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Loon Lake Winter Fiasco
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“Do we have to bring bear cannisters or will my ursack do?”
“I have my bear canister so leaving to go on a day hike all is secure. I don't think there is anything out there but maybe a rabbit or coyote but they eat too. I'm no authority tho on whats out there(except the un-dead but thats another story). Paige I think we mean the same cabin. We were going to take a look but day hiked off to the south instead.”
“I just moved out to oregon from indiana and my cc skis are still in storage. Is there a place to rent gear around there?”
“You can always rent gear at REI.
I will be using my ursack for food. That will keep it all in one place and keep any un-invities out.”
“Can you say "Hibernation"?
I knew you could.
I'm bringing my cannister, but for organization and "table" space, not for bears.”
“What cabin? The house-like thing we didn't hike to?
Does everything that eats people food hibernate? Not. I photographed footprints in the snow last time. Hungry footprints. Must be weird about now for anything that burrowed in when the storm hit. Gotta burrow out an extra 6-10 feet. What a drag.
T, we're spending Thurs night at the chalet with Trailbum. The Friday arrivals will be meeting us there for a second cup of coffee or an oatmeal alternative.
Paige and crew, our white Honda Pilot will be parked by JVZ's GMC p/u. What's your ETA on Sat?”
“Maybe, just maybe, we'll have a heaterless tipi alternative for sitting around in at night.................”
“What? No heated TP? Who is in charge of bringing the TP? I will gladly help pull the sled with the stove and wood. LOL Heck, I will even be the fire goddess. Your pictures from before looked soooo inviting.
I was doing a gear check yesterday and have questions.
Do we need a water filter & water container/bucket?
Also, umm, how the heck do you dig a 6 inch deep hole? burrr”
“The animals that you need a bear canister for should be in hybernation. Hanging will work for the other animals. That being said, I'm still bringing my canister.
If there's a source of water you'll need to filter or boil. A filter could freeze and break. I'll be depending on boiling or melting snow.
6" hole? Ya can't.”
“Don't forget to bring your Whisperlight instead of a cannister stove. Cannisters don't like the cold.
Heated TP? Just keep it inside your coat and use it quickly before it cools off.”
“Probably arriving at the "parking area" around 9.
Isn't there a new REI right on 50 on the way up from Sacto?(or is it 80?)
Re: Ursack/Cannister, I'm bringing neither.
Re: Cannister Stoves, they work fine, not as well as in the summer but you'd be surprised how well they work in the snow (temp's above zero)
Re: Teepee, I have a portable heater that runs on canisters, not sure how well it will perform in the snow but I'm willing to bring it along and try. :)
Getting excited, especially since my hubbies coming along, he hasn't snow camped in 8 years!”
“You guys are overniting on Sat. nite? I missed that you were staying. We'll scout out extra tent space for how many tents?
tipi..heated TP. funny. Bring your fur seat covers.”
The torture never stops
“As if record snows in this the winter of my disability weren't enough. I just got a call from the Forest Service. The power transformer that supplies the Chalet has blown. It's buried under 9ft. (!) of snow and then dirt after that. Won't know 'til Weds. morning if they will have it fixed or not. On the upside, I get my money back if we can't use the Chalet. Will post as soon as I know.”
“A possibly important, related matter: I don't know if this is pertinent or not, but one of the reasons I often select Loon Lake as a winter destinatioin is because the SMUD crews plow the roads back to the lake so they can access their power-generating station on Loon Lake. If all power is out to that area, then they may not plow back there unil power is restored.
Bottom Line: Everybody check in frequently to be informed of current status.
My status: If my flight lands on-time Friday nite I hope to head up Saturday morning. My backpack is packed, I will just snowshoe in to wherever I snowshoe into... If I see y'all, great, if I don't, well I still will have been able to get out - and I hope everyone else enjoys themselves as much as I know I will enjoy myself!!! I will snowshoe up the lake, camp wherever it seems like a good spot!”
“Incidentially, I've actually been up there when there was over 30 feet of snow... so.. if the Forest Service is moaning about only 9 feet, let's just tell them to GET OF THEIR WHINY-BABY BACKSIDES & do their job!
(this was a joke, kids, just a joke)”
“Paige, some of the cannister stoves that came to Winterfest didn't work, but I've seen them work other times. I sleep with my cannister and that seems to help.
Trailbum, do you want them to open the chalet or are you wishing for a refund since no one can come on both nights? You could plead the need to know sooner and ask for a refund, if that's your preference. Landscaper and I could go up Fri morning without feeling bad, if that's better for you.
Wanderer, we are counting on your brains, so find us. Have you already scoped out a less avalance prone direction of travel around Loon Lake? There's so much new snow.
Everyone, if the road is not plowed, maybe that could become our route..........”
If we all make it, 3 extra tents!
“If this doesn't work out we will probably head for Glacier Point/Dewey Point. It's a relativly safe area and the chance of road closure is way less.”
“Why didn't you say Dewey Point was an option? That's a whole lot closer to my house. 8*)
Weather forecast looks great! If anything a little too warm.”
I'm actually disappointed
“Hell, I spent the money months ago, it's almost like I never had it. I'd really like to spend a couple of nights up in the snow and out of the gray even if I can't build an igloo. I believe the transformer is just for the Chalet since power for the generation plant is almost undoubtedly completely self-contained and not buried under 9 ft. of snow.”
“TrailBum, can you call us on your cell from the chalet and let us know about the roads when you get there? We'll need to be coming after dark. Is there a number for whoever clears the road? Don't tell me CalTrans because their lunch hour is so long you can never talk to anyone.”
“I think there is a place down by the dam where a cell signal can be had. The roads are maintained by SMUD, they own the dam.
Send me your cell no.
Should I bring a walkie talkie for the meet up?”
REI on 50
“Yes, the newest REI is on hwy 50. It's the Bidwell exit. You'll see it on the left before exiting.
I will bring my 2 way radio. Was it channel 3 someone said to be on?
Looks like the weather is going to be fantastic for this trip. Let's just hope they get the road ployed for us.”
“Is anyone the least bit concerned about the snow depth? You know how you have to go up from the plowed area to the snow level, that irritating little icy hump at the beginning and end of every trip....... I guess it will be over our heads this time!!!”
Walkie Talkie channel is TBA
“Navi, did you reaaly think my memory was that good? Sorry to disappoint you.”
It's an Official Bummer
“Just got the call from the ranger station, the power is still out and will be for several days. That means no Chalet tonight or tomorrow. Life is full of disappointments. Hate to abandon you guys but there's nothing I can do. Hope you have a good trip, have a shot for me and post the pics when you get back.”
“It's not that my memory is that good. It's that I haven't used my radio since then. 8^)”
“TrailBum, you will be missed. Do you have a surgery date set or is this a wait-and-watch kind of thing?”
“I'm sitting here on hold with SMUD. Per their literature, they plow the road, but it's news to customer service and the operator. The operator finally took my number and will try to find out if the road is plowed and let me know.”
Update - second thoughts?
“I just called El Doradrado National Forest (530-644-2349. The road is plowed to Loon Lake, but may be only one lane and will be icy, all 30 miles of it. It took us almost an hour when it was clear. There will be a wall of snow between the plowed area and everything else. The weather forecast is currently undergoing revision and a new storm may be in the forecast.
An alternative may be the boat ramp area for Ice House Reservoir, which is 12 miles up the road. Usually, they plow parking there (anyone up for a little winter boating?) but she stressed that in a new storm, the plows might not distinguish your car from any other snow hump.
Got a call back from SMUD. The road is plowed, it's icy but they're putting down sand, and the snow is 8 feet deep.
I am not at all enthusiastic about the driving conditions. Everyone I talked to kept saying "be very careful" over and over. And Jerry is getting sick so I would probably be coming alone.
I should bail....... Are the rest of you still enthusiastic? Any ideas for a place with easier access?”
“Karen..it is a beautiful sunny bluebird day in Meyers..no wind calm as can be and bright blue clear skies. The weather should be great for you all. To let you know on the snow depth we live at 6300 feet and we have 7 feet in our yard, with higher drifts in places..I would guess you are going to have quite a bit more up there..but at 6300 there is 7 feet
have a wonderful time & be safe”
“MadeinTahoe, what's the interface between plowed and unplowed look like? Is it frozen? Can you get from the plowed level to the snow surface without a ladder? Ha.
I hate indecision. Aaargh.”
“I think it's a little late to be changeing destinations. I say that not knowing the area.
If we do change, I vote for Dewey Point (Yosemite).”
“Did they tell you when they plowed the road?..I would think if they just did it either this morning or yesterday that berm would still be soft and not all iced up...I would think one would be able to dig out some snow steps and climb up to the surface. That one lane and being icy worries me...I know the sun is out and should melt some of it...depending on how far down they plowed..if they plowed down to the pavement that would be better and it would melt off faster..I know when they plow here they do not always go down to the pavement and it makes it even worse and makes it even more icy..because it is so packed down.
That might be better to go some place lower down on that road...I am so sorry.. I feel really bad for all of you about all this news with the road and the chalet. What about coming to tahoe? Just a suggestion. What ever you all do have a wonderful time”
“Well that all sure went to hell in a hurry. I am still up for Loon Lake but if its just you and me Nav I hate to see you drive the extra miles. Wanderer is gone so he won't see the post till late but he said he'd still try for Loon on Saturday. Not a whole lot of solids answering except you and I and songbyrd and Paiges bunch.
Songbyrd are you up to going to Glacier? I'm undecided about where only. I'm still going somewhere but I don't want to spend the day in the car changing plans. With this much snow we can still do like wanna said and stay short at Chrystal Lake. Scout things out. OK I'll say this much and wait to see who writes back.”
Where is the only question.”
Bailing on Loon
“I agree, Loon's a bad idea at this point, I hate stressfull driving :(
Still headed somewhere, just don't know where yet.
Either Echo Lakes or Glacier/Dewey point seem like the best two alternatives with easy access and easy navigation finding the T/H etc.
P.S. I have a snow shovel for cutting steps if needed ;)”
“I've got a shovel too!
Where's Echo Lk.?”
“Echo needs a permit right? That area seems so steep is the avalanch danger not what it would seem?Does Glacier need a permit?”
“I called Jerry. He's feeling about the same and up for the trip unless he gets worse. We also discussed Loon Lake vs. somewhere with less stressful driving. Wherever we go, we would like to carravan so that we're all on the same page if conditions dictate we're going somewhere else. Maybe we could meet up with the Navi/JVZ duo when Songbyrd does. So the operative question remains -Where are we going?
Glacier does need a permit, but they're available at Badger Pass. From what I can tell, Badger Pass is the end of the road for trips to Glacier Point, so that's where we'd get permits, park, and embark.
Avalance issues seem important. I just spent 10 minutes traveling through the Yosemite phone tree. It appears no real people are hanging on any of the branches so I couldn't pick any brains.”
“From Badger Pass Ski Area the road is groomed for cross country skiers.
The "trail" toward Dewey Point is level.
No danger of avalance.
Last year Wind Walker, Trailbum, and I did it. It's a good place to bring 1st timers.”
“Someday I hope to be real good at knowing the snow areas but for now I'm at the mercy of those that know. What really would be the problem with staying with Loon Lake. Maybe Paige has seen the bad road conditions I don't know. Maybe we could just go to Chrystal Lake and use a pullout to park in. Saturday calls for a chance of some weather but not much they say. I think we can all gather in at Songbyrds Starbucks at 7 on Fri and caravan from there. I'm just posting so if anybody says different I'm open to group thoughts. Nav you will be traveling the furthest but after a nites sleep(after the party)you'll be ready for anything right?”
“JVZ, you have mail.”
“JVZ, the issue with the roads is that Ice House Road is plowed differently from the way the highways are plowed. This difference results in icy conditions, and there are cliffs along the way. Both SMUD and the forest service warned me repeatedly to be careful because of the ice. Made me really nervous.
Also, Loon Lake is not particularly flat as far as avalances are concerned.
Navi, I thought you were a first-timer and all along, you have been to Dewey Point. Did you sleep out?”
“I just spoke with a ranger at Eldorado and Yosemite, Eldorado stated that avalanche danger was very high right now in that area, so did the Yosemite Ranger.
I am assuming that Dewey Point would be safer because of the terrain on the map and I have traveled along Glacier Point road in the winter about 1 mile, it is pretty gentle. The Yosemite ranger did state that they got about 6 feet of snow then a bunch of rain then another foot of snow which makes for high avalanche danger. He also said that he would go out there(Glacier Point).
Yes, we do need permits for this, but it's not on a quota basis so any amount of people can go and not get turned away.
So, if we want to be super safe we probably shouldn't go out in the snow at all in any area, but I am not one to take it super safe and am willing to go to Dewey Point.
Looks like the other 3 NCH'rs are headed there too.
So, hope to see you guys up there, we'll be at the T/H around 9 on Sat.
P.S haven't been on Loon Lake Road in the winter, but have in the summer, it's enough to make me not want to be on it in these conditions ;)
If you want to talk to a Yosemite ranger and get the avalanche jist yourselves call this number and leave a message for a permit, he'll call you back fairly quickly.
last edited: 1/12/05 5:24:11 PM”
“J, right you are. I'm ready for the group thing. Where ever.
Wanna, Dewey Point was my 3rd (of 3) snow camp out. If you want to know ANYTHING about winter camping, just ask. I know EVERYTHING there is to know.
“OK so where do we get permits for Dewey Point Is Dewey pt t/h on the way up to Badger ski area and what about parking. We'll try to go on Friday. I work Monday.”
“Yes, park at Badger Pass Ski area, near the Glacier Point Road snow/ski trail. The Dewey Point "trail" branches off of that. There may not be a sign or tracks from other people where the trail is supposed to branch off. A GPS and a map and compass (with the knowledge to use them ;) are a great idea. I can shoot over a map to anyone needing one.
last edited: 1/12/05 5:35:02 PM”
“I'll take a map! Or can I get one at the Ranger station on 120? I have a gps too and a fair knowledge of it.”
“I know where it is!
But it's covered in snow.
Gawd, I crack myself up!”
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