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#15949 - 07/01/11 06:53 AM Re: Whitney West [Re: saltydog]
lesper4 Offline


Registered: 04/28/11
Posts: 15
Loc: Fontana (Socal)
Yeah I saw a report of two fellows who did New Army and Army Pass as a day hike. You could see where New Army Pass was and the sign but it looked completly buried and the cornice speaking of is quite harry looking. I was also told (possible same thread) that Cottonwood pass is clear.

Here it is: http://www.whitneyzone.com/wz/ubbthreads.php/topics/15599/Current_Conditions_Army_and_Ne#Post15599

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#15950 - 07/01/11 07:00 AM Re: Whitney West [Re: lesper4]
dethMarch Offline


Registered: 06/30/11
Posts: 18
Loc: SLO
Thanks for the info on Cottonwood!

Yeah - I read the NPS info on HST on a daily basis now. But it does not seem as detailed, thoughtful, and up-to-date as what I'm reading here.

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#15991 - 07/03/11 06:54 AM Re: Whitney West [Re: dethMarch]
davehikes Offline


Registered: 07/03/11
Posts: 4
Loc: Central Coast, Calif
HST in 09 - Crossed Kaweah Gap 7/18 with quite a bit of show on the trail near Precipice Lake and around the lake as well - The gap itself wasn't as bad - (Crampons not needed) Water crossings were higher than previous trips - Merhtin Cr, Big Arroyo, and a few of the creeks that cross the trail on the east side of the Kern River between Kern Hot Springs and Junction Meadow - Biggest issue on this trip was the Hail Storm on the 21st near Guitar Lk - The switch backs above Guitar Lake were fine.

July 08 - Horseshoe Meadow - Portal, via Cottonwood, Guyot Pass, Crabtree, etc. -- Cottonwood Pass 7/7 was clear of snow on the trail but some patches off the trail - The rest of the trip also only patches here and there - Side trips to Arctic Lk and Hitchcock Lks found more snow -
Summit day was 7/11 - We all summited early then my son and a buddy took off ahead of us to get to Trail Camp, drop their extra gear, They then hiked to the Portal and back to Trail Camp. by then we were set up and had food and water ready for them and they were off for a second summit bid - At the top of the switchbacks they got hit with a Hail storm and turned around -
Note - watching the weather is just as important as checking trail conditions.
Note #2 - The west side approach is so much more enjoyable - acclimatization may be a part of that - scenery, less people... Definitely my fav.

Dave

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#16028 - 07/04/11 08:28 PM Re: Whitney West [Re: davehikes]
dethMarch Offline


Registered: 06/30/11
Posts: 18
Loc: SLO
This is good info and great news for us folks taking the HST later this month, davehikes! Thanks!

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#16063 - 07/06/11 04:05 AM Re: Whitney West [Re: dethMarch]
saltydog Offline


Registered: 02/03/11
Posts: 1566
Loc: Valley Ford CA!!!!
Originally Posted By: dethMarch
This is good info and great news for us folks taking the HST later this month, davehikes! Thanks!


dM: A little caution: This may be good information but it is NOT NEWS: it is 09 and 08 reports. One year's conditions have nothing to with any other year, even when overall snowfall was similar, and 09 is NOT EVEN SIMILAR to this year. Melt rates, for one, are all over the map from one year to the next, independent of snowfall. I talked to SEKI Wilderness Office yesterday, 7/5, and they are still recommending crampons and ice axe for Kaweah Gap. Mehrten Creek is still treacherous.

I will be in touch with them and a couple other direct sources between now and Sunday. I go off the grid Friday Night, but I will post as late as I can.

For your Scouts' and parents' sake, get the best current beta you can before final route/equipment selection. DO not rely on this 09 report for anything.


BTW: SEKI has new, uniform fire restrictions this year: 2011 bulletin prohibits fire above 10,400 feet in Kern Drainage ( between Kaweah Gap and Trail Crest above 10,400) plus above 10,000 in 9 Lakes/Big Arroyo ( between Kaweah Gap and rim of BA beyond BA Junction).



Edited by saltydog (07/06/11 04:06 AM)
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#16066 - 07/06/11 08:05 AM Re: Whitney West [Re: saltydog]
dethMarch Offline


Registered: 06/30/11
Posts: 18
Loc: SLO
(saltydog: got it. I didn't see the little "09" there.)
I understand we have a record snowpack this year. Also - carefully watching the weather reports (storms).

And as far as fires go . . . no campfires are planned for this trip.

So far; (after some discussion in our group) our plan is to attempt what portion of the trail we can access. If there's anything that requires technical mountaineering equipment and skills, we're simply changing plans. (alternate trails, etc.)

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#16137 - 07/08/11 06:40 AM Re: Whitney West [Re: saltydog]
davehikes Offline


Registered: 07/03/11
Posts: 4
Loc: Central Coast, Calif
Salty
With all due respect.
My post wasn't meant to be the "latest news". That is why I put the dates in there.
One of the reasons I felt drawn to post, is the fact that there has been little or no mention of weather in this thread -
It was intended to highlight potential trouble spots and the fact that conditions do change, not just from year to year but hourly.

DM -
Re: your bear box concerns - I recommend taking a look at: [url=http://climber.org/data/BearBoxes.html -
You will see that there are bear boxes very conveniently placed for the HST, Big Arroyo, and Tyndal-Crabtree areas - the last one, however, is in the Crabtree area. So, you will need a canister for any nights spent beyond there - We found that one canister for two people worked well, as the extra food was kept in the bear boxes and was gone by the time we got to Guitar Lk.
As for the damaged one at Hamilton, there were several bear boxes, and they were spread out (Climber.org lists 4). A call to SEKI may be able to clarify.
Dave

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#16138 - 07/08/11 06:47 AM Re: Whitney West [Re: davehikes]
saltydog Offline


Registered: 02/03/11
Posts: 1566
Loc: Valley Ford CA!!!!
Dave: Respect. My comment wasn't due to your posting previous years' info, but due to dM taking it as recent. Notice his acknowledgement. I did call it good info, which it is., so thanks for that
_________________________
Wherever you go, there you are.
SPOTMe!

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#16212 - 07/10/11 07:47 AM Re: Whitney West [Re: saltydog]
dethMarch Offline


Registered: 06/30/11
Posts: 18
Loc: SLO
For what it is worth, I will paste a post, copied from the Whitney Portal Store site; (this was a response to Saltydog, from jpostmd, so he already knows).

This posting was made 7/6, and the information was maybe day old, I'm *guessing*. I take it as the most up-to-date info on HST that I can find right now:

Quote:
I spoke with the folks from Lodgepole today and things are looking up - sort of. The initial part of the HST has improved, the creek levels are down and it was suggested that we try for early in the day creek crossings.

The other side of the good is that no one has successfully crossed the Kaweah gap although two parties have tried and turned back. Secondly, the trail just past the tunnel above Hamilton Lake is "dicey" in parts. Lastly, the Crabtree Ranger reported that Wright Creek is impassable at the trail. They have an alternate in mind. The way I see it things are looking up.

John


I have been anxiously awaiting any new info: the NPS info is dated 6/27. The tunnel, and the gap, were the two spots I was worried about. I'm not so worried about traversing snow, per se, but rather, traversing where the trail is tight, and error could result in falling into a gorge. (imo, the trail above the tunnel at Hamilton gorge is dicey in parts *without* snow...)

If I had to leave TODAY, I guess I would think about heading down Timber Gap and up over Blackrock. Much longer, and higher. Probably more snow. But less risky route into Big Arroyo.

My crew is heading up from Crescent Meadow on Thursday 7/14, so I assume I'll hear more news Monday and Tuesday, from people coming out this weekend. If not, we can talk to the rangers, and see if anyone is coming back down the trail with bad news. frown

Everyone headed out before me, (saltydog) Good Luck! I guess I hope I don't meet you (because that would mean you made it).

We'll be a group of 10, 4 adults, and I'll have a black northface jacket, and a dark-green Kelty Ute pack.

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#16349 - 07/12/11 05:22 PM Re: Whitney West [Re: dethMarch]
wagga Offline


Registered: 10/07/09
Posts: 2249
Loc: Humbug Reach (Pop. 3)
Has anyone been able to observe Salty's Spot track. I get "server busy" every time.
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#16355 - 07/12/11 08:52 PM Re: Whitney West [Re: wagga]
Steve C Offline


Registered: 09/22/09
Posts: 7871
Loc: Fresno, CA
That's what I get, too.

Here's a picture of three wary, possibly psychopathic campers showing off their weapons of choice from the past weekend.




More pictures here... Bears, bear cubs, and Crystal Cave.

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