Kern River crossing on Colby Pass trail -- pics? alternate crossings?

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potatopants
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Kern River crossing on Colby Pass trail -- pics? alternate crossings?

Post by potatopants » Fri Jul 12, 2019 1:04 pm

Hello, I expect to be at the Kern River crossing en route to Colby Pass about 30 days from now ( if I am able to cross the blow out between Hamilton Lakes and Precipice, that is).

I know this crossing can be a tough one. Not from experience, but from reading this board and talking to the ranger. I know, too, that a lot can change in 30 days. For the moment, I kind of just want to wrap my head around what this crossing actually looks like--when it's swift, when it's not, just to understand what I might be dealing with.

Would anyone be able to share pics of the crossing from years past? Especially mid August pics in high snow years? From this year?

Has anyone found alternate points to cross that were easier/safer?

Thank you for any experience you can share.








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Mike M.
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Re: Kern River crossing on Colby Pass trail -- pics? alternate crossings?

Post by Mike M. » Fri Jul 12, 2019 3:34 pm

I crossed there on August 20, 2017, another high snowfall year. There were a lot of downed trees in the area, which made getting around harder. The usual crossing is no more than a foot or two deep and is done in two or three stages, as the creek branches around rock and sand islands. In 2017, I was able to cross with my boots on, staying out of the water most of the way using snags and rocks. My boots got a little wet. It would have been quicker (but wetter) to just wade in. Bottom line, by August 12 I expect the crossing to be safe and easy.

Be sure to cross upstream from where the Kern-Kaweah River joins the main Kern River channel, otherwise you'll have another major crossing to negotiate.

Mike M.
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Re: Kern River crossing on Colby Pass trail -- pics? alternate crossings?

Post by bobby49 » Fri Jul 12, 2019 4:39 pm

When I crossed through there many years ago, I had no specialized footwear, a.k.a. water socks. I remember the stream crossing as being hard on my feet.

When I returned, I had some three-ounce water socks to wear, and that made it a lot easier.

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Re: Kern River crossing on Colby Pass trail -- pics? alternate crossings?

Post by stevet » Fri Jul 12, 2019 6:16 pm

I crossed in a low snow year, mid August. Basically plowed straight across where the trail dumped into the River. This location is north of the jct with the Kern-Kaweah so no issues there. The crossing as I recall was over 3 braids. I wore my boots and just waded through, no issues.

This year mid August there will still be a lot of water but with a little scouting will be able to find a good crossing location. Just plan to get wet feet. And keep periodically ping this board and the ranger station for possible "live" reports.

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Re: Kern River crossing on Colby Pass trail -- pics? alternate crossings?

Post by potatopants » Sun Jul 14, 2019 1:51 pm

Thank you very, very much for the photos and the descriptions. This looks/sounds more than manageable. I've crossed much swifter/deeper crossings that what I might find here in a month's time. I'll keep an eye out for more reports as the next few weeks wear by.

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Re: Kern River crossing on Colby Pass trail -- pics? alternate crossings?

Post by kylekuzma » Mon Jul 15, 2019 2:16 pm

Anybody know how the Colby Pass is looking right now? Headed out there in 2 weeks and worried about the snow as I approach the pass

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Re: Kern River crossing on Colby Pass trail -- pics? alternate crossings?

Post by Flamingo » Mon Jul 15, 2019 2:39 pm

@potatopants Here is a link to a video of fording the Kern River, on the Colby Pass Trail near Junction Meadow. This was July 7, 2010. I believe 2010 was a relatively "normal" snow year. The river braided into three main channels. The video here shows us crossing the "worst" of the three channels. LINK: https://flic.kr/p/8AaUgW

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Re: Kern River crossing on Colby Pass trail -- pics? alternate crossings?

Post by potatopants » Tue Jul 16, 2019 9:59 am

Thanks, flamingo, maybe that’s about what I could expect this year if the melt is a month behind a normal year.

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