Rae Lakes loop: Upper Paradise Valley bridge damaged

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Phiker
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Rae Lakes loop: Upper Paradise Valley bridge damaged

Post by Phiker » Thu May 25, 2017 5:41 pm

Got this email from SEKI:

"You have a wilderness permit reservation that has an entry via the Woods or Bubbs Creek trail and has the South Fork Crossing on the Woods Creek Trail as part of your route.The foot bridge across the South Fork of the Kings River in Upper Paradise Valley was severely damaged over the winter and has fallen into the water. The bridge is not safe to cross and the remaining bridge structure is very unstable. There are no other developed crossings in the area and visitors who intended to use the bridge should adjust their plans. If you have further questions please feel free to contact us."

Thoughts? My permit is for early July. Any chance they might rebuild the bridge in just over a month?

Should I reconsider my trip, change trailhead?








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rlown
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Re: Rae Lakes loop: Upper Paradise Valley bridge damaged

Post by rlown » Thu May 25, 2017 5:49 pm

Call them.. Have the frank discussion about what is open for your target location..

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Re: Rae Lakes loop: Upper Paradise Valley bridge damaged

Post by sambieni » Thu May 25, 2017 11:18 pm

I got the same email. Bummer. Fortunately, my buddy also got a permit out of Onion Valley so looking like that may be the route we wind up taking.

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Re: Rae Lakes loop: Upper Paradise Valley bridge damaged

Post by Hobbes » Fri May 26, 2017 4:43 am

Just go in/out via Bubbs. Glen and the lakes are the highlights, so why not do Glen twice? Ditto for Onion - still an in/out covering the best territory.

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Re: Rae Lakes loop: Upper Paradise Valley bridge damaged

Post by Wandering Daisy » Fri May 26, 2017 7:15 am

I crossed years ago before they built the bridge. It was an early season trip and water was high. There used to be a large log that we crossed on. It would submerge later in the day but be above water in the morning. I actually took crampons on that climbing trip and used the crampons to cross on the slippery log! Not saying that I suggest others do this, or that the log is still there, but the Rae Lakes loop has been done for many years without that bridge. I wonder if some exploring up or downstream one would find an alternate crossing. Sometimes nature just calls the shots and you have to adjust retreat and adjust your plans. I would think SEKI should refund for the permit in this case, at the least, preferably alter their quotas (wishful thinking) and provide alternate routes or a later date when the stream flow recedes.

I do not see the lack of the bridge as a deal-breaker, but you may not be able to do the route until the water goes down a bit. Same with getting to East Lake- there is not a bridge there and that crossing may not be safe until later this year.

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Re: Rae Lakes loop: Upper Paradise Valley bridge damaged

Post by Hobbes » Fri May 26, 2017 8:19 am

I ran into a day hiking couple who turned back at the N fork of Lone Pine creek because they thought it was flowing too deep/fast. They weren't the only ones - there were 3 hikers standing on the Portal side wondering what to do as I went barging across the submerged rocks on my way back.

And this is a minor creek that was at most 10 feet wide. (Granted, it's steep, so for casual hikers it probably does look sketch.) But the amount of water flowing, and will be flowing for the next few months, is something that should be factored into any hike plan.

S fork Kings? I don't even want to guess.

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Re: Rae Lakes loop: Upper Paradise Valley bridge damaged

Post by sambieni » Fri May 26, 2017 10:18 am

Hobbes wrote:I ran into a day hiking couple who turned back at the N fork of Lone Pine creek because they thought it was flowing too deep/fast. They weren't the only ones - there were 3 hikers standing on the Portal side wondering what to do as I went barging across the submerged rocks on my way back.

And this is a minor creek that was at most 10 feet wide. (Granted, it's steep, so for casual hikers it probably does look sketch.) But the amount of water flowing, and will be flowing for the next few months, is something that should be factored into any hike plan.

S fork Kings? I don't even want to guess.
You're saying fording S. Fork of Kings is not feasible? (Sorry, never been there so do not know terrain).

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Re: Rae Lakes loop: Upper Paradise Valley bridge damaged

Post by chris_f » Fri May 26, 2017 11:48 am

PHiker, I got the same email for my Rae Lakes Loop trip in August. Being that I have never been to SEKI before I'm unfamiliar with that crossing. Tried googling some pictures of the bridge and the river fork "looked" doable as I don't mind getting wet. Definitely will be tuning in to see other's feedback.

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Re: Rae Lakes loop: Upper Paradise Valley bridge damaged

Post by Hobbes » Fri May 26, 2017 1:20 pm

sambieni wrote:You're saying fording S. Fork of Kings is not feasible? (Sorry, never been there so do not know terrain).
The SF Kings is tough enough where the PCT/JMT crosses it near Upper basin early in a normal year. In fact, there's an alternate route that keeps hikers on the east side of the river after crossing it much higher above the runoff from Cardinal lake if the ford is too difficult. But that's up @ 10k before the river even gets add'l tributaries, nor has the velocity it has as it drops below 7k down the Muro Blanco where the bridge is (was) located.

If you check the weather for Mammoth, you'll notice there's a warning posted (that has actually been up for a week now). It reads:

The National Weather Service in Reno has issued a

* small stream flood advisory for...
snowmelt in...
Plumas County in northern California...
Mono County in northern California...
Alpine County in northern California...
El Dorado County in northern California...
Placer County in central California...
Sierra County in northern California...
Nevada County in northern California...
southern Washoe County in western Nevada...
Douglas County in western Nevada...
western Carson City in western Nevada...

* until 830 am PDT Tuesday

* periods of rapid snow melt are likely to continue through the
Memorial Day weekend. This will lead to high flows and minor
flooding near unregulated creeks and streams leading out of the
Sierra.

* The greatest risk for flooding will occur through Thursday morning
and again over the Memorial Day weekend from Saturday to Tuesday
may 30th.

* Daily peak flows on small creeks and streams typically occur
during the evening and overnight hours.

Precautionary/preparedness actions...

Creeks and streams will run fast and very cold, bringing the risk of
hypothermia for those without protective gear. Those with plans to
Camp in the Sierra over the Memorial Day weekend should be prepared
to quickly leave Creek Side campsites. Hikers will want to be
cautious while trying to cross creeks and streams.


The above is for generic creeks where the majority of day trippers travel. They don't need to put out an advisory for the major Calif rivers at their sources in the Sierra - it's a priori self evident.

I would imagine anyone showing up to do the Rae lakes loop over the next 2 months should be prepared for an in/out up Bubbs. Only if, after checking with a ranger to get a current situational assessment, they seemed ok with the ford, then I would consider doing the full loop.
Last edited by Hobbes on Fri May 26, 2017 1:29 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Rae Lakes loop: Upper Paradise Valley bridge damaged

Post by schmalz » Fri May 26, 2017 1:28 pm

PCTA is reporting that SEKI told them that both bridges over south fork are damaged. So, the suspension bridge on the JMT appears to be out as well. Wow!
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