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TR: Nice Little valley south of Mammoth 4/14-4/16

Posted: Fri Apr 21, 2017 5:27 pm
by KevinDo
Hello all!

So for the birthday weekend I decided I wanted to squeeze in one last snow trip before it became too hot. Since the significant other wanted to see some snow covered lakes, we opted for a nice 2 night/3 day trip to Little Lakes Valley. The plan was to depart from the snopark and set up camp halfway to the LLV. We would dayhike the rest of the way up.

Seeing that the forecast was calling for some wind and the sensors were reading high 30mph winds, we opted to take our 4-season tents this time around. After packing everything last minute thursday night, we left for the Bishop at around 5am and arrived at the White Mountain Ranger Station 4-5 hours laters. I must say, Ranger Stanley is absolutely the most friendly ranger I have ever met! If you're ever around in Bishop, be sure to stop by to say hi!

After getting our permits and snopark passes, we drove north for another 40 minutes to arrive the Rock Creek snopark (East Fork campground). Thankfully the forecast was off as it was a nice and bright sunny day. We could hear some wind but it wasn't hitting the area we were in.

We got on the trail around 2pm and found that the road crews were able to plow about a quarter of mile to the rock creek cabin so that was somewhat nice. According to them, it would probably take them another 2-3 weeks to reach the Lodge and eventually the lake.

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Walking down the plowed road in what felt like 60F+. Though it was nicer walking on solid ground, it felt scorching hot! For once, I felt like walking on snow would be better...Thankfully the snow wasn't too far away

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After a slow and grueling 3.5 mile uphill we were awarded with a nice view of the snow-covered Rock Creek Lake and the Lodge
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After going alittle bit further, we found a nice campsite and called it a night after enjoying some Chili Mac and Hot chocolate. It was about 11F with some mild wind when we went to sleep but we felt pretty toasty.

Woke up around 6am (sun was already out) and started our day off by having some pancakes, hashbrowns, bacon, and coffee!
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After a quick clean up, we got on our way. There was a ton of snow!

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Someone decided to have fun with an ice "weapon"
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Ran into some areas where the exposed creek provided fresh awesome tasting high sierra water!

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We decided to take our lunch break around one of the exposed creek areas
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After enjoying some cliff bars... and a lot of M&Ms we continued on our merry way to the Valley
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Some more grueling uphills to go. By now we were all pretty tired. The hike out the day before was tough. In summer, a 1200 feet gain wouldn't have been an issue but with snowshoes on...yea we were running on fumes
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BUT....the view made it all worth it
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Ashley was loving the view
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For me....I was a bit too knackered to be enjoying it. However, I did enjoy a nice 20 minute nap on some warm rocks!
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During our break, we noticed that some butterfly had been following us since the last uphill section... we weren't sure how the thing had survived out here
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After enjoying the view for a few more minutes, we opted to head down to the snow covered Mack Lake and head back to camp

Our good friend Wei standing on top of Mack Lake
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Ashley trying to reach the lake...
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We did run into another group heading back. According to them, they were coming from the snopark and we're trying to reach Mack Lake. They sure looked knackered as they were not expecting the extra 3.5 miles added to their trip as the road hadn't been plowed to rock creek lake (Trip then was 7.5ish miles for them).

We eventually made it back to camp and Wei dug out a pretty nice kitchen
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Cooked up some Thai Curry w/ chicken and Veggies + Hot choco
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Was about to call it a night but we decided that after a hard days hike, we deserved more food...we ended up cooking our extra dinner meal and Had Thai Curry + Chili Mac.
While cooking up our extra meal, some clouds and wind moved in and we thought oh crap here's the wind/bad weather that was forecasted.
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Luckily the wind never got too bad but the temperatures did drop down to about 8F. Now I'm not sure what happened but I think as a result of eating 2 dinner meals, our bodies were releasing a huge amount of heat. We actually overheated and had to vent our 0F sleeping bags!

The next morning we woke up pretty early to catch the sunrise (wasn't able to get any good shots of it).
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Made some bacon bfast burritos and coffee
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Dried up the gear
Image20170416_071906 by kevin do, on Flickr

Then spent quite sometime digging out all the snow anchors...Thanks to the melt/freeze cycle, it took quite a bit of effort to get em all out. We were finally able to pack up and hit the trail by 10:30 and reached the car by 1.
On our way out, we noticed this strange small clouds that had a rainbow effect around their edges. These clouds were incredibly bright compared to the other more "normal" ones. The camera wasn't really able to catch the rainbows.
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Short but enjoyable trip. The views on the way home were awesome! Lots of snow on the Eastern Sierra and even some on the Panamint range.
Definitely a great last "snow" trip for the year!

Re: TR: Nice Little valley south of Mammoth 4/14-4/16

Posted: Sat Apr 22, 2017 6:08 am
by Fly Guy Dave
Looks like a great trip! This has been an epic snow year and this is one year is the one were we failed to do our annual snow camping trip. I miss it! Looking at your pictures makes me recall many good times snowshoeing, digging a snow cave, making an igloo, taking a nap on warm rocks, etc. Good times... Thanks for taking us along!

Re: TR: Nice Little valley south of Mammoth 4/14-4/16

Posted: Sat Apr 22, 2017 7:45 am
by Hobbes
Fvck yeah! Now we're talking. Sweet ice table. BlueWater wants to snowshoe into Dusy/Palisades basins in a few weeks. After my pitiful performance on the BBT, I don't know if he'll let me tag along.

Re: TR: Nice Little valley south of Mammoth 4/14-4/16

Posted: Sat Apr 22, 2017 5:24 pm
by tlsharb
Excellent TR. Nothing quite like some time on the snow. Gonna be a lot of runoff pouring out of the hills this summer.
ts

Re: TR: Nice Little valley south of Mammoth 4/14-4/16

Posted: Sun Apr 23, 2017 10:56 pm
by Bolick
tlssharb wrote:Excellent TR. Nothing quite like some time on the snow. Gonna be using Virility Ex https://www.ybinteractive.com/virility- ... ew-results a lot of runoff pouring out of the hills this summer.
ts
Great pics, Looks like a great place to do some exploring.

Re: TR: Nice Little valley south of Mammoth 4/14-4/16

Posted: Tue Apr 25, 2017 8:47 am
by exodus
Wow! I've only ever gone to LLV in the summer - the winter / spring looks spectacular! Thanks for the trip report! Those clouds remind me of that rainbow effect that can happen around the Moon at night sometimes with thin layers of clouds.

Re: TR: Nice Little valley south of Mammoth 4/14-4/16

Posted: Tue Apr 25, 2017 12:55 pm
by maverick
Very cool, pun intended, thanks for sharing Kevin! :thumbsup:

Re: TR: Nice Little valley south of Mammoth 4/14-4/16

Posted: Tue Apr 25, 2017 7:55 pm
by KevinDo
maverick wrote:Very cool, pun intended, thanks for sharing Kevin! :thumbsup:
Actually Thank YOU for the suggestion of LLV! It was absolutely stunning!

-Kevin

Re: TR: Nice Little valley south of Mammoth 4/14-4/16

Posted: Wed Apr 26, 2017 3:59 pm
by papasequoia
Your pictures remind me that I haven't done a snow camping trip (on purpose anyway) in years - I miss it! Thanks for the report.

Re: TR: Nice Little valley south of Mammoth 4/14-4/16

Posted: Wed Apr 26, 2017 8:35 pm
by hikerdude87
Great pics and thanks for the report. Looks like you guys had great time up there.

We were up there up there in March and it was quite incredible seeing all the snow. We were planning to head up to LLV but opted to camp closer to the car since we weren't sure if the predicted snowstorm would materialize.