Italy Pass to Hilgard Fork - Early July
Display Avatars Sort By:
James Block
(jsblock11) - F

Locale: Southern California
Italy Pass to Hilgard Fork - Early July on 05/30/2013 20:38:31 MDT Print View

Anyone have any insight into any possible snow concerns with going over Italy Pass from the East, around Lake Italy on the northern shore, and descending Hilgard Fork around July 1st this year? I haven't been through that area before, so hoping the low snow year will make it easily passable by July.

Figured some folks on here might know the area and typical snowpack and give me a heads up of typical lingering snow/ice that might make it difficult to get through with trekking poles only.

Dave Grey
(dapperdave) - F
Route on 05/31/2013 07:13:08 MDT Print View

Hi James,

I don't have much info on specific July conditions, having only been over Italy Pass in September last year (no snow to be seen) but as far as I know, the difficult section on the shore of Lake Italy is the South-east shore, the "pass on the north" recommendation for Lake Italy refers to the route to/from Gabbot Pass. If I were headed from Italy Pass to Hilgard Branch I would either hit Jumble Lake then follow the drainage north to Lake Italy's southern shore then west, or from Italy Pass head southwest to Dancing Bear Pass then White Bear Pass, Brown Bear, then Teddy bear Lakes. I would prefer the second route and if I had spare time, Bear Lakes Basin/Vee lake is a beautiful area. When you get to Italy Pass you will see that the Jumble Lake route is a boulder/talus fest.

Hope this helps,

Dave

James Block
(jsblock11) - F

Locale: Southern California
Thanks on 06/02/2013 08:12:43 MDT Print View

Yes, that does help very much so thank you for the insight. I'm a novice at cross country travel and routefinding, but I do have spare time so exploring more of the Bear Lakes basin does sound enticing. Is the route passing through the basin much more difficult to follow navigation-wise?

Dave Grey
(dapperdave) - F
Bear Lakes Basin on 06/02/2013 09:55:05 MDT Print View

James,

I went Granite Park> Italy Pass> Dancing Bear Pass> White Bear> Black Bear then followed the drainage down to Little Bear then headed southwest over the little saddle then straight down to the North shore of Vee then round the east side to Claw> Den> then Northeast over the ridge, once in the next valley I went Southeast over Feather Pass( one could make a loop by heading west north west back to Black Bear.)

Personally I found this area pleasant to travel in (not much in the way of Talus, no bushwhacking or loose rock) and I had Gaia GPS topo maps on my smartphone which made macro routefinding easy.

However if this you haven't done any cross-country travel before I would try to get some off-trail experience both in terms of knowing how much slower the lack of a trail can make one and to get some navigation experience. I would recommend some sort of GPS and the knowledge of how to use it and the ability to use map and compass in conjunction and as a backup.

You don't mention if you're travelling solo, if so go very carefully, especially when tired, or even consider a less challenging route or asking someone with more experience to come along.

Stay safe,

Dave

PS. Posting for route advice on High Sierra Topix Forums is probably the best bet for contact with people very familiar with the area, they're a very friendly and knowledgable bunch, they ask you to follow a format when doing this, it's explained in a sticky in the Hiking sub-forum, which gives them an idea of your capabilities and experience, in order to save a lot of toing and froing.

Also, search here, HighSierraTopix and google for trip reports, there's a lot of useful information out there- study your maps also.

Edited by dapperdave on 06/02/2013 09:55:54 MDT.