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Re: Snow in the HSCs?

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Snow in the HSCs?
June 07, 2013 10:14PM
Hey guys I'm planning a mid June trip and I was wondering if anyone knows what the snow is like up by sunrise hsc and cathedral lakes. I'm planning on going from the valley floor to Glen Aulin (via JMT) and back down through Tenaya lake way. From everything I've heard there was a very light snow pack this year so I'm hoping this might be possible.

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 06/07/2013 10:17PM by Craig1695.
avatar Re: Snow in the HSCs?
June 08, 2013 04:46AM
It'd be kewl if someone that frequents here could show you a recent pix of Sunrise HSC.
But... it really prolly doesn't matter. Cause you pretty much answered the question
yourself with the "was a very light snow year".
Go for it. Heck, it may end up being dry by the time you go. Crazy. Have fun

Chick-on is looking at you!
avatar Re: Snow in the HSCs?
June 08, 2013 04:51AM
I'd worry more about Mosquito biting than snow. Snow will be minimal... if any at all.
Posted a few pix of Upper/Lower Cath, etc. from mid-May-ish... it looked
much worse than it was. Should have been many feet of snow... was maybe foot of snow.

Chick-on is looking at you!

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 06/08/2013 04:51AM by chick-on.
Re: Snow in the HSCs?
June 08, 2013 09:57AM
Thanks for the response smiling smiley I suppose it was just hard for me to fathom not having much snow up there in June heh. Have any suggestions for the mosquitos?
avatar Re: Snow in the HSCs?
June 08, 2013 06:12PM
Have any suggestions for the mosquitos?

Avoid camping close to water or in meadows. If you don't mind chemicals then treat all your outer clothing with Permathrin before the trip. It works rather well. During the trip use Deet products on exposed skin. Most extreme measure is wearing a mosquito net but that really spoils the view. People also forget to take them off when no longer needed. I've passed hikers wearing nets with nary a skeeter in site.
Re: Snow in the HSCs?
June 08, 2013 10:42AM
Always check the Yosemite National Park Wilderness Conditions page before you head up - http://www.nps.gov/yose/planyourvisit/wildcond.htm

They specifically mention current conditions at Sunrise and Cathedral as on June 7: "The Sunrise and Cathedral Lakes areas are 30% snow-covered and the lakes themselves are clear of ice.
The outlet of Tenaya Lake at the Sunrise Lakes Trailhead is an 18-inch wade."

In my experience the rangers typically report a worst case scenario at the time of posting so people do not get into unexpected conditions they aren't prepared for well enough. Yesterday's report says trails are still covered above 9500 feet with more snow on north facing slopes. That hike up from Tioga Rd to Cathedral has an elevation gain from 8600 to 9600 directly up a north facing slope but its only at 30% coverage which is very easy to navigate around.

In your route I would be much more concerned and monitor the conditions up until the day you enter the wilderness for Glen Aulin. With all the snow melting off, the trail below the Glen Aulin HSC is flooded and going to require up to a half mile wade to get upstream which sounds like no fun with a pack on my back. Perhaps heading into Lyell Canyon or up to May Lake might be better alternatives for the last days of your trip.

Rangers are usually very good at posting changing conditions within the valley and along the JMT. However most other areas of the park you will have to call them to get more detailed information. Sometimes they are busy and don't want to talk on the phone with ya for 20 minutes going through their conditions, but often times they are more than willing especially if you call in the afternoon.
Re: Snow in the HSCs?
June 08, 2013 07:26PM
Little north of Yosemite I know, but in the Tahoe region the snow line seems to be at about 9000 feet, but hardly with the kind of coverage you'd like to see for early June. I saw a tiny patch in the shade on my way up Red Mountain last weekend, but not a lick on top (about 8000 feet).

As for the skeeters, they're definitely ready to start making friends. I had a nice cloud around me for a bit but managed to get through without a bite.
Re: Snow in the HSCs?
June 08, 2013 08:42PM
They are not 30% snow covered on the trail. I hiked to Sunrise via Cathedral on June 1 and there were 4 snow sections, which were easily traversable. I didn't even have to use my micro spikes. No snow at all after you get to the long meadow above upper Cathedral Lakes.
Re: Snow in the HSCs?
June 09, 2013 11:18AM
Thanks for the info Ulysses. I x-countried through 80% coverage from the Tenaya Lake trailhead my last trip to Sunrise third week of June 2008. Heading up that sheer rock face with a 60+ lb pack and all my camera gear for an 8 day trip was probably not the smartest planning.

Edited 2 time(s). Last edit at 06/09/2013 11:21AM by Backpackin-Life.
avatar Re: Snow in the HSCs?
June 09, 2013 05:56PM
Just got back from Ostrander Lake (8520' or thereabouts), no snow at that altitude, small remnant snow visible on the north-facing Horse Ridge cliffs, otherwise forget it. I went swimming in Ostrander, if that helps calibrate relative conditions.
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