Benson Lake?

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Sjaxon1
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Benson Lake?

Post by Sjaxon1 » Sun Jan 20, 2019 9:29 am

Looks like we are looking for nearly the same information. I am looking to complete the Benson Lake trail and I’m wondering how much snow will be left on June 2019. Has anyone tried the Benson Lake trail early in the season? My staring point will be out of Twin Lakes.








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Re: Benson Lake?

Post by Wandering Daisy » Sun Jan 20, 2019 10:51 am

Here are photos of Mule Pass, June 28 2008. The Mule Pass/Burro Pass/ Matterhorn route is very scenic. Stream crossings are swift and difficult and be more of a problem than snow. I would not do this route at peak runoff. Hard to say if this years snowpack/melt will be similar to 2008. This route is longer, and done if you want to do a longer loop rather than in-and-out. Also, the mosquitoes were horrible on this trip and the trail was very soggy. Probably would avoid mosquitoes early June, but more snow.
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If you in-and-out Rock Island Pass and drop to Kerrick Creek, you will have less snow. The crossing on the PCT north of Seavy Pass is notoriously difficult early season. I do not have photos of Rock Island Pass, but here is a shot down to nearby Rock Island Lake, June 29 2008.
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Just looked up 2007-8 snowpack, it was normal with an early melt- pretty similar to what this year is looking like, so far.
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Re: Benson Lake?

Post by bobby49 » Sun Jan 20, 2019 12:01 pm

There are lots of places like this that have snow and water problems in early June, but by late June get more normal. You really have to watch the snow reports during the winter season, and then you can start to guess whether the snow will melt off early or melt off late.

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Re: Benson Lake?

Post by Sjaxon1 » Fri Feb 01, 2019 10:57 am

Amazing pictures and great information. Thanks so much.

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Re: Benson Lake?

Post by Wandering Daisy » Fri Feb 01, 2019 2:23 pm

A big storm is moving into northern California this weekend. They are predicting from 5-9 FEET :eek: of snow in northern Yosemite high country. As of today, before the storm, we are at about normal snowpack. Check the CDEC snow website in a few weeks to see what actually happened.

Although longer, you can also get to Benson Lake on the PCT from Tuolumne Meadows. More river crossings but you do avoid the worst one, Kerrick Creek. The PCT does not go much higher then 9400 feet, whereas Rock Island Pass is 10200. Another advantage is that you can stay at Glen Aulin and do a day-hike down to Waterwheel Falls. But it would be an in-and-out. You can do nice loops from Twin Lakes.

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Re: Benson Lake?

Post by Sjaxon1 » Fri Feb 01, 2019 6:34 pm

Yeah. That is actually my plan. I want to do the longer loop heading over mule pass and burro pass, hitting as many lakes as possible along the way.
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Re: Benson Lake?

Post by Wandering Daisy » Sat Feb 02, 2019 9:31 pm

CCC crew was working on Mule Pass this fall when I passed them in late Sept. The south-facing side should be almost snow-free and hopefully all the trail work will reduce erosion during the melt. There will likely be some snow on the north side of Burro Pass. You should take a side trip to a view Maltby and Ice Lakes. Although stunning, would not recommend coming x-c all the way down from Maltby early season as crossing the creek would be very difficult. You will have lots of wading streams so bring good wading shoes. Trekking poles also recommended for the snow. Lots of mosquito repellant and absolutely take a HEAD NET!

Good loop. On my 2008 end of June trip I went off-trail from Rock Island Pass, by Rock Island Lake and then steep slabs to Piute Creek by Bath Mountain (mosquitoes horrible here) and then up Camp Creek, Tallulah Lake, meeting the PCT at Wilson Creek. Matterhorn Creek was about a knee-deep wade; you cross it several times going up. Great camping in Matterhorn Canyon at 10,000 a bit off the trail to the south. Even some good trees for shelter. This fall I went from Saddlebag Lake to Twin Lakes. I did a trip report of my trip this last fall. You may want to look at that- posted about early October 2018.
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Re: Benson Lake?

Post by giantbrookie » Sat Feb 02, 2019 9:56 pm

Not that this makes too much of a difference in your game plan, but do you have the flexibility to choose a different entry point? Getting in there from Virginia Lakes may be more efficient. Remember, that whichever way you approach early season, that it is not just snow over the high points to be concerned about, but it is stream crossings as well.
Since my fishing (etc.) website is still down, you can be distracted by geology stuff at: http://www.fresnostate.edu/csm/ees/facu ... ayshi.html" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

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Re: Benson Lake?

Post by Wandering Daisy » Sun Feb 03, 2019 8:32 am

Virginia Lakes TH is closest entry to Matterhorn Canyon, but not as efficient for a loop as Twin Lakes TH. If all you wanted to do was in-and-out to Benson AND avoid the Kerrick crossing, then, yes, Virginia Lakes is a good TH to use.

A few early PCT hikers may be up there by late June. Check the PCT websites a week before you go. The CDEC (California Data Exchange) website has peak flow predictions, and although none specifically for that area, you can get an idea of when peak flows are expected. CDEC also is where you get daily snowpack and snowmelt conditions.

http://www.trailjournals.com/journal/entry/594048
This one guys PCT journal for 2018- the day he crossed Kerrick Creek in mid-June.

https://www.cnrfc.noaa.gov/awipsProducts/RNOHFSSPK.php

This website has 2019 predicted peak snowmelt date; 10% (early date) in the first column, most probable in second column, and a 10% chance of the latest date of peak flow in the third column. These are updated daily. The Walker River location is a good one to look at. Although these locations are downstream of the mountains, it is a good approximation. Once peak flow is reached, it takes a week or so to start going down.

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Re: Benson Lake?

Post by SSSdave » Sun Feb 03, 2019 11:36 am

Early trips this year are looking at adjustments. In case any are still wondering, I think with the next 2 storms forecast to add up to another 6 FEET at crest areas, we can now proclaim the winter of 2019 BIG.

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