Snow Conditions – Kennedy Meadows to Forester Pass

Mile 721: Olancha Pass Junction

May 12, 2017: First solid stretches of snow. -Beta

Crossing one of the first snow bridges near Olancha Pass junction.

Mile 744: Trail Pass Junction

May 16, 2017: Patchy, on/off dirt and snow sections coming up to Trail Pass junction. Deep snow, crampon use required after Trail Pass junction. -Beta

Snowing and tough navigation near Trail Pass junction.











June 11th, 2011: First snow, solid coverage past the junction.

Mile 750: Chicken Spring Lake

May 19th, 2017: Frozen Lake, solid snow coverage before and after the lake. -Beta

Chicken Springs Lake











June 10th, 2006: First snow. Spotty snow around 11,000 ft. Hard to find dry ground to camp on at 11,250 ft around the lake.

July 9th, 2011: Snow free. Had melted drastically throughout the previous 10 days.

Mile 752: Leaving Chicken Spring Lake

May 19, 2017: Solid snow coverage all the way to Rock Creek (Mile 761). -Beta

June 11th, 2006: Trail lost in snow.

Mile 761: Rock Creek

May 20, 2017: Leaving Rock Creek, snow was patchy and become solid around 10k feet. -Beta

Snow around 10k ft above Rock Creek.

Mile 770: Wallace Creek

May 20th, 2017: Creek crossing uncovered, but trail buried far under snow.

Trail crossing at Wallace Creek











June 12th, 2011: Bear boxes under eight feet of snow.

Mile 780: Forrester Pass

May 21st, 2017: Easy approach on hard ice/snow started at 5 a.m. Moved directly up steepening snowfield using alpine snowshoes. Gained last several switchbacks that were partially uncovered. Switched to crampons for switchbacks and ice chute. Ice chute already had steps across. Easy with ice axe and crampons. Not much of a cornice. No technical climbing required after ice chute. One of the easiest passes. Descent was straightforward and involved a pretty much mandatory, massive, steep glissade. -Beta.

Heading straight up the slope to gain the exposed switchbacks.










Not much of a cornice up there.










Big glissade on the way down













June 12th, 2006: Approach to the bare switchbacks (top 1/3 of the switchbacks) was heavily sun-cupped. Snow chute at the top was ~30 feet across. The afternoon descent was tedious, crotch-deep postholing. Moving ~1 mph downhill.

June 14th, 2011: Direct approach up the steep snow field. Snow steps were already cut across the snow chute. Cornice at the pass involved class 3/4 rock climbing to bypass. Knee-deep postholing and glissading descent. Camped around 9900 ft on dry ground.

July 13th, 2011: Snow field approach was short before the switchbacks. “One of the easiest passes”. Icy snow chute was short and not a problem. Glissades on the descent were stopped by sun-cups.