes are closed. The other east side stuff is mostly SEKI territory and also pretty big grunt access for a 4-5 day trip.
Another possibility, that I have yet to explore, is the Thousand Island Lake/Garnet Lake/Rush creek are of Ansel Adams wilderness, accessed from Mammoth.

As for Deso and Emigrant: Desolation is easy peasy, come in from Echo Summit on mellow terrain up to Lake Aloha. You'll see some folks out day touring for sure, and may have company overnight as well - it's a popular area. In a 4-5 day trip you can get over to Mt. Tallac and get a fabulous view. It's very easy terrain from the backside that way. If you are a more ambitious skier, and looking for downhills, there is lots all around there.

Emigrant is a different situation. If you go in there you are not likely to see anyone else - I never have on my trips there. You can get in from Dodge ridge at any time; this year I expect you'd be on skis right from the car. But it's all forest for at least a long day before you get to anything that opens up, around Whitesides Meadow. Pretty easy terrain, though. Navigating is the only challenge, but it's mostly a ridge route into Whitesides so not too bad despite the trees. Might be a snow machine around on the first bit through the ski area, but I didn't see any the time I went that way. If the ski area is still open you might have a to dodge a few skiers, as the route crosses the runs in a couple spots. But If you go early may, which should be ideal conditions, they will probably be closed by then. With 4-5 days you can get in , fart around, maybe get out to Granite Dome for a nice view, more if you cover ground pretty well.
In some years you can get into the Emigrant by way of Kennedy Meadows, but not this year. Even if the road gets opened, there will be too much snow still for that route to work - that's only useful in a low snow year when you have bare trail for the lower elevation portion, it's not very skiable.
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Re: ski touring with my dog

Postby Harlen » Sat Mar 11, 2017 4:42 pm

Paul, Thanks for the thoughtful reply. I may just try either Desolation, or north of the Carson Pass area for this week's short trip. What can you tell me about the country above Dinkey Lakes? I have long wanted to ski all around the Laconte Divide, coming in from Courtright Res., but I can't find out how far in one can get this year? Can we drive as far as Wishon Res.? Thanks for your advice. Regarding your desire to ski the Ansel Adams wilderness, I did that last winter-Mineret Summit to Lee Vining , and it was fantastic! Skiing under Banner, and up to Donohue was amazing. I had been to 1000 Island perhaps ten times over the years, but to see it on a shining winter day was unreal. I camped high on a terrace to the north of Island Pass, and the view of that pinnacled ridge that falls south from the Koip-Kuna Crest was an unexpected beauty. Best of Luck, Harlen.
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Re: ski touring with my dog

Postby AlmostThere » Sat Mar 11, 2017 6:23 pm

You're not going to drive out to Wishon or Courtright. The roads close until the snow melts and the crews can clear logs and rocks out of them. June or July at best. None of the roads into any of the designated wilderness areas are plowed. You might go ski up the road to Kaiser Pass and beyond, however -- though you will compete with the snowmobiles.
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Re: ski touring with my dog

Postby paul » Sat Mar 11, 2017 8:58 pm

Not going to get to Courtright, true. But Wishon is a different story. The Wishon RV resort expects to open last Saturday in April every year - that's the opening of trout season. I have heard PG&E actually plows the road to Wishon most of the winter for their own use - they just don't open the gate. So opening those roads is not as big of a chore as you might think. That said, Wishon is not the greatest place to go in from, especially for a 4-5 day trip. I have been eyeballing a trip starting there - might even do it this year - but planning for more like 9 or 10 days since it is a solid 2 days just to get out to Crown Basin in my estimation. On the other hand, this is the year to do it form there because most years it's going to be a good long walk up the hill to get to snow, whereas this year it could be skiing right from the car.
I went through part of the Dinkey Lakes wilderness on my way across the range in 2011. Started from Huntington Lake. But again it's a slog to get to the goods. Saw nothing but trees for the first day and a half. 4-5 days would just be a tease unless you travel faster than I do. But I will say that Red Rock Basin, Reddy's hole and up to Hell for Sure Lake is as good as it gets for touring terrain. Check it out:

https://get.google.com/albumarchive/101 ... zCaEW1vDHn
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Re: ski touring with my dog

Postby rlown » Sun Mar 12, 2017 5:27 pm

Doggy is all outfitted with booties and everything needed? Any chance we can get a picture of your newest family member?
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Re: ski touring with my dog

Postby AlmostThere » Sun Mar 12, 2017 6:00 pm

Remember, Paul, that part of the road is actually GONE. It washed out in the storms.
Whether that delays things depends on PG&E's desire to fix it sooner rather than later.
http://kmph-kfre.com/news/local/mckinle ... washed-out
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Re: ski touring with my dog

Postby rlown » Sun Mar 12, 2017 6:04 pm

Dog. Focus on the dog's safety. My opinion. If you bring a dog, in Winter, you prep for him/her first.
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Re: ski touring with my dog

Postby paul » Sun Mar 12, 2017 7:49 pm

Hadn't heard about the washout. That could change things for sure. Sierra NF might know whether PG&E is fixing the road, or planning to fix the road, before the trout opener. Sometimes I have found scuttlebutt on this kind of thing on fishing forums when I have been looking for road opening info.
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Re: ski touring with my dog

Postby Harlen » Mon Mar 20, 2017 12:36 pm

Hey, Thanks to you all. "Tomba," your trip report headed me in the good direction- Carson Pass area- and Paul, for reminding me of some great places on both sides of the range. "Rlown," I've struggled and cursed for the past half hour, trying in vain to upload a photo of my dog for you- no luck at all! (my own fault as a "techno-peasant")
In brief, my buddy and I toured south from Carson Pass, and really enjoyed the deep snow and fine sights of Round Top and The Sisters. It was too easy! All of our heavy gear went into the "pulks," and we stopped pretty early ~ 2miles in, just below Winnemucca Lake. But this camp gave us stunning views of the north side of Round Top, and the cliffs, and "The Sisters" on either side of that nice little peak. The ski run from Winnemucca Lake. down toward Woods Lake was in great shape, and a real blast for olde farts like Frank and me. Far above, we noted the curving couloir that decends nearly from the summit of Round Top Peak- we imagine that it is skied by better men than us? The dogs had a great time too, and "Rlown," you'll be pleased to hear that we did tailor the days outings toward the fun, and safety of the dogs. E.g., we cramponed, and they clawed a way to the top of the "Sister" next to Round Top, as it was a dog-friendly climb, whereas R.T. would've severely taxed old "Morag" (11 years young Great Pyrennes mix), and I didn't want to risk my young "Bear's" life either. The only downside was the hellacious winds that set in on Tuesday (the 14th) and hammered us for the next 3 days and nights! I had to talk Bear through the worst of the night-time gusts, which we would hear coming long before they arrived to pelt and batter the tent. Bear took it pretty well, but it was a new experience for him.
Paul, I don't know how you managed it, but that's a fine array of photos you sent of your trip all around the Laconte Divide. If you do make it in from Wishon, I highly recommend the area just NW of "Finger Peak"- It is really scenic, and depending on the snow, you can probably pop up "Reinstein" for some beautiful views of Mt Goddard, Ionian Basin, and Black and White Divides. All the best, Harlen.
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