Rae Lakes Loop
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Andrew Sorenson
(andrew68c20) - F
Rae Lakes Loop on 07/10/2011 16:56:05 MDT Print View

Wondering if anyone has been through the Rae Lakes Loop in the past couple weeks? I read the trail conditions report that says 100% snow coverage from Rae Lakes to Glen Pass. I haven't been backpacking in 20 years, I'm taking my two sons (20 and 14) for their first time. Is this a good idea? What's the chance of losing the trail in the snow? We leave in two weeks.

Chris Morgan
(ChrisMorgan) - F

Locale: Southern Oregon
Re: Rae Lakes Loop on 07/10/2011 17:05:02 MDT Print View

Take a look at this: http://www.highsierratopix.com/community/viewtopic.php?f=1&t=6478&p=45336

It sounds like the biggest concern right now is water crossings.

Jennifer McFarlane
(JennyMcFarlane) - MLife

Locale: Southern California
Rae Lakes loop on 07/10/2011 18:24:34 MDT Print View

Andrew
Looks like we will be in the area around the same time- we've got a group of 11 scouts and 11 leaders traveling as two separate groups leaving on the 25th.
It does look like water crossings will be the biggest challenge with two more weeks of July sun melting the snow.
Enjoy your trip.
Jenny

Bob Gross
(--B.G.--) - F

Locale: Silicon Valley
Re: Re: Rae Lakes Loop on 07/10/2011 18:39:41 MDT Print View

"It sounds like the biggest concern right now is water crossings."

If the streams get any deeper, the hikers may require SCUBA equipment.

--B.G.--

Andrew Sorenson
(andrew68c20) - F
Crossing Creeks on 07/11/2011 00:16:30 MDT Print View

I realize I may be asking rookie questions, but do you just cross streams and creeks and keep walking with your wet boots, or do you take them off for crossings? I can imagine significant discomfort with wet boots and socks.

Bob Gross
(--B.G.--) - F

Locale: Silicon Valley
Re: Rae Lakes Loop on 07/11/2011 00:30:32 MDT Print View

"I haven't been backpacking in 20 years, I'm taking my two sons (20 and 14) for their first time. Is this a good idea? What's the chance of losing the trail in the snow?"

Andrew, how many of your sons are you prepared to sacrifice? (joking)

In a couple of weeks, the streams will be different, probably a little lower. What you and your sons might do now, for preparation, is practice stream crossings in shallow water near home. Use 50-100 feet of light rope. With two people anchoring and one person supported, it can be done. At a minimum, you will learn your limits.

Then, when you get to the real streams, you are prepared to go for it. The real stream may be much faster and much colder.

--B.G.--

Art ...
(asandh) - F
Rope for Stream Crossing on 07/11/2011 08:00:13 MDT Print View

tieing someone to a rope for a stream crossing can be both helpful
and
Very dangerous.
be careful with this technique.

Roleigh Martin
(marti124) - MLife

Locale: Moderator-JohnMuirTrail Yahoo Group
Re: Rae Lakes Loop on 07/11/2011 08:18:07 MDT Print View

I'm the lead moderator of the JohnMuirTrail@YahooGroups, we have 1150 members focused on this trail. Our links folder

http://groups.yahoo.com/group/johnmuirtrail/links/Current_conditions_001262975433/

Has perhaps the best set of links to web pages keeping track of current conditions on various parts of the trail.

We also have links and files to You Tube Videos and literature on safe Stream Crossing techniques.

Andrew Sorenson
(andrew68c20) - F
Rae Lakes Water Crossings on 07/11/2011 11:41:47 MDT Print View

Thanks for all the helpful replies. From everything I'm reading, it looks like conditions are changing very quickly in the summer heat, so things will likely be very different in a week and a half. I'm pretty sure we can figure out the crossings; the more recent reports are "thigh high" water. And I guess wet shoes are part of the sport. I'm a little more concerned about losing the trail in snow and mud, and whether we'll need some other equipment?

Bob Gross
(--B.G.--) - F

Locale: Silicon Valley
Re: Rae Lakes Water Crossings on 07/11/2011 11:50:31 MDT Print View

If the job was easy, they could have hired just anybody.

--B.G.--

Chuck Cheese
(defrag4) - F
re losing the trail on 07/11/2011 16:20:34 MDT Print View

Just got back from Rae Lakes loop 2 days ago

Losing the trail is very easy under the snow, I would highly suggest a GPS with the latest trail maps uploaded. We were able to follow footprints in the snow however we also lost the footprints a few times and luckily had GPS to get us back on track.

I am writing up a trip report right now, should have it up tonight.

Rick Dreher
(halfturbo) - MLife

Locale: Northernish California
Re: Rae Lakes Water Crossings on 07/11/2011 17:57:46 MDT Print View

FWIW last week's blazing heat has throttled back considerably, which will 1. slow the meltoff (boo) and 2. lower stream flows (yay, unless you're a kayaker). This pattern is supposed to hold until about Sunday, with the heat back on Monday.

There are plans, then there's what happens.

Cheers,

Rick

Andrew Sorenson
(andrew68c20) - F
Rae Lakes Loop conditions on 07/12/2011 00:12:54 MDT Print View

Based on what I'm reading, and the dates of all the reports, it kinda looks like the snow that is there today will be diminished by the time I go through two weeks from today. I may still rent a GPS before I go out though.

Charles Henry
(Chuckie_Cheese)

Locale: Arizona and British Columbia
Re: Rae Lakes Loop on 07/12/2011 22:52:56 MDT Print View

I was at Rae Lakes about 2.5 weeks ago. There will be lots of snow. Glen Pass was a little epic, espiecally on the north side. This is saying alot considering I went out through Dragon Peak. Specifically, be prepared to ascend and descend 45 degree snow.

There will be quite a few melted out sites near trees for camping. Crossing some of the lakes could be interesting.

Say hello to the crew who may still be trying to build a new ranger cabin. They fed me and a thru hiker a couple hot dogs.

Edited by Chuckie_Cheese on 07/12/2011 22:54:39 MDT.

Bob Gross
(--B.G.--) - F

Locale: Silicon Valley
Re: Rae Lakes Loop on 07/12/2011 23:02:00 MDT Print View

Experienced summer snow hikers will understand this already, but this is for the inexperienced. When you look at a big snow slope, you see mostly snow with a few big boulders sticking out. If possible, avoid the boulders.

Those boulders absorb heat from the sun and become slightly warmer than the surrounding snow. At the snow surface, it may look like the snow is continuous right up to the edge of the boulder. However, typically the boulder's warmth has melted out a "hollow" beneath the surface. If you try to step on the snow a few inches from the boulder, it may collapse into the hollow. That causes you to fall down a foot or two, and is a common cause for fractured legs. Steer away from the boulders by a few feet, and there is no problem.

--B.G.--

Charles Henry
(Chuckie_Cheese)

Locale: Arizona and British Columbia
Re: Re: Rae Lakes Loop on 07/12/2011 23:15:44 MDT Print View

Same goes with trees, water, logs, ice etc. When on snow, stay away from any of its interfaces with other objects.

Andrew Sorenson
(andrew68c20) - F
Rae Lakes on 07/12/2011 23:31:01 MDT Print View

I guess finding other hikers' footprints in the snow would be too much to ask for?

Edited by andrew68c20 on 07/12/2011 23:32:06 MDT.