Winter Hut Notes (01/21/2015)
Spring is in early at the Pear Lake District (and throughout the entire Sierra for that matter). As you might imagine, the snow pack is low as we end the 5th dry week in a row at the winter hut. But don't be fooled, there are still turns to be had in the higher areas of the district and the mountains are as pretty as can be right now. I've encountered some of the most incredible views in the last two weeks; the low coverage really makes for scenic mountains!
Travel too and from the cabin is relatively easy with the current conditions, and depending on the time of day, it's possible to complete the whole trip to the cabin using hiking boots. There is a very hard-pack trail all the way into the cabin (in some places very icy especially in the mornings and late afternoons). Expect extra icy conditions in the event of a cooling trend, cloud coverage and/or windy conditions. The best tool for traveling up and down to the cabin seems to be those micro spikes (lightweight rubber crampons). It is very possible to get to the cabin without snowshoes, however, I highly recommend using snow shoes or carrying them on your back in the event that new snow falls while your visiting the hut. If your trying to get your ski's in, be prepared for at least a mile of hiking with your ski's on your back and pretty advanced hard snow skinning conditions below the cabin.
Much of the west slope of the hump is exposed ground allowing for the potential of new social paths in the area. Lets try to avoid the resource impact of new trails. Please try to stay on snow fields whenever possible or on the established trail if obvious. If there's no choice but to walk on the forest ground, please disperse your disturbance by not walking in a single file line, instead scattering across the area. Thanks in advance for trying to reduce the social use trails. Hopefully this high pressure will break soon and bare ground will be the least of our concerns.
Although the Pear Lake winter hut isn't loaded with fresh powder, it is still a very impressive place to come visit. The skiing might not be ideal, but the exploring, mountaineering, and general wilderness activities are still all there. The Sierra in the winter is full of magic, with or without a heavy snow pack!
I'm happy to take spring early in hope for a cold snowy late winter. We can all start our rain dance rituals now,
ALta PEak SMiles