North Lake-South Lake Loop 2017 Creek Crossing Conditions

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Velostein
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North Lake-South Lake Loop 2017 Creek Crossing Conditions

Post by Velostein » Mon Jul 17, 2017 3:15 pm

Hello, I am seeking information regarding current conditions for creek crossings along the North Lake-South Lake loop for a trip out of North Lake scheduled to depart July 22, 2017. In particular, how are conditions for crossing East Pinnacles Creek on the Piute Trail, Evolution Creek at Evolution Meadow, and the Dusy Branch at the Le Conte Canyon ranger station. Relevant info regarding other creek crossings not mentioned here would also be greatly appreciated.

I am a 59 year old moderately-experienced backpacker and will be traveling with my college age daughter who is a backpacking novice. Any advice on preferred crossing points and techniques is welcome. Thank you in advance,

Mike








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wildhiker
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Re: North Lake-South Lake Loop 2017 Creek Crossing Condition

Post by wildhiker » Mon Jul 17, 2017 5:25 pm

Hi Mike,

I don't have any first-hand info, but from what I am reading here on HST and the Sequoia-Kings Canyon park website (https://www.nps.gov/seki/planyourvisit/trailcond.htm), it sounds like you will have substantial snow still around the passes, with tedious sun-cups to navigate, and swollen streams lower down. Doesn't sound to me like a good time and place to take a novice backpacker.

-Phil

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maverick
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Re: North Lake-South Lake Loop 2017 Creek Crossing Condition

Post by maverick » Mon Jul 17, 2017 7:09 pm

Hi Mike,
I am a 59 year old moderately-experienced backpacker and will be traveling with my college age daughter who is a backpacking novice. Any advice on preferred crossing points and techniques is welcome.
Welcome to HST!

I agree totally with Phil, the current conditions, lots of snow and dangerous creek crossings, make backpacking difficult enough for experienced backpackers, but it would make it extremely dangerous for a novice. Learning, while trying to cross a swiftly moving creek or climbing a steep, icy incline, are recipes for disasters, there have already been to many water related deaths in SEKI this year alone. :(

Maybe a less dangerous, a less strenuous trip, to a lower elevation destination, may be a better suited trip for her as an intro to backpacking this time around, and then she will get bit by the backpacking bug, and you will have a backpacking buddy for life. ;)
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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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AlmostThere
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Re: North Lake-South Lake Loop 2017 Creek Crossing Condition

Post by AlmostThere » Mon Jul 17, 2017 9:03 pm

If your daughter has never backpacked before and this was to be her first trip, I recommend something shorter, easier and less dangerous. That loop has a lot of climbing and descending, some serious stream crossings, and a lot of fallen trees on it.

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Re: North Lake-South Lake Loop 2017 Creek Crossing Condition

Post by rlown » Mon Jul 17, 2017 9:45 pm

Hang out over Piute pass in Humphreys basin. Don't do the loop; just day-hike the area. You and she won't be disappointed.

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Re: North Lake-South Lake Loop 2017 Creek Crossing Condition

Post by cgundersen » Tue Jul 18, 2017 1:38 pm

Velostein,
I'm guessing that you were planning to be on trail for at least 7-8 nights to complete that loop, and as fantastic as it can be, you'll definitely encounter more than you're looking for this year. As Russ noted, you can have a great time getting up over Piute Pass and then heading for spots in Humphrey basin, as well as along the Glacier Divide (keeping in mind that Piute Creek will probably still be roaring). Relative to when I was in that area roughly 3 weeks ago, there should be appreciably more open ground and open water, and if you decide to follow this plan, I'm sure you can get folks to chime in about their favorite lakes in this area. As its name implies, Desolation Lake sits in what could be a Martian landscape if it were not for the huge body of water. And, there are little tarns scattered all over in that area that afford great views and peaceful camping! Cameron

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Velostein
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Re: North Lake-South Lake Loop 2017 Creek Crossing Condition

Post by Velostein » Tue Jul 18, 2017 1:55 pm

I want to thank everyone for their quick, candid responses and for sharing their insight and experience. I did this trip twice 25-30 years ago and when I planned in January to revisit the area with my daughter this summer I of course had no idea what kind of snow year we would have. My daughter and I are fit, strong hikers but I agree that this trip at this time may be more than is prudent to undertake. Very disappointing, but at some point pragmatism and being realistic about the conditions is essential. Thanks again for the input -- very much appreciated.

I think we will still head over Piute Pass and do some exploring in the Humphreys Basin. Then maybe come back down and do some day trips out of Lake Sabrina and South Lake. It's such a gorgeous area, there will be no shortage of options but if anyone has favorite day hikes to recommend, I would love to hear about them.

Thanks again,

Mike

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Re: North Lake-South Lake Loop 2017 Creek Crossing Condition

Post by maverick » Tue Jul 18, 2017 2:01 pm

Put North Fork Big Pine on your list too, if you have not visited before, and no need to be disappointed, it will be there next year, and you can still go with your daughter on your a trip this year! :nod:
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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: North Lake-South Lake Loop 2017 Creek Crossing Condition

Post by sassafras » Fri Aug 11, 2017 1:48 pm

Hi there,

Aforementioned backpacking novice, checking in! Velostein and I completed the loop at the end of July -- as a first major Sierra backpacking trip, this was about as rewarding, humbling, and awe-inspiring as it gets. Thanks to all for providing insight. We had a bit of everything -- laborious creek crossings in Piute Canyon, miles of snow at Muir Pass, mosquitoes in the Dusy Basin, and rough trail conditions all around in the wake of the intense winter. That said, without all the information my dad gathered (and that we continued to gather in Bishop and while in the backcountry), making the right decision about how to proceed wouldn't have been possible. Just want to close the loop here: a reminder that with adequate training, good information, and a dash of cautious optimism, there's a lot to be gained from meeting challenges as they come (and, if you're lucky, sharing the experience with others). Keep doing what you do, hope y'all get out there soon!

--Sassafras

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Re: North Lake-South Lake Loop 2017 Creek Crossing Condition

Post by Jimr » Fri Aug 11, 2017 2:07 pm

Did you have fun?
“Posterity! You will never know, how much it cost the present generation, to preserve your Freedom! I hope you will make a good use of it. If you do not, I shall repent in Heaven, that I ever took half the pains to preserve it.”

-John Adams

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