Sierras in late march
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Cody Lebow
(CLebow) - F

Locale: Orange County
Sierras in late march on 02/23/2012 07:25:46 MST Print View

I'm trying to put together a trip for my birthday at the end of march and would appreciate any suggestions. Looking for a 5 day trip with around 10mi each day. I was thinking about dinkey lakes or the Rae lakes loop.

Jim W.
(jimqpublic) - MLife

Locale: So-Cal
Re: Sierras in late march on 02/23/2012 10:46:45 MST Print View

Presuming you intend true winter mountaineering conditions...

I'm not familiar with Dinkey Lakes. Rae Lakes loop could be a great winter trip. You will need to go from the East side since the road to Kings Canyon won't be open. The road to Onion Valley won't be open either, but you can drive as high as possible, drop your gear, then descend to the road closed sign at about 6500'. (just in case a typical March storm blows in and lowers the snow level)

Kearsarge pass is fairly easy in winter. Glen is another matter. I suggest using Kearsarge to access Bubb's Creek and Dragon for Rae Lakes.

Snow line is unpredictable but right now on the Owens Valley side it's about 7000' on north facing slopes and 9000' on south facing. Last week it was 5000'!

Much of your hike on lower Bubb's and Woods creek may be free of significant snow. With the low snowfall this year and cool March weather I think the creek crossings should be manageable. Watch out for a warm spell or worse warm rain. Higher elevations will have several feet in many areas. If no more storms hit you might get by without snowshoes but I wouldn't risk it. It hopefully goes without saying that ice axe, crampons, gear for below zero F, and appropriate skills are needed.

Last year a late March storm dropped several feet of snow in the Rae Lakes. Be prepared.

Edited by jimqpublic on 02/23/2012 10:51:13 MST.

Hiking Malto
(gg-man) - F
Rae Lakes on 02/23/2012 11:26:31 MST Print View

I did the Rae Lake Loop in 2010 on snowshoes starting from Road's End. It was the first weekend the road was open. You will likely have to start from Onion Valley. Make sure you call the Firest Service to make sure the road to Onion Valley is open past Seven Pines, sometimes they close it depending on conditions. Also, you risk getting stuck up there if there is a storm while you are on the trail.

There have been a lot of folks thinking that there is little snow in the High Sierra. I would expect snow from at least Vidette Meadow to Wood Creek Bridge, going CCW. Also, be careful to monitor avalanche conditions. Last year there were numerous avalanches in the Rae Lakes area. Just because it is a low snow year doesn't mean the snow and it's associated danger are gone. Glen Pass will have snow.

Edited by gg-man on 02/23/2012 11:27:31 MST.

Cody Lebow
(CLebow) - F

Locale: Orange County
Good to know on 02/23/2012 13:09:12 MST Print View

Well being that I have absolutely no winter backpacking experience Rae lakes is out. Guess its another trip out to Ojai, unless anyone has any other suggestions.

Edited by CLebow on 02/23/2012 13:10:12 MST.

Dave T
(DaveT) - F
sierra march. on 02/23/2012 14:37:20 MST Print View

Yep, I'd say just because it might be a low snow year doesn't mean you probably won't be in serious winter snow conditions that high up. And a serious weather check is in order, since you could be in full on-blizzard conditions there in March or April anytime.

That said, it's going to be a very early year in the Sierra at this rate. A good year to hike the PCT (at least for mosquito populations, I'd think).

Jim W.
(jimqpublic) - MLife

Locale: So-Cal
Re: Sierras in late march on 02/23/2012 16:33:51 MST Print View

Southern Sierras- Domeland Wilderness, PCT section F, hikes from Kennedy Meadows, etc. might be good. Look for areas that are hot and dry in summer.

Actually look at any part the PCT from Mexico to Kennedy Meadows- Lots of snow is possible in some areas but you can have a few options and decide which one to do shortly before the hike.

Andrew McManama
(andymac321) - F

Locale: SoCal
Sespe! on 03/04/2012 10:45:07 MST Print View

I would get a good hike done in Sespe. There are great areas to get in 10 mile a day for a few days. I did a 3 day, 28 mile hike there that had a lot of up hill. I wrote about it on my blog: http://journeytojmt.blogspot.com/2012/01/solo-through-sespe-to-hines-peak.html There are many different routes to take, but the one I did was a lot of fun and very pretty.

Cody Lebow
(CLebow) - F

Locale: Orange County
sespe on 03/04/2012 14:45:04 MST Print View

I figure im going to do a 4-5 day out and back to sespe hot spring.I haven't been back to the sespe springs yet,only as far as williet and figure if i leave thrusday I can get back there before anyone else.

J W
(jhaura) - F

Locale: www.Trailability.com
Re: Sierras in late march on 03/05/2012 00:02:23 MST Print View

Cody, re: Sespe. I need to survey the trail for the forest service back near the Hot Springs. Can you do 12-15 miles per day? It would be a 3-4 dayer... Maybe we could hook up with Nick for the trip too.

Cody Lebow
(CLebow) - F

Locale: Orange County
Re: Re: Sierras in late march on 03/05/2012 08:53:40 MST Print View

I Have done 12 out there without an issue aside from sore feet due to wearing fivefingers. I am down to go with ya. What days are you thinking?

J W
(jhaura) - F

Locale: www.Trailability.com
Re: Re: Re: Sierras in late march on 03/05/2012 11:25:36 MST Print View

March 23-25. Nick says he is in, pending spousal approval. I pm'd you...