Closed and Open Areas

Questions and reports 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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Harlen
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Closed and Open Areas

Post by Harlen » Wed Dec 23, 2020 8:37 pm

I called in to White Mt. Ranger District today (12/23), and spoke with a nice knowledgeable person. I learned that my big-eyed plan to race up Taboose Creek, over that pass, then Cartridge Pass, and into Lakes Basin for the very first time, is temporarily thwarted by the closing of the Taboose Cr. Trail! Fuc! I also learned that Bishop Pass-- North and South Lake routes are open, but for South Lake the access begins several miles down valley from Parcher's Camp.

As for points south- such as Horseshoe Meadow-- the gate is closed way down by the lavender farm place? I don't know where that is, but I think it is many miles from HMeadow Trailhead (who knows this?) Sometimes I think, Oh well, I don't mind walking 5,000' up a snowed-in road, pulling my stuff easily in a "pulk," but not for 8-10 miles!!! I'll go up to Rock Creek, and slog for just 3-4 miles up a nice, scenic road, and get into even nicer-looking mountain country.

What else did I learn? Oh yes, the long, mostly dry, trail up Sawmill Creek is open. Not having that masochist gene I've never hiked it, but I'd like to, even though it will add exactly 9 miles to the Bench Lake/JMT junction!(as compared to T.Cr.). From there up to Cartridge Pass might be a pass too far in my slack, Christmas over-fed body, but I could happily camp at Bench Lake, and just stare up at Arrow Peak, and across at the Cirque Crest. Aren't there some warm springs west of Bench Lake? Ideally, one could defy the rules, and make it a circle by hiking down the closed Taboose Cr. Trail. I disapprove of trail closures to protect me from myself, and approve of those that protect the land from my abuse; so the T.Cr. trail closure due to last summer's fire damage, and the potential for trees to fall over onto me is one I can break with philosophic tranquility. It would entail a scrappy 10-12 dry miles back to the car at Sawmill TH, but that might not kill me... though a second car at the T.Cr. TH would be nice.

As of today, the snow-line is around 10,000 feet on the east side of the range, at least up to Bishop Creek or so. I also learned that the Whitney Tr. is closed way down to nearly the Alabama Hills-- I am not sure why??

Note, if anyone is set to castigate me for being out when I should be in, my half plan was to "self-quarantine" in the High Sierra for a week after doing the necessary visit to help my old Mom get used to her life alone... which I think trumps my need to stay at home. I have been very good till now, and want to be safe for my old friends and neighbors at home. So a Sierra trip is the ethical thing to do GD'it!

Anyone have any other Conditions reports to share? I didn't ask about Onion Valley, or Oak Creek/Baxter Pass, which is another Beautiful trip, for the very finest (long) view of Mt. Clarence King from what're they called-- "Baxter Lakes?" [I think it looks like a "White Matterhorn" from there!]

235.JPG
Another, beautiful, place in snow.
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Last edited by Harlen on Thu Dec 24, 2020 5:25 am, edited 2 times in total.








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bobby49
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Re: Closed and Open Areas

Post by bobby49 » Wed Dec 23, 2020 9:07 pm

The lavender farm is at 36 degrees, 30.304' N 118 degrees 6.142' W el. 5542 ft.

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rlown
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Re: Closed and Open Areas

Post by rlown » Wed Dec 23, 2020 9:21 pm

I'd stay home. I kind of have to but it is best this time of year to be around friends/family and not die.

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Re: Closed and Open Areas

Post by Wandering Daisy » Thu Dec 24, 2020 11:12 am

Weather report for Lakes Basin for next week: lows single digits, highs 10-20 degrees, 10-20 mph wind, 10-70% chance of snow. Well, not my idea of good conditions, but then, I am done with winter overnight trips.

My daughter from Durango called last night. One of the fellows who died in the recent avalanches there was a good friend- he and his wife just had twins, 6 weeks old, just out of NICU, home only a few days, when he went for an afternoon ski with a friend up by Silverton. Both died. As did three other backcountry skiers in another area. Two snowmobilers died in Wyoming. Avalanche warnings were up yet hard core skiers were out. My daughter calls it COVID-stupidity. People are really taking chances because they are fed up with staying home. And it does not help that ski areas (where there is avalanche control) have really cut back their capacities, leaving those with a weekly ski habit doing stupid stuff just to get out.

It looks like Sierra avalanche conditions are not that bad. But anyway, be careful. By the way, I have walked from the Taboose TH to the highway and it is a lot longer than it looks! And dry as a bone.

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mort
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Re: Closed and Open Areas

Post by mort » Thu Dec 24, 2020 3:25 pm

Harlen,
I'd go if I could. It's just about 15 miles from the gate to the Cottonwood Pass trail head. I did it before the road was built and a few years later (after the road was in). In the spring when the snow level was about 6000 ft. You can take the road or there is a trail, which is probably not maintained. But if you considered the road as one of the long east side passes (Baxter, Taboose, Sawmill, Shepherd etc,) It would be the nicest. The road is never as steep at those other trails. And for the first 3 miles or so the views are awesome. Your other information is interesting. I suppose the North Lake (dirt) road is closed now, so that also adds a few miles. I think Sawmill is a good trail. The worst switchbacks are below 10,000 ft so maybe that won't be too snowy. The really bad part about the long east side passes is how much time you spend a low altitude in the sun & desert heat. Not a problem in winter.
However, have you looked at the coming weather? Looks like snow for a day about every 4 or 5 days. That will take careful timing. If you get out have a great time. And good luck!
-m
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Re: Closed and Open Areas

Post by Wandering Daisy » Sun Jan 03, 2021 9:31 am

Did you do a trip? Where did you go?

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Harlen
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Re: Closed and Open Areas

Post by Harlen » Mon Jan 04, 2021 9:31 am

I am still here in Orange County, and the conditions in the Sierra Nevada look a bit dicey. I am now planning to head back north, and ski in to the relatively safe, and very beautiful Lake Aloha when a good weather window opens. Happy New Year.

Below is part of the update from the Eastern Sierra Avalanche Advisory:
It is a major RED FLAG to get a rapid load of heavy moisture laden snow upon a weak, shallow snowpack. If snow and SWE (Snow Water Equivalent) totals reach the high end of projections, as in upwards of 16” of new snow with over 1” of water, this new load will cause unstable and dangerous avalanche conditions. Continued study of the snowpack throughout December has shown definite and proven propagation potential in old weak snow at the base of our thin snowpack.

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Re: Closed and Open Areas

Post by c9h13no3 » Mon Jan 04, 2021 11:10 am

Harlen wrote:
Mon Jan 04, 2021 9:31 am
I am still here in Orange County, and the conditions in the Sierra Nevada look a bit dicey. I am now planning to head back north, and ski in to the relatively safe, and very beautiful Lake Aloha when a good weather window opens. Happy New Year.
Lassen is skiing really well right now. Dunno if it's big enough for you, but I bet once you get past Mt Diller, people become way less frequent.
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