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Beautiful Sierra Spring Conditions

Regional discussion and conditions reports for the Golden State. Please post partners requests and trip plans in the California Climbing Partners forum.
 

Re: Beautiful Sierra Spring Conditions

Postby Princess Buttercup » Tue Jun 11, 2013 2:56 pm

I do indeed, although it's kind of a pain to get permits (my entrance was through the Whitney Zone, up from Lower Boy Scout Lake). Next time, I'm bringing fishing gear, too. The trout in Wallace Lake are humungous.
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Re: Beautiful Sierra Spring Conditions

Postby mrchad9 » Tue Jun 11, 2013 3:57 pm

Skipping the permits altogether would make it less of a pain. Has when I've been there.
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Re: Beautiful Sierra Spring Conditions

Postby Vitaliy M. » Tue Jun 11, 2013 4:20 pm

anita wrote:would doing it during the week make permits less of a pain?


Go with Princess Buttercup. She knows routes only locals know about, plus she is a fisherman, AND a cook.
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Re: Beautiful Sierra Spring Conditions

Postby Bob Burd » Tue Jun 11, 2013 4:34 pm

Vitaliy M. wrote:
anita wrote:would doing it during the week make permits less of a pain?


Go with Princess Buttercup. She knows routes only locals know about, plus she is a fisherman, AND a cook.


Chef, not cook. :)
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Re: Beautiful Sierra Spring Conditions

Postby JHH60 » Tue Jun 11, 2013 5:23 pm

I hate getting permits but there is a good reason for them. If everyone ignored the permit system the backcountry would be totally overrun and trashed. The psychologists, therapists and social workers here will no doubt be able to cite the clinical condition that manifests itself as "the rules apply to everyone but me."
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Re: Beautiful Sierra Spring Conditions

Postby KathyW » Tue Jun 11, 2013 7:23 pm

Permits are a pain, but I do see why they are needed on trails like Whitney and Half Dome. I don't see the need for them on most of the other trails. There's often a long wait to pick up a permit (they even do lotteries to see who they will serve first in the morning for trails other than Whitney - it doesn't matter if you have reserved a permit or are trying to get a walk-in permit, you still have to pick a number and it can take a long time to get to you if you have a high number), you're not supposed to use the night box when going into the national park, and there aren't many folks patrolling the wilderness checking permits. I'd guess the chance of having someone check you for permit is higher on trails with heavy traffic like Whitney's Main Trail. Sometimes I get a permit and sometimes I don't - depends on the trail and how early I want to start out from the trailhead.
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Re: Beautiful Sierra Spring Conditions

Postby LincolnB » Tue Jun 11, 2013 7:50 pm

The permit system is not user-friendly. I got one from the Prather ranger station last week -- the choice was to reserve at least 21 days ahead, or else pick one up within 24 hours before your start. However the station closes at 4:30 every day, with no provision for after-hours pickup. So if you decide on the spur of the moment to head up after work on Friday -- I asked the ranger what could be done in that case, and she said if you get in late at night you could camp, then drive back out the next morning to get a permit. Not the most convenient way to get started on a remote peak -- Does anyone know what the penalties are if caught without a permit?
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Re: Beautiful Sierra Spring Conditions

Postby mrchad9 » Tue Jun 11, 2013 8:17 pm

Don't know the penalty, just that it is extremely unlikely that anyone in CA would be asked to produce a permit these days. One of the many benefits of the sequestration. The very first thing the national parks and forests cut was backcountry rangers. Unless on the main Whitney Trail or the shoulder of Half Dome I wouldn't give it a second thought. And even on the former I'd still go for it.

Quotas are absolutely not necessary. Not at all. There is no justification or evidence they improve anything. They don't exist on Shasta, it's a popular mountain, and it remains managed quite well. Isn't full of impact from users all over the place. You want solitude and you can find it. If you want to go the popular route then you can meet lots of fellow climbers. And everyone's happy.
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Re: Beautiful Sierra Spring Conditions

Postby mrchad9 » Tue Jun 11, 2013 8:25 pm

JHH60 wrote:The psychologists, therapists and social workers here will no doubt be able to cite the clinical condition that manifests itself as "the rules apply to everyone but me."

Who is behaving like that? I certainly don't think anyone like that needs to be encouraged or supported!

On the other hand there are folks such as myself who think very differently. The reason I post on these matters is I hope for all folks to break the rules equally! We are all in the same boat!
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Re: Beautiful Sierra Spring Conditions

Postby Princess Buttercup » Tue Jun 11, 2013 8:53 pm

I'm actually the same as Kathy, frankly, but I'm most diligent about permits for the Whitney Zone. Something about visibility on public internet forums and leading by example.

I do, however, draw the line at hauling used Wag Bags down either the Main trail or MR, unless I have an extra garbage bag in which to carry them. Ew.
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Re: Beautiful Sierra Spring Conditions

Postby JHH60 » Tue Jun 11, 2013 11:41 pm

KathyW wrote:Permits are a pain, but I do see why they are needed on trails like Whitney and Half Dome. I don't see the need for them on most of the other trails. There's often a long wait to pick up a permit (they even do lotteries to see who they will serve first in the morning for trails other than Whitney - it doesn't matter if you have reserved a permit or are trying to get a walk-in permit, you still have to pick a number and it can take a long time to get to you if you have a high number), you're not supposed to use the night box when going into the national park, and there aren't many folks patrolling the wilderness checking permits. I'd guess the chance of having someone check you for permit is higher on trails with heavy traffic like Whitney's Main Trail. Sometimes I get a permit and sometimes I don't - depends on the trail and how early I want to start out from the trailhead.


If you're lucky enough to live on the East Side and/or have the flexibility to climb any time then permits are just a nuisance. But if you're one of the throngs of people (including me) who mostly head to the mountains on weekends or holidays then permits make sense. You don't have to be on Whitney or Half Dome to see the impact of too many people. Campsites within ten miles from a trailhead can get pretty crowded on weekends, and while I don't mind sharing Sam Mack meadow or Dusy Basin or whatever with well behaved climbers (whether or not they have permits), if there were no permit system (or everyone ignored them) I'm pretty sure there would be a lot more idiots there and the experience would be a lot worse for everyone.

mrchad9 wrote:
JHH60 wrote:The psychologists, therapists and social workers here will no doubt be able to cite the clinical condition that manifests itself as "the rules apply to everyone but me."

Who is behaving like that? I certainly don't think anyone like that needs to be encouraged or supported!

On the other hand there are folks such as myself who think very differently. The reason I post on these matters is I hope for all folks to break the rules equally! We are all in the same boat!


If what you mean by "break the rules equally" is for everyone to be thoughtful and considerate climbers who think of others and of the environment when in the backcountry, but just not adhere to the formalities of getting a permit, then I'm more sympathetic with your point of view. I'd still be concerned that popular areas would get more trashed than they already are due to overuse even if everyone was thoughtful and considerate. If you mean that everyone should just feel free to break the rules, and carry their camping gear in on mules (or these days on dirt bikes or ATVs) and cut down trees to set up local camps and have firewood for camp stoves and bonfires, take dumps where they want, wash their dishes and clothes in streams, shoot guns, set off fireworks, play loud music and bury trash (most if this stuff went on in "the golden age of climbing" from the late 1800s to at least the 1930s), then I don't agree. But if there were no permits (or everyone ignored them, and there was no enforcement) I'd bet money that kind of thing would happen much more often than it does. Not everyone breaks rules in the way you or I want them to break rules.
Last edited by JHH60 on Tue Jun 11, 2013 11:58 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Beautiful Sierra Spring Conditions

Postby Princess Buttercup » Wed Jun 12, 2013 12:12 am

Vitaliy M. wrote:
anita wrote:would doing it during the week make permits less of a pain?


Go with Princess Buttercup. She knows routes only locals know about, plus she is a fisherman, AND a cook.


Vittles, you bitch. :twisted:
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Re: Beautiful Sierra Spring Conditions

Postby mrchad9 » Wed Jun 12, 2013 12:21 am

I just think the evidence that quotas provide any benefit is lacking. I agree other rules make sense, keeping some areas closed to camping or fires above certain elevations.

Just look at popular areas without quotas like Shasta and the Saddlebag Lake area and I think there is a pretty good case for dropping them. If only necessary rules are made then folks are more apt to follow them.
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Re: Beautiful Sierra Spring Conditions

Postby Vitaliy M. » Wed Jun 12, 2013 4:41 am

I see how some areas could be trashed by too many visitors. However, I think there should be less emphasis on number of people allowed in an area, but more on education regarding 'leave no trace.' People need to be explained how important it is not to leave their trash behind.

On one of my last outings I removed 11 bottles and 2 cans...This was an area with a required permit.

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Re: Beautiful Sierra Spring Conditions

Postby artrock23 » Wed Jun 12, 2013 4:32 pm

Princess Buttercup wrote:Wales (L) and Wallace (R) Lakes Basin this past weekend:

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Looking south from the kitty litter slopes of Mt. Barnard:

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Wish I could have finished the final 800vert (because the other 3K+ of sand just wasn't enough yet!) but the leg really started squawking and swelling. Stitches come out tomorrow!!

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Sunset was worth it:

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Russell is GTG:

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Those are some beautiful photos, Laura.

Just out of curiosity, what camera do you use? I'm looking to get a new P&S soon.
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