June 2019 - Anybody been to Grouse Ridge area in TNF?

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neil d
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June 2019 - Anybody been to Grouse Ridge area in TNF?

Post by neil d » Mon Jun 10, 2019 9:54 am

My kids want to do a short 2-night trip next weekend into the Grouse Ridge area...kinda thinking the standard Island or Penner Lake options. Anybody been up there to see how the snow is melting? I remember in June 2017 (similar snow year) things were mostly clear around Island Lake but did not take the Crooked Lakes trail out towards Penner.

TIA!








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c9h13no3
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Re: June 2019 - Anybody been to Grouse Ridge area in TNF?

Post by c9h13no3 » Mon Jun 10, 2019 12:38 pm

Still looks pretty snowy up there on satellite images, but the melt is going bananas right now. And aspect/shadows play a much bigger role this time of year. The south sides of mountains are usually bare, while the north still has crap tons of snow. The old folks on this forum will probably try to talk you out of it, but I'm young & dumb, I've never been, and I'd probably go in 2 weeks or so. Trailhead access will be a thing, I'd call and check to see which of those forest roads are open, they'll lock gates for random reasons.

How old are your kids?
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neil d
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Re: June 2019 - Anybody been to Grouse Ridge area in TNF?

Post by neil d » Mon Jun 10, 2019 2:43 pm

Thanks C9, your analysis rings true for me. I know the area pretty well, and you are correct that well-shaded and/or north-facing slopes hold a crap-ton of snow. Maybe the thing to do is bring snowshoes just in case. I can't imagine road access is a concern...the Jeep/OHV crew gets in there as soon as the snow berm on Bowman Lake Road is melted and get the muddy tracks established.

My son is 16 and his pal is 15, so plenty old enough and rugged enough to fool around in snowshoes for part of the hike.

I think I just decided to take tomorrow afternoon off and run up there myself...will report back if I end up answering my own questions!

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Re: June 2019 - Anybody been to Grouse Ridge area in TNF?

Post by wildhiker » Tue Jun 11, 2019 12:31 am

We had a good view of the south slopes of the main Grouse Ridge and Black Buttes ridge from I-80 on Sunday (6/9). Grouse Ridge looked basically all melted out. Black Buttes had large snow areas above 7000 feet. Suspect a lot more snow on north facing slopes.

Looking at my photos from previous heavy snowpack years like this one, on July 29, 2017, all of Grouse Lakes was totally melted out with peak wildflowers except some snow patches on the north side of Black Buttes. On August 14, 2011, again, mostly no snow, but the north slope of Black Buttes down to Glacier Lake was completely covered in snow.

Looking at more normal snow years, we had ideal conditions at Island Lake on June 23-25, 2018, with no snow anywhere, still some good wildflowers, and mosquitoes mostly abated. On June 20, 2009, conditions on the trail up Texas Creek from Loney Meadow to Rock Lakes were ideal, with peak wildflowers, but still a lot of snow on north slopes of Black Buttes (as viewed from high point south of Upper Rock Lake).

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Re: June 2019 - Anybody been to Grouse Ridge area in TNF?

Post by neil d » Wed Jun 12, 2019 1:07 pm

OK, went up yesterday and generated my own conditions report.

Verdict: lots of snow! About 6,500 feet seems to be the magic elevation...lots of snow above that line.

The 17 road to Carr Lake was not quite open, needed to walk the last mile plus. Snow only continuous for the last two-tenths or so. Easy walking around Carr Lake, then the snow starts at the dam between Carr and Feeley. Snow-shoed out to the best campground at Island Lake, and everything is buried. The volcanic peaks (Fall Creek Mtn, etc) are looking good, but the lowlands have 6 feet of snow. Gonna be awhile for easy hiking.

On the plus side, no bugs!

Photo of Island Lake...
Image

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Re: June 2019 - Anybody been to Grouse Ridge area in TNF?

Post by Broot » Wed Jun 12, 2019 9:04 pm

Can't see your pic. A buddy and I did an overnighter at Penner Friday the 7th. We went in from the Lindsey lakes side and up/down the ridge to the west of Penner. Culbertson and Penner were both still 90 percent frozen, and the lowest Lindsey lake was mostly frozen friday, but half thawed on saturday. Lots of snow on the north facing hills. Heading back up there this weekend but we'll take the carr/feely road this time.

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Re: June 2019 - Anybody been to Grouse Ridge area in TNF?

Post by Ikan Mas » Sat Jun 15, 2019 8:09 pm

For some perspective, here are some July 15, 2011 photos of Carr, Feeley, Island and Penner Lakes. I don't know how 2011 compares to this year, but it gives you some ideas. I recall the hike being somewhat soggy and I had to hunt around a bit at Penner to find a dry camping spot. Given what I saw on the other side of I-80 the other day at Loch Leven Lakes (see my report under Conditions), I do not see Grouse Ridge being thawed out until late July.

Carr Lake:
Image

Feeley Lake:
Image

Island Lake:
Image

Penner Lake:
Image

Image

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