2014 Backcountry Conditions Reports

Questions and reports related to Sierra Nevada current and forecast conditions, as well as general precautions and safety information. Trail conditions, fire/smoke reports, mosquito reports, weather and snow conditions, stream crossing information, and more.
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New Army Pass 6/6-6/8

Post by Talimon » Sun Jun 08, 2014 10:11 pm

New army pass 6/6-8

Cornice covering about two switchbacks, 30 ft or so. Easy to descend, but going up might be a challenge without picks. Although I saw a trail runner ascend it fairly easily, so it can be done.

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Bishop Pass 6/7

Post by calipidder » Mon Jun 09, 2014 9:00 am

Bishop Pass - June 7.

The switchbacks on the N side were still snow covered enough that most people were heading straight up the snow-filled chute to their left. Traction devices appreciated but not absolutely necessary unless crossing in the morning when still crusty. Snow was softening enough by mid day that there are plenty of deep footprints and post holes to follow. Melting super fast - I'm sure the trail will be melted out enough within a week or two that the direct snow ascent won't be necessary.

Large snow fields above the switchbacks to the pass proper. Lots of postholing in the midday sun. Can be avoided by circling around using exposed rock piles. No significant snow blockage on the trail on the S side of the pass heading down into Dusy Basin.

Lakes are mostly melted out, at least enough to fish and fill water bottles from shore.

Snow covered switchbacks:

Chute to the left (east) of switchbacks that most people were ascending - switchbacks and trail is out of the shot to the left of the chute in this photo.


Snowfields on the pass:


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Humphreys Basin and Puppet Lake area 6/13-16

Post by tomba » Wed Jun 18, 2014 11:22 pm

Route: Piute Pass; Lakes: Summit, Muriel, Golden Trout, Lower Desolation, Desolation, Tomahawk, Mesa; Puppet Pass; Lakes: Roget, Paris, Alsace, Chevaux, Puppet, Star, Rust; Steelhead Pass; Lakes: Humphreys, Marmot, Cony.

There was small amount of unavoidable snow at higher elevations of this route. Lakes above about 11,300 ft mostly frozen, lakes below mostly thawed. Piute Pass had snow easily bypassed on the right when coming from east. Puppet pass had no snow on the steeper west side, minimal snow on the easy gentle east side. Steelhead pass had no snow on east side, but had some snow on wast side and our climb turned out to be class 3 (using hands), but we never had to take packs off. We used trekking poles.
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Bishop Pass 6/19

Post by maiathebee » Thu Jun 19, 2014 9:49 pm

Bishop Pass 6/19/14

Three lingering unavoidable snowfields. Two are not steep and are very easy to cross. One on the switchbacks is about 40 degrees angle and a fall would have you sliding down far. It's short, though. Climbing around isn't advised since it's in the rockfall area and the talus is loose. One trekking pole is all the gear you need.
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Piute Pass>San Joaquin Bridge 6/19-6/21

Post by Backpackingmom » Tue Jun 24, 2014 8:56 am

Piute Pass to San Joaquin JMT/PCT Bridge

Hey fellow backpackers. We took a 38 mile 3-day trip (training for the Colorado Trail) and had gorgeous weather and great conditions.

Piute Pass: Snow field almost gone. Probably about 400 feet of sun cups. Easily navigated around 11 am - noon. Snow was soft but firm.

Lakes: All lakes had no ice or snow!

JMT/PCT San Joaquin Bridge: Some skeeters (I posted a Mosquito trip report) about a 2.5 here, some feet needed. Also, this are is SUPER crowded as the PCTers are coming thru!

Great trip!!

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Desolation Wldrns (Middle Velma & Schmiddell) 6/17 - 6/20

Post by Kent » Thu Jun 26, 2014 3:12 pm

Trail is dry and in good condition almost everywhere thru trail jctn at the Rubicon...only a few exceptions. However the upper ~2/3 of the Blakely Trail to Schmidell has numerous portions with runoff on the trail. (Lots of skeeters this section too 3-4; will post this to other thread too).


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Re: 2014 Backcountry Conditions Reports

Post by maverick » Thu Jun 26, 2014 3:21 pm

Hi Kent,

Welcome to HST! Thank you for your report, and also for passing along this information
to your fellow HST members! :thumbsup:
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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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Crest M>Precipice>9 Lakes>Lonely Lake>Tablelands 6/24-6/29

Post by Wandering Daisy » Mon Jun 30, 2014 1:33 pm

Crescent Meadow-Big Five Lakes, return via Tablelands to Wolverton TH. 6/24- 6/29.

NO snow, except a small patch on the little lake on the top of the Tablelands, very small patch at Precipice Lake.

Incredibly low water in creeks. More like late August conditions. The water is already late season warm - (confirmed with a jump into the lakes each night). No crossing more than knee deep (and I am short!)- most ankle deep (would run through if my shoes did not have so many holes).

Very warm days, even at 11,000 feet. Trail already dusty.

Although not as brilliant as in a normal year, the wildflowers are in full bloom. HST from Hamilton Lake to Nine Lakes Basin is full of wildflowers.
Last edited by maverick on Fri Jul 04, 2014 3:12 pm, edited 2 times in total.
Reason: Added date

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East Ridge of Mt. Brewer 7/4-7/6

Post by orbitor » Mon Jul 07, 2014 11:46 am

Route taken: Onion Valley - Kearsarge Basin - Vidette Meadow - Bubbs Creek - East Lake, then reverse

Difficult section encountered: Bubbs Creek flowing strong at 8200 ft at beginning of July. Accessing the trail to East Lake requires fording the stream. Crossing on rocks or logs is not possible. Must take boots off and wade to the other side. Water level is about knee to thigh high in deepest section.

Special equipment needed/used: Trekking poles, walking stick or anything else that can be used for balance. The current is strong and destabilizing without additional leverage. Can cross barefoot, but water shoes or sandals would make stepping easier and more secure.

Possible alternative routes: None. Crossing the stream here is the only way to get on the trail to East Lake.
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Rock Creek 7/5

Post by SSSdave » Mon Jul 07, 2014 1:46 pm


Rock Creek July 5, 2014. Was about Box Lake when from a rib above the lake heard splashing below. Looking down in an area with lots of water grass, saw something big, colored tan brown like a deer, but fatter. Thar be a BEAR ! Yes a young bear trying to take a shortcut across a channel separating arms of the lake was apparently not too keen on swimming so after it got tangled up in the grass where the lake got deeper, it turned around and make great splashing noises bounding back to shore. Tried to put my 55-210 APS-C lens on quickly for a video but was all over too quickly. First bear I've ever seen about Rock Creek and also never saw so many day hikers there, quite the zoo, as it was the holiday weekend. So yeah bear canister land now.
Last edited by maverick on Mon Jul 07, 2014 1:49 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Reason: Subject Title Changed/Dates Added

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