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sierra high country snow levels
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Greg Jennings
(gregj) - F
sierra high country snow levels on 07/16/2007 18:59:05 MDT Print View

Anyone just back from the sierras have a snow and/or mosquito report? I'll be traveling over several 11K passes next week and am wondering if I need to lug my ice axe along. In a normal year I would take it, but with the low snow pack...I'm just not sure.

Shawn Basil
(Bearpaw) - F

Locale: Southeast
Re: sierra high country snow levels on 07/16/2007 22:04:21 MDT Print View

I just had to abort my JMT thru-hike due to a stress fracture in my left ankle. However, up to 11K, there was NO snow on the trail between Yosemite Valley and Red's Meadow. The word from north-bound PCT'ers is that there is no appreciable snow on the entire High Sierra corridor from Whitney to Vermillion Valley Resort. What little there was a couple of weeks ago (patches you could walk across easily) are likely gone by now.

Mosquitoes were a nuisance despite the scarcity of snow, but not a terror.

However, be VERY aware of wildfire concerns. There were 4 separate fires in the Inyo National Forest when I got off the trail. It seems like the eastern California corridor is a huge patchwork of flames and dry lightning storms are only making things worse. Be informed and be careful.

Edited by Bearpaw on 07/16/2007 22:05:10 MDT.

Steven Nelson
(slnsf) - MLife

Locale: Northern California
Re: sierra high country snow levels on 07/16/2007 22:05:04 MDT Print View

We just did the High Passes Loop in Yosemite and Ansel Adams Wilderness 6/30-7/4, and other than a few dozen yards of snow near Red Peak Pass (11.1K'), there was no snow on the trails and passes - just on some shaded exposures of higher peaks.

Mosquitoes, on the other hand, were ferocious in the lower areas.

Edited by slnsf on 07/16/2007 22:05:54 MDT.

Aaron Sorensen
(awsorensen) - MLife

Locale: South of Forester Pass
Re: sierra high country snow levels on 07/16/2007 22:06:48 MDT Print View

Hey Greg,
I just got back last weekend.
I hiked with a few PCT'ers for a few days from Reds Meadow to Tuolumne Meadows.

They only hit a few small patches of snow going over Muir Pass, and that was it, the least amount of snow they had ever seen.

The only time they got wet way crossing Evolution Creek which was about a foot deep.
Everything else was just stepping stones to cross.

Mosquitoes were thinning out as well.
I was up there two weeks before that and they were a lot thicker.

I wouldn't take the ice ax but might want to take some poles if you are going to be off the main trails.
I dought at only 11k that you'll even hit any patches of snow.

John Kays
(johnk) - M

Locale: SoCal
Re: Re: sierra high country snow levels on 07/17/2007 10:41:29 MDT Print View

This is amazing considering it is only mid July and some of these reports are several days old. I hiked from Kennedy Mdws to Monanche Mdws in mid April, a time when the meadows are lush with run-off or still completely covered in snow. Except for the Kern, there was no water between Kennedy Mdws and Monanche Mdws and the meadows were handpan dry with yellow, dry grass. The Kern was low enough to cross hopping the rocks across-normally in flood stage that time of year.

In May in Cottonwood Lakes just below the basin the Southfork Creek should have been in flood but was low and water temp relatively warm and the meadows were dry without mud or marsh and the grass burnt dry. I just can’t imagine what it will be like in late August.

Greg Jennings
(gregj) - F
Thanks Folks!!! on 07/18/2007 19:40:40 MDT Print View

I appreciate the beta. The ice axe will stay at home. Sorry to hear about your ankle injury, Shawn. Best of luck with a speedy recovery!

I'm off tomorrow and very much looking forward to it. It has been many years since I've had the time to hike up there.

Ken Helwig
(kennyhel77) - MLife

Locale: Scotts Valley CA via San Jose, CA
Re: Thanks Folks!!! on 07/18/2007 22:00:42 MDT Print View

Enjoy your hike. Snow is not a concern and mosquitos are only a problem in lower elevations..and even that is starting to leave. Have fun!!