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Old Army Pass Conditions
#43226 06/21/15 08:09 PM
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Any current beta on Army Pass? I understand NAP is mostly clear, but I'd prefer to go over OAP if it's melted out. Planning for Langley in mid-July.

Re: Old Army Pass Conditions
Bulldog34 #43227 06/21/15 08:58 PM
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I am planning on using OAP to attain Langley's summit this Friday as a dayhike (26th). Planning on it being melted out. I would appreciate any info too.


"Come and Let Us Climb the Lord's Mountain!" -Isaiah 2:5
Instagram: @jeesparza33

Re: Old Army Pass Conditions
SanGorgonioHiker #43273 06/23/15 01:40 PM
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I'm also looking for information on OAP conditions as well. Planning on using OAP this weekend (June 27/28) for a Langley summit trek I have planned.

Re: Old Army Pass Conditions
markphx #43274 06/23/15 04:17 PM
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I got a response from Halfdomer Homer on the WPS board - he hiked Langley 6/20 and reported the top of OAP still heavy with snow, and likely corniced. I've got 3 weeks before my hike, so that may be enough time for most of it to melt, but if you're going soon be advised. NAP is the best route now, even with the additional gain on the return.

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Re: Old Army Pass Conditions
Bulldog34 #43276 06/23/15 05:14 PM
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Bulldog,

Thanks for the information, sounds like we'll be using NAP. I'll take a solid gander at OAP from the top down this weekend and post up conditions.

-Mark

Re: Old Army Pass Conditions
markphx #43278 06/23/15 05:45 PM
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Many thanks Mark!

Re: Old Army Pass Conditions
Bulldog34 #43307 06/24/15 09:30 PM
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Was up there (6/20-6/22) this past week and after climbing Langley, checked out Army Pass conditions as a possible way out. There is snow near the top and a few other patches lower down. I'm used to those type of conditions and would have gone down it but others in the group weren't as experienced so we used NAP which is snow free. Also, "Navy Pass", the bowl north of Army Pass can be ascended easily avoiding snow but there's no trail.
Cheers, John

Re: Old Army Pass Conditions
Bulldog34 #43330 06/27/15 07:02 PM
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Hi Gary

Good to see you will be out west in the coming weeks. I am heading up Langley over the July 4 weekend and will post on OAP conditions and take some pictures for you. Hope all is well and good luck with your travels.

Mike

Re: Old Army Pass Conditions
mja #43334 06/28/15 04:25 AM
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Appreciate the update, John. I've gotten a very detailed route description on the shortcut that Doug Thompson and Dave Kirk scouted out a few years ago, and may take a look at that once we're at the lakes. It appears to be a semi-direct line from Lake 6, or even Muir Lake. Apparently the trick is taking the correct cirque - the other is described as boulder hell.

I hiked out to Cottonwood Lakes back in 2009 but didn't go beyond them. Had a date with Whitney 36 hours later so I kept it pretty light that day. Looking forward to getting up past the crest this time. My biggest concern is how fatigued my legs will be by this point. I've got a Whitney North Fork dayhike planned two days before Langley, and another two in Yosemite in the days before that. Don't know if 16K' of gain is doable for me in the space of a week, but we'll see. I'm not getting any younger.

Mike, good to hear from you, and I appreciate the thought. How long will you be in the LP area?

Re: Old Army Pass Conditions
Bulldog34 #43341 06/28/15 09:34 AM
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Stay at the west end of Long Lake, if you are backpacking. It's sheltered and semi-private.

I love Army Pass...NAP is pretty good, too. Snow is persistent because it on a north wall. I went up in September after a big winter and there was snow in spots on the trail.

I would not be surprised that there was a snow block in July because of the late snow this year.

Re: Old Army Pass Conditions
Bulldog34 #43356 06/30/15 06:31 AM
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Gary - I am in San Diego on business this week and will head up Thursday night to climb Langley over the Holiday weekend. Heading back to Ohio on Sunday. On July 16-19 I will be back in the area to give Tyndall and Williamson a go with my 15 year old and my nephew. What are your plans?

Mike

Re: Old Army Pass Conditions
mja #43360 06/30/15 03:30 PM
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Mike, we'll be in Mammoth/Yosemite July 9-13 (Cathedral Peak 7/10, Cloud's Rest 7/12). We move on down to Lone Pine the 14th and will be there through mid-day the 19th. Planning the Whitney MR 7/16 if I can score permits, then Langley the 18th, if my legs hold up. Sounds as if we'll overlap?

Re: Old Army Pass Conditions
Bulldog34 #43372 07/01/15 08:13 PM
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Hey Bulldog,

Did a Langley summit and overnighter at Cottonwood Lakes this past weekend and I'm just giving a brief status update on the conditions while I find time to write a trip report. Our original plan was to head up Tuttle Creek and down NAP (with a bicycle shuttle at the end), but we ended up starting from Cottonwood Lakes.

Shortly after starting our first day, we ran into a group of guys that gave us some beta on Old Army. They talked about an easy chute used to bypass the snow that still lingered up there, so we decided to go for OAP instead of NAP. OAP had very little snow up to where the chute was and the trail was in good shape. You can't miss the chute. It's pretty much right before the large snow bank towards the top and runs due South. It's bone dry with minimal exposure, mostly Class 2/3 climbing, and it's quite fun to ascend.

Judging by the conditions of the trail near the snowpack up high, I have a good feeling that it will be melted off enough for you to cruise the trail to the top of the pass when you head up there. However, if it's still too dicey, take the chute and you'll be good.

-Mark

Re: Old Army Pass Conditions
markphx #43373 07/02/15 04:23 AM
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'Preciate that, markphx! I love a good scramble and I'll file that away for future reference.

Re: Old Army Pass Conditions
Bulldog34 #43405 07/04/15 01:21 PM
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Just did Langley via old Army Pass yesterday. At the very top there is a small patch of snow crossing the trail, but there are good boot tracks for about 10 ft going up, then traversing about 20 ft. Quite a few folks of widely varying expertise and age managed this section with ordinary trail shoes and no traction devices of any kind.

Re: Old Army Pass Conditions
Bulldog34 #43410 07/05/15 06:14 PM
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Hi Gary - Norris is right about OAP - here are some pics of the snow patch left at the top of the trail. The weather was warm and there was a boot trail across.





I will be back in the area with my nephew and youngest son going up to Shepherd Pass and Tyndall on July 16-18 (Ugh!) If it works out maybe we can meet in town. I will send a PM once are plans get finalized this week.

Mike

Re: Old Army Pass Conditions
mja #43514 07/13/15 06:52 PM
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Someone was asking about alternates to San Gorgonio since the trails are shutdown until October. I mentioned that I was thinking about Langley via OAP, I was a little surprised at the response.

Quote:
Old Army has a snow field that a class 4 traverse most of even a dry season. If you slide and don't self arrest you will want for nothing, ever again. That is why New Army was opened just a couple or few years later.

Class 4, if you fall you will die. It is a class 3 avoiding the snow field. The traverse is trivial in soft snow in the afternoon. But slip and don't arrest your fall. Over and done. Icey and it is much less trivial. You drop of the lip of the field and over a rock ledge into more rock. Harrison, Lucy's Foot while steeper run out and onto talus so not quite as treacherous a landing. Burns and Porcella as well as Secord pay it no mind at all. So little I wonder if they have ever been on it? Just think about the history Open 1 season and they started work on another route!


whistle

Re: Old Army Pass Conditions
63ChevyII.com #43517 07/13/15 11:16 PM
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You get all ranges of opinions on the 'net. Whoever wrote that was obviously impressed more gravely than most.

But do understand, people have died at Army Pass, often due to a slip. Last one, though, was not from that specific spot.

Re: Old Army Pass Conditions
Steve C #43518 07/14/15 04:47 AM
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The old Inspecter Callaghan Quote " Do you feel lucky Punk ? " ...Has Direct Application at these Areas... The steep snow patch at Old Army Pass is Old Rescue Terms......." A classic Accident Waiting to happen " . It always amazed us when ordinary people in the town would not do something with Built in Risks resulting in Brutal Shredded Deaths ......until they put on a pack and venture into the Back country . That section on the OAP has and will be always a Steep Deadly Snow catch or Cornice section ( in Heavy snow years ) resulting in " Death Slide Number 1 " . Shepard's Pass ( Death slide number 2)has an Exact Duplicate section at the Top between the Teeth , one slip and good By World ! Also , Mt Whitney snow sections ( death slide number 3) with 99 switch back area , can and Will result in more Operations for us in SAR due to people numbers . It all depends on the wind and amount of snow BLOWN OVER the pass from the High Sierra 14,000 foot ridge and the Level of Testosterone . Some years nothing... some years ...Death Slide Number 1 . An Ice axe , crampons, or micro spikes are Extremely Light Weight Insurance for 20 minutes of Gut Retching Anxiety and probable Horrible Shredded Death or Injury ( if you are Lucky) upon slippage . So the question is simple.... " do you Gamble with your Life.... roll the dice......." Do you Feel Lucky Today " .... with Your One and Only Life ? We have all done it . It is just ... when we zip up the Body Bag .... There is " Complete SILENCE " other than the ZIPPER . For the Lads trip is over for GOOD. Just a Thought . gst

Re: Old Army Pass Conditions
Bulldog34 #59602 05/19/22 02:29 PM
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Hi, has anyone been lately up in this area to update us on current conditions of Old and New Army Passes and hopefully some pics as well? Many thanks.

Re: Old Army Pass Conditions
Select your Orga #59603 05/19/22 04:34 PM
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I'm headed up there this weekend to backpack into Miter Basin w/Langley climb out of Upper Soldier Lake. From my experiences in past years, NAP will most likely have snow/cornice the last hundred feet or so to the pass. If I recall, I did manage to avoid the cornice and ice on NAP - but I would bring crampons/Ice axe just in case. I watched a YouTube video of a hiker going to Cottonwood Lake #4 last week and OAP had a lot of snow on the north face making it pretty dicey to hike the trail. I've done OAP when we had a very large snow year and I just took the direct route to the pass in the snow/ice using mountaineer tools. If you're going to Langley soon, I'd just take NAP. OAP trail won't be clear of snow until early June. I'll report the conditions later next week when I get back.

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Re: Old Army Pass Conditions
Select your Orga #59604 05/20/22 08:22 AM
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I was there 5/14. Trail conditions are beautiful, HOWEVER, the last 50 - 100 vertical feet of NAP is a snow and ice field. Slip on that you are finito. We did not have an ice axe and were uncomfortable with the idea of attempting with only poles and microspikes with 30+lb packs. Went back down and over to CWL#3. Saw lots of people coming from and going to CWL#4 and #5, not sure if they were going/coming from OAP. I cant imagine OAP being any MORE passable than NAP. If you are comfortable with what I described, then you can get over NAP with little problem. Be safe.

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Re: Old Army Pass Conditions
805_backpacker #59605 05/20/22 01:32 PM
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There was a hiker death on OAP on 5/15.

Re: Old Army Pass Conditions
BFR #59606 05/20/22 06:49 PM
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Here's the Inyo County Sheriff's post on the Old Army Pass accident: Facebook link

Re: Old Army Pass Conditions
Steve C #59607 05/20/22 07:00 PM
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This is really a shame. For those reading this, if you have limited experience in snow, and are considering Langley, please do New Army Pass. It may require an extra few miles, but OAP is just not worth it for a lot of the folks who want to climb Langley.

Last edited by BFR; 05/20/22 07:00 PM.
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Re: Old Army Pass Conditions
Select your Orga #59608 05/20/22 07:04 PM
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Sad news, a deceased hiker and an injured one on Old Army Pass that took place on May 15th. Old Army pass has tons of snow and ice and shouldn't be attempted without crampons and ice axes.

Re: Old Army Pass Conditions
805_backpacker #59609 05/20/22 09:04 PM
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805 backpacker, kudos to you for not pressing your luck when the conditions are too sketchy. Something Jimmy Chin said that I like to keep in mind: "You keep going until it doesn't make sense."

Re: Old Army Pass Conditions
fit2climb #59621 05/24/22 10:17 PM
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Went up to Langley on May 23, 2022

NAP is passible. Early morning hard snow the last 30-40 vertical feet from top of NAP turning to sloshy snow around 11am. I used crampons on the ascent but not on the way down. No snow to Langley. Pleasant temps in the day, but cold frigid nights.

OAP is NOT passible. Treacherous conditions at the last switchback where I am presuming the fatality occurred.

I document all this on YouTube for anyone interested.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gmWXsFq09Es

Hope this helps!

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Re: Old Army Pass Conditions
fit2climb #59622 05/25/22 09:07 AM
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Thanks for sharing. Great video of the Passes.

paul

Re: Old Army Pass Conditions
fit2climb #59623 05/25/22 12:29 PM
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Great info in the vid. Thanks!

Last edited by Select your Orga; 05/25/22 12:33 PM.
Re: Old Army Pass Conditions
Select your Orga #59671 06/28/22 09:50 PM
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I wonder about old army pass conditions these days. Anyone has been there lately? Thanks.

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