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Tiltill Valley conditions

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Tiltill Valley conditions

Postby Chris D » Fri Jun 14, 2019 1:55 pm

Does anyone know about the current conditions in Tiltill Valley? We were thinking of camping there next week, but now I'm thinking it might be flooded due to the snow melt.
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Re: Tiltill Valley conditions

Postby balzaccom » Fri Jun 14, 2019 6:58 pm

Haven't been there this year, but I'd agree it might be pretty swampy...
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Re: Tiltill Valley conditions

Postby AlmostThere » Fri Jun 14, 2019 7:08 pm

If Wapama Falls isn't lethal, Tiltill might be less flooded. If it is... it'll be a huge pond. There will be a lot of snow melt at lower elevations, of course. It's heating up finally.

And the mosquitoes are gonna be epic with a capital EPIC.
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Re: Tiltill Valley conditions

Postby Chris D » Sat Jun 15, 2019 5:22 pm

Thanks for the reply. I had not considered mosquitos! Every time I've been in the sierras before, they have not been too bad. Now I think back, I've mostly been in the fall. Do you think they'll be as bad at Rancheria Falls?

An unrelated question, what times do the spring flowers come out at about 6-8000 ft?
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Re: Tiltill Valley conditions

Postby AlmostThere » Sat Jun 15, 2019 5:26 pm

Chris D wrote:Thanks for the reply. I had not considered mosquitos! Every time I've been in the sierras before, they have not been too bad. Now I think back, I've mostly been in the fall. Do you think they'll be as bad at Rancheria Falls?

An unrelated question, what times do the spring flowers come out at about 6-8000 ft?


When they are bad, they are everywhere. I've been to the campsites at Rancheria and come back well bitten indeed.

The majority of the flowers are already dried out and done at lower elevations. There might be some at 8-9k but they will be done soon too. The snowline is creeping up as the heat rises. I'm looking forward to walking in the columbines at 11k in fall.
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Re: Tiltill Valley conditions

Postby Chris D » Sat Jun 15, 2019 5:28 pm

balzaccom, nice blog, a lot of good info there.
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Re: Tiltill Valley conditions

Postby Chris D » Sat Jun 15, 2019 5:31 pm

Good to know about the columbines. thx for the info on the timing.

I'll let you know how bad the mosquitos are. Assuming we make it past Wapama Falls! At least we'll be ready with a plan B
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Re: Tiltill Valley conditions

Postby balzaccom » Sat Jun 15, 2019 9:27 pm

Thanks Chris.

BTW, just saw a report on Wapama Falls. So much water that the bridge is difficult to approach...
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Re: Tiltill Valley conditions

Postby Chris D » Sat Jun 15, 2019 11:25 pm

Thx for that update. I'm already working on plan B.
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Re: Tiltill Valley conditions

Postby Phil » Sun Jun 16, 2019 9:39 am

A word to the wise: DO NOT ever disregard the mosquito issues in the early season, no matter where you go! "EPIC" doesn't even begin to describe it adequately. They will hunt you, swarm you, and eat you alive, from morning until night...in a dry year. You will spend every idle moment living in your tent, and your purpose will go from enjoying your time out to hating it and figuring out the fastest way to get lower and beyond their reach. It is mind-numbing how relentless they are. I would imagine that this year will not only be bad, but that the problem will last well into July as the snow melt slowly rises in elevation.

Anytime early season (which is probably past even the 4th of July this year, at least), assuming you can get past Wapama, Tiltill Valley is a lake.
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Re: Tiltill Valley conditions

Postby huynguyen1 » Sun Jun 16, 2019 9:45 pm

Was at Hetch Hetchy a week ago from 6/6 - 6/9. The ranger indicated 1-2 ft of snow remaining on the plateau btwn Vernon and Tiltill. Wapama was impassable so, like most other backpackers, we went to Vernon on the first day. Several beautiful small waterfalls on the switchbacks. Weather was perfect for me: low 80s down at the reservoir, slight cloud cover to keep things shady and slight breezes to wick away the sweat. Felt like the low 70s up at Vernon and next to Frog Creek (where we spent our third and final night) south of Laurel Lake. Nights were calm (we were nestled in granite pockets and behind trees on the north shore) and not cold. Another camper mentioned whipping winds on the trail at night heading from the dam to Beehive. Wildflowers were still around. Got to see my first snow plants!

Frog Creek was rushing pretty good: saw a family with high schoolers coming from the Lake Eleanor trail stop at the creek because it was too risky. Asked how we got to where we were, told them we came from Vernon. They proceeded to head north toward Laurel, but there's no trail that way so not sure where they ended up. Next morning saw a strong-looking dude in his 20s cross Frog very slowly, with his pack about a couple inches from hitting the water. I've been told to unbuckle sternum and waist belts when crossing high creeks in case the pack catches, but didn't see him do so... Lots of downed trees to go over/around from the top of the switchbacks until the granite shelves approaching Vernon, but nothing impassable. Patches of snow around Beehive and lots of shallow pools to get through. I don't have waterproof shoes and was able to log/rock hop my way through without getting wet socks. The split trail to Laurel from the main trail seemed to be in ankle-deep water, so we didn't try.

At Vernon, the footbridge was impassable. You could hear Falls Creek roaring from anywhere near Vernon. It was big. Saw some deer and a bunch of red/orange/brown salamanders in the little pools and streamlets at Vernon. Supposedly there was a bear poking around the North shore, but we didn't see it. Very, very surprisingly (and you won't believe this because we didn't): hardly any mosquitos! In fact, we had a few buzz around at the Entrance Station and turns out that was the most we saw the whole time. That was my biggest concern heading in, figuring they were going to be out of the Jurassic period! Was a great trip, but the big caveat was the lack of mosquitos. Will be more now as it heats up, so call the rangers at the Entrance Station and ask. We felt extremely lucky that we missed the thunderstorms from the previous weeks and got through without many skeeters. Given that I can only do one trip a year, I'm not planning to do another Spring trip in a long time; Will quit while I'm ahead. Good luck!
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