Backpacking in Desolation the first week of June

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skimfire
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Backpacking in Desolation the first week of June

Post by skimfire » Mon May 10, 2010 12:03 am

Hello,
I am planning a trip for the early June in western desolation lakes. I am hoping to leave from Van Vleck trailhead and hit the No. 3,4, and 5 lakes and possibly make it to Lawrence and top lake. Does anyone have any advice for the trip? How much snow do you think Ill encounter and do you think it will be a problem? I put in for the time off a while back and want to get in early but don't want it to hinder the trip.Thanks
Kevin








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Re: Backpacking in Desolation the first week of June

Post by windknot » Mon May 10, 2010 2:52 pm

I'm not sure about western Desolation in early June this year, and I'd venture to guess that most of the lakes you've named will still be frozen, with many if not all trails still covered in snow. I would wait to see if some of the other members who have hiked in this area in the early season respond, but based on reports I've read from other backpackers I think after a heavier winter like this one it'll be hard to access Desolation from Van Vleck until late June at the earliest. As a point of reference, I believe Giantbrookie did a trip out of Van Vleck in early July of 2005 (another heavy snow year) and found a lot of snow with many of the lakes having just thawed.
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Re: Backpacking in Desolation the first week of June

Post by TahoeJeff » Mon May 10, 2010 4:51 pm

I'm not familiar with that trailhead and those lakes, but I can tell you here at So Lake Tahoe it is a blizzard out right now and there is 2 inches of fresh snow. We've dubbed it The Never Ending Winter! Ice out at my favorite lakes keeps getting pushed back later and later.
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Re: Backpacking in Desolation the first week of June

Post by giantbrookie » Mon May 10, 2010 9:12 pm

I went out of Van Vleck and did Shadow, Huth, Highland, Horseshoe, McConnell, Schmidell, Top, Lawrence and No.3 on a loop trip from July 8 to July 11, 2005. This was a heavy snowfall year (a bit heavier than this year). This was a trip that found many of the lakes just thawed and it was largely a cross country trip hiking across snow. This year there won't be very many lakes in the Desolation area thawed as of early June. You best bets are the very low west flank lakes out of Loon: Buck Island, Rockbound et al. These are always the earliest lakes to thaw in this area owing to their low elevation and open exposure. We visited these lakes on June 8, 1996 (probably a fairly comparable year, but I'd have to check the historical snow course measurements to confirm this) and found them thawed. Buck Island had been thawed for some time, and I noted that Rockbound may have thawed out two weeks earlier.
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Re: Backpacking in Desolation the first week of June

Post by TahoeJeff » Tue May 11, 2010 1:25 pm

Well, we ended up with 4"-6" at lake level, more probably higher up. Yes, it is melting fast where there was bare ground, but higher where there is still a snow pack, it's deeper now.
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Re: Backpacking in Desolation the first week of June

Post by hikerduane » Tue May 11, 2010 6:53 pm

I'm thinking there is going to be lots of snow, not like some heavy snowfall years though, even where I live, the roads aren't clear that far up, but melting fast. I took my dirt bike out Sunday and could only get a couple miles from home. It is only the 11th, end of the month isn't that far off.
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Re: Backpacking in Desolation the first week of June

Post by skimfire » Sun May 16, 2010 12:45 am

Thank you for all your responses. I have only backpacking for a few years and figured there would be snow; however, it looks like it is way early. I will have to plan for the bucks island and rockbound region, which I have heard about never visited. I can't wait to get up in the hills so it will be a great trip. Are there any other spots within 4 or so hours from Sacramento? I love this site, everyone seems so passionate about fishing and backpacking! Thanks for all the info....

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Re: Backpacking in Desolation the first week of June

Post by balzaccom » Sun May 16, 2010 6:13 am

Try Hite Cove on the road into Yosemite. There are photos on our site ( check the blog) about this trip. Very nice, and low elevation. And you should also be able to do Rancheria Falls in Hetch Hetchy...
Balzaccom

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