Central California

June 28, 2011

3-5 feet snow solid from I80 northbound until sw side of peak 8214. Some of the drifts are still 15ft or higher on north facing slopes. I did the section without a gps so my tracks don’t follow the exact trail. Crossed all the creeks via snow bridges. I can only imagine how challenging these usually tiny creeks will be once things start to thaw.

Last 18 miles fairly snow free. Pay attention to when trail turns north after a west-east ridge on the beginning descent down the Jackson meadow lake.

Hiked the PCT from Echo lakes to dicks lake before dropping down to Emerald bay. June 23-26. Most of trail ( 99% ) above echo lakes under 3 to 10 feet of snow. Navigation very difficult. Only one party in front of me. Two Rim hikers thanks Julie and Ned for leading the way.

All upper lake still frozen over, Water plentiful except at highest altitudes. May need extra fuel to melt water or plan your water pick ups as appropriate. Ice axe and micro spikes recommended. As of Saturday two very steep ( 50-60 degree) snow fields to cross below Dicks Pass.

Was going to do section to 80 but after the rest of the party quit the first night and traveling solo. I did not think it prudent to continue beyond Emerald bay. The snow pack and high altitudes to the north appear to be just as frozen in. Of approximately 25 miles traveled 22 or more were on deep snow, some drifts appear to be over 12 feet deep. Melt out not likely for Weeks some places August.

June 23, 2011

Just talked with my son. He and two of his friends are at the top of Ebbetts Pass. They left Yosemite Valley on 6/14/11. He said that snow is 5 to 8 feet deep everywhere, and water crossing are a challenge.

They are pushing on and plan to be in Echo Lake around Noon on 6/23/11. There is a hiker ahead of them that they plan to catch today, and i think he said there was a group further ahead. I might have got that wrong. Cell reception wasn’t that great.

6/2311 Report from brother @ Lookout Rock Lat 39.50.15 N Long 121.6.89 W near Bucks lake. Many blow downs in the Feather River canyon to Bucks Lake region. Makes going slow. Also trail disappears at times in the snow.

They haven’t passed anyone on the trail since starting at Sierra City. (Wonder why). Good cell reception at Lookout Rock, Feather River and Pilot Peak (Verizon) for those who are interested.

June 21, 2011

6-21-11 From Sierra Buttes (Sardine Lake area) to Mt Etna approx 25+ miles. Brother reports they have been hiking in snow since 18th in the afternoon. Very slow going. Trail very hard to follow. Thank goodness for GPS. Camped in snow last night. Finally hit dirt in the area of Mt Etna and they head down from the 7000 ft level now.

June 19, 2011

Wing It and I were forced to turn around from our hike shortly after leaving Tuolumne Meadows.We experienced significant high water in the 15 Miles North of Tuolumne Meadows. The Tuolumne River overflowed the ends of the bridge at 947.4 and the one shortly after. Our real problems were in Virginia Canyon (956.7). The first crossing, McCabe Creek, was the most dangerous and difficult ford we had encountered to date. However, the next creek was worse. We could not make it across Return Creek. We made 3 attempts, 2 in the evening (5ish) and 1 the next morning (8ish). We scouted 1/2 mile upstream and found no safer crossings.
There was evidence (footprints in the snow), that some or all of the 4 hikers ahead of us turned back as well.
Our decision to leave and flip ahead are based on 2 primary factors. The Return Creek crossing is not known as a particularly difficult ford, whereas the Piute River ford and Kerrick Canyon fords just ahead are. All indications are that water levels are not going to be going down significantly soon, and that the peak of the melt has not even happened yet.
However you proceed, best of luck and safe hiking.
Don’t Panic and Wing It

After leaving Mammoth Lakes on the 12th of June we arrived in Bridgeport on the 18th. In addition to Wing It and Don’t Panic’s conditions report, we would like to add the following trail information.

Crampons and/or microspikes are useful on the snow in the mornings, although one member of our group made it without. For us, the biggest challenge in this section was the stream crossings. It should be noted that the majority of major tributaries have burst their banks.

Return Creek – build up of logs providing natural bridge (approximately 1 mile downstream of crossing.) (June 15)

Spiller Creek – fast flowing but not deep. A fair bit of care was taken in crossing. (June 15)

Matterhorn Canyon Creek – river ford at belly button height. We crossed at a slow flowing section down stream of the trail. (June 15)

Wilson Creek – snow bridges, no river fords necessary. (June 16)

Smedberg Creek – snowbridge. (June 16)

Piute Creek – lots of water, but lots of logs to aid in crossing. We managed to cross with one short waist deep section. (June 16)

Kerrick Canyon Creek – log crossing at trail. (June 16)

Stubblefield Canyon Creek – multiple creek crossings necessary. Log and snow bridge used. Lots of water. (June 16)

Falls Creek – hiked up eastern side of creek to avoid crossing as flow was substantial. (June 17)