Hiking in Sierra's in November?
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Shawn Taylor
(staylor310) - F

Locale: Sierra
Hiking in Sierra's in November? on 10/10/2008 09:47:22 MDT Print View

I'm looking for some recommendations for a good trip to do this November. Eastern Sierra, Kings Canyon, Sequoia, etc. I've got 3.5 days, so mileage in the 30-50 mi. range depending on conditions.

Given the time of year our options are limited. We will be geared for temps down to around 10 deg., and hiking in shallow snow. We will not be bringing any snowshoes, ice axes, or crampons.


Any one have any recommendations or trips report links?

thanks.

Dave T
(DaveT) - F
sierra. on 10/10/2008 10:49:41 MDT Print View

no specific advice on trips... just make sure you watch the weather forecast ahead of time. we just had two hiker deaths up in the sierra last weekend. have fun and be safe!

Rick Dreher
(halfturbo) - MLife

Locale: Northernish California
Re: sierra. on 10/10/2008 13:00:50 MDT Print View

Exactly right, you'll have to watch the weather and track how many storms occur between now and your hike dates. I've slept on bare ground in the Sierra as late as the week before Thanksgiving, but in more typical years there have already been multiple large storms through by then and feet of snow at higher elevations.

Frankly, after two miserably dry winters that's what everybody's hoping for!

Shawn Taylor
(staylor310) - F

Locale: Sierra
Re: Re: sierra. on 10/10/2008 14:26:46 MDT Print View

I always monitor weather and snow accumulation/pack etc., and typically have back up trips planned at lower elevations, in case it isn't looking good. Thanks for the concern.

Tom Kirchner
(ouzel) - MLife

Locale: Pacific Northwest/Sierra
Re: Hiking in Sierra's in November? on 10/12/2008 18:22:29 MDT Print View

Shawn,
Are you looking for a point-to-point, loop, or does it matter?

Ken Helwig
(kennyhel77) - MLife

Locale: Scotts Valley CA via San Jose, CA
Re: Re: Hiking in Sierra's in November? on 10/12/2008 20:05:45 MDT Print View

Shawn, just got back from doing a loop in Emmigrant. Light dusting of snow at around 7-8800 feet. Higher up you can see the snow. We had highs around the 40's with lows in the 20's. Windchill was tough too. It was such a treat to be in the mountains with seasons changing. If you do go, please make sure that you check the weather and have escape options too. Have fun!!

Shawn Taylor
(staylor310) - F

Locale: Sierra
Re: Re: Hiking in Sierra's in November? on 10/13/2008 08:15:40 MDT Print View

Does not matter.

Shawn Taylor
(staylor310) - F

Locale: Sierra
Re: Re: Re: Hiking in Sierra's in November? on 10/13/2008 08:20:56 MDT Print View

Where in Emmigrant were you?

Tom Kirchner
(ouzel) - MLife

Locale: Pacific Northwest/Sierra
Re: Re: Re: Hiking in Sierra's in November? on 10/13/2008 18:41:04 MDT Print View

Hi Shawn,
It's pretty iffy trying to envision what conditions will be like in November but, assuming low snow to begin with, here's a possible trip that offers options for escape should the weather turn foul: Head for Rae Lakes from Road's End in KCNP and then on past Charlotte Lake to Vidette Meadows, then on to Center Basin. From there, if the weather holds, you would have the option of going over Junction Pass and intersecting the Shepherd Pass trail at the Pothole and down to its TH or going over Forrester Pass and intersecting the Tyndall Creek trail. From there you could head east over Shepherd Pass and out. A shorter alternative exit would be to go out over Kearsarge Pass and exit at Onion Valley(I doubt bear canister regs would still be in effect and anyway there will likely be no one up there to enforce them). If conditions turn foul before Glen Pass, your could retreat the way you came. South of Glen Pass you could retreat down Bubbs Creek and be back at your starting point in 5-8 hours, depending on conditions, turn around point, and your pace. In either scenario you would be relatively sheltered from the worst of the weather.
Almost every other worthwhile route I could think of involves retreat over 12000' plus passes, not a good idea that time of year. Good luck and have a great time.
Tom

Shawn Taylor
(staylor310) - F

Locale: Sierra
Re: Re: Re: Re: Hiking in Sierra's in November? on 10/14/2008 09:24:23 MDT Print View

Thanks Tom,
A Rae Lakes Loop or variation of it is pretty iffy in November. Snow Sensors say that currently there is about 1.5" of snow depth at Charlotte Lake, and last week there was about 5". Roads End is a low trailhead, and would be an easy bail out, whether we made it over Glen Pass or not. I did a Rae Lakes Trip in August from the east, but I have never done Rae Lakes from Kings Canyon. My biggest concern would be if we made it to Rae Lakes and it dumped 2ft of snow overnight, I don't know how manageable the retrun on Bubbs Creek or Woods Creek would be without snowshoes. I'm going to monitor the area over the next few weeks and see what happens, but I would be surprised if Rae Lakes doesn't have a few feet of snow by mid November. Thanks again for the idea.

Tom Kirchner
(ouzel) - MLife

Locale: Pacific Northwest/Sierra
Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Hiking in Sierra's in November? on 10/15/2008 19:06:10 MDT Print View

Hi Shawn,
I, too, would be surprised if there wasn't several feet of snow at Rae Lakes by November, but this whole thread was sort of predicated on unusually low snow. I think this pretty much holds for the whole Sierra interior. Still, if you get a window.....
A parting thought: If you do decide to go somewhere fairly far in, it might not be a bad idea to carry a pair of UL snowshoes(e.g. Northern Lites Elites or Atlas Racers) as insurance, and cut your planned mileage down a bit. I hope something works out for you.