McGee Pass and Hopkins Pass

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Danpaul1971
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McGee Pass and Hopkins Pass

Post by Danpaul1971 » Wed Jun 21, 2017 2:47 pm

Planning on a trip up McGee Creek early August 2017. Has anyone been up there this season? I am wondering if it will be possible to get over either McGee or Hopkins Pass by then without snowshoes or climbing gear. Anyone have an update on the mosquito situation?

Much Appreciated,

Dan








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maverick
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Re: McGee Pass and Hopkins Pass

Post by maverick » Wed Jun 21, 2017 3:15 pm

Hi Dan,

Welcome to HST! No report here or at Ranger Station, to early. Snow levels starting at 10000 ft and you can bet McGee Creek is raging, just like the all others, which are causing many roads and campground closures in the eastern sierra.
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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.

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: McGee Pass and Hopkins Pass

Post by wildhiker » Wed Jun 21, 2017 4:20 pm

Hi Dan,

A lot depends on the weather between now and then - basically, how hot it is and thus how fast the snow melts. For comparison, here is a photo taken from McGee Pass looking southeast down McGee Creek to the Hopkins Pass area during the third week of August in 1998. That was also a very high snow pack year, although everything I've read says this year (2017) is the record for high elevation snow pack, so it could be more this year. Or less, if we keep getting hot weather. On that trip, the west side of McGee Pass had only little patches of snow and nothing on the trail itself. We came up from the west side and were intending to go down to Big McGee Lake and then over Hopkins Pass, but Hopkins Pass looked too snowy for us. Hard to tell in the photo, but what I thought was the actual pass had a big snow cornice. So we turned around and did a different trip!

-Phil
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maverick
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Re: McGee Pass and Hopkins Pass

Post by maverick » Wed Jun 21, 2017 4:31 pm

Photo not showing for me.
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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.

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: McGee Pass and Hopkins Pass

Post by Harlen » Wed Jun 21, 2017 7:04 pm

Great photo, and helpful insights- thanks.

I can see a massive cornice directly in line with the far mountain (is it Abbot?)

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Re: McGee Pass and Hopkins Pass

Post by Danpaul1971 » Thu Jun 22, 2017 7:40 am

Thanks all for the replies. I figured Hopkins Pass was a little technical without snow so maybe that is not the best route. We might try the pass on a day hike without packs.

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Re: McGee Pass and Hopkins Pass

Post by flyzapper » Wed Jul 19, 2017 1:55 pm

I'm also thinking about a trip over McGee Pass either the last week of July or first week of August. Any updates?

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Re: McGee Pass and Hopkins Pass

Post by cgundersen » Thu Jul 27, 2017 10:33 am

Hi Y'all,
A few days ago, I posted some photos of Hopkins Pass (in the HST cross country passes section), when it has abundant snow. In normal years, there's a nice use trail (shown on the map in the XC passes posting) but I'm confident that you'll encounter conditions a lot closer to the photos I posted rather than the shots Roguephotonic put up. By contrast, McGee pass is sufficiently broad and the angle is such that it should not be a problem, even if there is still some snow. cameron

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Re: McGee Pass and Hopkins Pass

Post by escapist » Sat Jul 29, 2017 12:36 pm

Husband and I did part of the McGee Creek trail starting from the pack station trailhead on July 18, 2017. McGee Creek was running high and fast. The bridge at the first crossing had fallen off the opposing bank and there was water flowing over it (about ankle deep at midday). The submerged bridge surface was slippery with algae. The fallen bridge did not quite reach the opposite bank. There was a slimy log wedged up between the far end of the bridge and the creek's banks, but not sure how stable it was. It was too far for us to jump from the end of the fallen bridge to the shore.

The stock crossing looked more than knee deep and was moving swiftly. We saw that others crossed at a point between the stock crossing and the bridge by crawling through the crown of a fallen aspen, but this would be sketchy for someone carrying a heavy pack.

We decided not to attempt a crossing because we were only out for a day hike.

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Re: McGee Pass and Hopkins Pass

Post by escapist » Sun Aug 13, 2017 7:51 am

Myself, my husband and two friends came over McGee Pass from the west (JMT) side on August 11.

We found the west (southwest facing) side of the pass mostly free of snow. There were a few patches but they were either avoidable or not very steep. We reached the top of the pass about midday.

The east (northeast facing) surface of the pass was more challenging. After a couple of downward switchbacks the trail disappeared into snow. The entire lower 2/3 of the bowl was covered in very slushy snow. Husband and I attempted to sidehill down the slope but could not keep our footing and immediately fell. Fortunately the snow was so soft that we could arrest our slide by digging in with our limbs. We ultimately resorted to glissading to the bottom of the bowl. The slope was very steep so we had to pay very careful attention to speed.

After working our way down the suncupped snow, we were able to reach dry trail for a little bit, but soon encountered more snow fields. The last one was very steep and ran out into mostly iced-over Little McGee Lake. The snow was a little harder here so we put on microspikes to cross it (though we saw other groups manage without microspikes).

We descended the rest of the trail without incident. Both crossings of McGee Creek were done dry.

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