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Sierra NF End of September
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Graeme Finley
(gfinley001) - F

Locale: SF Bay Area
Sierra NF End of September on 08/02/2006 17:29:31 MDT Print View

I did a trip to the Sierra National Forest in August last year with one of my main aims being to visit Tehipite valley. For several reasons (including the ridiculous number of mosquitos) I had to cut the trip short. I'm considering trying the trip again and doing a 6 day loop from Courtright Reservoir, thru Tehipite Valley to the PCT and then over Hell For Sure pass back to the reservoir. I have several questions:

Will the Kings River in Tehipite be crossable, especially given this year's snow pack?

What will the nightime temperatures be? I'm guessing in the mid-low 30s but I'm not sure.

When does the snow start and should I be prepared for snow storms?

Any ideas are appreciated.

Ken Helwig
(kennyhel77) - MLife

Locale: Scotts Valley CA via San Jose, CA
Re: Sierra NF End of September on 08/02/2006 19:18:21 MDT Print View

all of those questions are good ones. Unfortunately unless someone has crossed the rivers there is no telling how high or low they will be. Also depends on how much snow is melting. We had record snowfall in California this year and there is still quite a bit still there in the highest reaches. With that said, I would talk a ranger and ask questions. Usually though, most rangers do not have up to date information. They also tend to err on the conservative with answers. Lows in the Sierra's tend to get as low as early 30's in the high elevations and you can escape that by picking good spots to camp at. The Sierra's are quite unpredictable when it comes to weather. I would be ready for anything. Loads of thunder storms this year. As for snow, are you referring to snow storms or a light dusting which can happen from time to time in the Sierra's? If it is the occasional snow storm. It will last a real short period of time. Usually as long as a thunder storm happens. It melts and life goes on in a few hours. As for storms, that usually happens in late October. When are you going on this trip? If it is in the next few weeks, you should be ok with stream crossings and most snow fields. Crossing Hell For Sure Pass might still require an ice ax, again you will need to talk to someone that has been over that pass. Most rangers I would assume have not been over it. Mosquito's should still be a problem due to a late summer for us. The main thing to worry about now would be thunder storms which seem to be a daily occurance. Enjoy your trip and I hope this helps if any.

kevin davidson
(kdesign) - F

Locale: Mythical State of Jefferson
Crossing King's at Tehipite on 08/02/2006 19:42:22 MDT Print View

Judging from my experiences crossing in a relatively normal snow melt year(mid 90's), crossing is going to be a problem, maybe a very big problem. If you can stay on the N. bank for a few miles upstream ( there is at least one badass side creek to cross, washouts and bushwacking that can be an issue), crossing will be easier. If you make it to Simpson's Mdw. you're in gravy.

Here's a trip report that could be useful ---
http://www.climber.org/TripReports/1999/477.html

It can be very warm down in the valley. In Aug. nights could be in the 50's or even 60's. I've seen a lot of rattlers at Tehipite.

What a grand loop---hope it works out for you. Say hello to Poopout Pt. and it's fantastic views of the middle fork for me.

Graeme Finley
(gfinley001) - F

Locale: SF Bay Area
Re: Sierra NF End of September on 08/03/2006 07:37:53 MDT Print View

Thanks for your replies. Sorry about not giving the timing of the trip - that was an oversight on my part. I'm planning the trip to be last week in September. I'm hoping the mosquitos will be mostly gone by then, and from a few other postings I've read it appears that significant new snowfall is unlikely to be a problem before November.

I hadn't thought I'd need an ice axe for Hell for Sure by that point in the year. Perhaps I should rethink that?

I'll definitely check out the other thread you pointed to.