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Re: Bishop Pass/Dusy Basin/Kings River Trip, Aug. 7-13

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avatar Bishop Pass/Dusy Basin/Kings River Trip, Aug. 7-13
August 14, 2011 10:36PM
The trip started at South Lake, going over Bishop Pass into the Dusy Basin. The trail over Bishop was mostly clear, with only small patches of snow. The first patch, near Timberline Tarns, looked like it had just been shoveled out by horse packers - there was a trench w/ 6 feet of snow on the uphill side, 3 feet on the downhill. Six days later the uphill side had 3 feet, so around 11,000 ft. it appears snow is melting at the rate of 1 foot every 2 days.

Most of the South Fork area is in summer:



with plenty of wildflowers:



Dusy Basin has a few more snow patches, but is still mostly clear and summer-like, with lots of mosquitoes:



with decent, though brisk, swimming in Lake 10742:



Going up towards Muir Pass is a different matter. Snow starts appearing around Lake 10800+. Lake 11280+ is thawing out, and Lake Helen is mostly frozen.



The original plan was to hike cross-country into the Ionian Basin, but when I saw the 2-3 foot suncups around Lake Helen I decided to save that for another year:



There was a well-worn path through the snow along the trail, but cross-country wasn't looking too appealing. Despite the well-worn path people were getting a bit lost, particularly between lakes 11280+ and Helen. Its not good to get on the wrong side of the river in here (follow where the topo says the trail is) because the snow bridges are collapsing:



So...I explored the Middle Fork Kings River from the top to Palisade Creek, climbed manzanita slopes for views, and basically had fun.

There was a 10 foot wall of snow along the trail between lakes 11280+ and Helen. With a melt rate of 6 inches per day (noted above), and days likely to get colder after a couple weeks, I'm thinking some of this snow won't be going away this year.

More pictures here: Picasaweb Albumn
avatar Re: Bishop Pass/Dusy Basin/Kings River Trip, Aug. 7-13
August 14, 2011 10:43PM
Couple other notes...

1) At the trail for the Le Conte Ranger Station I saw a note indicating a dead deer in the South Fork drainage, and advising people be sure to properly treat water there.

2) I saw several newly-downed trees (needles still mostly green) around 9800 ft. on the descent from Dusy, these were blown over from the roots (NPS trail crews seem to have made quick work of them - thanks!). Where Palisade flows into the Kings River I saw a large tree with its top broken off about 20 feet up, and three smaller trees just upstream along the Kings with tops broken off at the same height. As with the descent from Dusy, this was recent - the needles on the downed tree parts were mostly green. I wonder if there were severe t-storm downbursts in that area around the same weekend that all the people were being rescued from Whitney.
avatar Re: Bishop Pass/Dusy Basin/Kings River Trip, Aug. 7-13
August 15, 2011 09:04AM
Dead deer - it's in the stream crossing right in the middle of Upper Basin, not directly in the SoFo. Almost stepped on the guy when scouting for a better place to cross. Looks like the poor thing snapped its leg or something when trying to hop the stream.

I noticed an unusual amount of hummingbirds this past week while I was hanging out in the Taboose/Bench/Upper Basin/Cartridge area. Maybe it's a 'July' thing - we kept saying how we took our trips in August instead of July to avoid the snow and mosquitoes, but this year was more like a July trip.
avatar Re: Bishop Pass/Dusy Basin/Kings River Trip, Aug. 7-13
August 14, 2011 11:22PM
Thanks for the trip report and sharing the photos. They look great.
avatar Re: Bishop Pass/Dusy Basin/Kings River Trip, Aug. 7-13
August 15, 2011 02:54AM
About two years ago, while approaching Bishop Pass from the Dusy Basin side, I was more than mildly surprised to see a hummingbird whiz past at around 11.5k.

A quick websearch later revealed that some species of these little guys* range up to 17k in the Andes.



* Not to ignore the giant fellow who makes his home on the Nazca Plain:




Edited 2 time(s). Last edit at 08/15/2011 04:17AM by szalkowski.
avatar Re: Bishop Pass/Dusy Basin/Kings River Trip, Aug. 7-13
August 15, 2011 07:20AM
Thanks for putting this up. Really appreciate it.



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