Kaweah Gap Snow?

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Happybaker
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Kaweah Gap Snow?

Post by Happybaker » Mon Jul 10, 2017 7:57 am

Any recent word on whether there is snow on the HST at kaweah gap? I'm hoping the brutal California heat waves will have melted most of it, but I'm wondering if anyone has been there recently. Thanks








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kjmayer4
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Re: Kaweah Gap Snow?

Post by kjmayer4 » Mon Jul 10, 2017 11:40 am

I was up there on June 19th, there was still a good amount of snow. My best guess is that it was at least a meter deep, if not more. I would be surprised if it was all gone, but it has been pretty warm lately. There was also snow down in Big Arroyo, but that was melting faster and starting to get patchy in places. Try to contact the Sequoia rangers, they probably have more recent reports.

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seisner
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Re: Kaweah Gap Snow?

Post by seisner » Mon Jul 10, 2017 2:55 pm

I just returned from that area yesterday. Stayed at Hamilton Lake and did a day-hike up to Precipice Lake on Sat. 7/8. We started hitting snow patches about halfway up the trail from Hamilton Lake, and probably crossed about 10-12 separate snow patches until we hit 100% snow cover just below Precipice Lake. The snow crossings were pretty mellow. For context - I have some experience with ice axe and crampons and was with my 18-year old daughter who has no such experience. We brought ice axes and microspikes (my theory was that we would turn around if we got to a point that we felt it was not safe to go and I did not want to go anywhere that full crampons were really needed). We never used our spikes and only took the ice axes out on one crossing that had a high enough combination of pitch and exposure that warranted the 30-second exercise of taking the ice axes out of the pack. That said, if I did not have an ice axe I would have been totally comfortable crossing without it. All of the snow crossings were well-tracked and super soft. I would say the biggest risk area was getting on and off the snow patches as the outsides were largely melted out from underneath so you just need to be smart about that. We hit 100% snow cover just below Precipice Lake. We did not hike up to Kaweah Gap - primarily due to lousy fitness level as opposed to concern over snow cover. There was another group doing the same thing we were doing that did make it all the way up - 4 guys who did not have any snow gear. They reported to us later that it was an easy trip up, with the exception of some post-holing in soft snow. We saw at least three other groups that were heading up and over that we did not see again; at least one of those groups did not have snow gear.

By the way - no issues at all at any of the creek crossings, so the water levels have subsided significantly from the reports from a couple weeks ago.

Hope that helps. Have a great trip.

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Happybaker
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Re: Kaweah Gap Snow?

Post by Happybaker » Mon Jul 10, 2017 5:26 pm

Thank you, it is very helpful. I have not been one this trail before but my friend has and she was worried we may not be able to go past Kaweah Gap due to super snow pack, and we were discussing alternate plans, which would basically be staying at Hamilton lake and doing day hikes or four or five days. But it seems that the brutal heat waves have been doing their job :smirk: It should be a fun trip, either way as long as I can spend a few days off the grid.

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maverick
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Re: Kaweah Gap Snow?

Post by maverick » Mon Jul 10, 2017 5:31 pm

Hi Happybaker,

Welcome to HST! For when is your trip planned?
Professional Sierra Landscape Photographer

I don't give out specific route information, my belief is that it takes away from the whole adventure spirit of a trip, if you need every inch planned out, you'll have to get that from someone else.

Have a safer backcountry experience by using the HST ReConn Form 2.0, named after Larry Conn, a HST member: http://reconn.org

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danielchilla
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Re: Kaweah Gap Snow?

Post by danielchilla » Tue Jul 11, 2017 3:45 pm

Hi selsner,

Thanks for your insight! I was planning on heading up there sometime in early August. Tentatively speaking, just hiking up past Kaweah Gap and spending some extended time in the Big Arroyo area. But who knows how deep the snowpack will be from week to week! The conditions seem to be changing rapidly.

Thanks again for your 2 cents :)

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agfhst
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Re: Kaweah Gap Snow?

Post by agfhst » Sun Jul 23, 2017 4:52 pm

I'm also planning to cross Kaweah Gap with some friends, probably around August 3.

The SEKI trail reports are here: https://www.nps.gov/seki/planyourvisit/trailcond.htm.

Between the trail reports and and my conversation with someone in the SEKI wilderness permit office this past Friday, it sounds like Kaweah Gap at the moment may not be so straightforward, with crampons and ice axe recommended.

The trail report talks about a collapsed ice tunnel, which I have no insight about, since I've never hiked that trail before. The SEKI person I spoke to said that the Gap didn't pose much of an issue a week or two ago, but she said that now the meltwater is freezing up over the trail, so the park has added the traction gear recommendation.

Do you or anyone else following this thread know anything about the exposure along the trail in the area of the Gap? Or what kind of climb/conditions would be involved in going above where the ice tunnel was, as recommended in the trail report?

I'm planning to call the wilderness office back sometime this week and will post any further info.

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P. eximium
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Re: Kaweah Gap Snow?

Post by P. eximium » Wed Jul 26, 2017 2:53 pm

Hi agfhst, I would love to hear more about what you learn with regard to the conditions near the Kaweah Gap. I'll be heading out for the HST next week, and a few of the folks in my party are young and inexperienced, and I would like to have a clearer idea of what I'll be getting into before heading out. Thank you!

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Re: Kaweah Gap Snow?

Post by kpeter » Wed Jul 26, 2017 7:58 pm

I would also like to hear more. It sounds like I got the same information from the ranger at the Mineral King station as agfhst did, something about a dangerous "ice flow" between Precipice and Hamilton, which was causing some people even with crampons and ice axes to turn around.

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Honeybear
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Re: Kaweah Gap Snow?

Post by Honeybear » Thu Jul 27, 2017 8:59 am

This was posted on the Facebook group for the HST:
https://youtu.be/qmJLxyGMtbg

It looks like the since the fall the amount of snow is halved and much flatter. Recommendation from the hiker who took the video is to have hiking poles and microspikes.

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