|Activities:||Hiking, Mountaineering, Bouldering, Big Wall|
On September 5th, 2011, a friend of mine and I climbed Mt. Conness in the eastern part of the Yosemite national park. The year 2011 was the wettest year on record in the north of Sierra-Nevada range. The scenery was spectacular. I don’t think anybody had ever seen that much snow in the month of September in Yosemite national park. You can see my album here.
On the other hand the year 2014 was one of the driest years (if not the driest) on record in California. In order to get some sense of the difference between 2011 and 2014, you can look at the amount of snowfall in several spots in northern Sierra-Nevada range. For example the average amount of annual snowfall on top of Squaw valley ski area is about 450”. In 2010/2011 that was 810”, and in 2013/2014 it was 297.5”. In fact in Squaw valley in the past 20 years, 2011 was the only year with snowfall higher than 700”, and 2014 was the only year with snowfall lower than 300”.
I (along with 2 friends) decided to go to Mt. Conness one more time on September 1st, 2014, to compare the sceneries.
One of the starting points to climb Mt. Conness is near the Saddlebag lake. Since we got there at around 2PM, and we wanted to come back before dark, we decided to just get to the Conness ridgeline . First we took a taxi boat to get to the other side of Saddlebag lake to start the hike. When you are on the boat you can see Mt. Dana (13053’) and Mt. North Peak (12242’). The elevation of Saddlebag lake is 10060’. Here are some photos from 2011 and 2014:
It is interesting to see Mt. North Peak with so much snow in September 2011, and with almost no snow in September 2014.
When you get off the boat you can start your hike. After a very short time you will see another lake called greenstone. You can take the trail going to the left side of the lake.
After you pass Greenstone lake you will see a waterfall. You should hike up from the right side of the waterfall then Mt. Conness will be visible again.
Besides the glaciers and the impressive rock walls of Mt. Conness, what makes this mountain unique in the Sierra-Nevada range is the number of lakes you can see around it (more than 20).
Something that caught my attention was the rocks on the other side of the lower Conness lake. Apparently something has changed in the past 3 years. I need to figure it out.
From the left side of the lower Conness lake you can start hiking/climbing the mountain to get to the Conness ridgeline.
As you see there is a big difference between 2011 and 2014 as far as snow cover is concerned. In a typical year in the month of September the snow cover is kind of like 2014. The year 2011 was exceptional. I remember on 4th of July 2011 some of the runs in Squaw valley ski area were open which is very unusual.
I didn't take any picture from Yosemite valley. Unfortunately, all the waterfalls except Vernal falls and Nevada falls are dry.