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Re: Desolation Wilderness: Middle Velma/Phipps Peak Backpack

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avatar Desolation Wilderness: Middle Velma/Phipps Peak Backpack
July 04, 2017 10:38AM
My original plan was to hike a loop from Middle Velma to either Clyde or Aloha, then over Dicks Pass to Dicks Lake as a three night trip. The large amount of snow led me to change the trip to a two-night trip at Middle Velma with a hike up Phipps Peak.

I had seen pictures of Middle Velma from two weeks ago showing it still iced-in. It's now completely iced-out. From Phipps I could see that Upper Velma was about 2/3 iced out, and what I could see of Dicks, Fontanillis, and Schmidell was still iced-in. The ford just before Middle Velma Lake was knee-high and running fast.

Conditions along the trail to Middle Velma are changing quickly as the snow at that elevation is melting. Generally, it was snow-hiking from Maggies Crest to where the trail drops onto the south side of the ridge leading to the Eagle Lake Trail junction, the western part of the trail segment between the Eagle Lake and Velma junctions, and westward from there. There was a lot of snow on the steep portion just east of Maggies saddle.

SAR has apparently been busy, as people hiking the Bayview Trail east from the Velma junction have been making a wrong turn where the trail climbs a switchback to the left. At this point there's a prominent track through the snow heading straight - the wrong way, down into the Azure and Cascade Falls drainage.

Swimming: Middle Velma was far too cold for me, having recently iced-out. On the way out, Granite Lake made for a pleasant swim.

Bugs: black flies were terrible in the evening as the breezes died down, mosquitoes were out in the morning before the breezes started.


Eagle Lake, from Maggies:

South Lake Tahoe, from Maggies:

Middle Velma, and the Crystal Range:

A section of trail between the Eagle Lake and Velma junctions. It's hard to see in the picture, but the narrow drift is about ten feet above the trail.

Middle Velma Lake, in the morning, with a family of ducks passing by:

Lower Velma Lake, and Mt. Tallac:

Middle Velma and Dicks Peak/Pass, from Phipps:

Lake Tahoe, from Phipps:

avatar Re: Desolation Wilderness: Middle Velma/Phipps Peak Backpack
July 05, 2017 07:46AM
Tanks fur Sharon Tom

Glad to see you enjoying!

I would have swam in all the lakes...

(ok maybe all none of them)

Chick-on is looking at you!
avatar Re: Desolation Wilderness: Middle Velma/Phipps Peak Backpack
July 07, 2017 11:20AM
Great stuff. Thanks for posting.
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