High sierra climbing conditions July 4th weekend


Original Post
Deirdre Quillen · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Jun 2017 · Points: 0

Hey! I was thinking of checking out the north arete of bear creek spire this weekend (or some moderate alpine climb like it). I was planning to bring crampons and an ice axe for the approach. I'm wondering if I might need snow shoes as well?

It would be great to hear from anyone who knows the conditions right now for these kinds of climbs! I would consider doing other comparable moderate climbs (Mt. Conness, Mt. Sill, maybe even Venutian Blind, etc, if the conditions in some places were much better than others.) 

Chris Farrah · · Sunnyvale, CA · Joined Mar 2015 · Points: 0

I'm also hoping to do some high sierra climbing this weekend and am curious about the conditions. Has anyone done Merriam Peak yet this year?

Ryan Huetter · · Mammoth Lakes, CA · Joined Apr 2006 · Points: 255

You won't need snowshoes for BCS. Supportable, though suncupped snow. Cox Col has been seeing some moderate sized loose wet avalanches early afternoon with such warm temps, so might want to consider timing.

Temple conditions are good- dry trail to 2nd Lake and snow covering the tedious talus down from Contact Pass.

Would not bother with Conness, longer walk on snow since the road out to Saddlebag is not open.

Goran Lynch · · Oakland, CA · Joined Jul 2008 · Points: 8

Anyone have information regarding conditions on the Mountaineer's Route down Whitney, Whitney-Russell Col and Ridge descent off Russell?  Assuming crampons and an ice axe are a must but would love to hear otherwise! 

Thomas Raben · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Oct 2016 · Points: 0

Has anyone been to rock creek recently? How's the approach out there?

Todd Ulz · · oakland · Joined Apr 2015 · Points: 5

if anyone heads out to cathedral peak in the next couple days can u share what the approach is like please?

im assuming some snow but can't remember if there's any major stream (river) crossings, the last few years have been so tame i haven't even noticed.

thanks!!

Dave Kos · · Temecula, CA · Joined Jan 2011 · Points: 55

Lots of questions here and no answers...

I can't offer specifics but this group is a great source of current information:

https://www.facebook.com/groups/CaliforniaPeaks/

Deirdre Quillen · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Jun 2017 · Points: 0

Well I'll report back about what I do this weekend! Ryan Hutter where did you hear about wet avalanches on Cox Col?

C Brooks · · Fresno, CA · Joined Feb 2015 · Points: 516

People need to just go out and try climbing stuff. If conditions are not great, turn around and get a beer in town. Getting shut down is part of alpinism. You can't always expect up to date beta, expeically this time of year when conditions are changing rapidly.

Emmett Lyman · · Somerville, MA · Joined Feb 2011 · Points: 355

We headed up to Whitney with trekking poles and microspikes last Thursday (aiming for East Buttress). Deep wet snow shut us down on the final approach from Iceberg Lake so we turned it into a nice training hike instead. As C Brooks says, no worries - part of the game! Town was too hot even for beer, though... we opted for ice cream.

Hot up there in the sun, and the North Fork was running violent.

Fan Zhang · · Washington, DC · Joined Apr 2012 · Points: 618
Emmett Lyman wrote:

We headed up to Whitney with trekking poles and microspikes last Thursday (aiming for East Buttress). Deep wet snow shut us down on the final approach from Iceberg Lake so we turned it into a nice training hike instead. As C Brooks says, no worries - part of the game! Town was too hot even for beer, though... we opted for ice cream.

Hot up there in the sun, and the North Fork was running violent.

Emmett, were you doing car-to-car? Just curious if snow would've been firmer earlier in morning if you had camped at Iceberg Lake. Thanks. 

King Tut · · Citrus Heights · Joined Aug 2012 · Points: 440

FWIW Tioga Pass opens tomorrow 6/29 at 8 am.

nikhilm Mm · · San Francisco, CA · Joined Apr 2014 · Points: 15
C Brooks wrote:

People need to just go out and try climbing stuff. If conditions are not great, turn around and get a beer in town. Getting shut down is part of alpinism. You can't always expect up to date beta, expeically this time of year when conditions are changing rapidly.

While I agree in principle, in practice some of us are forced to be weekend warriors. When I only have < 100 days a year to spend in the mountains total, and getting to them requires driving 3+ hours each way, I want each and every one of them to lead to some meaningful progress in my abilities, rather than have to turn around and head to town or wind up in more trouble than it is worth. Beta is valuable for folks like me.

TKlein · · Tempe, AZ · Joined Jan 2016 · Points: 170
Fan Zhang wrote:

Emmett, were you doing car-to-car? Just curious if snow would've been firmer earlier in morning if you had camped at Iceberg Lake. Thanks. 

Did the E Buttress 2 1/2 weeks ago and everything was solid up near iceberg in the morning. So solid we had to melt snow for water the entire time we camped there. Obviously a lot can change in a few weeks. 

Emmett Lyman · · Somerville, MA · Joined Feb 2011 · Points: 355
Fan Zhang wrote:

Emmett, were you doing car-to-car? Just curious if snow would've been firmer earlier in morning if you had camped at Iceberg Lake. Thanks. 

Yeah, we were doing car to car. Approach took longer than expected due to river crossings and snow, and by the time we got to Iceberg the snow was softened. 

old5ten · · Berkeley + Sunny Slopes, CA · Joined Sep 2012 · Points: 1,033
King Tut wrote:

FWIW Tioga Pass opens tomorrow 6/29 at 8 am...

...actually it was open to bicycles today and made for a most enjoyable ride!

old5ten · · Berkeley + Sunny Slopes, CA · Joined Sep 2012 · Points: 1,033
Todd Ulz wrote:

if anyone heads out to cathedral peak in the next couple days can u share what the approach is like please?

im assuming some snow but can't remember if there's any major stream (river) crossings, the last few years have been so tame i haven't even noticed.

thanks!!

i'd worry more about the descent vs. the approach.  this is what it looked like today.  unfortunately a crappy iphone pic, but to me it looks like there's a big snow field on the NE side.  that means there's a really good chance that there's some snow on the NW side.  could actually make things easier, could also kill you...

King Tut · · Citrus Heights · Joined Aug 2012 · Points: 440
old5ten wrote:

...actually it was open to bicycles today and made for a most enjoyable ride!

Yup, you scored!

Joe Crawford · · June Lake, California · Joined Jan 2014 · Points: 0

snow shoes are not necessary anywhere in the range right now. snow is very dense and supportive, even without overnight freezes. Ice axes and crampons are useful, though mountain boots and comfort on snow may minimize that utility. Trails from the east side are mostly dry below 9500 up north and 10.5k down south. Talus approaches and winter avi paths are largely still covered in snow. Have fun out there this weekend!

David S. · · San Francisco, CA · Joined Feb 2014 · Points: 10
Joe Crawford wrote:

snow shoes are not necessary anywhere in the range right now. snow is very dense and supportive, even without overnight freezes. Ice axes and crampons are useful, though mountain boots and comfort on snow may minimize that utility. Trails from the east side are mostly dry below 9500 up north and 10.5k down south. Talus approaches and winter avi paths are largely still covered in snow. Have fun out there this weekend!

That was a very high density of information of utility. Thanks so much Joe.

David S. · · San Francisco, CA · Joined Feb 2014 · Points: 10
nikhilm Mm wrote:

While I agree in principle, in practice some of us are forced to be weekend warriors. When I only have < 100 days a year to spend in the mountains total, and getting to them requires driving 3+ hours each way, I want each and every one of them to lead to some meaningful progress in my abilities, rather than have to turn around and head to town or wind up in more trouble than it is worth. Beta is valuable for folks like me.

Man do I feel you. (though 'forced' is a matter of interpretation...)

Guideline #1: Don't be a jerk.

Post a Reply

Log In to Reply