Late June Fish Creek trip advice

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scipio
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Late June Fish Creek trip advice

Post by scipio » Fri Apr 07, 2017 4:58 pm

I'm planning to spend 2 nights on the Fish Creek trail, starting at Red's Meadow, in late June (hitting the trail on the 22nd). I will probably go as far as Iva Bell, and stay in that vicinity for a couple of nights.

I've been there before a couple of years ago, but at the end of August. Given the high snow year, and how much earlier in the season than my previous experience, I'm expecting higher stream levels and possibly some snow(?) on parts of the trail. If anyone has been in the area at a similar time or could help me know what to expect so I'm prepared, I'd appreciate it. I'm planning to camp overnight at Reds Meadow campground the night before so I can get a very early start on the way out.

Level 2 backpacker (some cross-country experience but I'll be sticking to the trail on this one)
Very limited experience in snow
Will have trekking poles, but no crampons/microspikes
No dog
Main interests are scenery, nature (flora and fauna observation) and chilling out...
This will also be my first solo overnight in the backcountry, but I'm going to post a separate thread asking about that.

Open to any advice, but a few specific questions I have:

- Will any of the stream crossings be hazardous or difficult? last time there were a few small streams crossing the rocky section after Crater Creek, I expect they'll be a lot bigger this year. I expect the water will still be below the log bridge over crate creek, and below the first crossing over Fish Creek - do I assume wrong?

- Am I likely to encounter snow on the trail, and if so will I need spikes? Never used them before and wouldn't want to to use them for the first time on this trip.

- I'm planning to park at Red's Meadow while I'm out on the trail. Will the campground allow this (happy to pay if I need to) and would I be able to store my excess food in their bear lockers? Or should I just ask them when I get there?

- Will the mosquitoes be as bad as I think (I'm guessing pretty awful that time of year)? Planning to wear long sleeves and pants, and Deet on exposed areas. Should I get a head net?

I'm excited to explore an area that I've seen before, but in a different season and conditions: just a little uncertain about conditions and want to be properly prepared.

Many thanks!








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Re: Late June Fish Creek trip advice

Post by maverick » Fri Apr 07, 2017 5:06 pm

I'm planning to spend 2 nights on the Fish Creek trail, starting at Red's Meadow, in late June (hitting the trail on the 22nd).
I'm planning to park at Red's Meadow while I'm out on the trail.
Reds Meadow did not open till 6/18 last year, would not expect it to open till very late June, but more likely in July this year.
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I don't give out specific route information, my belief is that it takes away from the whole adventure spirit of a trip, if you need every inch planned out, you'll have to get that from someone else.

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Re: Late June Fish Creek trip advice

Post by scipio » Fri Apr 07, 2017 7:03 pm

Thanks Maverick. Do you mean the road itself will not open, or just that there will be no facilities available in the valley? If the road is likely to be closed, I guess I'll need to plan an alternate entry point or alternate location. Since I moved out of state late last year, this time will be my only chance to get into the Sierra this year, and I'm determined to get up there somehow.

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Re: Late June Fish Creek trip advice

Post by maverick » Sun Apr 09, 2017 9:03 am

Do you mean the road itself will not open, or just that there will be no facilities available in the valley?
The road.
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I don't give out specific route information, my belief is that it takes away from the whole adventure spirit of a trip, if you need every inch planned out, you'll have to get that from someone else.

Have a safer backcountry experience by using the HST ReConn Form 2.0, named after Larry Conn, a HST member: http://reconn.org

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Re: Late June Fish Creek trip advice

Post by robertseeburger » Sun Apr 09, 2017 3:17 pm

Just one comment... last year ( no snow) I actually went backpacking in April, starting at Mammoth resort, over the pass on the road and went to Shadow Lake and Lake Ediza. I am not suggesting that this is possible this year, but the one thing of note was that walking the road before it is open to cars is quite pleasant.
I think the road will be plowed but not open for a couple of weeks before opening, and the views across to Banner/Ritter/Minarets are splendid. And then getting to Devils Postpile with no cars is pleasant as well. I forget the milage but I think it is like 6 relatively easy miles from Mammoth to Devils Postpile.

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Re: Late June Fish Creek trip advice

Post by scipio » Mon Apr 10, 2017 11:54 am

Thanks Maverick and robertseeburger for the info and suggestion.

Does anyone know when the road to Lake Mary will be open/likely to be open by June 22? I did a search but couldn't find any suggestion of when it would open, nor even when it opened in past heavier snow years like 2011.

I dug out my maps and see a trail over Mammoth Pass from the end of that road, which would take me down to Reds Meadow to get on the Fish Creek trail. From the topo it looks like an easy hike, but goes over 9,000 ft.

Is that trail likely to be covered with snow, or have too much snow for a snow novice like me to attempt? I've decided I'm OK with a little bit of snow if it's not too deep/dangerous. I would prepare and train accordingly in that case.

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Re: Late June Fish Creek trip advice

Post by maverick » Mon Apr 10, 2017 2:01 pm

I've decided I'm OK with a little bit of snow if it's not too deep/dangerous. I would prepare and train accordingly in that case.
The issue is that one cannot train for snow travel on dry land, their are nuances/difficulties involved with snow travel that one cannot simulate on dry land. Also, snow travel is considerably slower and even more importantly, sections of the trail may not have been traveled prior to you trip, which means you will be doing a going cross-country, and you must be extremely proficient with your navigational skills.
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I don't give out specific route information, my belief is that it takes away from the whole adventure spirit of a trip, if you need every inch planned out, you'll have to get that from someone else.

Have a safer backcountry experience by using the HST ReConn Form 2.0, named after Larry Conn, a HST member: http://reconn.org

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Re: Late June Fish Creek trip advice

Post by markskor » Mon Apr 10, 2017 2:54 pm

scipio wrote: I see a trail over Mammoth Pass from the end of that road, which would take me down to Reds Meadow to get on the Fish Creek trail. From the topo it looks like an easy hike, but goes over 9,000 ft.
Is that trail likely to be covered with snow, or have too much snow for a snow novice like me to attempt?
From the Village, take the free (orange line) shuttle up past Mary to Horseshoe Lake. Trail there (South facing) starts and goes over Mammoth Pass...easy, but could still hold some snow...maybe 1 mile/ maybe less, mostly level though... to a west facing, open descent, down to Sotcher Lake and Red's Meadow. Maybe 4 miles and, if you time the snow conditions right (late morning), should not present problems if you have a good TOPO.
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Re: Late June Fish Creek trip advice

Post by scipio » Tue Apr 11, 2017 7:33 pm

Thanks maverick, markskor.

Looks like I'll need to line up a plan B/alternate location just in case. I'll hope that Reds opens early enough (sounds unlikely at this stage), or that mammoth crest is relatively clear by my currently planned start date. Might also consider trying to delay my trip by 1 1/2 weeks, if that means Reds Meadow road is open. Will just have to monitor conditions and hope for the best.

Thanks again for the helpful info. Back to the drawing boards :)

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