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#37309 - 06/10/14 08:24 AM High Sierra Trail: Water conditions
Krishna Offline


Registered: 04/15/11
Posts: 101
Loc: Woodridge, IL, USA
My permit is for starting at Crescent meadows on July 15 & here is my rough itinerary:

Day 1: 11 miles up to Bearpaw Meadow
Day 2: 11 miles up to the Patrol cabin
Day 3: 8 m up to Morraine Lake
Day 4: 7 m to Kern Hot Springs
Day 5: 8 m to Junction Meadow
Day 6: 8.5 m to Crab tree meadow
Day 7: 7m to the Hut on MW
Day 8: 10m to WP

This is the plan suggested in the Winnett and Morey book which seems to be reasonable for my abilities. Question is, with the current drought conditions, are there any streams / Lakes during the first 4 days on which I can depend on mid day water supply? I looked thru google maps carefully but most of the streams seemed to be dry (the maps are from August of 2012). So any advice from recent hikes in this area? Thanks in advance

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#37315 - 06/10/14 09:12 AM Re: High Sierra Trail: Water conditions [Re: Krishna]
Steve C Offline


Registered: 09/22/09
Posts: 7785
Loc: Fresno, CA
I hiked the HST in Sept, 2012, another dry year, and there was no trouble with water. Looking at the map, I would carry no more than a liter for most sections, making sure to drink as much as possible before leaving any water stop.

If you spend the night on Whitney, you should take at least 3 liters up. What worked for me was to carry empty quart freezer zip-lock bags, only using them for the Mt Whitney overnight. I filled them, put them inside a gallon zip lock, and placed them gently in the top of my pack.

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#37330 - 06/11/14 05:33 AM Re: High Sierra Trail: Water conditions [Re: Steve C]
Marty Offline


Registered: 01/25/10
Posts: 90
Loc: CT
Steve,
Do you treat/filter your water while on the HST or the Main Trail?

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#37333 - 06/11/14 06:50 AM Re: High Sierra Trail: Water conditions [Re: Krishna]
saltydog Offline


Registered: 02/03/11
Posts: 1566
Loc: Valley Ford CA!!!!
Krishna:

The driest section is the first few miles, to Mehrten. There is no water available at the trailhead, so I would top up the liter at or before Giant Forest. I think the descent from Chagoopa to Kern Canyon is dry, too, so I would top up before leaving Moraine.

I would also adjust mileage to avoid Bearpaw: the BP camp is a drop from the trail, has no view, not much to recommend it at all.
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#37370 - 06/12/14 07:02 AM Re: High Sierra Trail: Water conditions [Re: Steve C]
Krishna Offline


Registered: 04/15/11
Posts: 101
Loc: Woodridge, IL, USA
Steve:
I already carry the gravity filter which contains a 3 liter dirty bag and 3 liter clean bag. I also carry an emergency sealed water bottle (about 1/4 liter). I also carry a 0.5 liter water bottle with powerade. So just filling my clean bag & water bottle with 3.0 liters of water at the last tarn before switch backs should do it. Depending on how I feel about the back pack weight at the trail crest, I may leave some stuff in a cloth bag (like my kitchen, extra clothing, med bag, bear-proof container, water filter etc) covered with my backpack rain cover at the trail crest.
Again thanks for the water needs advice. I should be fine with dry snacks and cold coffee on the summit.

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#37373 - 06/12/14 07:08 AM Re: High Sierra Trail: Water conditions [Re: saltydog]
Krishna Offline


Registered: 04/15/11
Posts: 101
Loc: Woodridge, IL, USA
Salty:
On the 14th night I will be sleeping at the Lodgepole CG so would fill up with 1.5liters before I catch the bus for Crescent Meadows. Thanks for the heads-up on water. I hope there are some early morning bus from Lodgepole CG to CM. I will check.
About the BP camp, I read there is filtered water tap, CG with bear boxes etc. If not BP Camp where do you suggest to camp with water availability?

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#37381 - 06/12/14 08:46 AM Re: High Sierra Trail: Water conditions [Re: Krishna]
Steve C Offline


Registered: 09/22/09
Posts: 7785
Loc: Fresno, CA
Krishna, I did the trip without water filter or treatment. The water spigot at the Bearpaw camp (the commercial one with cabins) had a sign that the water should be treated. I filled up anyway, and continued on. (The signs are required, because they cannot guarantee the water is pure -- like all the other spring and stream water in the park.)

The first day, I made it all the way to Hamilton Lakes but I was really tired. You might consider stopping just before Bearpaw at Buck Creek. It will have water, and it is wide open space. Beyond Bearpaw, there is no water until Hamilton (The crossing at Lone Pine Creek is a deep vertical gorge, so water is inaccessible, ...but maybe a little upstream, not sure)

If you want to get an early start at Crescent Meadow, you might think about taking the last bus the night before, and then finding a secluded spot to just bed down (after dark as long as you are discreet). Half mile in, the trail crosses a gentle crest.

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#37455 - 06/15/14 09:19 AM Re: High Sierra Trail: Water conditions [Re: Steve C]
Krishna Offline


Registered: 04/15/11
Posts: 101
Loc: Woodridge, IL, USA
Steve:
Thanks! Thats an interesting suggestion. May be I can check with Ranger station and start on July 14th afternoon itself and do 4 or 5 miles on the HST. Are there any streams/ springs around 4 or 5 miles into the trail from Crescent Meadows where I can camp? Still checking the NG map for spots.

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#37456 - 06/15/14 09:22 AM Re: High Sierra Trail: Water conditions [Re: Steve C]
saltydog Offline


Registered: 02/03/11
Posts: 1566
Loc: Valley Ford CA!!!!
The shuttle from LP to CM does not run very early, so unless you stealth as Steve suggests, a really early start from CM is not practical. I would take an easier first day, either to the creek at Nine Mile, 2 mi short of Bearpaw or better still Buck Creek. Buck Creek is a fantastic spot, only a mile short of Bearpaw, and saves that climb for an early fresh start. Next sure water after BP is actually at the Kaweah crossing just above the falls, a mile or so short of Lower Hamilton. This is likely to be a really dry stretch, lots of hot southern exposure especially the switchers above the Lone Pine Creek bridge. It had a lot of seeps in 2011, the last really wet year, but I would not count on any water between BP and the Kaweah falls crossing this year.
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#37458 - 06/15/14 09:41 AM Re: High Sierra Trail: Water conditions [Re: saltydog]
Krishna Offline


Registered: 04/15/11
Posts: 101
Loc: Woodridge, IL, USA
Salty:
I am looking at the map. There are Panther ck crossings around 4m and Mehrten ck crossing at 5 mile and then several Buck ck crossings at 8 and 9 mile. There seems to be some flat area near the jn of HST and the trail from Mehrten meadows. 9 miles in the afternoon would be a stretch for me (about 5hrs hiking) so looking at alternatives. Thanks for any advice.

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#37459 - 06/15/14 11:01 AM Re: High Sierra Trail: Water conditions [Re: Krishna]
saltydog Offline


Registered: 02/03/11
Posts: 1566
Loc: Valley Ford CA!!!!
Originally Posted By: Krishna
Steve:
Thanks! Thats an interesting suggestion. May be I can check with Ranger station and start on July 14th afternoon itself and do 4 or 5 miles on the HST. Are there any streams/ springs around 4 or 5 miles into the trail from Crescent Meadows where I can camp? Still checking the NG map for spots.


Mehrten Creek is at just about 5 miles in. Campsites with a bear box are a short, steep climb above the trail, with great views. Much better acclimation than at Lodgepole, too. From there you could get well past BP the next day, up to Hamilton, or even better Precipice Lake, if you can do the 2000 feet late in the day. Either choice will put you well ahead of your pace for the cabin the next day.
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#37464 - 06/15/14 12:19 PM Re: High Sierra Trail: Water conditions [Re: saltydog]
Steve C Offline


Registered: 09/22/09
Posts: 7785
Loc: Fresno, CA
Starting a day early might be a good option -- if you can get the permit.

I believe you could find a place to put down your bed at most of those first (Panther Creek) crossings, even if you have to use a wide spot in the trail. Doing that would put Hamilton lakes more within reach the next day.

If the early permit is not an option, the stealth would be my next choice. Be sure and find out, I think the wilderness ranger desk at Lodgepole closes about 3 PM, so you need to get there in time.

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#37475 - 06/16/14 07:26 AM Re: High Sierra Trail: Water conditions [Re: saltydog]
Krishna Offline


Registered: 04/15/11
Posts: 101
Loc: Woodridge, IL, USA
Salty, Steve:
That is very convenient! I will plan for first day up to Mehrten ck bearbox and on the second day aim for Precipice lake (10 miles?). Is there camping at the lake? or shall I stop at the first Hamilton lake. Sry to bug you for all these details! Most of my planning fun is vicariously go thru every step of hike and then compare when I am actually doing it smile

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#37497 - 06/16/14 04:04 PM Re: High Sierra Trail: Water conditions [Re: Krishna]
saltydog Offline


Registered: 02/03/11
Posts: 1566
Loc: Valley Ford CA!!!!
Yes, excellent camp sites at Precipice. Great spot
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#37560 - 06/17/14 05:51 PM Re: High Sierra Trail: Water conditions [Re: Steve C]
hikin_jim Offline


Registered: 11/07/10
Posts: 148
Loc: Los Angeles, CA, USA
Originally Posted By: Steve C
I did the trip without water filter or treatment.
This LA Times Article about Dr. Bob Derlet may be of interest.

HJ
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#37878 - 06/24/14 06:53 AM Re: High Sierra Trail: Water conditions [Re: saltydog]
Krishna Offline


Registered: 04/15/11
Posts: 101
Loc: Woodridge, IL, USA
Steve, Salty:
I am reading all the old trip reports on HST and some seem to have turned back due to heavy snows during moderate snow years! My permit is for mid-July, so do I expect any snow conditions on the HST? Looks like MW both west and east side seem to be free of snow per reports here. So just curious to know what lay ahead!

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#37880 - 06/24/14 07:15 AM Re: High Sierra Trail: Water conditions [Re: Krishna]
Akichow Offline


Registered: 04/07/10
Posts: 659
Loc: SF Bay Area
I did the HST last year a bit later in summer so I don't have the July perspective. But based on recent trip reports/pictures from Whitney, plus my own observations of how fast the snow is receding in the Sierra, I'd be surprised if this was a "turn back" year on the HST in mid-July.

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#37889 - 06/24/14 09:54 AM Re: High Sierra Trail: Water conditions [Re: Krishna]
saltydog Offline


Registered: 02/03/11
Posts: 1566
Loc: Valley Ford CA!!!!
The year I was turned back was 2011, a huge snow year. The trail cleared just a couple of days later, July 12 or so, about the same time the MWMT cleared. MW cleared weeks ago, so I have no doubt the HST is clear over Kaweah Gap now. Call the SEKI/Three Rivers Wilderness office to check. and keep in mind that whatever they tell you, conditions will actually be better. CHeck this June 11 report: High Sierra Topix Snow only on the last 100 feet below Kaweah Gap. BTW, SEKI is reporting no water at Bear Paw campground. I would assume that means at the High Sierra Camp as well, so your last water before the waterfall looks like Buck Creek. Top up there (2 liters)
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Wherever you go, there you are.
SPOTMe!

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#37942 - 06/25/14 08:12 AM Re: High Sierra Trail: Water conditions [Re: Akichow]
Krishna Offline


Registered: 04/15/11
Posts: 101
Loc: Woodridge, IL, USA
Yes, Akichow! One of my inspiration points for this trip is your report and the excellent photos. Thanks!

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#37945 - 06/25/14 08:19 AM Re: High Sierra Trail: Water conditions [Re: saltydog]
Krishna Offline


Registered: 04/15/11
Posts: 101
Loc: Woodridge, IL, USA
Salty:
Thanks! I just read the HST report in High Sierra Topix and that is assuring. So the only issue will be water. So 2 liters at the Buck ck (mid-day) before BPM and then leg it all the way to Precipice Lake by evening.

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