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#52205 - 09/17/17 10:18 PM South Fork Pass conditions
PeteK. Offline

Registered: 03/07/17
Posts: 15
Loc: CA
Not Whitney but fairly close! Couldn't find any beta on the current conditions of South Fork pass out the south fork of Big Pine Creek. A group of four of us hiked to camp on Finger Lake in the Middle Palisade basin. The plan was to hike/climb over South Fork pass and descend to the JMT. From there we planned to climb Mather pass, cut across country to tag Split mtn. and then descend the Red Lake trail to the trailhead.
Two of us left camp at 9:00 am yesterday morning and started hiking the ridge east of Finger lake in a southerly direction. We climbed slabs and talus until the first snowfield at about 11,800. We climbed with crampons to the notch at 12k and then descended on dirt to the next snowfield. From there we cramponed around to the base of the chute leading to the pass. We climbed the steep slope to the narrow right hand gully, arriving at 11:30 am. We topped out at about 12,400. To our dismay the snow ramp was completely melted out leaving a vertical ice wall about 8-10 feet high. While this would not have been impossible to climb the flying rock coming down the gully was a clear message for us to turn around and call it a day. Until we get more snow I would not recommend trying this pass due to these current conditions.
Onward and upward!!!

Edited by PeteK. (09/17/17 10:23 PM)

#52208 - 09/18/17 07:06 AM Re: South Fork Pass conditions [Re: PeteK.]
Bob West Offline

Registered: 11/13/09
Posts: 828
Loc: Bishop, CA, USA
Wise decision Pete! That pass can be a monster, even in good conditions. How was the stream crossing above Glacier Lodge?

Yes, more snow is coming; this week, in fact.

#52222 - 09/18/17 07:44 PM Re: South Fork Pass conditions [Re: PeteK.]
PeteK. Offline

Registered: 03/07/17
Posts: 15
Loc: CA
That stream crossing is pretty dangerous, it's helpful to have buddies to catch you when you jump, especially with big packs on!

#52262 - 09/25/17 11:55 AM Re: South Fork Pass conditions [Re: PeteK.]
Encinitas_Guy Offline

Registered: 05/16/16
Posts: 16
Loc: Encinitas, CA
When I went up South Fork a couple of weeks ago we went upstream of the traditional crossing roughly 30 yards to a place where it was a simple wade through knee deep water on a pebble bottom to cross the creek. It was a little cold, but much easier and safer than hopping across those rocks over water that looked quite deep.