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6235Re: October snow in the Sierras

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  • dvbraun
    Oct 7, 2009
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      I spent last night in the yosemite wilderness at 10,400 and it was very COLD and snowy. I went in on the JMT, walking out Lyell canyon for about 6 miles and then veering out of the canyon and visiting Ireland Lake before backtracking to make camp at the small lake east of Evelyn Lake about two miles east of Vogelsang. It had snowed 3-4 inches a few days before and in the sun most snow had cleared but there was still plenty left in the shade as it has been so cold. I saw two guys a few days in on their southbound JMT trip, other than that nobody. It got down to about 10 degrees with a biting wind and it was a rough night. I returned cross country following the creek draining the lake all the way to the lyell/vogelsang jct, it was a very cool drainage. I saw the biggest bear track i have seen in all my years.

      In general, I have done many October trips and usually have good luck except for one trip in late October that was too ambitous near Forester Pass. I enjoy snow travel and finding the trail is usually not a problem with less than 4 inches of snow. Bringing enough base layers is the most important tip i can give so you can get out of sweaty clothes frequently and stay warm. Don't skimp on warm foods/soups and enjoy the crisp autumnal light....

      --- In johnmuirtrail@yahoogroups.com, hmdsierra <no_reply@...> wrote:
      >
      > For 99 and 44/100 % of the time it was blue sky and warm sunshine but we did dance around it a bit. A fellow from Portland did an October trip in The Tablelands and sad he was amazed to be at 10,000 feet in October, in shorts.
      >
      > Gary and I would go the second week of October most of the time. One trip was from Horseshoe Mdw. to PCT then down Wallace Ck and down the Kern. We started Saturday morning and talked to some people who told us they arrived at the trailhead Thursday evening and the storm was breaking up then. There were several patches of snow but not very big. It was handy as the stretch from the PCT Jct to Rock Ck. is dry so we ate snow for water.
      >
      > In '90 we went from TM to Agnew Mdw. but because Gary was afraid of getting on a jury we went the third week, exiting on Oct. 27. It worked out well as there was a storm in the middle of the second week. We got to YV Friday night and saw that the road to Tuolumne was closed on Thursday. Saturday morning we got the permit and arrived in TM around 11 AM. There was little or no snow on the way but it was cold. My son brought me a piece of ice from a puddle and it was 3/4 inch thick. We camped at the very upper end of the meadow and arrived for the last minute of direct sun. It was probably the coldest night. I practically sat in the fire and when I went to bed did not make my coat the pillow but wore it along with my ski cap and booties. The next night was at Rush Ck. and the following morning Gary said "the creek froze over". It was low and slow.
      >
      > In '91 it was from South Lk to Florence Lk. In Dusy Basin we had a light one minute snow flurry then it cleared up. When we got to McClure Mdw Gary said "this can't be Fall the creek didn't freeze over. There was a little ice in spots of standing water.
      >
      > Another friend, Bob, went on the trip down the Kern when we had snow in the morning. It was the first week of October so I expected some bad weather. It rained most of the day Tuesday and Wednesday morning there was about four inches but it was not snowing when we got up. As soon as the sun got over the lip of the valley it started melting fast and was gone before noon. My tent had leaked and gotten my sleeping bag wet but I had it dried out in a half hour. By then it was later in the day and we just stayed there for another hot tub soak.
      >
      > My closest call was a solo trip from Onion Valley to Road's End, where I came out on Oct 25. I would normally go in on a Saturday and finish the following Saturday. On this trip a friend want to go but only has a few days so we went in on Thursday and my wife would pick me up Friday afternoon. The friend got sick the first night and went out. I went on down to Vidette that Friday. I had to get up around midnight to set up my tent as a light snow was falling. In the morning it only half covered the ground. As soon as the sun rose it was all but gone. I went up to a lake on E. Vidette and the wind was blowing and made it so cold I had to get back down where it was more pleasant. I took a slightly different return and found Shorty's cabin. I ran into a couple of guys and we camped together for a few days. Small patches of snow lasted in shady spots and most of the water in the trail was ice. At East Lk it was 27 degrees or so at 9 PM. I put my 2L bottle of drink mix in front of the fire when I went to bed. It was still liquid in the morning but when I moved it away to build up the fire it turned to slush. My water was frozen solid each morning. At Lk Reflection the incoming stream poured over a large rock and the ice stayed there all day. We went up towards Harrison Pass and I passed a lake that had thin ice about 40 feet wide. I was told the lake above was solid enough to stand on. The creek coming down from near the pass was frozen as it was in the shade all day. Daytime temp was around 55. I woke up Thursday morning to clouds and melting snow. It rained on and off during the day. I camped at Charlotte Ck. A strong wend came up that night and a big limb came down upstream and a tree downstream. The next morning was clear. I packed up my tent around 9 AM and the pine needles were still frozen to it. Arrived at Road's End around noon and it was sunny and pleasant. Then it turned and when my wife arrived around 4 PM there was about 6 inches and still coming down. Snow low into the foothills and heavy rain all the way to Bakersfield. Glad I came out a day earlier than normal.
      >
      > The only time snow shorted the trip was in November. Gary, my then 6 1/2 year old son and I went to Kern Forks. It was a crisp Fall day when we went in and camped at Pyles Camp a mile or so above the forks. During the night it started raining a bit. Just as we finished washing e breakfast dishes it started snowing. We ldft for the car and it snowed all the way out. Arrived at the car just after dark to about 4 inches of snow. Figured it'd turn to rain between Johnsondale a Kernville but it was snowing in Kernville. November a year earlier we had gone to Kern Flat, the last time one could ride motorcycles in there.. Clear and cold. Water froze in the guide of my fishing rod and the eggs, potatoes, and canned juices were frozen. Days were nice.
      >
      >
      > --- In johnmuirtrail@yahoogroups.com, John Ladd <johnladd@> wrote:
      >
      > > I'm curious about your October trips
      > >
      > > 1) when there was snow, did it cause any trail-finding problems, or
      > > melt away quickly, or just light enough that you could follow the
      > > trail well?
      > >
      > > 2) how cold did the colder nights get? Freeze-the-waterbottle cold or
      > > just chilly?
      > >
      > > The latest I've hiked in the Sierras is late September.
      > >
      > > John Curran Ladd
      > > 1616 Castro Street
      > > San Francisco, CA  94114-3707
      > > 415-648-9279
      > >
      > >
      >
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