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Report of first group to make VVR

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Report of first group to make VVR

Postby entropy » Thu Jun 22, 2006 6:02 pm

A report on trail conditions from Kennedy Meadows to Mammoth from Rolling
Thunder, received by Barney and Sandy Mann on Thurs 6/22:

Would one of you be able to post this on PCT-L? Thought it might be of
interest to those waiting to enter the Sierra. We're thought to be the first
ones to get from Kennedy to VVR in one go this year.
Sierra conditions
A disclaimer and an acknowledgement: This information will be out of date by
the time you reach the Sierra but this is what we found. Things were melting
fast. I was also lucky to have two of the finest hiking companions on this
stretch, which made life much much easier. Thanks TG and Rainskirt.
An overview: We -- Rolling Thunder, Three Gallon and Rainskirt -- headed
into the Sierra on June 7 and emerged at Mammoth on June 22 after climbing
Whitney and taking a zero and a nero at VVR. Two of us had snowshoes (which
were worth their weight in beer coupons) and our experience ranged from
20-plus years of mountaineering to never having worn crampons before.
Crossing the Sierra has been a fantastic, wild and incredible experience
which we'll always remember. It's also arduous and difficult and while this
is a trip I will always treasure, it's not one I'd like to repeat this year!
The epicentre of the snow seems to be around Mammoth and in Montrail
Hardrocks, I've got the very first hint of frostnip in a couple of toes.
I've also had frost damage before so I'm more susceptible but be careful out
Days of 12 hours are typical, as are speeds -- if you can call it that --
barely exceeding 1mph. The technical difficulty was modest but we were
surprised by the continuingly arduous nature of the hike. We lost a *lot* of
weight on this hike.
The details: The snow from Kennedy to Trail Pass (june 9) was negligible.
>From Trail Pass to Tyndall Creek (june 11), it was of nuisance value up to
4ft deep but the trail could be found without much difficulty.
Wallace Creek was thigh deep but had a great ford location. Wright Creek was
more difficult and intimidating but was only mid-thigh.
There's continuous snow from about 11,000ft on the way to Forester (june
12), although the switchbacks blasted out of the rock were clear. The chute
had a good line of steps. The far side of Forester was postholing hell, with
continuous snow to 10,500ft at Center Peak Creek and nuisance snow to under
The very top of Glen Pass (june 13) was mostly clear of snow but a large
drift prevents most of the switchbacks being usable. The continuous snow on
the north side reached 10,000ft and was the worst we found. The crossing of
the creek at Arrowhead Lake was waist deep but easy.
Pinchot Pass (june 14) had continuous snow from 10,000ft and became steepish
cramponing near the top. The continuous snow on the north side lasted into
the treeline at 10,600ft and was at nusiance level to half way to Mather
Pass, where it resumed being continuous.
Mather Pass (june 15) was the toughest because it's steepish and faces south
east, so it gets all the morning sun. Try to be off it before 11am. The
continuous snow on the north side lasted all the way to the top of the
golden staircase and was hard work.
The nuisance snow began at 9500ft on Muir (june 16) and became continuous
after 10,000ft. There are six *long* miles of snow before it ends suddenly
at the switchbacks down to Evolution.
Evolution Creek was waist deep at 8am (june 17). The crossing has a clear
hazard -- a fallen tree -- just downstream of the exit point that should be
avoided. We crossed about 80ft upstream of where the trail enters the stream
and went diagonally downstream, exiting about 20ft up from the tree.
Nuisance snow begins at 9500ft of Selden Pass (june 17) and is continuous
from 10,000ft. There is great camping right on the pass, with water just
before. Snow on the far side is continuous to Rosemarie Meadow (june 18).
Upper Bear creek crossing was upper thigh but easy. Lower Bear Creek was
nastier than Evolution -- do not cross where the trail does. There is a
*much* better ford about 100ft upstream, which is still waist deep. We were
told there's also a good ford just downstream.
Hazards exist even at VVR, where the pies and the burritos (June 18-20) are
extremely detrimental to resuming onward movement.
VVR was NOT bothering to run its ferry every afternoon when we were there,
and one pair of tired hikers -- Atomic and Subatomic -- were faced with
walking 4.5 extra miles but were able to hitch a ride with a fisherman.
The two unbridged crossings of Mono Creek were the nastiest river crossings
on the whole section. The first crossing (june 20, after 5pm)
was up to my rib cage and hazardous but the place the PCT crosses seems to
be about the best option. We didn't look for alternatives -- there may be a
The second crossing is reported to be worse -- and it is, at the PCT
crossing -- but just 200ft down it breaks into a series of easy braids.
At 7am on June 21, it had one section a little over knee deep.
The crossing of Silver Pass Creek halfway up the glacial valley wall looks
intimidating but is easy. Expect to get wet from the spray!
Continuous snow on Silver Pass begins at 9500ft on the southern side --
interestingly, the lowest of any pass -- and to about the same on the
northern side. From the saddle above Tully Hole (June 21), the snow is
continuous past Virginia Lake and right through to a few hundred feet above
Purple Lake. From there, there's mostly nuisance snow as the trail turns
westerly to the Duck Lake Trail junction.
The nuisance snow continued (june 22) almost all the way to the switchbacks
below Red Cones, and at 8700ft there we were still able to cross creeks on
snowbridges. There is a *lot* more snow up north.

Re: Report of first group to make VVR

Postby Trailmaster » Wed Jul 11, 2018 6:39 pm

Does anyone have anything more recent on the snow from Forrester pass to Kearsarge? Or crampons necessary?
Posts: 1
Joined: Wed Jul 11, 2018 6:17 pm

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