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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Coops
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Horestail Falls

Post by Coops » Mon Jun 27, 2011 12:32 pm

For Desolation: We went in via Horsetail Falls and out via Ralston. The only lakes that were looking to be completely thawed that we hiked by were Grass Lake and Susie. Lake of the Woods was getting there too. A few weeks makes a huge difference up there, so Aloha, Heather, Pyramid, Half Moon etc. may be well on their way
Last edited by maverick on Mon Jun 27, 2011 5:24 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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RoguePhotonic
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Middle Paradise Valley 6/18

Post by RoguePhotonic » Mon Jun 27, 2011 5:09 pm

I did an over night trip to Middle Paradise Valley. The trail is flooded in many areas and muddy / boggy in others. Lots of small downed trees and branches on the trail. Some locations it's an amazing site to see the flood marks where the water was around 6 feet higher probably during that last heat wave since the ground has not dried from it. Massive drift wood piles block the trail in one location.

We had packed in a couple sodas and Red Bulls and put them into the river a couple hours before dinner and when we went to get them the water had risen 6 inches and one Red Bull was swept away. :angry:

The water fluctuations are extreme as one trail location that was under at least 2 to 3 feet of water was dry when we hiked back out.

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windknot
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Re: Horestail Falls

Post by windknot » Mon Jun 27, 2011 6:09 pm

Coops wrote:For Desolation: We went in via Horsetail Falls and out via Ralston. The only lakes that were looking to be completely thawed that we hiked by were Grass Lake and Susie. Lake of the Woods was getting there too. A few weeks makes a huge difference up there, so Aloha, Heather, Pyramid, Half Moon etc. may be well on their way
Thanks! This is incredibly helpful information; I'm thinking about heading to Lower Velma Lake, and after calibrating relative elevation levels and exposure directions, it's looking like there's at least a reasonable chance that I'll find some open water there.
You can read a few backcountry reports here: http://wanderswithtrout.wordpress.com/

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Ikan Mas
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Re: 2011 BACKCOUNTRY CONDITIONS UPDATES

Post by Ikan Mas » Mon Jun 27, 2011 8:45 pm

Thanks for the update on the road to Car and Feely Lakes. One of my favorite weekend hike spots.

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hikerchick395
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Re: 2011 BACKCOUNTRY CONDITIONS UPDATES

Post by hikerchick395 » Tue Jun 28, 2011 9:47 am

Not realy far into the backcountry, but leading to...

The big log bridge crossing below the beaver pond at McGee Creek has been broken in half with the middle of it in the creek. There is a rope up and rocks placed in the break, but the water was too fast yesterday for me, by myself, to consider. The horse crossing had a channel in it that looked deep with fast moving water.

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Re: Kibbie Ridge 6/21

Post by eileensd » Tue Jun 28, 2011 10:39 am

DoyleWDonehoo wrote:Route taken: Kibbie Ridge to 7000 feet, Kibbie Lake.

Kibbie Ridge: I started to hit large patches of snow at 6800 feet, a lot more higher. The worst part is that the trail is in excessively poor condition. Faint or missing in places, snow covered in others, or just plain obliterated in long stretches due to a burn and a harsh winter that blew a lot of the burned stuff down. This used to be a very nice well groomed trail: not any more. It will take a lot of work to clear all of the dead-fall, litter and trashy burned stuff off the whole route. If you do this, you had better be good at route-finding, a compass and map, and faint trail detection. Have your wading shoes handy.

Possible alternative routes:The whole trail is an alternative route. What a mess.
Road: It is a bit rough the last mile to SS. Cars got to Shingle Springs somehow.
Thanks for posting your TR! We're heading up Kibbie Ridge to Boundary Lake later this week and intend to loop back down through Cherry Creek Canyon. We've taken this route 6 times, under various conditions, so I think our expectations are pretty realistic. Nonetheless, we still have a couple of questions as a follow-up to your TR.

Along the trail, I imagine we'll encounter a bunch of downed wood/trees and such, as so few folks have been up this year, but your description of the trail is pretty dismal. Just wondering, when was the last time you were on the Kibbie Ridge trail? The fire was a few years ago now, and we're wondering if you're comparing the trail to sometime since the fire or to its pre-fire days. I discovered this area post-fire and have found the trail always becomes pretty faint/disappears from time to time. I'm sure the trail has never been as well groomed as it was before the fire, but route finding hasn't warranted map and compass to stay on track; therefore, your TR has us wondering... I imagine snow could change the scenery a bit too :-k . Second question - how far up the Kibbie Ridge trail did you go? Any other details you'd like to add to your TR would be much appreciated! Thanks in advance! ~Eileen

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DoyleWDonehoo
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Re: 2011 BACKCOUNTRY CONDITIONS UPDATES

Post by DoyleWDonehoo » Tue Jun 28, 2011 11:42 am

I have been up this trail numerous times, but not in recent years, probably not since the fire. I have done plenty of trail before and after fires (unfortunately), but Kibbie Ridge takes the cake. I believe that due to this last severe winter, a lot more dead-fall and trash has come down on the trail. After we camped (beyond Lookout Point where the ridge levels out: 6800 feet) I went ahead. At first the trail was totally gone under dead-falls and litter, but I reacquired it for a ways at a place I recognized. Gradually it again became buried under litter and dead-falls, and that just seemed to go on beyond where I could see. I am sure I could have followed the trail, carefully, just from memory alone, and if you have done the route a number of times, you should be able to follow it. Snow was beginning to cover the trail too when I finally turned back, but I bet it is gone now.
I did not go any further up the ridge because I had a noob backpacker with me, and he was just not ready to do that kind of trail, and I wanted to spare him that kind of experience. So we went to Kibbie Lake instead the next day (which had its fair share of dead-falls).
There is also a pretty decent cross-country route from Kibbie Lake to Many Island Lakes I have done a few times, but again, I was not going to take a noob on such a route.
It was a shock to see such a nice trail as the Kibbie Ridge Trail in such poor shape. If you are comfortable with faint trail following, deadfall hopping, and don't mind doing a X-C pace instead of a fast trail pace, you should not have much trouble. Once beyond Kibbie Ridge, it should all be good, with just high water to contend with (and possibly snow). Go for it.
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eileensd
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Re: 2011 BACKCOUNTRY CONDITIONS UPDATES

Post by eileensd » Wed Jun 29, 2011 12:41 pm

Thanks! Will let you know how it goes w/an update on conditions!

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cahikr
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Re: Dinkey / Kaiser Wilderness 6/23

Post by cahikr » Wed Jun 29, 2011 2:57 pm

Any other info on Kaiser Pk. would be appreciated. Will be attempting the summit this weekend and will post my report after the weekend.
AlmostThere wrote:Route taken: roads into Dinkey/Kaiser wilderness areas (Sierra NF)

Difficult section encountered: Not many miles up the FS route from Dinkey Creek Rd toward Willow Meadow TH (the usual TH for Dinkey Lakes basin) people in cars/Jeeps/etc are being turned back by 18-24" of snow in the road. The trees in the area are free of snow, but views north and east show complete coverage on the ground where there are treeless spaces. Snowline is prolly between 7-8,000 feet depending on which way slopes face. Tamarack Ridge road from the 168 north of Shaver is still gated.

A drive up Kaiser Pass reveals the same - Potter Pass trailhead is still under snow, and the sign bagged up. We turned around after realizing the upper trailheads were still going to be this way. Road has been cleared and Vermillion is open but I suspect the trails are still 60-90% coverage between 7-8,000 feet and 100% above that.

Trails out of Wishon toward Crown Valley are going to be the same story - snow within 1-2 miles of the trailheads climbing up. I saw this area from the helicopter, lower areas are full of wildflowers and grass now going brown, high areas still under snow.


Special equipment needed/used: probably crampons and poles will do the trick. I may do an exploratory overnight soon, p'raps out to Kaiser.

Possible alternative routes: none; Courtright Rd is still closed due to snow on the higher parts of the route.

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AlmostThere
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Re: Dinkey / Kaiser Wilderness 6/23

Post by AlmostThere » Wed Jun 29, 2011 4:47 pm

cahikr wrote:Any other info on Kaiser Pk. would be appreciated. Will be attempting the summit this weekend and will post my report after the weekend.
It'll be snowy. And I do not know how much snow fell last night.

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