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#37395 - 06/12/14 12:42 PM 6/11 switchbacks open for business
Hobbes Offline


Registered: 03/28/14
Posts: 124
Loc: The OC
Just got back from a quick 3 day trip from Kearsarge to Portal. The switchbacks are open & clear with only a few small patches here & there. The chute could be doable, but you'd have to traverse over a small boulder field to get to clear snow. Here are some pictures from Wed, 6/11:

Switchbacks from 1st keyhole:


Trail crest:


Chute:


Cables:

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#37396 - 06/12/14 12:55 PM Re: 6/11 switchbacks open for business [Re: Hobbes]
Steve C Offline


Registered: 09/22/09
Posts: 7526
Loc: Fresno, CA
Hobbes, thanks so much. thanks   Many people will be helped by this.

In the first picture, "Switchbacks from 1st keyhole", I can see the switchback traversing the picture. I see 5-6 people on it, a little low and left of center, with the trail exiting the picture on the right edge, just below center. I assume that is the top switchback that extends all the way to Trail Crest.

A question: Is it all open like that, with no snow needing to be crossed? The second picture looks like people need to sort of edge their way around some of the remnant snow.

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#37399 - 06/12/14 01:11 PM Re: 6/11 switchbacks open for business [Re: Steve C]
dwarak Offline


Registered: 06/12/14
Posts: 2
Loc: Fremont , CA
Thanks for the update , this would save us some weight by not carrying crampons for our trip on Jun/15

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#37401 - 06/12/14 01:22 PM Re: 6/11 switchbacks open for business [Re: Hobbes]
ultramarine Offline


Registered: 06/11/14
Posts: 7
Loc: Fresno
Thanks for the update. This will come in handy for my planning.

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#37408 - 06/12/14 05:20 PM Re: 6/11 switchbacks open for business [Re: Steve C]
Hobbes Offline


Registered: 03/28/14
Posts: 124
Loc: The OC
Originally Posted By: Steve C
Hobbes, thanks so much. thanks   Many people will be helped by this.

In the first picture, "Switchbacks from 1st keyhole", I can see the switchback traversing the picture. I see 5-6 people on it, a little low and left of center, with the trail exiting the picture on the right edge, just below center. I assume that is the top switchback that extends all the way to Trail Crest.

A question: Is it all open like that, with no snow needing to be crossed? The second picture looks like people need to sort of edge their way around some of the remnant snow.


Yes, that's the final long switchback to the top of Trail crest with some hikers on the far left coming up. (Note: this photo was taken around 10:45am, which means they were still coming up when I was leaving by noon, so they got to experience getting down in the storm.) There are small patches ice/snow here & there like shown in the second photo, but they required nothing more than a brief double-check on downside stability with a pole and then across.

The 3 or 4 ice patches that actually took a few seconds to navigate, by either following existing boot tracks, or climbing/stepping over/around talus, were on the main trail past the JMT/MMWT junction near each keyhole. All 3-4 required hands down just to protect against slipping, tripping, etc. Maybe one had minor exposure, but you'd have to be pretty uncoordinated (or unlucky) to slip, trip or fall.

Come to think of it, there were 2 ice chunks completely blocking on the turns between switchbacks #20 and #30, but it required nothing more than climbing down 2-3' of talus and once again on your way. In other words, no exposure or anything other than making sure not to slip to prevent a skinned shin or twisted ankle.

Note: you can also see the blue sky, but with a dark cloud forming overhead.


Edited by Hobbes (06/12/14 05:22 PM)

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#37411 - 06/12/14 06:30 PM Re: 6/11 switchbacks open for business [Re: ultramarine]
Bullet777 Offline


Registered: 12/26/10
Posts: 18
Loc: Sydney, Australia
I'm heading up the main trail tomorrow. Spoke to a few people coming down yesterday, some of who got caught in the snow/hail, who said the switchbacks are fine (in accordance with the previous report here). Does anyone know if the water source around switchback 20 is flowing? Thanks

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#37431 - 06/13/14 10:20 AM Re: 6/11 switchbacks open for business [Re: Hobbes]
John D Offline


Registered: 09/21/12
Posts: 14
Loc: Bakersfield CA
Thanks Hobbes, that is indeed good information. Going up tomorrow to see if I can find my way to Consultation lake then to the switchbacks.

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#37797 - 06/22/14 08:07 PM Re: 6/11 switchbacks open for business [Re: John D]
Paul Offline


Registered: 09/22/09
Posts: 186
Loc: Santa Clarita, CA
Hobbes....

So I just returned from another 8 day trip to the Kern (6/14, entry at Cottonwood Pass).

I am writing because you have indicated that you love fishing and boy, do I have a story for you.

As part of my route, I headed up Wallace Creek to Wallace Lake and spent a night. Not fun, but always worthwhile. When I arrived at the lake, 20 mph wind, gusting.....that was okay. It was the hordes, unbelievable hordes of gnats and mosquitoes. Anyway, I stayed only 1 night instead of two.

Okay, the fishing part. I came to this large pool of water, separated by waterfall flowing from the lake. I am not exaggerating. This pool contain a multitude of fish. It looked like a fish hatchery pond. These were not just small stuff....10, 12, and maybe 14 inches. I could not believe my eyes.

But, what is interesting, the next morning as I packed, I never saw one fish jump or break water. However, I decided to do a Google on Wallace and fishing. Check out this video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YFQXXW0rhmc

I suspect, you'll go there soon.

Paul

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#37838 - 06/23/14 02:41 PM Re: 6/11 switchbacks open for business [Re: Paul]
Hobbes Offline


Registered: 03/28/14
Posts: 124
Loc: The OC
Fishing season starts 7/1 @ the Cottonwoods, so we're going up for some day hikes & fishing over the 4th.

Then, in around 4 weeks, I'm going to hike straight from Shepherd, via WLB, to Wallace.

There are 3 GT trophy lakes in the Sierra: two are south of Forester, the other, well off the JMT/PCT above Bishop.

Each are 12-16 miles (one-way) from their respective THs; you gotta really want it to bother.


Edited by Hobbes (06/23/14 02:44 PM)

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#37884 - 06/24/14 08:50 AM Re: 6/11 switchbacks open for business [Re: Hobbes]
Paul Offline


Registered: 09/22/09
Posts: 186
Loc: Santa Clarita, CA
Hobbes, a few years ago I did a 9 day trip starting in Onion Valley, up Center Basin, over Junction Pass, down to Shepherd Creek and up and over Shepherd Pass. From there I travelled over Rockwell Pass (the saddle just to the southwest of Tyndall) and dropped into Wright Lakes Basin.

I tried to find a route out of Wright Lakes to Wallace, but was stymied by a ridge that once I got to the top, found a small valley with a few small ponds and another ridge. It was without question, a strenuous and far from easy way to get to Wallace (boulders, bushes, etc) ....too much work. I ended up going back down to Wright Creek and found where the ridge was much easier. It was in the treeline and all I did was just head south and knew that I would eventually meet up with the trail and or creek and go from there.

paul

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#37918 - 06/24/14 04:35 PM Re: 6/11 switchbacks open for business [Re: Paul]
Hobbes Offline


Registered: 03/28/14
Posts: 124
Loc: The OC
Originally Posted By: Paul
I tried to find a route out of Wright Lakes to Wallace, but was stymied by a ridge that once I got to the top, found a small valley with a few small ponds and another ridge. It was without question, a strenuous and far from easy way to get to Wallace (boulders, bushes, etc) ....too much work. I ended up going back down to Wright Creek and found where the ridge was much easier.


Thanks for the G2. I'm taking my compass and am going to dead reckon from the last stream in the WLB at:

N 36 36.642' W 118 21.230'

to this point:

N 36 36.231' W 118 20.565'

I also spied this route while descending from Bighorn plateau to Wright creek two weeks ago. Does this appear to be the general route you took?

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#37957 - 06/25/14 10:46 AM Re: 6/11 switchbacks open for business [Re: Hobbes]
Paul Offline


Registered: 09/22/09
Posts: 186
Loc: Santa Clarita, CA
Hobbes, I am not the most knowledgeable, nor technical person around.....but I typed in (paste) your coordinates in to Gmap and asked for directions, I got Turkey.

I believe that I crossed over much lower after realizing that the direct route was far more strenuous than first believed.

Keep in mind that once you intersect with the Wallace Creek/Use trail, the terrain is so much faster than trying to climb over ridges.

One thing I noticed was that once in the Wallace drainage, looking back to the ridge that I had originally planned to travel, is far more difficult and time consuming.

paul

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#37976 - 06/25/14 04:00 PM Re: 6/11 switchbacks open for business [Re: Paul]
Hobbes Offline


Registered: 03/28/14
Posts: 124
Loc: The OC
If you pull up Gmap, it looks like you can traverse in almost a straight line (maybe a slight dogleg) from Rockwell to the label 'Creek' in Wallace Creek.

Have you ever gone over Crabtree pass? If you scroll down Gmap, you can see the topo is more vertical than my planned route to Wallace, yet Crabtree is merely class 2 with -0- exposure.

Now, if it looked like this (the direct route down from Langley to Soldier/Miter), then yeah, it might give me pause:



In retrospect, it was probably not too bright solo, but at the time, it was under control. (At one point, I did have to drop my pack over a short ledge before crawling down.) But now that I will have an InTouch, I feel like I'm Supraman and can take all kinds of crazy risks! After all, SAR will have my breadcrumb - LOL.

Seriously, I'm a scaredy-cat and am willing to take a long(er) way around to avoid any mishaps. Every year a few go down, and my wife gives me "the look".


Edited by Hobbes (06/25/14 04:02 PM)

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#37990 - 06/25/14 08:11 PM Re: 6/11 switchbacks open for business [Re: Hobbes]
Steve C Offline


Registered: 09/22/09
Posts: 7526
Loc: Fresno, CA
Hobbes, I am having trouble converting your degrees and decimal minutes to decimal degrees. Can you convert them?

It is much easier if you give them in the decimal degrees like Gmap4 displays.

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#38005 - 06/26/14 07:51 AM Re: 6/11 switchbacks open for business [Re: Steve C]
Hobbes Offline


Registered: 03/28/14
Posts: 124
Loc: The OC
Originally Posted By: Steve C
Hobbes, I am having trouble converting your degrees and decimal minutes to decimal degrees. Can you convert them? It is much easier if you give them in the decimal degrees like Gmap4 displays.


If you right mouse click in Gmap, it will bring up an info box with all the relevant information. Here are the decimal equivalents:

36.610671,-118.353953

Select search from the pull down menu - either of these formats will work. (It will ask you to check a box, then submit.)

Once you're at any specific point, you can right mouse click again for directions to/from.

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#38006 - 06/26/14 08:11 AM Re: 6/11 switchbacks open for business [Re: Hobbes]
63ChevyII.com Offline


Registered: 08/07/12
Posts: 670
Loc: Colton, California
_________________________
HikingGeek.com

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#38010 - 06/26/14 09:15 AM Re: 6/11 switchbacks open for business [Re: 63ChevyII.com]
Paul Offline


Registered: 09/22/09
Posts: 186
Loc: Santa Clarita, CA
Chevy......excellent. Can you do my homework for me?

Looking at Chevy's Gmap, it appears like a good route. Please understand, when I first attempted a traverse, I eyeballed (no GPS) what I needed to do. That failed.

So, after an exhausting attempt, I travelled lower on Wright Creek and made my traverse below the red line (small ridge). It was easy at that point.

I would say, go for it using your GPS.

paul

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