2011 BACKCOUNTRY CONDITIONS UPDATES

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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bheiser1
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Re: 2011 BACKCOUNTRY CONDITIONS UPDATES

Post by bheiser1 » Fri Aug 19, 2011 12:56 pm

no2haven wrote:Hoover Wilderness: 8/12-14
Route Taken: Virginia Lakes TH->Summit Lake. Cross country to Return Lake and Stanton Peak. Summit Lake->TH
Were there any "wet" water crossings on that route, e.g. requiring wading & water shoes or whatever, or were they all bridges (while on trail of course:)), rock hopping, etc?








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no2haven
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Re: 2011 BACKCOUNTRY CONDITIONS UPDATES

Post by no2haven » Fri Aug 19, 2011 2:18 pm

bheiser1 wrote:
no2haven wrote:Hoover Wilderness: 8/12-14
Route Taken: Virginia Lakes TH->Summit Lake. Cross country to Return Lake and Stanton Peak. Summit Lake->TH
Were there any "wet" water crossings on that route, e.g. requiring wading & water shoes or whatever, or were they all bridges (while on trail of course:)), rock hopping, etc?
Mostly everything I crossed was an easy rock-hop, or possibly had a quick shin-deep step. The only moderately challenging crossing was the one on-trail at Return Creek just north of the split to Summit Pass - there was still quite a bit of flow, and the only option was right where the trail crossed the creek on widely spaced, slightly underwater rocks. I made it without getting wet, but it was a tricky balance problem and I really relied on my hiking poles to stay out of the water.

If you're going down Virginia Canyon, the crossing right at the trail junction for Summit Pass also isn't bridged, and looked like it might necessitate getting wet. However, I didn't actually walk up and look at it, so take that as you will. Plus, I passed quite a few groups that were exiting from the canyon and no one mentioned any difficulties. Still a lot of water in Return Creek, though.

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Re: 2011 BACKCOUNTRY CONDITIONS UPDATES

Post by bheiser1 » Fri Aug 19, 2011 5:38 pm

no2haven, thanks for that description, it's very helpful. That's an area I'd like to check out one of these days and want to be sure I'm prepared... especially the way things are this summer.

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Re: 2011 BACKCOUNTRY CONDITIONS UPDATES

Post by Wandering Daisy » Sat Aug 20, 2011 8:06 pm

Contrary to what is on the SEKI website (they say solid snow above 10,500)- there is VERY little snow in Sphinx Creek basin and Brewer Basin. There are some snow patches on north slopes, a small amount of snow on north side of Sphinx Col, some snow on the top of Cinder Col, but dry the entire way up the north side. Meadows are lush, flowers at their peak, but not sloppy wet- the "swamp: is even dry to walk on. Bubbs Creek is still high. Smaller creeks are really down- did not even have to wade. Sphinx Creek trail is in good condition. Both of the basins are lush, green, but with very little soggy spots. The snow is hard in the morning, but if low angle, it has enough dust on it to still walk on it. It softens with sun, but only to the point of sinking in a few inches. Suncups are about mid-calf to thigh deep.

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Re: 2011 BACKCOUNTRY CONDITIONS UPDATES

Post by Wandering Daisy » Sat Aug 20, 2011 8:12 pm

Forgot to add- NO smoke! very nice clear air the entire trip.
Route- Roads End-Sphinx Creek-upper Sphinx Lakes, Sphinx Col, Brewer Basin, Big Brewer Lake, Cinder Col -- back out . Aug 14-20.

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Re: 2011 BACKCOUNTRY CONDITIONS UPDATES

Post by mattherrington » Sun Aug 21, 2011 4:04 pm

HST Cheater via Pants Pass

Bearpaw Mdw is a crappy camp w no view
Clear to lower Precipice Lake
Light/Easy/Patchy over Kaweah Gap
W Side approach to Pants Pass is practically clear
E Side of Pants was 200 vertical ft. descent of 40 degree scree and then miles of sun cupped snow (which prob saved us tons of trouble). We descended to the NE and by the time we got to the steep area prior to it becoming a river it was clear and dry. Snow probably above ~11,000.
Camped at 10,400 right in the timberline S of a feeder ck that comes from the elevated lake between Colby Pass and Triple Divide Pk - gorgeous area
Really horribly buggy that night well past dark and starting at 7A down from there almost to Junction Mdw
Junction Mdw was hot mid-day
back up to Wallace Ck Camp where it was really buggy in the evening
early departure to beat the bugs to Crabtree was a success
Crabtree at lunch up to Guitar Lake was bug free
Whitney day 8/19 looked like it was going to get afternoon rain but we didn't see it as we were at the portal at 5P.

No crossings above the knee other than a late afternoon crossing at the feeder ck 1 mi W of Wallace Ck Camp. Successful trip other than a blistered lip from the snow descent.

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Re: 2011 BACKCOUNTRY CONDITIONS UPDATES

Post by Sierra_Summits » Mon Aug 22, 2011 9:57 pm

just went over ruskie pass, white bear pass, gabbot pass, shout of relief, and bighorn and all had some patches of snow but nothing to steep or difficult to navigate around. ruskie has a gully of snow from the lower lake all the way to the top. all i had was a set of trekking poles and was fine. i did all the passes in the afternoon which made it easy. i actually preferred to be on the snow. i had a great trip hope this helps someone.

drew
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Re: 2011 BACKCOUNTRY CONDITIONS UPDATES

Post by cgundersen » Tue Aug 23, 2011 10:23 am

Drew,
Those photos definitely should help some folks, but more of interest: I was camped by the inlet to Teddy Bear last Thursday (the 18th) and two folks arrived at Brown Bear in near darkness. Was that you?
cg

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Re: 2011 BACKCOUNTRY CONDITIONS UPDATES

Post by Sierra_Summits » Tue Aug 23, 2011 1:19 pm

Yup I think it was! My buddy and i ate dinner on the pass and then came down to the south side of the lake to camp. there were 2 guys ahead of us and they said they were going to camp at lake italy for the night. that was our only bug free night of camping...it was great! I love that whole area!

drew
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Re: 2011 BACKCOUNTRY CONDITIONS UPDATES

Post by cgundersen » Tue Aug 23, 2011 1:47 pm

Drew,
Wow, small world! The two guys in front of you joined us in going over Cox col and it made for a fun day. Can't wait to get back!
cg

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