early hike across shepherd pass

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raphus
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Re: early hike across shepherd pass

Post by raphus » Wed Mar 02, 2011 11:04 am

Great, that will be our choice for mid-June !
Thanks for all the info








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East Side Hiker
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Re: early hike across shepherd pass

Post by East Side Hiker » Tue Mar 22, 2011 7:51 am

I'm planning to traverse Shepherd Pass about Aug 18th. It will be beautiful I'm sure. I'm going to do Taboose Aug 8th after the lecture at the White Mtn Research Station on Aug 7th. Maybe I'll see someone.

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Re: early hike across shepherd pass

Post by SPeacock » Sat Apr 02, 2011 11:33 am

For the un-initiated:

http://www.climber.org/driving/shepherd.html" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

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Re: early hike across shepherd pass

Post by East Side Hiker » Sat Apr 02, 2011 4:11 pm

I do have to admit that Shepherd Pass, as dasterdly as it is, is my favorite. Gets one right in the heart of things.

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Re: early hike across shepherd pass

Post by East Side Hiker » Mon Apr 04, 2011 8:38 pm

When I've gone up the Horseshoe Mdw Rd, or the Onion Valley Rd, or the Baxter Pass Rd, as far as I can in past Aprils, which I do every year, all I've ever seen are barricades across the road. Maybe the gate is higher up, but I can't remember seeing one. I'm sure there is one. I've driven by them many times when the road is mostly dry to photograph the first flowers coming up at bottom of the receeding snow pack. But as someone said, there are a lot of rocks in the road.

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Re: early hike across shepherd pass

Post by SPeacock » Tue Apr 05, 2011 5:18 pm

Rahpus, in mid June you will certainly have snow covering the trail above 11,000' and perhaps spotty trail and a few berms across the trail above 10,700 or so. Cottonwood Pass sees a lot more sun (south facing) than does the Cottonwood and South Fork Lakes basins but you can probably plan on some snow up where you are going until more toward end of June .

http://www.topo.com/explore?lat=36.4534 ... &type=topo" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

Not sure where you are going after there, but a lot of people are still skiing up at that altitude mid June. Really!

You will probably be on snow or at least have some on the trail until you get on the other side of Army Pass at Rock Creek. Mighty slow going that... Plan on at least two days to Rock Creek.

Now is not the time to go up Whitney from the back side if that was your intention - saw it mentioned. Later, (late July/August) it is an amazing hike on this trail with some time spent at the Mitre and surrounds on the way.

But if you head south into Whitney Meadows area, you will be snow free, but on wet trail for a good portion of it. Rocky Basin Lakes would be a good destination...depending upon trail conditions.

http://www.topo.com/explore?lat=36.4403 ... &type=topo" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

If you find too much snow at Cottonwood Pass (you will find out in first few hours) retrace your steps and try Cottonwood Lakes. Usually (almost) snow free by Father's day every year - including heavy snow years such as this one. It is a half day hike with packs up to the lakes. Long days mid June!

http://www.topo.com/explore?lat=36.4966 ... &type=topo" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

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Re: early hike across shepherd pass

Post by Cross Country » Tue Apr 05, 2011 5:35 pm

For these very reasons, the 2 times I (we) went over Shepherd pass I chose August to do it. Because it's such a great area with so much to offer, August isn't too late in the season. I went there 3 times and spent 15 days. It wasn't enough time and I didn't see all of it.

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Re: early hike across shepherd pass

Post by almostpicasso » Wed Apr 06, 2011 10:57 pm

I'm sure others will have kicked steps into the snow on the east side of the pass, but having a light weight axe would be very comforting this year, I doubt the snow will melt out much before mid-Aug.

Carry plenty of water after leaving Symmes Ck, it's a long hot stretch until you reach water at Mahogany Flat. The view of Mt. Williamson from the hump 9600' is a jaw-dropper.
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Re: early hike across shepherd pass

Post by Flamingo » Fri Apr 08, 2011 12:01 am

@raphus --- I climbed over Shepherd Pass in late June 2010. It looked like this:
http://www.flickr.com/photos/victorhans ... 467684028/" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

There was plenty of snow in June 2010---and I'm sure there will be much more this year in June---but we crossed safely with only trekking poles and running shoes. We spent the previous night at Anvil Camp. In the morning, we waited a couple hours for the snow to soften under the sun. We reached the Shepherd Pass headwall about 10:00 am, and the snow was perfect slushy for kick-stepping:
http://www.flickr.com/photos/victorhans ... /lightbox/" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

Although we didn't need axes, I think we got lucky. To echo other people in this thread, I suggest you bring an axe, especially for the final 100-foot climb:
http://www.flickr.com/photos/victorhans ... 467684028/" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

We encountered no snow cornice, but you might in June 2011. The top of Shepherd Pass is a multi-fork chute with multiple rock-scrambling options around potential cornices.

I think Shepherd Pass is definitely crossable in June this year, assuming (i) you wait for the headwall snow to soften in the sun, (ii) you're comfortable using your ice axe if needed, and (iii) you're game for maybe scrambling a short section.

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Re: early hike across shepherd pass

Post by East Side Hiker » Sat Apr 23, 2011 7:10 pm

Most certainly, there will be no early hike over Shepherd Pass this year that won't involve a major snow crossing, both sides. It may keep snowing until June. And if we have a warm spell during May, the run-off will be fabulous. I'd just go to Markleeville and watch the Carson flooding... Then you could go drink pints at the bar in between flood watching... Their Hemp ale is very good.

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