California section L conditions May 17th – May 22

May 26th, 2017
By: Hank T. "A.D.D."

As a section hiker I had completed 702 to 1157 last year 2016 and planned to restart again at 1157 in 2017. Due to the heavy winter I had purchased snow gear and practiced weekly in the 1157 to 1160 area (Boreal I-80exit to Peter Grub Hut). Settled on K-10’s being most effective for the snow conditions there. On May 17th the forecast showed 7 days of sunny weather even though it had snowed 3 to 4 inches in the area on the night of May 16th.
Start May 17th noon-mile 1157
Finish May 22 4:30pm-mile 1194.5
Plus 2 mile alternate
39.5 total

Short version:
1157 to 1184 snow 5-10ft deep.
No visible trail.
No tracks to follow.
K-10 crampons stayed on all day first 4 days.
Postholing starts early.
Steps needed to kicked for all steeper transverses in these approximate areas.
1165-1166
1167-1168
1176-1178
And one particularly scary one that I just refused to do and instead climbed thru manzanita a short distance up to the volcanic knob and down the other side,referencing the Gaia app, this was approximately between 1180-1181.
All camps on snow/ice/slush
No access to water.
Underestimated fuel needed for melting snow.

1184-1186 Passing east side of Jackson Meadow Reservoir.
Some exposed trail
First access to water.
Very narrow gorge between 1184.5 and 1185.5 no trail visiable, clogged w/fallen trees, rockfall, frequent surprise postholing.
Fell hard thru snow more than once in this area.

1188-1190
Constant intermittent exposed trail then kick steps for snow traverse. As the elevation dropped this was repeated over and over. Exhausting.

1190-1194.5 (Wild Plum Alternate)
Clear sailing but watch for many fallen trees

Sierra City:
Found wandering the streets by Susan of River Haven where I spent the night. I cannot begin to say enough positive things about Susan and her PCT hiker refuge of River Haven. If you’re lucky enough to get a chance to stay there ask for the room overlooking the river.

Please please please…. mileages are best guesses only using a combination of PCT Halfmile, Gaia app and Guthook app. Somewhere around the 3 or 4th day it was a battle to stay hydrated which lead to some fuzzy math.

Long Version: Too much whining to retell in public.