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Echo Lake 7/12-7/13

Posted: Thu Jul 18, 2019 2:21 pm
by maverick
Posted on SNCC-TPP by Lisa Barboza:
Echo Lake, from Sabrina Lake TH. Lots of snow, many water crossings, crossing Bishop Creek OK but very cold water. Snow and sun cups above 10,500 feet

Sawmill to Kearsarge: 7/10-7/14

Posted: Thu Jul 18, 2019 2:30 pm
by maverick
Posted on SNCC-TPP by Omar Masry:
Went up last Thursday, from Sawmill Pass (near Independence, CA) from the dusty valley floor up to Sawmill Pass and then SOBO on the JMT to Raes Lakes, over Glen Pass and exited Kearsarge Pass on Sunday. You don't need an ice ax or crampons, but still need microspikes for Sawmill and Glen (but not Kearsarge). Rivers are fordable but look for breaks slightly upstream. Mosquitos weren't bad in nearly all spots, but bring DEET or woven clothing-gloves-mask. If you go up Sawmill makes you have plenty of water for the first two hours of climbing. Glen Pass has two traverses; use the upper one. There's a boot track. We went up from Raes Lakes at 4pm and I prefer some slush to ice.

July 2019 Benson Lake Loop - Twin Lakes Trailhead

Posted: Sun Jul 21, 2019 8:01 am
by Sjaxon1
Twin lakes > crown lake > mule pass > burro pass > East Smedgeburge lake > benson pass > seavey pass > Kerri I meadows > peeler lake - July 7 thru July 13

Route: 50 mile loop starting and ending at the Barney Lake trailhead our of Twin Lakes (Bridgeport)

Difficult section encountered on this trip:
- Lost of snow starting at crown lake lasting over mule and burro passes - ice bridge crossings and bouldering required. There are not any marked trails. Cross country required.
- All creek crossings sketchy along the PCT beyond burro pass
- Peeler lake south exit to the Barney lake trail 100% snow covered
- Early morning start need to climb all passes. Snow becomes to soft and ice bridges determinate quickly in the afternoon

Special equipment needed/used:
- Ice Axe
- Crampons
- Trekking Poles

Possible alternative routes:
- None

Horseshoe mdw > Cottonwood Pass > Miter Basin > Cirque Peak > Horseshoe mdw 7/12-7/14

Posted: Sun Jul 21, 2019 4:07 pm
by grutman
Horseshoe meadow - Chicken Spring Lake - Lower Soldier Lake - off-trail to Miter Basin - Sky-Blue Lake - Arc Pass Lake - Miter Basin - Rock Creek - Army Pass trail - Old Army Pass - New Army Pass - Cirque Peak - High Lake - New Army Pass trail - Horseshoe meadow

Difficult section encountered on this trip:
- Snow field in the upper Miter Basin
- Rock Creek crossing easy (meadow north of Rock Creek - Soldier Lake trail)
- Old Army pass: steep snow field, no option
- New Army pass: snow corniches, no option for me (others did this?)
- Cirque Peak access (plateau) and downhill (north face): difficult terrain
- Lots of snow and water near Long Lake

Special equipment needed/used:
- Trekking Poles (I did not go down New Army pass)

Possible alternative routes:
- see TR: Cirque Peak route avoids snow corniches New Army Pass, but difficult terrain (for me: getting there, for others: going down the north face?)

Re: Duck Pass-Pika Lk-Purple Lk-Ram/Franklin Lks-Virginia Lk

Posted: Sun Jul 21, 2019 9:13 pm
by Wandering Daisy
Route taken is a bit scrambled (will explain in trip report)
Duck Pass- Pika Lake- down to PCT, to Purple Lake, up to Ram Lakes, back to Purple Lake, PCT to Virginia Lake, day-hike to upper Ram Lakes and the lower Franklin Lake, back same route.

difficult sections:

Snow chute mid-north shore Duck Lake. I heard many conflicting reports, so since I had no traction or ice axe, I simply detoured over the top of the buttress. This only took about 20 more minutes (each way). Still made it from the outlet of Duck Lake to Duck Pass in one hour. Evidently, the snow section is short, but very steep, and although a track, difficult to get onto the track due to loose wet unstable scree. Heard today (cannot verify) that someone fell and got hurt on it on 7/18. Not sure if it required a rescue.

Franklin Lakes. Getting there from Ram Lakes was blocked by steep snow, although you could probably find a route. I day-hiked from Virginia Lakes and had to go up and down some steep snow patches- not bad without a pack. Trekking poles a must. Crotch deep sun-cups!

The snow is crusty in the morning, a bit slushy by afternoon. The melting edge is unstable, easy to post-hole. Snow that has been walked on enough for tracks (PCT mainly) is icy in mornings. Some very large sun-cups. Even when you do not sink in, the sun-cups make travel difficult. Traction devices may help somewhat only at certain times. Afternoons the snow gets soft enough to ball up traction devices.

Equipment: trekking poles a must for stream crossings. micro-spikes may be useful.

Second hand information: met two fellows who went over McGee Pass. They had ice-axes and crampons/micro-spikes. Said it was really bad- described it by an unprintable swear word.

Tableland 7/18-7/21

Posted: Tue Jul 23, 2019 9:03 am
by tomba
Route taken: Wolverton, Table Meadows, Tableland Pass, the two lakes above Big Bird Lake (WL 10435 T), traverse to the lakes north (WL 10402 T), back to Tableland Pass, along the ridge to the valley NE of Moose Lake, Moose Lake, N then down to Marble Fork Kaweah River near MILE 14 (W from hill 10251 T), and out.

Above the level of Table Meadows there were still many areas of snow, but enough has melted that one could hike on snow free ground most of the time (but not all of the time) if sticking to southerly facing slopes and ridges. The lake at Tableland Pass and lakes WL 10402 T were thawed, other lakes mentioned above were partly frozen. Moose Lake was just starting to thaw out at the E side.

Pioneers Basin via Mono Pass July 16-21

Posted: Tue Jul 23, 2019 11:29 am
Pioneers Basin via Mono Pass July 16-21
Route taken:
From Mosquito Flat over Mono Pass and up packer trail to Lake 10,862.

Difficult section encountered:
On July 16, Mono Pass. Not difficult on July 21 (see more detailed description below)

Special equipment needed/used:
Trekking pole

Spectacular. It is now peak bloom.

The snow is definitely melting fast. On Tuesday, July 16, a friendly packer crew of 3 passed me headed up to the pass carrying shovels. I passed them stopped at the first snowfield of any consequence. At that time, much of the trail from that point on was snow covered to the top of the pass and beyond to past Summit Lake. On the north side there were long sections of sun cups, fortunately not too deep (about one to two feet), but trying to walk on the peaks and not slide into the trenches was rather tiring.

On the return over the pass on July 21, between the snow melt and the work of the packers, it was relatively easy going. It was possible to avoid most of the snow. There was only one short section of sun cups, which if I had wanted to do a big detour I could have avoided. By now, that is probably melted, too.

All the creek crossings were easy wades.

Two photos of Summit Lake taken from about the same place give an idea of how much has melted.

Summit Lake, July 16
Summit Lake, July 21

Re: Upper/Lower Dragon Lakes 7/12

Posted: Mon Aug 05, 2019 3:15 pm
by brianmeans81
maverick wrote:
Thu Jul 18, 2019 2:01 pm
Posted on SNCC-tpp by Evan Thomas:
Some photos from Dragon Peak area, 7/12.
Whoa....those are some of the prettiest photo's I have seen. Do any fishing while you were up there?

Re: 2019 Backcountry Conditions Reports

Posted: Tue Aug 20, 2019 10:10 am
by grampy
Route taken 8/13 - 8/18: Twin Lakes T.H. over Silliman Pass to Roaring River, through Deadman Canyon over Elizabeth Pass, and return to start via High Sierra Trail. Notes:
1. North of Ranger Lake, hiked a re-routed trail segment (as much as 1/2 mile west of the old route) that is not shown if you use either Garmin or Gaia trail mapping apps. The 2017 Tom Harrison map correctly depicts the rerouted section.
2. Elizabeth Pass (north side) - one large snow field down low (as Mountain Mike had stated) was easy to cross ... MUCH easier than going around. Higher up, scattered smaller snow patches to cross; slid a little once and easily stopped with trekking poles. South side of pass 100% snow free, but trail frequently disappears (nothing new here), requiring route finding skills.

Re: 2019 Backcountry Conditions Reports

Posted: Thu Aug 29, 2019 11:30 am
by SSSdave
Route taken Shepherd Pass trailhead over Shepherd Pass August 20, 2019.

I found the supposed difficult dirt road from the stock trailhead on Symmes Creek at 1720+ meters to the trailhead at 1920+ meters to be a relatively easy dirt road with minor rock obstacles most 2WD vehicles could easily navigate. With my Forester, did not need to be careful at any point. There are much worse 4WD dirt roads on the eastside and I have driven many. About 2 dozen parkable spots at the very dry dusty hot trailhead. On 9/20 it was 97F at 4pm when I parked with 20 vehicles parked including several 2WD.

It is 10.5 miles trailhead to the pass with 6370 feet up and 630 feet down. The trail follows Symmes Creek for 1.0 miles with 4 minor boot top wet rock hop and messy small log water crossing near the end.

From Symmes Creek at 1.0 miles 6890 feet to the Symmes-Shepherd notch at 9080 feet at 4.1 miles is a dry 3.1 mile 2190 foot climb up about 58 switchbacks that at this time of summer ought only be attempted early or late in the day. The gradual trail without up and downs is excellent for smoothly moving feet along with few spots necessary for lifting up for rocks, step-ups, or foot placement. There are a few spots one might tent along the switchbacks while many well used spots at the notch.

Beyond the notch the trail remains hot and dry till reaching the small stream off Mt Kieth at 2680 meters (8.8k) at the 5.9 mile point. Note not a tentable location. Therefore there are 4.9 dry miles up 2540 feet down 630 feet to survive with no water. From the notch one descends down mountain mohogany and manzanita slopes with some ups across 2 knobs that is in direct sun during morning with a dark trail surface that becomes very hot from infrared radiation. The first reasonable place to camp with water is Mahogany Flat at 6.5 miles 2800 meters 9190 feet or 2940 feet up from Symmes Creek. This is why it is the worst of the 4 Eastern Sierra 6k+ trails to challenge.

What I did was start late afternoon when the switchback section goes into shade cooling off and filled up with about 64 ounces of water at the last Symmes Creek crossing in order to just reach the 9080 notch and tent. Then from there hiked the sun baked slopes below Anvil Camp early morning before radiation heat built up. After mid day lunch and leisure at Anvil Camp I moved up to camp at The Pothole. Then on day 3 slowly hiked over the pass at 9:30am.

Below Anvil Camp at 10.0k the storm damaged trail has been repaired with a few new switchbacks added for a higher crossing across the ravine. Thus stock are again now able to reach Anvil Camp and The Pothole at 11.0k.

There are many streamside shady forested places to tent from 10.0k to 3280 meters (10760 feet) while above that is shadeless. The end of The Pothole at 11.0k has nice sandy spots. Above 3400 meters (11150 feet) is talus without tentable spots. The final headwall from 3520 to 3690 meters up 560 feet at the pass is a messy set of gravelly eroding switchbacks that have mutilated by early climbers avoiding the snow field. It is impossible for stock, a good thing! When I crossed the scary 30 foot or so very steep, you fall maybe you die snowfield at 9:30am, the snow was already nicely soft. Another person crossing at 8am with crampons found it firm because it is in shade till then. There were a set of left right flat foot steps one just needs to slowly negotiate one foot at a time.