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Onion Valley to Kearsarge Pass - Bullfrog - Rae Lakes Loop

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Onion Valley to Kearsarge Pass - Bullfrog - Rae Lakes Loop

Postby greggeisen » Thu May 08, 2014 7:19 pm

Looking for first hand reports on conditions Onion Valley trailhead to Kearsarge Pass - Bullfrog - Rae Lakes Loop. Staying one night at Grey's Meadow before spending three nights backcountry with 4 dads and 7 boyscouts over Memorial Day weekend. Trying to decide if we need to double up on ground pads and bring snow gear. Lakes ice'd over? trails snowed over? plan on sticking to the trails but most of the boys have never treked in the snow and trying to make sure it is not too arduous.
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Re: Onion Valley to Kearsarge Pass - Bullfrog - Rae Lakes Lo

Postby fatdad » Thu May 08, 2014 8:59 pm

No first hand info from this year, but keep in mind that the north side of Glen Pass holds snow for a while. Even if alot of it has melted it might be kind of icy. Despite the low snow year, you'll be heading over two big passes relatively early in the year, so you should expect some snow. I wouldn't worry so much about the extra sleeping pads. I'd worry more about the ability to deal with snow at the passes, especially if you have some inexperienced folks in the group.
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Re: Onion Valley to Kearsarge Pass - Bullfrog - Rae Lakes Lo

Postby greggeisen » Thu May 08, 2014 9:15 pm

fatdad,
Thanks for the input. Going to watch the scouts and conditions carefully. I have no problem turning around if the trails get dicey or weather comes in. Just hoping to get some intel before we put boots to trail. Scouts will have fun if we stay to the east of Kearsarge pass or never leave Grey's Meadow for that matter. ;-)
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Re: Onion Valley to Kearsarge Pass - Bullfrog - Rae Lakes Lo

Postby SPUTNIK99 » Sat May 10, 2014 3:57 am

My friend and I are doing the loop starting next friday... looks like it is pretty snowy.

This guy posted this video of Glen Pass a week ago...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vYx6LTB1dNM
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Re: Onion Valley to Kearsarge Pass - Bullfrog - Rae Lakes Lo

Postby greggeisen » Tue May 13, 2014 10:07 pm

looks like we are kicking off on the same weekend. we are leaving out of onion valley 24-26 may out and back to bullfrog lake.
wondering how much snow we are going to hit on the other side of kearsarge pass. where are you starting? how many days?
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Re: Onion Valley to Kearsarge Pass - Bullfrog - Rae Lakes Lo

Postby SPUTNIK99 » Wed May 14, 2014 12:36 am

Actually we leave the 16th... planning on going clockwise. Im brining cold gear and micro spikes just as a precaution. I'll be sure to update when I get back!
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Re: Onion Valley to Kearsarge Pass - Bullfrog - Rae Lakes Lo

Postby greggeisen » Wed May 14, 2014 11:08 pm

SPUTNIK99, That is great news. we have four experienced dads and 7 Boyscouts of varying levels of experience. We will be ready for the cold but no one is going to have snow gear, so if the trails are covered ......i don't want to risk a scout with a sprained ankle. I am hoping at least the trail from Onion Valley to Kearsarge Pass is clear. If we can make it to Bullfrog i would be happy. Please send pictures and post a weather report when yo uget back. we would be most greatful.
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Re: Onion Valley to Kearsarge Pass - Bullfrog - Rae Lakes Lo

Postby Deb » Thu May 15, 2014 3:09 am

Some friends climbed Gould on the 10th. Full snow coverage to Kearsarge pass. You might at least want micro spikes for the mornings.
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Re: Onion Valley to Kearsarge Pass - Bullfrog - Rae Lakes Lo

Postby greggeisen » Thu May 15, 2014 7:40 pm

Deb,
Thanks for the update. I was afraid of that. I knew Memorial Day Weekend was early but the boys only have so many three day weekends. A couple of us have micro-spikes but some of the Scouts can't afford to buy them.

I have my fingers crossed the 103F we are getting in San Diego is going to burn us a trail by the 23rd. I have been watching the the CA Dept of Water Resources Snow Water Equivalents (SWE) measurements for Charlotte Lake and they have been dropping rapidly, Apr 1 = 27.5 inches SWE; April 7 = 5.1 in SWE; 14May = 3.0 inches SWE or 10% normal = approx 6 inches of snow.

I am hoping Sputnik99 has some good news for us on Monday.
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Re: Onion Valley to Kearsarge Pass - Bullfrog - Rae Lakes Lo

Postby fatdad » Thu May 15, 2014 8:15 pm

Greg, you seem really wed to that particular route. Any reason why you can't pick something with lower elevation? Probably some good westside alternatives or stopping at a lake short of the pass. Ostrander Lake, Thousand Island Lake, etc. The Sierra is a big place. Why limit yourself to one trail?
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Re: Onion Valley to Kearsarge Pass - Bullfrog - Rae Lakes Lo

Postby greggeisen » Thu May 15, 2014 10:34 pm

I am open to suggestions. We already have our backcountry permit for Keasarge pass but i guess we can change that. We are coming up from San Diego and would like to keep the drive time down. Looking for the Yosemite experience without having to drive all the way up to the park. Any suggestions south Sierra (south of Onion Valley) with a loop or out and back in the 10 to 15mile range?
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Re: Onion Valley to Kearsarge Pass - Bullfrog - Rae Lakes Lo

Postby greggeisen » Tue May 20, 2014 12:20 am

bump for any updates?
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Re: Onion Valley to Kearsarge Pass - Bullfrog - Rae Lakes Lo

Postby Deb » Tue May 20, 2014 3:41 am

greggeisen wrote:bump for any updates?

Climbed Rixford yesterday so I was off the trail before Bullfrog Lake. Good firm snow conditions, where there was snow. I'd say there's about 40% coverage from OV to Bullfrog. But WAIT! It's gonna snow for the next 3.5 days! Typically Memorial week. (except last year)
Rae Lakes area definitely has more coverage than the Kearsarge area! All lakes are frozen over 10K' too, but you can find running water on slopes.
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Re: Onion Valley to Kearsarge Pass - Bullfrog - Rae Lakes Lo

Postby greggeisen » Tue May 27, 2014 11:00 pm

5/26 2014 update
98% clear trails from Onion Valley to Kearsarge Pass.
lil Pot Hole, Gilbert and Flower Lakes all clear with snow on south banks. Plenty of dry campsites.
low 30F at night
high 60s to low 70s by day. shorts and T-shirts mid-morning to late afternoon.
Trout are small but hungry.

Heart and Big Pot Hole lakes still frozen over.

Kearsarge pass and beyond 40-50% snow coverage and soft by 1000.

Lots of PCTers pulling out, tired of potholing, to wait for melt.
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