Jul 15, 2013 at 2:27 pm #1305408
Some friends and I are planning a trip to the South Lake / Black Giant / Evo Basin area in 2014 and the first thing we need to do is nail down a time of year. The plan is to hike in for a day or two, set up a base camp and maybe bag some easier peaks and get into some of the more stark and less traveled areas. We would park the car near South Lake or Sabrina.
Is there a buggy month or two to be avoided? When does it start getting uncomfortably cold (we all have gear to keep us warm and safe into the 30's but don't want to be out in snow, or hiking before too much of the snow has melted).
Thanks for any input, I love the forums here and will have a bunch of other questions as the trip approaches.Jul 15, 2013 at 2:55 pm #2006370
You might want to start your thinking toward the month of July. Earlier might be possible, but it might be damp and buggy. August might be possible, but by September it is getting pretty cool.
It is difficult to plan more completely until you see how the winter snows are piling up. On some years, July was very difficult because of excess snow that remained and was running off. The best time to do planning is about February-March-April.
I've started from North Lake, Lake Sabrina, and South Lake. Starting from Lake Sabrina and taking the short cut over Echo Col will get you to Black Giant the quickest. It could be awkward if you don't like rock.
–B.G.–Jul 15, 2013 at 3:09 pm #2006375
Thanks Bob, I appreciate the info. Do I understand you correctly then that the mosquito season depends on the snow melt…a high-snow year means bugs later in the season? What temps can one generally expect for highs and lows in July and August at about 10k feet? (sorry about that last question, I haven't came across good info for temps in the Sierras other than rules of thumb about lower temps at elevation)
About Evo Col, from checking out various message boards that sounds like a route that we would like to try. Maybe come in that way, day hike for a few days, and work our way out on Dusy to South Lake before hitching back to the car at Sabrina.
Question though, is there a good site to describe the various routes over Echo, Lamarck etc?Jul 15, 2013 at 3:22 pm #2006377
Some people have the theory that the mosquito season depends on the dampness of the ground surface and how much standing water is there, like from snow melt. Others have the theory that the season depends on the air temperature. I think it is both. Mosquitos aren't too bad when everything is still frozen snow, and they aren't too bad when everything is dry and warm. It is the transition season that is so unpredictable. I take long clothing, a headnet, and a few ml of DEET, and I am good.
Highs and lows? Geez, I don't know. There is an automated snow monitoring station very close to Bishop Pass, just west, and you might be able to see the data online. California Department of Water Resources, I think.
When I am chugging uphill toward one of these passes in the middle of a day, I expect the air to be around 55-70 F, and seldom higher. When I am camped overnight in some high valley, I generally expect the air to be around 25-35 F.
–B.G.–Jul 15, 2013 at 3:26 pm #2006380
Thanks Bob, very much appreciated. Will plan accordingly and keep an eye on next year's snow falls.Jul 15, 2013 at 3:51 pm #2006391
I tend to almost completely ignore any snow depth reports from the downhill ski resorts. For one thing, you don't know what is natural snow versus "made" snow, you don't know how they have been grooming the slopes, and you don't know how honest the resort operators are in their snow reports. I suppose that is one place to start gathering snow information, but the other sources are more reliable. The Water Resources guys are interested more in the water content of the snow, not the snow depth. That just gives you a clue at how high the streams will be running in the springtime and early summer.
I keep a spray can of mosquito repellant in the trunk of my car. For a typical trip, I will spritz a little over my head so that it rains onto my ball cap and shoulders and sleeves, and that gets me started on the trail. I carry a little DEET with me, but often it never gets used much.
–B.G.–Jul 15, 2013 at 9:25 pm #2006527
Aaron SorensenBPL Member
@awsorensenLocale: South of Forester Pass
Usually once roads end opens (when rangers are there) the area has cleared enough.
Temperature is variable by about 20* in the early months, end of June to end of July.
You can have temps at 10K from 20-40* (at night)
By the end of July the temps usually vary less than 15* and will be between 30-45* (at night)
You can always have some crazy front come trough and drop or raise any of these temps by 10*.
I was the first "hiker" over Glen Pass this year on the 1st weekend of May and it got down to 28* at 11,400'.
Snow all depends on how much falls. A low year you're good by early June, a hard year could be mid July.
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