July 20, 2012

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I hiked section F 12 -17 July, but bypassing portion between Minto Pass and Olallie Lake.

Trail good up to saddle between Belknap Craters, then ~1/4 mile solid snow. Easy to walk across in my trail runners, but needed GPS to keep on trail. No snow after I dropped below ~5500”, but then some easily-crossed timber downfall. Trail then clear and in good condition until
Three-Fingered Jack.

Hit snow on south side of Three-Fingered Jack at Halfmile’s ~2011.5 (~5800′), and snow coverage increasing with altitude. I used ice axe to cut steps in places to cross safely, and would have been uncomfortable (and probably wouldn’t have done) crossing of some of them without axe. Worst place was in the trees below the switchbacks on north side of Jack. Some timber downfall, extensive in one place, after I dropped below snow and before reaching Minto Pass.

I went off PCT at Minto Pass, and out at Marion Lake trailhead. This trail in good condition except for a some easily-managed downfall first couple of miles below Minto Pass.

Although I did not try to cross Russell Creek, or pass through Jefferson Park, I got reports from hikers who just did. A group of 3 said Russell Creek was easy to cross because it was “frozen over” (they might have meant “snow bridge”). They said Jeff Park was completely snowbound, but didn’t indicate particular difficulty getting through. Another hiker whent up Whitewater Creek trail to avoid Russell Creek, and crossed Jeff Park without notable problem. All of these were backpackers well-experienced in snow.

Got back on trail at OIlallie Lake. Trail from there to Barlow Pass in excellent condition.