2019 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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looks easy from here
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Re: 2019 Backcountry Conditions Reports

Post by looks easy from here » Tue Jun 18, 2019 5:25 pm

That makes a lot more sense than Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee. Thanks.








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AlmostThere
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Lake Edison and environs, June 18

Post by AlmostThere » Tue Jun 18, 2019 7:41 pm

On a trail crew outing - we scouted Bear Ridge, Mono Creek trails, and did some saw work today before coming home.

Snow line is app. 8300-8600 feet. Driving over Kaiser Pass we saw banks between 6 ft -12 ft deep, as we dropped elevation patchy snow and then none. No snow around Edison. Devil's Bathtub and Graveyard Lakes still frozen, per four climbers returning as we were sawing a tree, and they report creek crossings were sketchy. Cold Creek impassible to anyone valuing their life.... not even sure how those guys made it across, it was a torrent at the bridge on Mono Creek trail.

Vermillion is running the small boat on demand only - not enough PCT hikers to make the big ferry worthwhile yet.

Some of the staff out there are predicting peak melt in about 10 days. The daily thunder/lightning storms are awesome. We'll go back with crosscuts in July when the snow is gone and we can cross creeks with a saw and other tools safely.

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Kennedy Meadows Day Hikes 6/20-6/23

Post by Wandering Daisy » Sun Jun 23, 2019 8:32 pm

6/20-23 trips out of Kennedy Meadows

Route taken: Kennedy Meadows to Kennedy Lake (7000 feet), to Relief Reservoir (7200 feet), to Lunch Meadow (8600 feet), Emigrant Wilderness. The purpose of the trip was simply to check things out.

Creeks are running high- was not able to cross Kennedy Creek to get into Soda Creek. Grouse Creek on the main trail near Relief Reservoir was a very wide but shallow wade across. Falls above really going strong. Relief Reservoir is nice and high. I would not cross Summit Creek although maybe someone taller would. Lewis Creek is also running high.

No snow all the way to Kennedy Lake, which is murky now due to all the runoff. Several side creeks along the trail running. A CCC crew was working on the trail. Frosted the night of 6/20. NO MOSQUITOES! :) Fishing horrible. Wildflowers in full bloom. So green and beautiful. The trail down low to the Kennedy Lake junction is actually dry and dusty.

Relief Reservoir high. A real zoo with tons of people. Very windy, fishing horrible. Fairly warm at night. No snow.

The trail from Relief Reservoir to the confluence of Lewis Creek and Summit Creek was dry. Snow patch in shade at Saucer Meadow was too icy so I sloshed though the swamp. Returning today, the snow was soft enough to walk on. Snow patches started to appear. Steep snow on the trail where it goes up the cliffs to Sheep Camp was not safe, so I took a melted out steep dirt gully to the left. An amazing difference once up to Sheep Camp and Lunch Meadow- about 95% snow in the valley and on north facing slopes, whereas the south facing (dark rock) slope was nearly dry. The snow is deep- 2-5 feet with big drifts. Smaller scale sun cups- nothing too horrible yet. The snow is hard and solid to walk on (at least before 3PM). Got slippery in afternoon, but did not post-hole. Summit Creek is undercutting the snow along the banks, so not safe to approach the creek to fish, except where a few gravel bars are melted out. I only saw faint tracks of what maybe snowshoes. I was the only one up there.

I wished I had brought traction (crampons or microspikes) and ice axe if I wanted to go up the steeper slopes. Trekking poles needed for the snow. I had to wait until about 9AM before I could safely make a kick-step in the snow.

Not sure why but there were huge organized groups of kids going in and out of Kennedy Lake. Relief Reservoir seems to be party central for the 20-something crowd. I do not think there are trail quotas on those trails out of Kennedy Meadows.
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Sonora Peak 6/22-6/23

Post by Flamingo » Sun Jun 23, 2019 10:31 pm

June 22-23 -- I climbed Sonora Peak and car-camped at Sardine Meadow; I'll post a longer TR in another thread.
At Sonora Pass, the PCT trailhead is still closed under snow drifts up to 2 feet deep. However, there are plenty of pull-out areas for parking. North-facing slopes held deep snow drifts down to 8800', but most south-facing slopes are dry. Overall, the snow was very compact and made for easy travel, despite the endless sun cups. For my climb up Sonora Peak, I packed snowshoes and crampons, but used neither -- I remained in running shoes all day. On the west side of Sonora Pass, Chipmunk Flat is melted out, and several groups were taking advantage of those sweet dispersed sites along Deadman Creek.
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Hatch and Sportsman Lake 6/22-6/23

Post by oddtiger » Mon Jun 24, 2019 10:40 am

June 22-23 Did a weekend warm-up trip with my daughters and dog for the incoming short summer. We hiked up to Hatch lake and Sportsman lake (2 miles along the Swamp lake OHV route and 2 miles off-trail) near Dinkey Lakes Wilderness. Hatch lake is 80% frozen at 8926ft and Sportsman lake is 100% ice-covered at 9254ft. Snow on the north-faced slope starts around 8500ft. Falling trees/snow on many sections of dirt roads. Kids (4 yo and almost 6 yo) were in beast-mode walking on snow/water off trail.

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Pine Creek/Granite Park/Royce Lakes 6/18-6/21

Post by andyehrenberg » Mon Jun 24, 2019 6:35 pm

Pine Creek Pass, Granite Park, Royce Lakes (June 18-21).

The snow up to Pine Creek Pass is not an issue, but the creek crossing was a bit dicey. Ended up finding some decent logs for balance about 200 feet up from where the trail normally crosses. Past Honeymoon Lake, the terrain is almost all suncupped snow, getting too soft to move quickly on (in crampons or microspikes) by noon. Similar conditions at Royce Lakes, but we were able to find dry camp sites in both Granite Park, and Royce Lakes.

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Piute Pass 6/23

Post by maverick » Tue Jun 25, 2019 12:30 pm

Elizabeth Wenk posted on SNCC-TPP:
I hiked up Piute Pass today and continued west to a knob above Muriel Lake. Conditions on the east side are: tiny snow patches by 10,200, on-and-off snow patches above 10,600 (headwall below Loch Leven), and 70%+ snow cover above 10,850 feet. Snow just starting to suncup, but mostly still fast walking, even in the afternoon. Mostly not deep (1-3 feet) and melting fast, so a lot more will be gone within 1-2 weeks. The west side is 95% snow cover in flatter terrain, with just sand or rock ribs starting to melt out. Looking west, it seems (my guess) that there will be a lot of bare ground up to around Hutchinson Meadow - except maybe in dense forest patches. The two panoramas are looking west from Muriel Lake.
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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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Matterhorn Peak 6/23-6/24

Post by maverick » Tue Jun 25, 2019 12:41 pm

Gabrielle Stadem posted on SNCC-TPP:
Matterhorn Peak 6/23-6/24 via South East Slope
Great conditions for a spring alpine climb!

Snow level starts around 9,000' /4 mile in from Twin Lakes. Crampons and ice ax recommend for an early morning climb, might be able to get away with microspikes or snowshoes later in the day with softer snow. South face of Matterhorn was pretty much melted out except for a few small snowfields.
No issues with stream crossings but many of the creeks are under quickly melting snow bridges- use caution if you have to cross.

We did this as an overnight and found dry campsites just before the false pass. More camping available in the upper canyon but plan on snow. Hoover Wilderness overnight permit quotas go into effect on Friday though, so be sure to check in with the Bridgeport ranger district for more info.
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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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Re: Hatch and Sportsman Lake 6/22-6/23

Post by windknot » Thu Jun 27, 2019 3:09 pm

oddtiger wrote:
Mon Jun 24, 2019 10:40 am
June 22-23 Did a weekend warm-up trip with my daughters and dog for the incoming short summer. We hiked up to Hatch lake and Sportsman lake (2 miles along the Swamp lake OHV route and 2 miles off-trail) near Dinkey Lakes Wilderness. Hatch lake is 80% frozen at 8926ft and Sportsman lake is 100% ice-covered at 9254ft. Snow on the north-faced slope starts around 8500ft. Falling trees/snow on many sections of dirt roads. Kids (4 yo and almost 6 yo) were in beast-mode walking on snow/water off trail.
Thanks for sharing this report! Was there anyone else there with you at either lake? Satellite images show that the Dinkey Lakes area is just starting to thaw out now but there's still a lot of snow and ice up there.
You can read a few backcountry reports here: http://wanderswithtrout.wordpress.com/

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Re: Hatch and Sportsman Lake 6/22-6/23

Post by oddtiger » Thu Jun 27, 2019 3:53 pm

windknot wrote:
Thu Jun 27, 2019 3:09 pm
oddtiger wrote:
Mon Jun 24, 2019 10:40 am
June 22-23 Did a weekend warm-up trip with my daughters and dog for the incoming short summer. We hiked up to Hatch lake and Sportsman lake (2 miles along the Swamp lake OHV route and 2 miles off-trail) near Dinkey Lakes Wilderness. Hatch lake is 80% frozen at 8926ft and Sportsman lake is 100% ice-covered at 9254ft. Snow on the north-faced slope starts around 8500ft. Falling trees/snow on many sections of dirt roads. Kids (4 yo and almost 6 yo) were in beast-mode walking on snow/water off trail.
Thanks for sharing this report! Was there anyone else there with you at either lake? Satellite images show that the Dinkey Lakes area is just starting to thaw out now but there's still a lot of snow and ice up there.
We only saw one group of 4 over 2 days and they seemed to be disappointed as both lakes were not fishable . Still tons of snow above 9000ft. Most north-facing lakes above 9000ft are probably frozen through July 4th.

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