Plan B due to snow in the Lake Tahoe area

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ksluyter
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Re: Plan B due to snow in the Lake Tahoe area

Post by ksluyter » Fri Jul 05, 2019 9:24 am

Wow! You folks are great! Thank you so much for the suggestions. I am looking into all of them.

Do you have any opinions on the Lakes Basic Recreation Area? That is one of our potential Plan B areas, but I'm just not sure if there enough trails and enough allowable camp spots for 5 days.

Also, what about Loon Lake up to Rubicon Reservoir and over to Camper Flats? Does that area get/have less snow that the other side of the crest?








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Re: Plan B due to snow in the Lake Tahoe area

Post by ksluyter » Fri Jul 05, 2019 12:07 pm

SSSdave wrote:
Wed Jul 03, 2019 9:24 pm
Planning Sierra Nevada trips into higher elevations is a gamble any year before late July. You could easily do your trip hiking that much each day but it would not be in wilderness but rather on national forests lands in boring mid elevation mosquitoey forest without alpine lakes. Most worthwhile places people with "lakeitis" go to are and will be under snow with lakes frozen over. You ought to look at the thread linked below and figure out how to use caltopo dot com maps as it will give you a better idea of what is possible by avoiding much snow or high stream crossing. Switch between Weekly Hi-Res satellite and topo modes to understand where things are as switching between modes retains map registration.

viewtopic.php?f=34&t=19598

Most lakes people backpack to in the Sierra are at highest elevations because they are depressions left in bedrock from glaciers tens of thousands of years ago at highest areas where lots of snow fell. Looking at today's image, it appears the very popular Velma Lakes doesn't have much snow left and trails still with snow are going to trampled during this holiday week. So to fill up 4 days easily, you could certainly go there stumbling through minor areas of snow on the trails and then take the trail down to Upper Rubican River areas staying down in the bottom of the canyon. To avoid people go to the lower lake. Velma Lakes with Tahoe in the background:



Image
SSSDave, one of our ideas was going from Loon Lake up to Rubicon Reservoir, then up to Camper Flat and around that loop including Horseshoe Lake and Lake Scmidell. Do you think it's possible to continue on over to the Velma Lakes from there? When you say to go to the lower lake to avoid people, are you talking about Lower Velma Lake? If we did this, we would end up coming out near Emerald Bay. What would be a good shuttle option? Thanks again!

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Re: Plan B due to snow in the Lake Tahoe area

Post by ksluyter » Fri Jul 05, 2019 12:14 pm

brianA wrote:
Thu Jul 04, 2019 8:49 am
We train every year in the Tahoe area for our summer backpack trips. We've been hard pressed to find any trails free of snow. So far the only one has been the Tahoe Rim Trail out of Tahoe City toward Watson Lake. I can't for the life of me think of any 30 mile loop trails free of snow. But if you can do a car to car (car to Uber?), you might be able to do a couple of Tahoe Rim Trail segments on the eastern side. You'll still hit a few snow patches. If you're interested, here's the TRT trail condition website. It's too bad because there are some killer loop trails up on the west side (snow side). IMO, Lake Aloha ranks up with Thousand Island Lake on the PCT for beauty. Not to mention Lake Fontanillis, and Falls. Just talked to a through hiker yesterday near Donner, and he said Aloha was completely covered in snow.

https://tahoerimtrail.org/current-trail-conditions/
brianA, we have been looking at the Tahoe Rim Trail, but wanted more of a wilderness experience, without road crossings and tons of people. Can we find this experience on the Tahoe Rim Trail? Are there sections that are better than others for view and less people? Our route does not have to be completely free of snow, we just don't want to be post-holing nor sleeping on snow.

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Re: Plan B due to snow in the Lake Tahoe area

Post by ksluyter » Fri Jul 05, 2019 12:16 pm

rightstar76 wrote:
Thu Jul 04, 2019 9:58 am
Hi ksluyter. A 30 mile loop in Desolation next week without snow is out of the question. But the snow is melting on the east side of Lake Tahoe and by the time of your trip, it will probably not be an issue. As brianA pointed out, the TRT on the east side works well for car shuttles and taxi/uber/lyft.

For example, you could hike south from Heavenly Ski Resort (Kingsbury South Trailhead) to Star Lake: https://tahoerimtrail.org/wp-content/up ... _BM_19.pdf and if the snow is minimal, you could continue further south to Big Meadow Trailhead and Dardanelle Lake: https://tahoerimtrail.org/wp-content/up ... _EL_19.pdf

You can then car shuttle or taxi/uber/lyft back to your starting point. Also, check out wildhiker's suggestion: http://highsierratopix.com/community/vi ... 45#p146645

Enjoy!
rightstar, this is the exact section of the Tahoe Rim Trail we were considering. How would you rate it for views, lack of people and wilderness experience? Is there cell service in that area to get a Lyft/Uber ride at the end, since we might not know where we'll end up, with the snow conditions.

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Re: Plan B due to snow in the Lake Tahoe area

Post by ksluyter » Fri Jul 05, 2019 12:33 pm

wildhiker wrote:
Thu Jul 04, 2019 11:22 pm
I'm seeing a date of July 4 for the high-res satellite imagery (Sentinel program) on Caltopo today. Here's a false-color version with OpenStreetMap roads and trails and contour lines composite centered on Lake Tahoe. Pan and zoom to check out the snow in different areas. Snow shows as a very light cyan color. Some forested areas are speckled with this color, indicating snow pack under the trees. Other high forest areas may also have some snow that doesn't show in this satellite view.

https://caltopo.com/map.html#ll=39.0912 ... &a=c%2Cmba

My prior suggestion for the Carson Range in Lake Tahoe Nevada State Park shows almost entirely snow free. It also looks like there are only snow patches on the Phipps Pass trail that connects Stony Ridge Lake (mentioned by TahoeJeff) to Velma Lakes (mentioned by SSSDave). Looks to me like it wouldn't be too hard to do a one-way shuttle trip from Meeks Bay to Emerald Bay using this pass. If you don't have two cars, check if the "Tahoe Trolley" is running - it normally can get you from Emerald Bay back to Meeks Bay several times per day.

Be prepared for lots of mosquitoes!

-Phil
Phil,
Thank you, thank you, thank you!!! That snow map is fantastic and it really helps to figure out where to go, and where not to go. I need to figure out how to use that mapping system. As we get closer to our blast off date, I'll need to go back to that map and see what has changed, snow-wise.

Do you know of any shuttles that could take us from Meeks Bay or Emerald Bay over to Loon Lake. We might start at Loon and end at either Meeks or Emerald. We only have one car.

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Re: Plan B due to snow in the Lake Tahoe area

Post by rightstar76 » Fri Jul 05, 2019 3:12 pm

ksluyter wrote:
Fri Jul 05, 2019 12:16 pm
rightstar76 wrote:
Thu Jul 04, 2019 9:58 am
Hi ksluyter. A 30 mile loop in Desolation next week without snow is out of the question. But the snow is melting on the east side of Lake Tahoe and by the time of your trip, it will probably not be an issue. As brianA pointed out, the TRT on the east side works well for car shuttles and taxi/uber/lyft.

For example, you could hike south from Heavenly Ski Resort (Kingsbury South Trailhead) to Star Lake: https://tahoerimtrail.org/wp-content/up ... _BM_19.pdf and if the snow is minimal, you could continue further south to Big Meadow Trailhead and Dardanelle Lake: https://tahoerimtrail.org/wp-content/up ... _EL_19.pdf

You can then car shuttle or taxi/uber/lyft back to your starting point. Also, check out wildhiker's suggestion: http://highsierratopix.com/community/vi ... 45#p146645

Enjoy!
rightstar, this is the exact section of the Tahoe Rim Trail we were considering. How would you rate it for views, lack of people and wilderness experience? Is there cell service in that area to get a Lyft/Uber ride at the end, since we might not know where we'll end up, with the snow conditions.
Ksluyter, about cell phone service:
https://tahoerimtrail.org/backpacking-t ... 727fb-6b38
Note: If you can't get a signal at Big Meadow Trailhead you could always hitch a ride to South Lake Tahoe and then get a Lyft/Uber back to your car.

The best views of Tahoe, are from Kingsbury North to Spooner Summit and then beyond which is wildhiker's suggestion. Those two segments are not as good for backpacking, in my opinion, as the ones I suggested, but they make for excellent day hikes. The views on the segments I suggested are subalpine and on the Star Lake segment include views of Carson Valley. As far as solitude goes, you'll probably have more on the Star Lake segment, but not as much on the segment from Big Meadow Trailhead. The upside is most people go to Round Lake and not Dardanelle Lake.

From what you've posted, it appears you really want to visit the Desolation Wilderness, so I would go for it. If you can't get a permit, well, you have a decent alternative.

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Re: Plan B due to snow in the Lake Tahoe area

Post by ksluyter » Sat Jul 06, 2019 8:56 am

Rightstar, thank you for the info on Tahoe Rim Trail. It's true, we really do want to stay in the Desolation Wilderness if at all possible. We have a permit, but we'll see if the snow will allow us to use it.

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Re: Plan B due to snow in the Lake Tahoe area

Post by scap » Tue Jul 09, 2019 10:51 am

I used Uber last year to shuttle myself back and forth when I did a trip starting in Meeks bay and ending at the alpine trailhead. You might need to pre schedule a ride as reception is not very good but worked with no hassle. Also I encountered very few people on that trip and was surprised by how great the views were.

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Re: Plan B due to snow in the Lake Tahoe area

Post by PointeAuBaril » Mon Jul 22, 2019 1:16 pm

We are beginning at the Glen Alpine trailhead on July 24th and heading to Gilmore Lake for a night, then to Lake Aloha via Tahoe Rim trail for the second night, then hiking out along the Tamarack Lake trail, back to Glen Alpine trailhead. Has anyone been through this area in the last week or so? Ranger station said that most of the snow is patchy and melting quickly, but didn't know much about stream crossings. Hopefully we don't encounter anything impassable.

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Re: Plan B due to snow in the Lake Tahoe area

Post by SSSdave » Mon Jul 22, 2019 3:54 pm

The only large stream is out of Susie that has a log jam crossing below the outlet. By now ought not be an issue. My own trip in that basin is in a few days. Latest caltopo High Res image shows remaining snow along that route patchy. Most lake side areas of that zone melted out a week or two ago so greenery and wildflowers ought to have enough days to now be out in force especially heathers, monkeyfowers, shooting stars, and buttercups.

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