Alta Meadow to HST Shortcut. Also Question on Elizabeth Pass during Memorial

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Alta Meadow to HST Shortcut. Also Question on Elizabeth Pass during Memorial

Post by Trailguru » Sun Apr 14, 2019 10:19 pm

https://caltopo.com/l/RDM1

Has anyone ever taken the shortcut from Alta Meadow to the HST? I remember years ago camping by Alta Meadow and wanting to go back there but this time trying to see if we could possibly connect to High Sierra Trail from Alta Meadow (after a summit of Alta Peak)

Also, has anyone ever done Elizabeth Pass in Early Season? This year we plan on going around Memorial Day weekend. I figured Kaweah Gap might be impassable without crampons (or even to get to) but at least Elizabeth Pass with its southern exposure might allow us to at least attain the pass or have most of it melted off by then. Anyone could chime in here?

We plan on going around Memorial Day weekend btw








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Re: Alta Meadow to HST Shortcut. Also Question on Elizabeth Pass during Memorial

Post by balzaccom » Sun Apr 14, 2019 11:09 pm

I imagine with this year's snowpack anything about 10,000 feet will be buried in snow....and Creek crossings in May and June will be dangerous indeed.
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Re: Alta Meadow to HST Shortcut. Also Question on Elizabeth Pass during Memorial

Post by Trailguru » Mon Apr 15, 2019 12:25 am

Yeah totally. Are there any major creek crossings on the way to Hamilton Lake?

I remember going up to Alta Meadow there some where creeks we had to ford but nothing serious and this was in July of 2011 which was another monster year (Of course mid July is much better than end of May in any given year)

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Re: Alta Meadow to HST Shortcut. Also Question on Elizabeth Pass during Memorial

Post by sekihiker » Mon Apr 15, 2019 8:34 am

The bridge across Buck Creek gets washed away now and then. This may be a year when it happens again.

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Re: Alta Meadow to HST Shortcut. Also Question on Elizabeth Pass during Memorial

Post by AlmostThere » Mon Apr 15, 2019 8:41 am

The creek on the trail as you are on the final approach to Hamilton will be impassible that early. If you made it there in the first place - this doesn't sound like a good idea at all, frankly. The north side of Elizabeth will be socked in snow from top to bottom, and the climb up the headwall is too steep to do in snow.

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Re: Alta Meadow to HST Shortcut. Also Question on Elizabeth Pass during Memorial

Post by Wandering Daisy » Mon Apr 15, 2019 10:15 am

What do you mean by "early season"?

I have done Elizabeth Pass July 4th holidays in above average (130%) snowpack. Snow was plenty consolidated on the north side. I did not take traction devices. And if you plan to go from Hamilton Lake to Elizabeth Pass you also have to cross Pine Creek which is also difficult. I waded a ways upstream from the trail crossing and it was crotch deep but not swift. It is really swift at the trail crossing. From Bearpaw if you stay on the higher (northern) trail you avoid that crossing. The mosquitoes were some of the worst I have ever been in down at Ranger Meadow.

Also went into Hamilton 5/25 2001 (67% snowpack). The crossing below Hamilton was difficult for me because I am short.

Also went into Hamilton Lake 5/25 2014, a dry year (33% snowpack) and there was no snow and the creek crossings were trivial.

This year "early season" conditions will be mid-July or later.

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Re: Alta Meadow to HST Shortcut. Also Question on Elizabeth Pass during Memorial

Post by oldranger » Mon Apr 15, 2019 10:56 am

Best guess is that even on s. slopes you will have snow at 10,000 feet or even substantially lower on memorial day. Are you planning on going over Elizabeth Pass and down Cloud canyon? If so i would expect solid snow down to Lower Ranger at least and first crossing of Copper Creek will be over a snow bridge and the next lower one may be as well and if so would be a bit dicey for my liking. If no snow bridges the 3 lower fords between Upper Ranger and Roaring river will be interesting if not dangerous. Skiis might be more appropriate for much of your route this year in late may. I skied from Heather Lake to Pear Lake and then on to the Tablelands and over to Crescent Lake in Late June of 83 a 240% year as I recall. I expect at least as much snow this year around Memorial Day as i experienced a month later in 83.
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Re: Alta Meadow to HST Shortcut. Also Question on Elizabeth Pass during Memorial

Post by Trailguru » Mon Apr 15, 2019 12:18 pm

oldranger wrote:
Mon Apr 15, 2019 10:56 am
Best guess is that even on s. slopes you will have snow at 10,000 feet or even substantially lower on memorial day. Are you planning on going over Elizabeth Pass and down Cloud canyon? If so i would expect solid snow down to Lower Ranger at least and first crossing of Copper Creek will be over a snow bridge and the next lower one may be as well and if so would be a bit dicey for my liking. If no snow bridges the 3 lower fords between Upper Ranger and Roaring river will be interesting if not dangerous. Skiis might be more appropriate for much of your route this year in late may. I skied from Heather Lake to Pear Lake and then on to the Tablelands and over to Crescent Lake in Late June of 83 a 240% year as I recall. I expect at least as much snow this year around Memorial Day as i experienced a month later in 83.
No plans to go over Elizabeth pass this year but just to get to the top of the pass as a final destination. We would count ourselves lucky to be able to make it to just Hamilton lake this year. Since this year's snowpack is close to the '10-'11 year I'm trying to find as much data from similar time periods for memorial day weekend

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Re: Alta Meadow to HST Shortcut. Also Question on Elizabeth Pass during Memorial

Post by Wandering Daisy » Wed Apr 17, 2019 4:23 pm

I really think Memorial Day this year will be too early for your plan. Keweah Gap and Precipice Lake are so scenic that I think it is worth waiting a month so you have a better chance of going up there. Maybe I missed the views, but I did not think Elizabeth Pass views were worth the significant elevation gain to just hike up there as a "destination".

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Re: Alta Meadow to HST Shortcut. Also Question on Elizabeth Pass during Memorial

Post by Trailguru » Wed Apr 17, 2019 4:38 pm

Anyone have any info on going from Alta Meadow and short cutting it across to the HST?

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