Conditions request: New Army Pass

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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grampy
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Conditions request: New Army Pass

Post by grampy » Sat Jul 20, 2019 10:22 am

Has anyone gone over New Army Pass lately, or at least know anything about its current condition ? Specifically, whether use of traction devices / ice axe are still required (or strongly advised). I last used crampons/ice axe about 30 years ago, so I am quite out of practice.
My current plan is going in over Cottonwood Pass and out (on July 27 or so) over N.A.P. If conditions warrant it, I could simply back-track on my exit, but would really like to add another day to visit Cottonwood Lakes. Thanks!








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mort
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Re: Conditions request: New Army Pass

Post by mort » Sat Jul 20, 2019 2:31 pm

Hi grampy,
My brother & I came out over NAP on 7-14, Sunday. We didn't need any crampons or ice axes. We did use trekking poles (with snow baskets). To the west of the pass there is a large and long cornice. There are a few (3 or 4) snow fields to cross between the pass and High Lake. Right at the top a trail has been worn starting a little east of the pass. From the sign on the pass, hike east a hundred feet or so and then start looking for a place to start climbing over and down to the south. The difficult portions of the current use trail are a couple of steep rock scrambles; one just at about the level of the pass, then an easy flat snow field, about 15 ft wide last week. Some more down climbing and then traverse a rather steep snow field, 20 or so ft. wide. From there you are mostly on the standard trail. Most of the snow below there can be skirted if you don't like snow. We post-holed in the lowest snow fields. On that Sunday the winds on NAP and Army Pass and the trail to Langley were intense. Several gusts actually blew us off our feet with our packs. From High Lake to where the trail passes South Fork Lakes there are a few more snowy parts and lots of wet or flooded trail portions.
The Cottonwood Lakes area has a number of large meadows that look wonderful just now. There are mosquitoes too. Have a great time!
-mort

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bobby49
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Re: Conditions request: New Army Pass

Post by bobby49 » Sat Jul 20, 2019 2:48 pm

It has been a couple of years since I went over New Army Pass (west to east). When there is a lot of snow, the trick is in getting started in the exactly correct spot off the top lip. Following the biggest concentration of tracks is a good bet.

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grampy
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Re: Conditions request: New Army Pass

Post by grampy » Sat Jul 20, 2019 3:48 pm

Thanks Mort & Bobby49 - your input is super-helpful!
I don’t mind walking on/through snow; just not enthused about a long traverse on really high-angle stuff. Will take your workaround tips to heart.

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