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Bubbs creek to east lake and great western divide

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Bubbs creek to east lake and great western divide

Postby craig512 » Thu Jul 13, 2017 2:34 am

It's about time for my annual peak bagging trip and I'm wondering if anyone can update as to snow level and other conditions from bubbs creek to East Lake and surrounding mountains. I'm looking to bag Brewer and then several mountaineer peaks in the area.
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Re: Bubbs creek to east lake and great western divide

Postby thegib » Thu Jul 13, 2017 4:32 am

I'd guess the stream crossing at Junction Mdw is exciting. You could of course go up to Sphinx lakes, thru the notch to Brewer lake and do Brewer and N Guard from the west - no big streams to cross that way.
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Re: Bubbs creek to east lake and great western divide

Postby craig512 » Thu Jul 13, 2017 6:13 am

Yeah, I figure the streams are going to be a challenge this year. I've still got about a month to go, so we'll see what happens. Next year I'll probably head in from the Jennie Lakes area to get down towards Whaleback. This year however I have my sights on Deerhorn, Ericsson and maybe East Vidette among others. Anybody know where the snow level is at least? Is it solid from about 10k?
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Re: Bubbs creek to east lake and great western divide

Postby boyblue » Fri Jul 14, 2017 4:53 am

I crossed Bubbs at Junction Meadow in June, 1978- another heavy snow year- maybe about 190% of normal. The crossing involved lot of scary boulder hopping followed by a balancing act on a narrow tree trunk wedged between boulders, then more boulder hopping with an uncomfortably long leap to a snowbank shelf that miraculously didn't collapse when I landed with a heavy 10 day supply pack. I was planning to cross into the Kern basin, but all the passes I could see were heavily corniced with beaucoup spring avalanche debris all around. I dreaded having to backtrack and reverse that crossing, but didn't seem to have much of a choice. I stayed at East Lake for a few days just to use some of my supplies to reduce the weight of my pack before returning. At least I had a chance to relax and I read Dickens' "Great Expectations" to pass the time.

Mount Gardner (left) and Mount Bago from East Lake June, 1978:
EastLake1978.jpg
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Re: Bubbs creek to east lake and great western divide

Postby fatdad » Sun Jul 16, 2017 6:34 pm

I just got back from Kearsarge Pass this last Friday. I think the amount of snow coverage is misreported. We were told that from Flower Lake onward we could expect substantial coverage. While there was a fair amount of snow in places, it probably was only about 5% of the ground we covered. I tried posting a pic looking east toward Mt. Brewer from the pass, but the site said the file (just an iphone photo) was too large.

How difficult your travels will be probably depend on your approach and chosen route. Brewer's East Face has a big snowfield at its base that looks like it won't be going anywhere soon. Frankly, if you're coming from East Lake, I think your bigger concern will be crossing Bubbs Creek by Junction Meadow. I've done that in normal years and got pretty wet. This year it could be challenging and/or scary.
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Re: Bubbs creek to east lake and great western divide

Postby bobpickering » Sun Jul 16, 2017 7:04 pm

fatdad wrote:I just got back from Kearsarge Pass this last Friday.

I hope to climb Mt. Cotter via Kearsarge Pass and Glen Pass in about two weeks. Do you have any information or just opinion on what I’ll encounter? Thanks!
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Re: Bubbs creek to east lake and great western divide

Postby seano » Sun Jul 16, 2017 7:23 pm

bobpickering wrote:I hope to climb Mt. Cotter via Kearsarge Pass and Glen Pass in about two weeks. Do you have any information or just opinion on what I’ll encounter? Thanks!

Is there a particular reason you're not going over Dragon Pass? That's a much shorter route to Rae Lakes.
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Re: Bubbs creek to east lake and great western divide

Postby bobpickering » Sun Jul 16, 2017 8:07 pm

seano wrote:Is there a particular reason you're not going over Dragon Pass? That's a much shorter route to Rae Lakes.

The short answer is that I usually play it safe and do whatever Bob Burd reported in his TR: http://www.snwburd.com/bob/trip_reports/cotter_2.html. I’m not as fast as you are, so I’ll start and probably finish in the dark. Familiar, well-maintained trail is a real plus in the dark, even if it’s longer. You just put one foot in front of the other, and don’t worry about falling or getting lost.

I’ll look into Gould Pass and Dragon Pass, but I suspect that the higher elevation will mean more snow travel and possibly the need for more gear. Heavier boots, crampons, an axe, and more XC travel would probably negate the advantage of a shorter route. That assumes I could get up and down Cotter in the middle of the day without the heavy stuff. Anybody want to chime in with an opinion?
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Re: Bubbs creek to east lake and great western divide

Postby fatdad » Sun Jul 16, 2017 10:06 pm

bobpickering wrote:
fatdad wrote:I just got back from Kearsarge Pass this last Friday.

I hope to climb Mt. Cotter via Kearsarge Pass and Glen Pass in about two weeks. Do you have any information or just opinion on what I’ll encounter? Thanks!

Kearsarge was completely snow free. There were some patches on the final set of switchbacks before the long straightaway to the summit, but none after that. West side of the pass was snow free. Couldn't really see what it looked like heading up toward Glen Pass though. Having done Glen Pass before, I'd expect snow on the north side, but I would think it would have a well traveled trough, which is what I encountered when I did both passes in a day a while back. I'm sure you'll find a bit of snow, maybe a good bit, but the snow that we saw is pretty consolidated and easy to walk on without any special foot gear.
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Re: Bubbs creek to east lake and great western divide

Postby colinr » Sun Jul 16, 2017 11:45 pm

Bob,

Eric Su and I were in the area last Sunday-Tuesday. I agree that Kearsarge is of little concern and Glen was snowy on the north side. I have pics of Dragon area, Cotter area, and everywhere else that I may get to sharing later. I also saw a Jim Ramaker report from Cotter and he agreed with Eric. Having said that, it is changing fast right now. Here's Eric's summary:

Sean and I made the first ascent of the Gardiner Traverse on 7/9-7/11/14. This traverse contains every peak (12 total) along the ridge from Glacier Monument to Mt. Gould in the central High Sierra. We were involved in a rescue on the first day (woman with severe altitude sickness) which threw off our schedule somewhat, but still managed to finish the traverse on Tuesday just after 9pm. Unlike many other High Sierra routes, this route contained no major river crossings. All crossings were fairly trivial.

Snow conditions: Above 10,000 ft, all snow is nicely consolidated up until noon. Ice axe and crampons are recommended for slopes 25 degrees and up before noon. After noon, expect postholing up to 6 inches deep. Much of the snow was heavily sun cupped on slopes of 25 degrees and less, with the average sun cup just under a square foot in size and 4-8 inches deep. Most lakes above 10,500 ft are at least halfway frozen.

Difficulty: V, class 4-low 5th
Stats: 29 miles 11,500 ft gain
map: https://caltopo.com/m/QAKU





-Sean Reedy
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Re: Bubbs creek to east lake and great western divide

Postby bobpickering » Mon Jul 17, 2017 1:11 am

Thanks, seano, fatdad, and colinr. Cotter looks doable, even for this old guy, as soon as I get a couple of easier climbs out of the way.
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Re: Bubbs creek to east lake and great western divide

Postby colinr » Mon Jul 17, 2017 3:35 am

Image

Cotter, Clarence King and Gardiner Basin. I've got lots of other angles for Cotter as well as Glen Pass and Sixty Lakes Basin.

I've got shots of Brewer and East Lake per the OP.

I was just reminded how much of a pain in the ass it is to post images on Summitpost the standard way, but I can more quickly link some other photos later.
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Re: Bubbs creek to east lake and great western divide

Postby mrchad9 » Mon Jul 17, 2017 6:18 pm

Very nice shot colinr
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Re: Bubbs creek to east lake and great western divide

Postby craig512 » Mon Jul 17, 2017 6:22 pm

Thanks for the great information everyone. I'm sure the river crossing will be a challenge...I'll make sure to record it when we get there. I don't usually take an ice axe and crampons, but this year I think they'll be necessary.
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