Jul 10, 2011 at 3:56 pm #1276538
Wondering if anyone has been through the Rae Lakes Loop in the past couple weeks? I read the trail conditions report that says 100% snow coverage from Rae Lakes to Glen Pass. I haven't been backpacking in 20 years, I'm taking my two sons (20 and 14) for their first time. Is this a good idea? What's the chance of losing the trail in the snow? We leave in two weeks.Jul 10, 2011 at 4:05 pm #1757840
@chrismorganLocale: Southern Oregon
Take a look at this: http://www.highsierratopix.com/community/viewtopic.php?f=1&t=6478&p=45336
It sounds like the biggest concern right now is water crossings.Jul 10, 2011 at 5:24 pm #1757866
@jennymcfarlaneLocale: Southern California
Looks like we will be in the area around the same time- we've got a group of 11 scouts and 11 leaders traveling as two separate groups leaving on the 25th.
It does look like water crossings will be the biggest challenge with two more weeks of July sun melting the snow.
Enjoy your trip.
JennyJul 10, 2011 at 5:39 pm #1757870
"It sounds like the biggest concern right now is water crossings."
If the streams get any deeper, the hikers may require SCUBA equipment.
–B.G.–Jul 10, 2011 at 11:16 pm #1757956
I realize I may be asking rookie questions, but do you just cross streams and creeks and keep walking with your wet boots, or do you take them off for crossings? I can imagine significant discomfort with wet boots and socks.Jul 10, 2011 at 11:30 pm #1757962
"I haven't been backpacking in 20 years, I'm taking my two sons (20 and 14) for their first time. Is this a good idea? What's the chance of losing the trail in the snow?"
Andrew, how many of your sons are you prepared to sacrifice? (joking)
In a couple of weeks, the streams will be different, probably a little lower. What you and your sons might do now, for preparation, is practice stream crossings in shallow water near home. Use 50-100 feet of light rope. With two people anchoring and one person supported, it can be done. At a minimum, you will learn your limits.
Then, when you get to the real streams, you are prepared to go for it. The real stream may be much faster and much colder.
–B.G.–Jul 11, 2011 at 7:00 am #1758011
tieing someone to a rope for a stream crossing can be both helpful
be careful with this technique.Jul 11, 2011 at 7:18 am #1758015
@marti124Locale: Moderator-JohnMuirTrail Yahoo Group
I'm the lead moderator of the JohnMuirTrail@YahooGroups, we have 1150 members focused on this trail. Our links folder
Has perhaps the best set of links to web pages keeping track of current conditions on various parts of the trail.
We also have links and files to You Tube Videos and literature on safe Stream Crossing techniques.Jul 11, 2011 at 10:41 am #1758071
Thanks for all the helpful replies. From everything I'm reading, it looks like conditions are changing very quickly in the summer heat, so things will likely be very different in a week and a half. I'm pretty sure we can figure out the crossings; the more recent reports are "thigh high" water. And I guess wet shoes are part of the sport. I'm a little more concerned about losing the trail in snow and mud, and whether we'll need some other equipment?Jul 11, 2011 at 10:50 am #1758074
If the job was easy, they could have hired just anybody.
–B.G.–Jul 11, 2011 at 3:20 pm #1758169
Just got back from Rae Lakes loop 2 days ago
Losing the trail is very easy under the snow, I would highly suggest a GPS with the latest trail maps uploaded. We were able to follow footprints in the snow however we also lost the footprints a few times and luckily had GPS to get us back on track.
I am writing up a trip report right now, should have it up tonight.Jul 11, 2011 at 4:57 pm #1758197
@halfturboLocale: Northernish California
FWIW last week's blazing heat has throttled back considerably, which will 1. slow the meltoff (boo) and 2. lower stream flows (yay, unless you're a kayaker). This pattern is supposed to hold until about Sunday, with the heat back on Monday.
There are plans, then there's what happens.
RickJul 11, 2011 at 11:12 pm #1758348
Based on what I'm reading, and the dates of all the reports, it kinda looks like the snow that is there today will be diminished by the time I go through two weeks from today. I may still rent a GPS before I go out though.Jul 12, 2011 at 9:52 pm #1758717
@chuckie_cheeseLocale: Arizona and British Columbia
I was at Rae Lakes about 2.5 weeks ago. There will be lots of snow. Glen Pass was a little epic, espiecally on the north side. This is saying alot considering I went out through Dragon Peak. Specifically, be prepared to ascend and descend 45 degree snow.
There will be quite a few melted out sites near trees for camping. Crossing some of the lakes could be interesting.
Say hello to the crew who may still be trying to build a new ranger cabin. They fed me and a thru hiker a couple hot dogs.Jul 12, 2011 at 10:02 pm #1758719
Experienced summer snow hikers will understand this already, but this is for the inexperienced. When you look at a big snow slope, you see mostly snow with a few big boulders sticking out. If possible, avoid the boulders.
Those boulders absorb heat from the sun and become slightly warmer than the surrounding snow. At the snow surface, it may look like the snow is continuous right up to the edge of the boulder. However, typically the boulder's warmth has melted out a "hollow" beneath the surface. If you try to step on the snow a few inches from the boulder, it may collapse into the hollow. That causes you to fall down a foot or two, and is a common cause for fractured legs. Steer away from the boulders by a few feet, and there is no problem.
–B.G.–Jul 12, 2011 at 10:15 pm #1758723
@chuckie_cheeseLocale: Arizona and British Columbia
Same goes with trees, water, logs, ice etc. When on snow, stay away from any of its interfaces with other objects.Jul 12, 2011 at 10:31 pm #1758728
I guess finding other hikers' footprints in the snow would be too much to ask for?
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