Conditions request: HST trail blow out between Hamilton and Precipice

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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potatopants
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Re: Conditions request: HST trail blow out between Hamilton and Precipice

Post by potatopants » Mon Jul 29, 2019 5:59 pm

Reports today on the HST facebook group that the blowout wasn't much of a concern. The group removed packs, hopped down, shuttled packs across, and hopped up the other side. No ropes.








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Chadillac
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Re: Conditions request: HST trail blow out between Hamilton and Precipice

Post by Chadillac » Tue Jul 30, 2019 10:38 pm

We turned around at the blowout yesterday. Maybe I'd attempt it with protection, but not just scrambling. Nothing is flat there, it's all sloping and covered in sand. If you start sliding you won't be able to stop.

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Re: Conditions request: HST trail blow out between Hamilton and Precipice

Post by Jim F » Tue Jul 30, 2019 10:47 pm

I finished the HST yesterday yesterday 7/29 as a solo hiker. As a followup to my 7/23 post, here are some observations.

(1) Without a pack or with a daypack, passage by dropping down a few feet and then climbing up a few feet on the other side is a non issue. In the rare case the hiker fell, it would be on to a benign landing zone. Mostly likely he would just get up a try again.

(2) With a full pack (as for early in a trans Sierra hike), it is likely most hikers would remove the pack to make moves easier. In this case, it is KEY NOT TO LOSE CONTROL OF THE PACK. If an unsecured pack starts to roll downhill, it might never be seen again (as the terrain progressively steepens).

(3) With multiple hikers, shuttling big packs along the top narrow ledge (as others have reported) seems to be a fine way to keep control of the packs.

(4) As a solo hiker with a full back, after I removed my pack and I used a short cord to guarantee safe passage of the pack.

(5) Alternatively, it appeared that after dropping a few feet, one could just walk to the right of the big tree in the previous photos on even terrain and rejoin the trail. But this easy appearing path could be unstable and just give way. No need to find out!

(6) Finally, I think passage by climbing on rock 20 feet above the blowout would also be possible for some, but would be completely unnecessary under current conditions.

Addendum: Very few hikers were encountered doing the entire HST. Except for campers at the Big Arroyo Patrol Cabin, no hikers were encountered between the Kaweah Gap an the junction with the JMT (30 miles). Even the Kern Hot springs campground appeared completely deserted when I passed through at 5:30 pm 7/27.

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Re: Conditions request: HST trail blow out between Hamilton and Precipice

Post by alfordjim » Wed Jul 31, 2019 3:56 am

Thanks for the report on the trail conditions, Jim F. How were the mosquito's on the trail? A Group of 6 of us are headed out Saturday for the trek across.

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Re: Conditions request: HST trail blow out between Hamilton and Precipice

Post by Jim F » Wed Jul 31, 2019 8:48 am

Mosquitos are out, but were not an issue for me. I wear heavy clothes so they can not bite through the material and only leave my face exposed. DEET was applied three times during the hike. I spend most of the daylight hours hiking. This gives mosquitos less opportunity to hunt me down.

The biggest concentration of mosquitos seemed to be along the Kern River in shaded areas. I almost stepped on a rattlesnake in the ferns while descending from the Chagoopa Plateau into in the Kern Canyon. After this experience, I became far more concerned about rattlesnake bites than mosquitos bites while hiking up the Kern.

I consider the HST to be a national treasure. Hope you have a blast on it beginning Saturday.

Jim

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Re: Conditions request: HST trail blow out between Hamilton and Precipice

Post by potatopants » Wed Jul 31, 2019 9:21 am

Thank you for the reports on your experiences, and Jim, for the details. I'll be solo, as well, so your experience is very helpful to me. Of course, with rain and passage by other hikers, the condition of that stretch continues to change as the days go by, so we'll see what I encounter when I walk up to it on August 11.

I do like the fact that the trail overall is quieter as a result of this!

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Re: Conditions request: HST trail blow out between Hamilton and Precipice

Post by wheelw1 » Mon Aug 19, 2019 3:20 pm

Anyone have experience and/or pics and or tips of crossing the blowout in August?
We have a trip planned HST East to West (not the usual way) Sept 1 and would hit this part about Sept 6-
- group of 8
- not technical climbers
Thanks!
Wayne

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Re: Conditions request: HST trail blow out between Hamilton and Precipice

Post by Alstorrow » Tue Aug 20, 2019 7:10 pm

Similar to Wayne, we will be crossing this area September 1 or 2 (West to East) and are interested in any updates. We are not expert rock climbers but with a fair amount of off trail technical experience. Seems by the video with a bit of webbing, rope, and a couple of anchors the crossing could be made fairly safe. However, the video was shot in late July. Any updates or advice? If we do not feel comfortable, will likely take the northern detour all the way to Junction Meadow, then finish the HST. Here is the video posted on July 25, which is about a minute of the longer video posted above just showing the blowout, and without music:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qyYrNkB_vjs

Any comments appreciated! Hike long, hike strong, hike safe! Alan, Robert, and Joel

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Re: Conditions request: HST trail blow out between Hamilton and Precipice

Post by Broot » Sun Aug 25, 2019 8:50 pm

Crossed the blow out last Monday and it really just depends on your skill level. I didn't have much problem with it, but my brother didn't like it at all. We saw a fair amount of people above that section that had come across it as well. I chose to go down below the trail and around the tree along the granite ledge, then back up to the trail. Did that twice with my pack and his. He climbed down, then up the steep ledge where the blowout is using what was there as foot steps.

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Re: Conditions request: HST trail blow out between Hamilton and Precipice

Post by Alstorrow » Mon Sep 09, 2019 6:13 am

Crossed 8 days ago. Trail crews are working on it and everybody is getting through. A bit more tricky going East to West but very doable. Most folks just lowering packs (on a cord if you are solo), scrambling around the side if Eastbound, climbing down a few feet if Westbound. See photos.
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