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Piute Pass - Bishop Pass Condition

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

Re: Piute Pass - Bishop Pass Condition

Postby butitsadryheat » Wed Jun 15, 2011 6:43 am

Thanks Moose. Don't see many of them in later seasons. Nice specimen !
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Re: Piute Pass - Bishop Pass Condition

Postby rajeshkh » Tue Jun 21, 2011 11:27 pm

MooseTracks wrote:
rajeshkh wrote:Hi Laura,

Thanks a lot for the detailed reply. We are entering via Piute Pass on June 29th and exiting via Bishop Pass on July 5th, at least that is the plan for now :| . Looks like the weather is warming up nicely and we are really hoping for some serious melt. I am wondering if there is a way to avoid using crampons an dice axe, by avoiding the passes. Anyway we can get to EVO without going through the pass?

Your pictures and trip reports are amazing, truly the best back yard

Thanks
Rajesh


I'm not sure what you mean by "without going over the Pass". By starting at North Lake, you probably won't have to deal with gear, since Piute Pass is perhaps one of the lowest angle passes I've gone over in the Sierra. It's 5 miles from the trailhead at North Lake (6 or so from the parking area/pack station), and it gains a shade over 2000 vertical feet, the largest gain (in steepness) coming just before Loch Leven. From there it's an easy drop through Humphreys Basin to Hutchinson Meadow. Now: I haven't hiked the drop from there to the JMT along Piute Creek, so someone else should give the lowdown on that, but I'm assuming that it will be mostly melted out trail by the time you get there, especially if the weather continues as it is (read: warming trend, massive meltoff, flooding home in Bishop, yada yada yada). The climb up to EVO Basin from the canyon might also be interesting, and I couldn't tell the exact snow level when I was there (mainly because it was, well, snowing). There are a few traverses on the south side of Muir Pass where axe/crampons/knowledge of how to use them would increase safety, although the runouts are pretty benign. As you can see from the photos of both 2009 and 2011, there is a good deal of snow for a good long way on either side of the pass around your time frame.

The climb up from LeConte Canyon to Dusy Basin could also be quite challenging with the snow, especially if you hit it in afternoon. An exercise in postholing is always a great way to burn a few more calories. :wink:

Bottom line, at least for me, is that crampons/ice axe/knowledge of how to use them would be included in your gear for the trip. Hell, with the pack going through a rapid melt, snowshoes might be warranted to avoid above-mentioned postholing (although I posthole with them on, too... hurm...).

Glad you like the pics/reports! And happy to help. :D

Oh, and BIADH:

Image

A roller just above Echo Lake. There wasn't an avy there, but almost every north-facing chute below the Clyde Spires had let something go (mostly slough):

Image

Believe me, I had my head screwed on tight for this trip. It was amazing how mentally tired I was, as much as physical, from constantly being on the alert for shifts in conditions. :)


Hi Laura,

Your last reply and the recent weather forecast in bishop (100 +) is making me feel much better. We may avoid Bishop pass and instead take Lamark Col on our return trip. 53.8 miles may be a bit too much of hiking with snow around. Thanks for all your detailed reply and suggestion. Will be in Bishop on 29th.

Rajesh
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Re: Piute Pass - Bishop Pass Condition

Postby rajeshkh » Tue Jun 21, 2011 11:30 pm

fossana wrote:+ photos

Loch Leven from Emerson
Image

Emerson from Loch Leven
Image


Thanks for the pictures. Hopefully more melt by the time we hit the trail.

Rajesh
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Re: Piute Pass - Bishop Pass Condition

Postby fossana » Wed Jun 22, 2011 6:19 am

NP and good luck Rajesh. The snow is melting fast with the warm temps.
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Re: Piute Pass - Bishop Pass Condition

Postby Princess Buttercup » Wed Jun 22, 2011 3:56 pm

Rajesh, not to nit-pick, but you do realize that Lamarck Col is almost 1000ft higher than Bishop Pass, and can be notoriously tricky to get down? It's mostly a boulder scramble to come up from Darwin Lakes, if the snow finished melting out, and there was good ice between a lot of the exposed rocks. I only mention it because of your mentioning a desire to not take any snow gear.
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Re: Piute Pass - Bishop Pass Condition

Postby rajeshkh » Wed Jun 22, 2011 4:20 pm

MooseTracks wrote:Rajesh, not to nit-pick, but you do realize that Lamarck Col is almost 1000ft higher than Bishop Pass, and can be notoriously tricky to get down? It's mostly a boulder scramble to come up from Darwin Lakes, if the snow finished melting out, and there was good ice between a lot of the exposed rocks. I only mention it because of your mentioning a desire to not take any snow gear.


Oh boy !!! That is going to make things a bit more trickier. Is there any shorter route from North Lake (via Piute Pass) to Bishop Pass that touches the Evolution Basin. The only trail that is shown on the map I got is the long 53.8 mile trail that follows Piute Trail and then enter Evolution Basin and finally existing out of Bishop Pass. Even the trail (if one exists) via Lamark Col is not marked on the map. I found this on from someone's trail journal. We have total of 6 days, including the day we are exiting and I am wondering if 53.8 miles will be too much to cover in 6 days with all the elevation gain. We also have some additional crazy logistics of a person joining us on the second day (he will hike twice the distance in one day) and again exit out a day earlier (again hike twice the distance). Worst case we will do the entire 53.8 mile, in such a situation we will have to leave out the person who is planning to join us the second day.
Any suggestions?
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Re: Piute Pass - Bishop Pass Condition

Postby Princess Buttercup » Thu Jun 23, 2011 2:17 am

Honestly, be open to changing plans. With the snow pack changing so rapidly, being aware of the surroundings at all times will be critical. You might end up choosing a lower route/trip, or change the dates of your trip, that would be more suited to avoiding the snow. The added complication of needing to meet up with another person makes things all the more difficult.

For example, entering over Piute Pass and heading to Hutchinson Meadow to spend the first night. I haven't done the descent from there to the JMT, but have heard the creek crossings can be quite challenging. So instead, why not turn north and into French Canyon, which is probably below snow line (10K) until it climbs up to Pine Creek Pass (11K+). From there, you can wander into the Royce Lakes Basin or the French Lakes region, all of which have more gentle terrain. If you head into the Royce Lakes basin, you can connect into Granite Park and head towards Italy Pass, again, mostly gentle terrain but higher, so you'll probably have snow/suncups with which to deal. From the French Lakes area, you can come back to Humphreys Basin over, I think, Purple Pass (??), which is east of Pilot Knob.

I think I've seen one of the prettiest sunsets/sunrises while camped at Royce Col.

If you do head down to the JMT, you could stay low by heading south into the Goddard Creek drainage as well.

Creeks/crossings are also going to be a major issue. I've seen some holes w/ snow about 4' deep around the edges, which gives a sometimes false sense of security when crossing on bridges.

Only other thing I can think of is shifting your trip to August if you truly want to avoid snow.
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Re: Piute Pass - Bishop Pass Condition

Postby butitsadryheat » Thu Jun 23, 2011 6:49 am

MooseTracks wrote:Honestly, be open to changing plans. With the snow pack changing so rapidly, being aware of the surroundings at all times will be critical. You might end up choosing a lower route/trip, or change the dates of your trip, that would be more suited to avoiding the snow. The added complication of needing to meet up with another person makes things all the more difficult.

For example, entering over Piute Pass and heading to Hutchinson Meadow to spend the first night. I haven't done the descent from there to the JMT, but have heard the creek crossings can be quite challenging. So instead, why not turn north and into French Canyon, which is probably below snow line (10K) until it climbs up to Pine Creek Pass (11K+). From there, you can wander into the Royce Lakes Basin or the French Lakes region, all of which have more gentle terrain. If you head into the Royce Lakes basin, you can connect into Granite Park and head towards Italy Pass, again, mostly gentle terrain but higher, so you'll probably have snow/suncups with which to deal. From the French Lakes area, you can come back to Humphreys Basin over, I think, Purple Pass (??), which is east of Pilot Knob.

I think I've seen one of the prettiest sunsets/sunrises while camped at Royce Col.

If you do head down to the JMT, you could stay low by heading south into the Goddard Creek drainage as well.

Creeks/crossings are also going to be a major issue. I've seen some holes w/ snow about 4' deep around the edges, which gives a sometimes false sense of security when crossing on bridges.

Only other thing I can think of is shifting your trip to August if you truly want to avoid snow.


Good suggestions. You can go around that area for a few days, even come out into the Little Lakes Valley. I like Humphreys. Might be early enough to avoid the bugs too. And I second the sunsets in the area; I've always had great ones in Humphreys Basin, due to the way it's situated.
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Re: Piute Pass - Bishop Pass Condition

Postby The Chief » Thu Jun 23, 2011 7:18 am

At this rate, sounds like you are going to stay home.

What ever happened to just getting out there and enjoying the challenge of it all?

PS: It really isn't all as bad as it sounds. I have been up and out there every other day for the past month and can say that it is melting out fast in most locations.

Here is a pic looking northwest from the East Ridge of Russell taken the morning before last....
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Re: Piute Pass - Bishop Pass Condition

Postby rajeshkh » Thu Jun 23, 2011 11:21 pm

The Chief wrote:At this rate, sounds like you are going to stay home.

What ever happened to just getting out there and enjoying the challenge of it all?

PS: It really isn't all as bad as it sounds. I have been up and out there every other day for the past month and can say that it is melting out fast in most locations.

Here is a pic looking northwest from the East Ridge of Russell taken the morning before last....
Image


Chief,
We are going for sure. There is no question of postponing :) . Except for one or two we have never done hike is serious snow. During most of our Sierra trips, there is either very little snow or no snow at all. So we are trying to gauge the situation and take the best route. Not scared of the challenge, but making sure that we are prepared for it.

Thanks everyone for all the feedback, suggestions and pictures. I sure will write a trip report with some pictures.

Rajesh
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Re: Piute Pass - Bishop Pass Condition

Postby rajeshkh » Thu Jun 23, 2011 11:25 pm

MooseTracks wrote:Honestly, be open to changing plans. With the snow pack changing so rapidly, being aware of the surroundings at all times will be critical. You might end up choosing a lower route/trip, or change the dates of your trip, that would be more suited to avoiding the snow. The added complication of needing to meet up with another person makes things all the more difficult.

For example, entering over Piute Pass and heading to Hutchinson Meadow to spend the first night. I haven't done the descent from there to the JMT, but have heard the creek crossings can be quite challenging. So instead, why not turn north and into French Canyon, which is probably below snow line (10K) until it climbs up to Pine Creek Pass (11K+). From there, you can wander into the Royce Lakes Basin or the French Lakes region, all of which have more gentle terrain. If you head into the Royce Lakes basin, you can connect into Granite Park and head towards Italy Pass, again, mostly gentle terrain but higher, so you'll probably have snow/suncups with which to deal. From the French Lakes area, you can come back to Humphreys Basin over, I think, Purple Pass (??), which is east of Pilot Knob.

I think I've seen one of the prettiest sunsets/sunrises while camped at Royce Col.

If you do head down to the JMT, you could stay low by heading south into the Goddard Creek drainage as well.

Creeks/crossings are also going to be a major issue. I've seen some holes w/ snow about 4' deep around the edges, which gives a sometimes false sense of security when crossing on bridges.

Only other thing I can think of is shifting your trip to August if you truly want to avoid snow.


Thanks Laura for the suggestions. We are going to decide on the final route once we reach Bishop and after checking with the rangers. My next post will be the trip report with pictures :wink:

Rajesh
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Re: Piute Pass - Bishop Pass Condition

Postby Princess Buttercup » Fri Jun 24, 2011 12:35 am

Have a great time, Rajesh! Can't wait to see the outcome! :D

-L
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Re: Piute Pass - Bishop Pass Condition

Postby thexcat » Fri Jun 24, 2011 4:27 am

Is the class 3 south face route of Mt Emerson visible in this picture? Anybody know how easy it is to keep it to cl.3? Route is listed on main Emerson page, but no details.

Emerson from Loch Leven
Image[/quote]
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Re: Piute Pass - Bishop Pass Condition

Postby dshoshone » Fri Jun 24, 2011 10:58 pm

Most of the route is visible, right up the middle, then there is a chute that bends back to the right that you can't really see in that picture, but it's evident when you get up there. That's the way I came down anyway..mostly a scree chute which wouldn't be much fun to ascend.
I went up well off the right edge of the picture, crossing some fun cl 3 ledges until I hit the chute about 3/4 of the way up. Very easy cl. 3 at most.
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Re: Piute Pass - Bishop Pass Condition

Postby fluxlib » Fri Jun 24, 2011 11:38 pm

dshoshone,

How did Humphrey's and Piute canyon look?? Were any of the lakes starting to clear (Muriel, Desolation, Golden Trout etc)?? Was Loch Leven or Piute Lake even broken up yet??

I am also looking into the area for a trip and any Beta is a big help.

Thanks in advance.
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