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Anyone in the sierras yet?
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William Law
(williamlaw) - M

Locale: SF Bay Area
Re: August Trip down Rafferty Creek on 07/11/2005 16:34:51 MDT Print View

I was in Yosemite over July 4th.

Spent one night at May Lk (9300'), the next on the Valley rim (7000'). There was plenty of snow at the higher elevations still. We camped in an open, bare spot, but there were 12' banks of snow adjacent to it. May Lk was still half iced over.

Trails were almost entirely clear of snow until above 9000'+ (the final 300-400' to May Lk were on a steep, South-facing slope, so I don't exactly where the snow started).

I don't think snow will be a problem come August, except maybe in the highest passes, on the North-facing side.

Saw few mosquitos at the higher elevations. Many more lower down. Seemed very hit and miss, though.

I'd worry more about the bugs. You don't want to face a bad swarm of Sierra mosquitos unprepared and they're harder to predict than the temperatures. IMHO.

Bill Law

Ken Helwig
(kennyhel77) - MLife

Locale: Scotts Valley CA via San Jose, CA
snow in the sierras on 07/11/2005 18:54:37 MDT Print View

You should be ok in August. There won't be too much snow at that time.

Ron Stoecklein
(rs7trout) - F
JMT update-14 July on 07/15/2005 10:02:19 MDT Print View

Went out of Agnew Meadows on the 12th of July with thousand Island as our destination--going by way of Shadow--JMT to Thousand.

Went up as far as Garnet lake--but the mosquitoes chased us out--4 bottles of DEET in 3 days--only time you could avoid them was in tent or hiking.

Now for the ice\snow update--there were people doing the JMT from Tuolome--all passable--seems like the snow is greater in the northern areas from reports I've heard---
going over the JMT from Shadow lake to Garnet--lots of snow on the northern slopes--but high temps are melting it fast--it was 90 this week at 10,000'

we crossed snow fields at 1 pm and never postholed--a bit slushy but no big deal--the trail was pretty much obliterated by the snow---south slopes are almost 100% free of snow.

anyone going up in that area-keep in mind that the mosquitoes are a major obstacle--and I would seriously recommend taking extra DEET--and it wouldn't be a bad idea to throw in mosquito netting--we wish we did.--even with DEET I must have 20-30 bites.

My daughter and her friend couldn't deal with it any more so we came out earlier than anticipated.

Waterfalls are great--and where there are streams--well they are like rivers--but all passable. Probably never see the area with that much water for some time.

Also want to thank Al Shaver for his input before out trip--I wish I heeded his advice about the mosquito netting.


Ken Helwig
(kennyhel77) - MLife

Locale: Scotts Valley CA via San Jose, CA
sierras on 07/15/2005 12:47:57 MDT Print View

thanks for the update Ron.

kevin davidson
(kdesign) - F

Locale: Mythical State of Jefferson
concerning the butchering of Spanish place names on 07/15/2005 13:16:26 MDT Print View

It's the "Sierra",not "Sierras",gringos. "Sierra" is plural in itself.

we now return you to the trip report thread.

Richard Nelridge
(naturephoto1) - M

Locale: Eastern Pennsylvania
concerning the butchering of Spanish place names on 07/15/2005 13:56:07 MDT Print View

Hi Kevin,

Not only have we butchered the Spanish language on this site, but we have also butchered Latin, and Greek? What's next butchering English?


kevin davidson
(kdesign) - F

Locale: Mythical State of Jefferson
language mince meat on 07/15/2005 14:05:21 MDT Print View

alls fair with English--it's still an evolving language

Ron Stoecklein
(rs7trout) - F
"Sierras" on 07/15/2005 18:48:01 MDT Print View

Ah--the Sierras will always be the "Sierras" to me--and yeah I am a gringo--but i do appreciate the langauage lesson.

Jeremy Best
(ultralitejer) - F
Mammoth to Tuolumne on 07/17/2005 17:20:15 MDT Print View


As we read Ron's important writings, do listen as I have encountered heavy amounts of Mosquitos in this area. Though 3 bottles of Deet is extreme. Even in extreme cases I have never used even half of an ounce of that stuff. I try to wear long pants and shirts and a bug net. Clothes also limits the use of sunblock....lighter loads (If clothes are light). I will through hike this part of the trail and will probably trek to some of the off trail lakes through out the trip. I will let you know the conditions when I get back July 26.
Note: I do hate most all insects and do not have high tolerances of them, Though I would expect to get a few bites.

paul johnson
(pj) - F

Locale: LazyBoy in my Den - miss the forest
Mammoth to Tuolumne & 'Skeeters' on 07/18/2005 02:19:06 MDT Print View

A question for anyone who can answer it. I live & hike in the NE - so tons of skeeter pressure (& black flies in Maine) for some of the best hiking mos. of the yr. Normally, it's a combo of clothing, bug-headnet, & DEET.

A co-worker swears by "Buzz-Off" clothing. Apparently, it comes in both cotton (oops...the 'c'-word. i'm going to go wash my mouth out now!!), & the much more expensive cool-max (i think that's the proprietary name of the fabric - it's some synthetic fabric at any rate).

Can anyone steer me towards or away from the synthetic version of Buzz-Off?

Many thanks,

Ron Stoecklein
(rs7trout) - F
Re: Mosquitoes on 07/18/2005 09:02:34 MDT Print View

In reference to 3 bottles of Deet used--it was extreme--and most likely "over done" I was dealing with two 16 year old girls--who although were great with everything -- "crashed and burned" when it came to dealing with the little buggers. But at the same time--I was using 100% DEET and was still getting bites.

When I think that I could have bought some netting for 13.00 -- I'm still kicking myself.

And Al had given that advice prior to our trip.

The biggest problem I think is all the stagnant little ponds--where ice melted--where normally there would be no water--but that should start drying up in the next month.

Tom Clark
(TomClark) - MLife

Locale: East Coast
Skeeters in Yosem on 07/19/2005 11:06:13 MDT Print View

Thanks for the input, and I look forward tou your recon report later this month. I have a headnet on order (OR Deluxe Headnet), but was looking at GoLite's nest to use with my 8x10 tarp since I will be sharing it with someone. Anyone have experience with it?

What do people use with a tarp when bugs are expected? I like to be able to have some space away from the flying bugs.


Tom Clark
(TomClark) - MLife

Locale: East Coast
Fishing in Yosem on 07/19/2005 18:48:50 MDT Print View

My brother-in-law wants to do some fishing on the trip. Any tips of location, prevelent bugs on water, or terrestrials?

Jeremy Best
(ultralitejer) - F
Sqeeters on 07/19/2005 18:49:21 MDT Print View

Ron, I hear ya...two sixteen years olds. How'd you get them to hike so far? If you don't have a bug net then nothing will help!

Thomas, I use an OR wireless net and it works great. Mine is a bit bigger, so there are other nets that are lighter and smaller. As for a shelter, I too am using a tarp (Tyvek), I am relying on my bivy for shelter from the bugs. Only at night. In the day I will use clothing and a net.
In my experience, Sqeeters are usually in the trees and around water. If you avoid camping in these areas there are less of them around. (lake outlets, snow runoff, or soggy meadows)
Last year I was at Minarete Lakes and caught more fish than any where else I've been so far. There is a small lake to the north of the main lake (it is connected by a small stream). In this shallow lake we caught 14" trout all day long on 1/12 Gold Febes (barbless). I hear Rush Creek, Lyle Canyon, and Waugh has incredible fishing.

Well I will see soon enough, Jeremy

Edited by ultralitejer on 07/19/2005 18:57:00 MDT.

Ron Stoecklein
(rs7trout) - F
Squiters and Fishing on 07/20/2005 08:12:24 MDT Print View

Funny thing was my one daughter(16) seems to be a natural born hiker--I mean she always sets the pace--and loves to hike--but almost "freaks" out with mosquitoes. And this year--It really didn't matter where you were--as there is water everywhere---and they attacked in force. Again--netting is the key word here!

Garnet Lake--had some incredible fishing--big brookies and rainbows---I caught 6 in 30 minutes--all keepers.

Jeremy Best
(ultralitejer) - F
Brookies? on 07/21/2005 00:34:59 MDT Print View

Very good! I will then have to fish there also. Tomorrow morning we leave (6am). It takes 4 hours to get to Mammoth, we probably won't start on the trail until noon (permits, last good meal,and bus ride to Agnew Meadow). I had to do a last check to see if there were any new posts, and........I can't go to sleep yet. More than half my total weight is food and water ,about 5.5 lbs. food and 2 lbs. water. I guess I will be eating good!


Ronald Rogers
(rrogerskayaker) - F
PCT South of Mt.Whitney on 07/21/2005 10:15:13 MDT Print View

Starting this Sunday, I am hiking the PCT from Kennedy Meadows north to Trail Pass near Mt. Whitney. What conditions should I expect: skeets, snow conditions, creek crossings, low temps? I have never backpacked in this part of California before. Trying to decide if I should running shoe it or wear my boots with my light pack. Thanks! Ron

scott Nelson
(nlsscott) - MLife

Locale: So. Calif.
Trail Conditions-Agnew Mdws. on 07/21/2005 10:54:48 MDT Print View

My buddy and I just got back from a three day hike out of Agnew Mdws. We found lots of snow at 10K and above. We took the Shadow Lake Trail almost to Ediza with no problems and then went cross country to Nydiver Lakes. They were still mostly snow covered. We found some dry camping around the first lake. The weather is warm (40 deg. at night) so the snow stays soft. We went up to look at Ritter and Banner but we were moving quite slowly so we turned around. We cross-countried over a 10,400 pass to Garnet Lake and were very happy to have ice axes for the north facing descent. Less snow (and giant fish!) at Garnet Lake. We decended the trail from Garnet Lake to the River Trail-THERE IS NO WAY TO CROSS THE RIVER AT THAT JUNCTION. We could find no crossing in either direction until we ran out of use trails. We ended up bushwacking down stream for about a mile until we stummbled on enough downed logs that crossed the river. We had a some worried few hours looking for a crossing and thought we might be late in getting out. Anyway, it's warm, lots of bugs, few hikers, and the JMT is clear as far as Garnet, probably 1000 Island is good, too. I don't know one way or the other beyond that. You can not camp along Shadow Lake, check the rules. Scott Nelson

Thomas Caleshu
(tcaleshu) - F
Sierra Snow/Bug Conditions - JMT Route on 07/23/2005 22:07:05 MDT Print View

I just completed the JMT southbound from Yosemite to Mt Whitney - 14 hiking days from July 4 - July 20 (2 layover dates). To the best of my knowledge, and from information gleaned, I was approximately the 10th person this season to complete the southbound journey.

So let me say this - Do Not Be Afraid. The trails are very passable, and getting better each day. I dare say that within a matter of days all snow will have dissapeared from the trails save the largest and highest snowfield (Muir Pass, Forester Pass).

Bugs, as everyone has said, are only a problem when you stop moving. I only encountered a few locations where bugs where a major issue - outside of Edison Lake, Rae Lakes, and one or two streams.

As per night-time bivy/tarp handling of bugs, try getting one of the cheap Army surplus style headnets - the ones that come close to your head. Wear that to bed while keeping your sleeping bag tight.

No specialized snow gear is required at this point, nor could even be used. The snow that is left never truly re-freezes overnight, and is slushy much of the day.

Stream crossings can be hazardous - although the water content in the area has peaked as of mid-July, there is still tons of it out there. Talk to other hikers on the trails, see what they have to say.


Ron Stoecklein
(rs7trout) - F
Shadow lake Camping on 07/25/2005 15:44:08 MDT Print View

As Scott indicates--you can't camp near the lake--but you can camp 300' back from the lake--which rules out many spots---we have our "secret spot" which really is almost the perfect campsite--if anyone is interested I think I have the waypoints for the site. And by the way we were visited by a ranger who was looking for another group--they were camped almost on the edge of the lake and were told to move--but our site was fine.