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Re: merced lakes spring trip

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merced lakes spring trip
April 24, 2011 12:33PM
So most years I've already been up to Merced Lake and environs by now. But I've found snow-free camping too. This year, looks like not so much. I viewed Chick-on's pics of her recent trip; awesome. I was hoping that by mid May or so I might camp out of snow at the lake or near the junction with Sunrise trail. Anyone have an opinion here? Yes, I've got Kahtooli (sp?) micro-spikes for the switchbacks around Bunnel Point.

P.S. for some reason I can't access Chick-On's Picassa pictures to give me a better of idea of snow condions. Maybe I'm over-reacting and things aren't so snowed-in after all?



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 04/24/2011 12:37PM by hegel.
avatar Re: merced lakes spring trip
April 24, 2011 08:34PM
HER?!?!?!

I'm a BOY!

When you going? We skipped the Bunnell switchers this year (did them last year in April when
we went to Echo Lake)... and figured they would be much worse... and the Avalanche area
would be much bigger. We were right on both accounts.

Anywho, click on my signature for peeek-chures. If you want a shot of something in particular
I may have it. Just ask. You'll just have to extrapolate.

There's still boatloads o snow up there... but the south facing trails are opening up.



Chick-on is looking at you!
avatar Re: merced lakes spring trip
April 24, 2011 08:38PM
DOH!

Mid-May. Yeah, You should be able to get to Merced Lake then.
Since you are familiar with the Bunnell switchers... those babies
will probably still be fun as will be the Av. zone.

Not sure what you mean by Jct. to Sunrise. Do you mean the
High Trail/JMT/Forsyth Jct area? There was just a monsterous
amount of snow in that area still... at least 5ft.... and it wasn't
slushy... very compacted... so if you don't want to walk in the snow..

Anyway, I'll let you do the math.
Have fun



Chick-on is looking at you!
Re: merced lakes spring trip
April 25, 2011 10:19AM
OOOPS!, sorry Chick-On, and to make matters worse, my excuse makes me sound a bit sexist...you see, I focused on the Chick part of your name...but I swear that I would never refer to a woman that way myself...I thought that you were being ironic and all...

But to move on as fast as I can, yeah, that avalanche slope. I forgot about that. Many years ago it had really let loose and while picking my way across the snow and over toppled trees some time afterwards I came across a wood duck and her chick (that word again!) nesting in the snow under a log. Cutest thing ever.

Yes, I mean the junction to the high trail, where there's a couple of bridges.

Thanks for your info. I still can't manage to open your pics, don't know why.
Hopefully we'll get a huge warm up and I can be up there in a couple of weeks. I'm a bit of a wimp about camping on snow, as you can tell.
Ideally I like to day hike up towards Vogelsang on this trip, and then return via the high route. Happily I can find my way in snow on that route, but I'd like to avoid anything more technical than say, the Bunnel switchbacks.


edit: Yay! I just got your pictures to appear. Wow! I'm at work, will have to browse later.



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 04/25/2011 10:23AM by hegel.
avatar Re: merced lakes spring trip
April 25, 2011 11:33AM
Ok, I think I get what you mean now. You want to camp in Echo Valley (there's 3 bridges).
And then hikey up to the lake and up Lewis Creek towards Vogelsang Pass then
come back down to Echo Valley and then hike up to the High Trail and down the JMT and out.

Since it will be no longer self-reg you'll have to talk to the ranger... so he/she can perhaps give you
more info.

If you look at the last couple of pix here:
https://picasaweb.google.com/yosemite.chick.on/MercedLake
One a zoom of the Bunnell Switcher and one of Sunrise Creek at about 7300 ft.

You can compare the Av. to last year and there is also a pix of the wifey coming up the switchers here:
https://picasaweb.google.com/yosemite.chick.on/Matthes02

Have fun



Chick-on is looking at you!
Re: merced lakes spring trip
April 25, 2011 12:31PM
Thanks for the pics and info. Yes, you've described my itinerary exactly. I keep forgetting the name for Echo Valley. Five feet of snow there...yikes.
Also, the avalanche area I was thinking of is located after you finish the switchbacks at Bunnel, above that little patch of woods you cross through on your way back to the Merced and the bridge.

Your pictures are amazing and inspiring. Now for a warmer bag! And a friendly ranger to issue a permit without a headache. Drat these late season starts!
avatar Re: merced lakes spring trip
April 25, 2011 03:25PM
Yeah, I'm not looking forward to non-self-reg...
O well, it's a small price to pay... at least they are still free.

Anywho. The Lake set has a zoom of the Av. Area. It's right AT the bridge at the Merced.
Even the switchers on the 11th of April looked like there was at least some droppings from above.
Obviously be supa dupa careful there.

To be clear here's another pict. with the Av. and the switchers/trail drawn in:





Chick-on is looking at you!
avatar Re: merced lakes spring trip
April 25, 2011 06:02PM
Great set of pics Billy.



Old Dude
Re: merced lakes spring trip
April 26, 2011 09:08AM
It's those switchbacks that have scared me a few times in the past. As you know, they tend to be icy too.
The avalanche area I referred to comes down through the second or third little finger of woods that intersect the trail up above the switches. It's a nice little bio-region.
One more question and then I'll leave you alone: were the two of you getting by with 20 degree bags or did you need something warmer?( I sleep on an Exped downmat.)
avatar Re: merced lakes spring trip
April 26, 2011 09:07PM
Hmm... didn't notice any Av. area whatsoever in the area you describe.
It's fairly flatish in that area (you can see in one set that we camped in that area).
Perhaps when it really starts melting stuff gives way in that area due to slope-age.
Certainly wasn't any danger there from my assessment... If you have a photo... I'd like to see.
There were other avalanches up Echo Creek though...

Anywho, these two photos gives an idea just how much fluffy stuff is there compared
to previous years. (in 2007 the trail had almost zero snow on it)
April 7, 2007

April 11, 2011


As for what sleeping in... if you look in the set you can see the wife sleeps in a hammock.
Down underquilt and a 15 degree Montbelle on top.
As for me... uh... I got a few bags... and have been using, ahem, an overkill -10 bag.
End up with bear feet and no hat on in no time.
I'll switch to 15 or 25 bag now though. 20 should be fine and dandy.
The thing is... even at end of May it often gets just as cold at night as during April...
I always bring poofy jacket and pants unless camping REALLY low elevation.

Ask as many questions as you like. It's not a bother.



Chick-on is looking at you!
Re: merced lakes spring trip
April 30, 2011 08:47AM
Great photos. You can see a big difference due to the snow fall. Do you go every year in April? Do you ever get snowed in or trapped out there? Any big worries or risks while you are there?



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 04/30/2011 08:49AM by jackolive.
avatar Re: merced lakes spring trip
April 30, 2011 10:46AM
Quote
jackolive
Great photos. You can see a big difference due to the snow fall. Do you go every year in April? Do you ever get snowed in or trapped out there? Any big worries or risks while you are there?
We go every year every month, multiple times per month/as often as birdly possible.
The seasons and conditions making going to same places often a treat.

NPS does a really good job, if you want more info w/r to winter look here:
http://www.nps.gov/yose/planyourvisit/wildwinter.htm
(look at safety)

If you are prepared you don't have much to worry about. Weather forecast following is critical.
Slide trip to get best chance of nice weather and don't run willy nilly into a multi-day winter storm.
In the winter/early spring (sometimes even October)... 30% chance o precip is closer to 100 than 0.
If you poke around my picasa site you'll find winter storms here and there...

Have fun



Chick-on is looking at you!
Re: merced lakes spring trip
April 30, 2011 12:46PM
I love these time-lapse pictures. Even during the month, Yosemite is not the same.
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