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Re: [John Muir Trail] May Snow Survery - looking good for early hikers!

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  • rnperky@sbcglobal.net
    I can tell you first hand about our lack of snow in and around Lake Tahoe as I have been out hiking already in areas where I couldn t hike in mid-June to
    Message 1 of 9 , May 2 6:54 AM
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      I can tell you first hand about our lack of snow in and around Lake Tahoe as I have been out hiking already in areas where I couldn't hike in mid-June to early-July last year. A pathetic snowpack coupled with record high temps are not a good combo for a snow pack...on the other hand though, It will make it much easier on the early season hikers and clear out the mozzies by August when I go. As long as the smoke from a possibly bad fire season stays down, it should be a great year for trouble-free pass and creek crossings.

      --- In johnmuirtrail@yahoogroups.com, John Ladd <johnladd@...> wrote:
      >
      > Assuming that this is confirmed when all the numbers are in, this means
      > that we had a higher melt in April than normal, in addition to the lower
      > snowfall across the winter. If you are looking at individual station
      > snowpack (depth) figures, you could use a rough rule of thumb that from
      > here out we should be losing about 2.5 inches of snowpack depth per day on
      > the passes. Unfortunately, few of the snowpack measurements are on passes,
      > however. They tend to be on high meadows or the lower end of bowls, so I'd
      > still bring footwear that can kick firmly into consolidated snow if you are
      > travelling in June.
      >
      > John Curran Ladd
      > 1616 Castro Street
      > San Francisco, CA 94114-3707
      > 415-648-9279
      >
      >
      > On Tue, May 1, 2012 at 11:30 PM, jksierrastar <judybrill@...> wrote:
      >
      > > **
      > >
      > >
      > > Not sure if this was posted yet - Here ya go:
      > >
      > > http://www.water.ca.gov/news/newsreleases/2012/050112snow.pdf
      > >
      > >
      > >
      >
    • Justice
      I am thinking about getting a back country permit for Rafferty Creek- Vogelsang and camping near Merced Lake my first night then hiking up Half Dome, starting
      Message 2 of 9 , May 3 7:09 AM
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        I am thinking about getting a back country permit for Rafferty Creek->Vogelsang and camping near Merced Lake my first night then hiking up Half Dome, starting on June 14. Will snow be a problem? Looking at a map it gets to near 10,000 feet, I do not want to get permits now if there will still be snow. Thanks for any help.

        --- In johnmuirtrail@yahoogroups.com, "rnperky@..." <rnperky@...> wrote:
        >
        > I can tell you first hand about our lack of snow in and around Lake Tahoe as I have been out hiking already in areas where I couldn't hike in mid-June to early-July last year. A pathetic snowpack coupled with record high temps are not a good combo for a snow pack...on the other hand though, It will make it much easier on the early season hikers and clear out the mozzies by August when I go. As long as the smoke from a possibly bad fire season stays down, it should be a great year for trouble-free pass and creek crossings.
        >
        > --- In johnmuirtrail@yahoogroups.com, John Ladd <johnladd@> wrote:
        > >
        > > Assuming that this is confirmed when all the numbers are in, this means
        > > that we had a higher melt in April than normal, in addition to the lower
        > > snowfall across the winter. If you are looking at individual station
        > > snowpack (depth) figures, you could use a rough rule of thumb that from
        > > here out we should be losing about 2.5 inches of snowpack depth per day on
        > > the passes. Unfortunately, few of the snowpack measurements are on passes,
        > > however. They tend to be on high meadows or the lower end of bowls, so I'd
        > > still bring footwear that can kick firmly into consolidated snow if you are
        > > travelling in June.
        > >
        > > John Curran Ladd
        > > 1616 Castro Street
        > > San Francisco, CA 94114-3707
        > > 415-648-9279
        > >
        > >
        > > On Tue, May 1, 2012 at 11:30 PM, jksierrastar <judybrill@> wrote:
        > >
        > > > **
        > > >
        > > >
        > > > Not sure if this was posted yet - Here ya go:
        > > >
        > > > http://www.water.ca.gov/news/newsreleases/2012/050112snow.pdf
        > > >
        > > >
        > > >
        > >
        >
      • Kim Fishburn
        The trail up to Vogelsang is pretty open after the initial climb out of Tuolumne Meadows. If you hike all the way to Vogelsang and then down to Merced Lake the
        Message 3 of 9 , May 3 8:02 AM
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          The trail up to Vogelsang is pretty open after the initial climb out of Tuolumne Meadows. If you hike all the way to Vogelsang and then down to Merced Lake the first part of the trail is in the trees leaving Vogelsang. It enters an open meadow near Emric Lake. You're back in the trees when you approach Babcock lake junction. You might have snow in the trees but at the higher elevations I don't think it would be a problem. Even the area around Babcock Lake is farely level till you come out of the trees. I think all the steep areas were in the open where the snow may be gone by then.

          For a reference, in 89 when I hiked the Tahoe Yosemite Trail I started in Late June, reaching Lake Alpine by July 4th doing 10 miles a day. I saw hardly any snow on that trip. I reached the PCT south of Sonora Pass probably by July 7th and still saw hardly any snow on the trail. That section has no trees but stays at about 10600 ft for about 6 miles (its one of my favorite trails). These pictures are from that trip. 

          Kim


          From: Justice <jkokbaker@...>
          To: johnmuirtrail@yahoogroups.com
          Sent: Thursday, May 3, 2012 9:09 AM
          Subject: Re: [John Muir Trail] May Snow Survery - looking good for early hikers!

           
          I am thinking about getting a back country permit for Rafferty Creek->Vogelsang and camping near Merced Lake my first night then hiking up Half Dome, starting on June 14. Will snow be a problem? Looking at a map it gets to near 10,000 feet, I do not want to get permits now if there will still be snow. Thanks for any help.

          --- In johnmuirtrail@yahoogroups.com, "rnperky@..." <rnperky@...> wrote:
          >
          > I can tell you first hand about our lack of snow in and around Lake Tahoe as I have been out hiking already in areas where I couldn't hike in mid-June to early-July last year. A pathetic snowpack coupled with record high temps are not a good combo for a snow pack...on the other hand though, It will make it much easier on the early season hikers and clear out the mozzies by August when I go. As long as the smoke from a possibly bad fire season stays down, it should be a great year for trouble-free pass and creek crossings.
          >
          > --- In johnmuirtrail@yahoogroups.com, John Ladd <johnladd@> wrote:
          > >
          > > Assuming that this is confirmed when all the numbers are in, this means
          > > that we had a higher melt in April than normal, in addition to the lower
          > > snowfall across the winter. If you are looking at individual station
          > > snowpack (depth) figures, you could use a rough rule of thumb that from
          > > here out we should be losing about 2.5 inches of snowpack depth per day on
          > > the passes. Unfortunately, few of the snowpack measurements are on passes,
          > > however. They tend to be on high meadows or the lower end of bowls, so I'd
          > > still bring footwear that can kick firmly into consolidated snow if you are
          > > travelling in June.
          > >
          > > John Curran Ladd
          > > 1616 Castro Street
          > > San Francisco, CA 94114-3707
          > > 415-648-9279
          > >
          > >
          > > On Tue, May 1, 2012 at 11:30 PM, jksierrastar <judybrill@> wrote:
          > >
          > > > **
          > > >
          > > >
          > > > Not sure if this was posted yet - Here ya go:
          > > >
          > > > http://www.water.ca.gov/news/newsreleases/2012/050112snow.pdf
          > > >
          > > >
          > > >
          > >
          >



        • John Ladd
          ... You never know for sure but the deepest snow now shown on the Snotel sensors as of this morning is 67 inches
          Message 4 of 9 , May 3 8:31 AM
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            On Thu, May 3, 2012 at 7:09 AM, Justice <jkokbaker@...> wrote:
             

            I am thinking about getting a back country permit for Rafferty Creek->Vogelsang and camping near Merced Lake my first night then hiking up Half Dome, starting on June 14. Will snow be a problem? Looking at a map it gets to near 10,000 feet, I do not want to get permits now if there will still be snow. Thanks for any help.



            You never know for sure but the deepest snow now shown on the Snotel sensors as of this morning is 67 inches


            At a rule-of-thumb melt rate of 2.5 inches per day it takes 26 days to melt that much snow.  You have 40+ days to go.  So absent unusually cold weather or significant new snow, you should be OK.

            But few of those sensors are above 9000 feet.  And they don't include North-facing slopes, which will lose their snow later than South-facing ones.

            You can also go to this map and zoom down into the area of your interest for an overlay of NOAA snowdepths with a topo map. For the best view, change the dropdown box reading "map" to "MyTopo", which will allow you to find and zoom down to the area of interest.


            Again, there can be patches of snow in sun-protected areas even when the reports are  showing none. (The snow depth data average over wide-ish areas) 

            But a fair number of people should have been on those trails before you, so you should have other people's tracks to help you walk through any snowy patches.  If you encounter crusty, slippery snow in the mornings, you can always wait for it to soften up.

            I think you will be fine unless you are really, really snow adverse.  Particularly given the information Kim Fishburn just posted.

            John Curran Ladd
            1616 Castro Street
            San Francisco, CA  94114-3707
            415-648-9279
          • Justice
            Anybody been hiking up out of Tuolumne Meadows down to Vogelsang, I am going to hike from there down to Yosemite meadows and am wondering about the current
            Message 5 of 9 , Jun 3, 2012
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              Anybody been hiking up out of Tuolumne Meadows down to Vogelsang, I am going to hike from there down to Yosemite meadows and am wondering about the current snow depths in the upper elevations. I check the snow depth maps and everything looks pretty much melted, any help would be appreciated. Thanks Justice

              --- In johnmuirtrail@yahoogroups.com, "Justice" <jkokbaker@...> wrote:
              >
              > I am thinking about getting a back country permit for Rafferty Creek->Vogelsang and camping near Merced Lake my first night then hiking up Half Dome, starting on June 14. Will snow be a problem? Looking at a map it gets to near 10,000 feet, I do not want to get permits now if there will still be snow. Thanks for any help.
              >
              > --- In johnmuirtrail@yahoogroups.com, "rnperky@" <rnperky@> wrote:
              > >
              > > I can tell you first hand about our lack of snow in and around Lake Tahoe as I have been out hiking already in areas where I couldn't hike in mid-June to early-July last year. A pathetic snowpack coupled with record high temps are not a good combo for a snow pack...on the other hand though, It will make it much easier on the early season hikers and clear out the mozzies by August when I go. As long as the smoke from a possibly bad fire season stays down, it should be a great year for trouble-free pass and creek crossings.
              > >
              > > --- In johnmuirtrail@yahoogroups.com, John Ladd <johnladd@> wrote:
              > > >
              > > > Assuming that this is confirmed when all the numbers are in, this means
              > > > that we had a higher melt in April than normal, in addition to the lower
              > > > snowfall across the winter. If you are looking at individual station
              > > > snowpack (depth) figures, you could use a rough rule of thumb that from
              > > > here out we should be losing about 2.5 inches of snowpack depth per day on
              > > > the passes. Unfortunately, few of the snowpack measurements are on passes,
              > > > however. They tend to be on high meadows or the lower end of bowls, so I'd
              > > > still bring footwear that can kick firmly into consolidated snow if you are
              > > > travelling in June.
              > > >
              > > > John Curran Ladd
              > > > 1616 Castro Street
              > > > San Francisco, CA 94114-3707
              > > > 415-648-9279
              > > >
              > > >
              > > > On Tue, May 1, 2012 at 11:30 PM, jksierrastar <judybrill@> wrote:
              > > >
              > > > > **
              > > > >
              > > > >
              > > > > Not sure if this was posted yet - Here ya go:
              > > > >
              > > > > http://www.water.ca.gov/news/newsreleases/2012/050112snow.pdf
              > > > >
              > > > >
              > > > >
              > > >
              > >
              >
            • John Ladd
              ... snow in shaded areas and on north-facing slopes where the maps show no snow. I think the snow maps must average snow depth over large areas. On my recent
              Message 6 of 9 , Jun 3, 2012
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                 On Sun, Jun 3, 2012 at 10:46 AM, Justice <jkokbaker@...> wrote:
                 

                Anybody been hiking up out of Tuolumne Meadows down to Vogelsang, I am going to hike from there down to Yosemite meadows and am wondering about the current snow depths in the upper elevations.  I check the snow depth maps and everything looks pretty much melted, any help would be appreciated.  Thanks Justice


                The snow survey maps show general conditions pretty well, but you can have snow in shaded areas and on north-facing slopes where the maps show no snow.  I think the snow maps must average snow depth over large areas.  On my recent trip, one area that the map showed well away from snow in fact disappeared under 2 feet or more of snow for 1/4 mile.  It was along a north-facing slope and in tree cover, so it's not surprising that there was local snow even though there was none in general.  It took me about 90 minutes to re-find the trail, so these minor problems can slow your trip.  (Would have been quicker if I had a pre-entered GPS track of the trail.)

                Can't comment on the local conditions of interest to you. Sorry.

                John Curran Ladd
                1616 Castro Street
                San Francisco, CA  94114-3707
                415-648-9279



              • Justice
                That something I was thinking, snow in areas not shown on the snow depth maps. I am thinking I should be OK for the most part except the highest elevations in
                Message 7 of 9 , Jun 3, 2012
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                  That something I was thinking, snow in areas not shown on the snow depth maps. I am thinking I should be OK for the most part except the highest elevations in shade and north facing. Only going 8 miles a day so we have plenty of time. Thanks for the info

                  --- In johnmuirtrail@yahoogroups.com, John Ladd <johnladd@...> wrote:
                  >
                  > On Sun, Jun 3, 2012 at 10:46 AM, Justice <jkokbaker@...> wrote:
                  >
                  > > **
                  > >
                  > >
                  > > Anybody been hiking up out of Tuolumne Meadows down to Vogelsang, I am
                  > > going to hike from there down to Yosemite meadows and am wondering about
                  > > the current snow depths in the upper elevations. I check the snow depth
                  > > maps and everything looks pretty much melted, any help would be
                  > > appreciated. Thanks Justice
                  > >
                  > > The snow survey maps show general conditions pretty well, but you can have
                  > snow in shaded areas and on north-facing slopes where the maps show no
                  > snow. I think the snow maps must average snow depth over large areas. On
                  > my recent trip, one area that the map showed well away from snow in fact
                  > disappeared under 2 feet or more of snow for 1/4 mile. It was along a
                  > north-facing slope and in tree cover, so it's not surprising that there was
                  > local snow even though there was none in general. It took me about 90
                  > minutes to re-find the trail, so these minor problems can slow your trip.
                  > (Would have been quicker if I had a pre-entered GPS track of the trail.)
                  >
                  > Can't comment on the local conditions of interest to you. Sorry.
                  >
                  > John Curran Ladd
                  > 1616 Castro Street
                  > San Francisco, CA 94114-3707
                  > 415-648-9279
                  >
                  >
                  >
                  > >
                  >
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