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Re: Resources to track snow levels? Specifically in the Ansel Adams Wilderness

Posted: Mon Jun 24, 2019 7:14 pm
by c9h13no3
cthenn wrote:
Mon Jun 24, 2019 7:04 pm
Question for those who are experienced in this route, is it doable in "early" season conditions? Has anyone actually been up this route this year?
viewtopic.php?f=1&t=19582

Also, why does extensive snow coverage make something impassable? Your grandfather hiked to school uphill both ways in the snow!

Re: Resources to track snow levels? Specifically in the Ansel Adams Wilderness

Posted: Tue Jun 25, 2019 12:22 pm
by cantare
cthenn wrote:
Mon Jun 24, 2019 7:04 pm
I'll post in this thread, since the Rush Creek Trail has been mentioned. I have only been up this trail in late season, and only to up to Agnew Lake. I'd like to go up to Summit Lake, and get the view toward Ritter/Banner from the top of the ridge (this Friday, June 28). Question for those who are experienced in this route, is it doable in "early" season conditions?
Not sure I'm the best authority on this question, as I've only done it in high summer, like you. Going up toward Summit/Clark Lakes, you cross below the SCE dam and skirt the lake a bit, then you're on steep, north-facing talus above Agnew up to Spooky Meadow. Past that, you're going a bit over 10k where there should be pretty full snow coverage still. I don't remember any major water crossings up there.

If you saw Kyle's TR from this week, he described the Agnew rockpile switchbacks as covered with icy snow patches & "scary" without crampons and axes...but you have those. Lots of suncupped snow farther up, but no real trouble with crossings. http://highsierratopix.com/community/vi ... =1&t=19582

Going up Rush Creek drainage instead, Gem's at ~9k and Waugh about 9500. I remember Waugh being somewhat rockbound, so if it's snowed in, traversing its sides could take some caution if you went that far. I think the long way around Gem would be more straightforward from a pure hiking perspective than the first route as a way into Clark or 1000-Is Lake area. But with axes and crampons, you should be well-prepared for anything you run into.

My favorite view of Ritter/Banner so far is from Garnet Lake.

Re: Resources to track snow levels? Specifically in the Ansel Adams Wilderness

Posted: Wed Jun 26, 2019 7:40 am
by cthenn
c9h13no3 wrote:
Mon Jun 24, 2019 7:14 pm
cthenn wrote:
Mon Jun 24, 2019 7:04 pm
Question for those who are experienced in this route, is it doable in "early" season conditions? Has anyone actually been up this route this year?
viewtopic.php?f=1&t=19582

Also, why does extensive snow coverage make something impassable? Your grandfather hiked to school uphill both ways in the snow!
Thanks for the link! Also, by "impassable", I guess I'm thinking of a scenario where a trail is cut into an almost-vertical rock wall, and if there is snow blocking the trail, that would be "impassable" by any normal definition of the word. Trails like this do exist! :D

Re: Resources to track snow levels? Specifically in the Ansel Adams Wilderness

Posted: Wed Jun 26, 2019 8:08 am
by cthenn
cantare wrote:
Tue Jun 25, 2019 12:22 pm
cthenn wrote:
Mon Jun 24, 2019 7:04 pm
I'll post in this thread, since the Rush Creek Trail has been mentioned. I have only been up this trail in late season, and only to up to Agnew Lake. I'd like to go up to Summit Lake, and get the view toward Ritter/Banner from the top of the ridge (this Friday, June 28). Question for those who are experienced in this route, is it doable in "early" season conditions?
Not sure I'm the best authority on this question, as I've only done it in high summer, like you. Going up toward Summit/Clark Lakes, you cross below the SCE dam and skirt the lake a bit, then you're on steep, north-facing talus above Agnew up to Spooky Meadow. Past that, you're going a bit over 10k where there should be pretty full snow coverage still. I don't remember any major water crossings up there.

If you saw Kyle's TR from this week, he described the Agnew rockpile switchbacks as covered with icy snow patches & "scary" without crampons and axes...but you have those. Lots of suncupped snow farther up, but no real trouble with crossings. http://highsierratopix.com/community/vi ... =1&t=19582

Going up Rush Creek drainage instead, Gem's at ~9k and Waugh about 9500. I remember Waugh being somewhat rockbound, so if it's snowed in, traversing its sides could take some caution if you went that far. I think the long way around Gem would be more straightforward from a pure hiking perspective than the first route as a way into Clark or 1000-Is Lake area. But with axes and crampons, you should be well-prepared for anything you run into.

My favorite view of Ritter/Banner so far is from Garnet Lake.
I've actually only been up to Agnew Lake before, so anything beyond I'm totally unfamilar with. The main concern area was the portion along the eastern shore of Agnew, based on Google Earth, it looks like the trail traverses a steep talus slope right over the lake. Those are my least favorite places to be when it's hard, icy snow! The switchbacks don't look too bad, with proper gear. I think we'll give it a go.

Re: Resources to track snow levels? Specifically in the Ansel Adams Wilderness

Posted: Wed Jun 26, 2019 9:39 am
by c9h13no3
cthenn wrote:
Wed Jun 26, 2019 7:40 am
c9h13no3 wrote:
Mon Jun 24, 2019 7:14 pm
cthenn wrote:
Mon Jun 24, 2019 7:04 pm
Question for those who are experienced in this route, is it doable in "early" season conditions? Has anyone actually been up this route this year?
viewtopic.php?f=1&t=19582

Also, why does extensive snow coverage make something impassable? Your grandfather hiked to school uphill both ways in the snow!
Thanks for the link! Also, by "impassable", I guess I'm thinking of a scenario where a trail is cut into an almost-vertical rock wall, and if there is snow blocking the trail, that would be "impassable" by any normal definition of the word. Trails like this do exist! :D
Your grandfather would've set some pickets and climbed that sucker. School is important!

In all seriousness, if it's that snowy, trails don't exist. Pick a better route.

Re: Resources to track snow levels? Specifically in the Ansel Adams Wilderness

Posted: Wed Jun 26, 2019 10:09 am
by cantare
Depending on lake level there is one tiny beach, but otherwise it is pretty steep right down to the waterline below that chute. I think you'll be fine, tho. It's not a vertical wall, just a talus chute with a traverse and then switchbacks.

When I was there, SoCalEd were working on the Agnew dam, replacing the penstocks and dropping off cargo or possibly rock-fill with a big dual-rotor heli. The trail down from Spooky Meadow was actually closed, officially, but I only found that out halfway down, and I wasn't going back up that hell-slope & around the long way at the end of a multiday trip!