Conditions/Mini-TR SHR/Monarch Divide Fathers day wkend | High Sierra Topix  

Conditions/Mini-TR SHR/Monarch Divide Fathers day wkend

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Conditions/Mini-TR SHR/Monarch Divide Fathers day wkend

Postby commonloon » Tue Jun 20, 2017 11:47 am

I just got back from a short[ened] trip out of Roads End and wanted to report back on conditions. I writing this fast, so please excuse any typos, etc. On the drive in, the Kings river, was absolutely roaring. Unbelievable. Scary. We drove in early, got our permit around 9am and started hiking up Copper Creek. It was already hot. Lots of downed trees and future work for the trail crews. It made even this 1st section slow. It cooled down a bit as we started to see snow at around 9,000ft (south facing). Solid snow at around 10,000ft. The snow was consolidated. Glissaded down Grouse Lake Pass (used my ice axe). Fun! As it got later in the day, the snow had a slushy layer of 2-4 inches. Never during the trip did we encounter any post holing. Occasionally, we'd misjudge how close we could step next to a tree well or rock/elephant trap and post hole, but that was it. However, it was slow going and my hiking buddy had some altitude sickness (headache). We setup camp the 1st night below the Glacier Lakes on some dry snow free patches.

The meadow below the Glacier Lakes was flooded and we had to go most of the way up to State Lakes to find a safe place to cross the creek. When we got to Horseshoe Lakes it was obvious from our pace that my original route was too ambitious. We had lunch and decided to massively shorten our route. Normal late spring/summer mileages aren't really applicable right now; during our earlier June hike last year we were doing 15-20 miles a day including off trail. More searching for safe creek crossings... We made it to the Volcanic Lakes and setup camp 2.

On the 3rd day with my buddy still not 100% and the slow going, we again decided to shorten. Up the Kennedy creek drainage -- so beautiful with all the snow! Come to think of it, the entire trip was! Right before Kennedy Pass, we saw 2 avalanche debris fields. One looked to be 1-2 weeks old -- no sun cups and new looking trees. We also saw several BIG cornices on the ridgelines (top of divide).

We stopped a couple of times to assess/discuss the snow. It got steep! At the false summit, we saw some tracks on the upper part of the pass and were encouraged as we thought the top of the pass might have a cornice. When we reached the tracks in the snow, they turned out to be animal tracks (complete with skat). The final bit of the pass had a steep lip. I was a bit sketched out as my crampons had loosened up a couple of times because of ice jamming the locking pin on the plate connecting the front and back bits. I was wearing trail runners and basically trying to front point up. At the top we enjoyed the incredible views for a bit. Wow!!

We hiked down to Fry Pan meadows. Much of this was gnarly bush wacking mostly because of the fire that had come thru (I think it 2 yrs now), but also we saw more alavache evidence from the winter. We spent a very warm night at the meadows. Oh, the other 2 nights up higher only got down to about 31-32F (these days were a heat wave).

The last day we hiked out. We did have to back track about 30' to cross Lewis Creek as the normal crossing point was too dangerous. Met a friend camping at Sentinel who generously provided beers and burgers!!

Here is the route from my inreach. Note this has a recording interval of 10', so it is sort of as the crow flies and the distances appear shorter than they actually are:

https://caltopo.com/m/E1FF

As far as snow gear, if I were to do this route again I would still bring (1) crampons. Micro spikes wouldn't have cut it on the last pass, and (2) an ice axe. Although I didn't use it much it was nice and my hiking poles are not strong enough for use glissading. My buddy didn't use his, but he has lots of alpine climbing experience. I also brought stuff to camp on snow, e.g. TR Xtherm, some snow stakes, etc. Turned out I could have probably left these at home, but they were nice insurance.

I think the snow is going to be around for a long time! Duh! ;-)



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Re: Conditions/Mini-TR SHR/Monarch Divide Fathers day wkend

Postby maverick » Tue Jun 20, 2017 11:59 am

Thank you for the TR. :nod:
Are some photos coming too?

PS Just for future trips, you can avoid going around Dead Pine Ridge and up Kennedy Canyon, bu using the route between East Kennedy and Volcanic Lakes Basin.
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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.

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Re: Conditions/Mini-TR SHR/Monarch Divide Fathers day wkend

Postby commonloon » Tue Jun 20, 2017 12:07 pm

Yes, probably later tonight, need to unpack the camera/download/upload.

Oh, cool thanks. Will look at that. I was hoping it might have a good vista into Tehipite, but not really.
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Re: Conditions/Mini-TR SHR/Monarch Divide Fathers day wkend

Postby maverick » Tue Jun 20, 2017 12:16 pm

The great vistas of Tehipite are located at the lip of the canyon over towards the Gorge of Despair and Crystal Creek areas. You can also access Volcanic Lakes Basin from Granite Lakes using the route east of Lake 10288. ;)
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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.

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Re: Conditions/Mini-TR SHR/Monarch Divide Fathers day wkend

Postby commonloon » Tue Jun 20, 2017 12:28 pm

Thanks much... that is helpful as I think we're going to try to head back there soon.
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Re: Conditions/Mini-TR SHR/Monarch Divide Fathers day wkend

Postby maverick » Tue Jun 20, 2017 12:49 pm

Thanks much... that is helpful as I think we're going to try to head back there soon.


Have been planning to go back to that specific, western side of the Monarch Divide again, via an in/out Grizzly Lakes/Harrington Pass, very pretty (Swamp/Slide Lakes), and GOD & Crystal Creek areas have sublime views of Tehipite Dome. This year, with the major run-off, may be perfect in early or mid-July, depending on how many of these heatwaves we get.
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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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Re: Conditions/Mini-TR SHR/Monarch Divide Fathers day wkend

Postby Shawn » Tue Jun 20, 2017 5:09 pm

Hey CL - Great TR, thanks for posting.

PS. Seems you moved quickly given the conditions.
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Re: Conditions/Mini-TR SHR/Monarch Divide Fathers day wkend

Postby commonloon » Wed Jun 21, 2017 10:13 am

I'm having some trouble w/ my photos... I may have to get some more photos from my hiking buddy.

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Re: Conditions/Mini-TR SHR/Monarch Divide Fathers day wkend

Postby commonloon » Wed Jun 21, 2017 10:16 am

Shawn wrote:Hey CL - Great TR, thanks for posting.

PS. Seems you moved quickly given the conditions.


Thanks. Yes - the conditions did indeed make it difficult to move quickly/easily. Well worth it though!
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Re: Conditions/Mini-TR SHR/Monarch Divide Fathers day wkend

Postby henryfk » Sun Jun 25, 2017 2:11 pm

There was so much snow, it was winter camping in warm temps.
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