Subscribe Contribute Advertise Facebook Twitter Instagram Forums Newsletter
D'oh! Big Sierra Storm Kills Plans
Display Avatars Sort By:
Nathan Moody
(atomick) - MLife

Locale: San Francisco Bay Area
D'oh! Big Sierra Storm Kills Plans on 09/21/2007 09:40:17 MDT Print View

*sigh* The Trip Report That Never Will Be. :-\

Here I sit in my home studio looking at a fully packed Miniposa, complete with 6 person-days of food in a bear canister, only to discover last night that my planned trip to Emigrant Wilderness would face the following Winter Storm Warning from the NOAA (all caps is theirs, not mine):

URGENT - WINTER WEATHER MESSAGE
NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE RENO NV
257 PM PDT THU SEP 20 2007
...WINTER STORM WATCH IN EFFECT FROM FRIDAY EVENING THROUGH SATURDAY AFTERNOON ABOVE 7500 FEET..

WIDESPREAD RAIN AND SNOW WILL SPREAD OVER MONO COUNTY FRIDAY EVENING. SNOW LEVELS ABOVE 9000 FEET EARLY FRIDAY EVENING ARE EXPECTED TO FALL TO 7000 TO 7500 FEET BY SATURDAY MORNING. SNOWFALL TOTALS OF 6 TO 10 INCHES ABOVE 7500 FEET ARE POSSIBLE...WITH OVER A FOOT POSSIBLE AT THE HIGHEST ELEVATIONS. THERE IS A POTENTIAL FOR SIGNIFICANT SNOW ACCUMULATIONS THAT MAY
CREATE HAZARDOUS WINTER DRIVING CONDITIONS.

Man! This wasn't the year I planned on starting to snow-camp! :-D Even though it'd only be the first day of my trip, there's no way I'm prepared to camp on snow the whole time (TT Contrail, GG NightLite, GG ThinLight, alcohol stove...and no snowshoes).

Perhaps someday I'll be equipped and experienced enough to tackle this, but for now I need to unpack and start planning some long bike rides in the Bay Area...in the rain...and all this on my birthday... ;-)

Edited by atomick on 09/21/2007 09:43:10 MDT.

Steve .
(pappekak) - F

Locale: Tralfamadore
Re: D'oh! Big Sierra Storm Kills Plans on 09/21/2007 09:46:41 MDT Print View

Hopefully NOAA will hork their forecast and the accumulation will only be an inch that melts off the next day...

Rick Dreher
(halfturbo) - MLife

Locale: Northernish California
Re: D'oh! Big Sierra Storm Kills Plans on 09/21/2007 11:56:30 MDT Print View

All is not necessarily lost.

If you're comfortable starting out in mixed weather you could start lower, such as at Cherry Lake which will probably be well below the snow line. Or you could start east of the crest, such as at Leavitt Meadows. If it's a typical Pacific storm, most of the moisture will drop on the western slope and crest, leaving occasional showers to the east. The Walker River is a beautiful hike.

The front's supposed to move out by Sunday, if you want to simply put off your departure until then.

Many moons ago a friend and I hiked into Emigrant from Crabtree, and a big September storm moved in. We hunkered down for two days until the snow stopped, then walked out without too much fuss. But they were pulling out idiot hunters from the backcountry for the next week.

Dylan Taylor
(nevadas) - F

Locale: California Coast
I feel your pain on 09/22/2007 11:30:43 MDT Print View

I too was planning a trip to the sierras this weekend. I just picked up the golite ion and i am ready to try it out. packed bag and all, sitting next to the door too.

Then this storm hit. Dang! Oh well. Yeah, the biggest thing about hiking in even a few inches of snow with trail runners is that your shoes will get soaked and your feet will be super cold.

and this snowfall will not be enough for snowshoes-- although they are forecasting over a foot from kings canyon up to the western slopes of the northern sierras (although for tahoe it says only 4 inches-- how the lake escapes the heavy snowfall i dont particularly get).

anyway, looks like the rest of the week is going to be great weather.

I was lucky enough to get a fat trip in this summer in kings and sequoia. a 100 miler circumnavigating the kaweah range. tossed in a quick summit to whitney. the kaweahs are tremendous; check it:Valhalla Valley leading up to Kaweah Peak

anyway, hope you're able to salvage the trip.

Brian Green
(begreen) - F

Locale: NorCal
Postponed my plans as well on 09/27/2007 22:13:41 MDT Print View

You can always count on a late September storm in the Sierras followed by an Indian Summer (especially when you have plans to hike the very day the storm rolls through!). A lot of the snow has melted this week with the warm weather.

I spent a few days in Tuolumne Meadows this week and only saw a bit of snow on the peaks -- nothing to be too concerned about. Weather was absolutely beautiful and trails were completely clear (even at 10,000 ft). I think the storm didn't pack quite the punch they forecasted (at least in the Northern Sierras).

I've postponed my trip to Evolution Valley by a week and am following the weather reports closely. I called the Bishop Ranger Station last Sunday and they said hikers were reporting knee/thigh high snow drifts around Muir Pass. My hope is that this will melt off and allow me to salvage one last trip through the Sierras before what will hopefully be a "healthy" winter.

Tom Kirchner
(ouzel) - MLife

Locale: Pacific Northwest/Sierra
Re: I feel your pain on 10/01/2007 18:20:53 MDT Print View

Right on about the Kaweahs, man. That is one of the finest pieces of real estate on God's green earth, IMHO. How did you structure your circumnavigation?? Several options that I know of, and I'd be interested in your take. I had to cancel my trip in there for the same reason that started this thread. 3 feet of snow on Shepherd Pass in my case. Bummer, because I had my heart set on watching the full moon rise over the Kaweah Peaks Ridge from that reflecting lake at the north end of the east arm of the basin(haven't done it in several years now). I had a Plan B, though. Went up to Bishop and hiked up to Hungry Packer and Midnight Lakes, which are on the east slope of the Sierra Crest which was pretty much snow free up to ~12,000'. Found a pretty cool place to watch the moon rise, but it still wasn't the Kaweahs. But you always gotta have a Plan B, IMHO, if for no other reason than backpacking food just doesn't cut it back in civilization and it's way too expensive to just throw away. Besides, you only get one opportunity to live each day and I can't think of any place I'd rather spend them than in the Sierra, with the Cascades a close second.

Edited by ouzel on 10/01/2007 18:23:32 MDT.

Nat Lim
(LithiumMetalman) - F

Locale: Cesspool Central!
It was cushy over the weekend on 10/03/2007 18:10:56 MDT Print View

The weekend turned out to be great, there was at least 3 inches of snow where we backpacked (Tahoe National Forest), if not more. It was cold for September!

Aaron Sorensen
(awsorensen) - MLife

Locale: South of Forester Pass
Re: D'oh! Big Sierra Storm Kills Plans on 10/04/2007 19:45:25 MDT Print View

Ha, Ha,
I just saw this post and had to laugh.

I just got back last week from Tahoe.
We (4 of us), started the TRT on that Friday afternoon and had a blast.

we added 14 miles by going N. on the PCT for a 7 mile up and back so that one of the guys with us would be able to do 30 miles a day,
Saturday, while going over a 4 mile pass was about 35 degrees with Medium snow fall and 40 MPH winds.
It was even worse going back over coming back.

2 of us were out to do the TRT in 6 days.
We both ended up developing ankle problems and bailed at Star Lake (going C/Clockwise), doing 102 miles in 3 1/2 days.

It also got down below freezing every night.
the 2nd night was the worst due to our bags getting damp and not being able to air them out before the next night.

The rest of the trip was beautiful...

Paul Tree
(Paul_Tree) - F

Locale: Wowwww
Pine Creek 10/12/07 on 10/15/2007 00:24:12 MDT Print View

~ 8"

Rick Dreher
(halfturbo) - MLife

Locale: Northernish California
Re: Pine Creek 10/12/07 on 10/15/2007 11:21:35 MDT Print View

Nice snow layer, there. Somehow I don't think it's going to melt off until next year.

How long were you up there? Beautiful area, but the climb in from the trailhead is brutal!

Paul Tree
(Paul_Tree) - F

Locale: Wowwww
up the creek on 10/16/2007 12:22:51 MDT Print View

we were up there 3 days 2 nights. Gorgeous area, it's all mountains and lakes. We climbed Treasure from Royce Lakes side and down Pine Creek Pass. In the storm in the dark. This picture is from our tent at Honeymoon Lake next morning. Bluebird! We were elated! And a guy named Willy stopped and gave us home-made cookies while we packed up!

The get-out trail was in ~6-8 inches of snow, but thank god it was the greatest-maintained horse trail of all time. We had thought about it ahead of time, and worked out perfect. My same two friends were there the previous year on the exact same date and been surprised by unforecasted snow.

It was condensing heavily in the BD Mega Light, and I am trying to gauge how effective a candle lantern would have been - anyone know?

Edited by Paul_Tree on 10/16/2007 12:23:47 MDT.

JASON CUZZETTO
(cuzzettj) - MLife

Locale: NorCal - South Bay
Big Storm on 10/16/2007 15:03:52 MDT Print View

I was taking my two son's out for the Skyline to the Sea Trail hike and we left Thursday night. We got in about 12 miles between 5pm Thursday and 1pm Friday. I took 1 look at my 8 and 12 year old and I called the trip quits after we couldn't get the alcohol stove to stay lit. I need more experience with it. I just didn't see getting them dried out enough for them to be comfortable. I would have killed for umbrellas and gortex sombreros for the two of them. Those might have saved the entire trip. The ponchos and Jackets failed to keep them dry. Though they didn't complain as long as we were moving.

The best part was watching them drink the water from the trail puddles. They thought that was great!

They were having fun and were really upset about ending it. It cost me a video game Friday night to calm them down.

I feel your pain. My 4 kids keep me home more than I would like.