Ansel Adams Wilderness - August 2017

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Ansel Adams Wilderness - August 2017

Post by knick11 » Mon Jul 24, 2017 12:43 pm

Hello everyone.

It was a wild winter for sure, and the repercussions of that are evident now with closures and so forth. I will be backpacking for 6 days in mid August from Mono/Parker Pass, south to the Devils Postpile area, and then back up the JMT into Tuolumne Meadows. The overall range should equate to somewhere between 60-80 miles, depending on the conditions we face and potential decisions we may have to make. So I have 3 main questions/areas of concern...

1) Rush Creek Closure: I called the NF 2 weeks ago, and they stated that the closure would likely be lifted by the end of July rather than August due to less water flow. However, if that is not the case, and our route is in fact blocked, has anyone ventured off trailed to the west in this area to meet up with the JMT in order to get around this closure? I've studied the topo and maps and realize that it's quite doable, but I'd much rather stay on trail for time's sake.

2) Snow Conditions near Minaret, Cecile, and Iceberg Lakes: I already figure that these lakes will at least be surrounded by snow, if not still unfreezing come mid August, but has anyone successfully passed through this section, in either direction, recently? I've been told that when there is snow, it's better to go North-to-South. Considering this would make our trip into a figure-8 shape, I'm hoping this isn't necessary, but I'm open to suggestions. I'm also open to the idea of skipping this scenic detour and just staying on the JMT all the way to Tuolumne Meadows. But the lakes and scenery up there are so enticing!

3) General closure/conditions report: I am not aware of any closures along the route I described at the beginning, other than Rush Creek. However, if anyone knows of other hazards or closures along this route, please let me know!

Less than 3 weeks to go!

Thank you. :D

Kevin








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Re: Ansel Adams Wilderness - August 2017

Post by wildhiker » Mon Jul 24, 2017 6:20 pm

A co-worker just returned from a trip up over Parker Pass on July 21-22. His pictures show a lot of snow still in that area. He turned around at the base of the switchbacks heading up to Koip Peak Pass because that was one big continuous snow field. Hopefully this is melted out by mid-August, but it is north-facing. He also said that the route through all the meadows starting from near Mono Pass and then over Parker Pass and down the creek on the other side was extremely wet - basically a bog the whole way - but outstanding views of waterfalls coming off the mountains to the west.

I recall that someone posted a report here on HST (last year I think?) about a cross-country trip staying high from the Gem Pass area heading west over to the Lost Lakes area (or maybe the opposite direction). From Lost Lakes you can head west on a broad bench to the JMT. Do some searching and maybe you can find the report.

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Re: Ansel Adams Wilderness - August 2017

Post by sorotokin » Tue Jul 25, 2017 12:24 pm

#1: From what I understand about the Rush Creek closure, it should not affect you. Restrictions do not apply above Waugh lake. (Also, while there is a lot of water, Rush creek lakes look pretty empty right now, it is not clear why they even imposed that closure).

#2: There is a lot of snow, but it's melting fast. Right now Thousand Island lake itself is snow free, but there are many snow patches on the shore. Minaret, Cecile, Iceberg is a popular route, I would bet there is a beaten path in the snow by August (if not already there).

What worries you about the snow? It seems different people avoid snow for different reasons.

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Re: Ansel Adams Wilderness - August 2017

Post by maverick » Tue Jul 25, 2017 1:06 pm

#1: From what I understand about the Rush Creek closure, it should not affect you.
Actually it does, the section between Gem and Waugh Lake is closed. This can be by passed by leaving the trail at 10k, soon after you cross Crest Creek and head west towards the small lake, head over the ridge directly to the west, continue southwest towards the cluster of small lakes/tarns and down to the trail.
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Re: Ansel Adams Wilderness - August 2017

Post by sorotokin » Tue Jul 25, 2017 5:36 pm

Ah, yes, I missed the Parker pass segment (somehow I thought the idea was to come to Minarets from the South). I can confirm that bypass that you described is easily doable and there is no snow there - just came through it yesterday.

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Re: Ansel Adams Wilderness - August 2017

Post by maverick » Tue Jul 25, 2017 6:21 pm

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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: Ansel Adams Wilderness - August 2017

Post by knick11 » Wed Jul 26, 2017 9:58 pm

wildhiker wrote:I recall that someone posted a report here on HST (last year I think?) about a cross-country trip staying high from the Gem Pass area heading west over to the Lost Lakes area (or maybe the opposite direction). From Lost Lakes you can head west on a broad bench to the JMT. Do some searching and maybe you can find the report.
Sounds like the closure, for my purposes, has been lifted! So detour averted, but thanks for the info!

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Re: Ansel Adams Wilderness - August 2017

Post by knick11 » Wed Jul 26, 2017 10:02 pm

sorotokin wrote:What worries you about the snow? It seems different people avoid snow for different reasons.
Thanks for the info! I'm not worried about snow. I have ascended/descended Red Peak Pass in varying snowy conditions. However, I'm probably the only one who feels that comfortable in my group. So I can't speak for everyone. And I'm glad to here you came through the Parker Pass area hastle-free. I realize it's north-facing, but it's also on the outskirts of the Sierra, so it generally holds less snow than points further west, so I figured there would be, at most, some patches of snow by mid August.

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Re: Ansel Adams Wilderness - August 2017

Post by knick11 » Wed Jul 26, 2017 10:04 pm

maverick wrote:Actually it does, the section between Gem and Waugh Lake is closed.
Not anymore! :)

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Re: Ansel Adams Wilderness - August 2017

Post by maverick » Thu Jul 27, 2017 11:34 am

2) Snow Conditions near Minaret, Cecile, and Iceberg Lakes: I already figure that these lakes will at least be surrounded by snow, if not still unfreezing come mid August, but has anyone successfully passed through this section, in either direction, recently? I've been told that when there is snow, it's better to go North-to-South. Considering this would make our trip into a figure-8 shape, I'm hoping this isn't necessary, but I'm open to suggestions. I'm also open to the idea of skipping this scenic detour and just staying on the JMT all the way to Tuolumne Meadows. But the lakes and scenery up there are so enticing!
http://www.highsierratopix.com/communit ... 60#p123460
Professional Sierra Landscape Photographer

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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