Parker Pass

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August 20, 2005

Trip Summary

A Bay Area Hiking dayhike led by Chris Tennant, and joined by Buu and myself. Planned as an out-and-back to Parker Pass.


I pushed for some cross-country from the end of the original hike, as I've done the Parker Pass hike several times, and there were obvious routes to some nearby knobs.

There was huge snowfall last winter...this area had over 200% of normal snowpack. When I was up in this area a year ago, there were only a few snowfields, and those were burnt down to either years-old snow or ancient glacial ice. This year, there was new snow, old snow, ice, and icebergs inthe tarns. From the high point of the hike, we could see the sad little remnant of the Kuna Peak Glacier, 20 years ago the ice would have well up the side of the peak, now, like all the Sierran glaciers, it is going the way of the Snows of Kilimanjaro.

Coming down it was talus until we got down to some snowfields and meadows. There was a layer of disturbingly bright colored algae inside the snow, the usual pink/magenta algae was on the surface, but this stuff was an inch or two inside the snow. My companions were stepping down the snow, I preferred to shoe-ski, leaving two bright orange stripes behind myself. And the snow was perfect for shoe-skiing, not too hard, so I didn't have to worry about going out of control, not so soft that it was sloppy and got into my low shoes.

Once we were back on the trail, Buu and I hauled ass for the car...topping 4mph on the trail. Chris wasn't far behind us, laden with heavy camera equipment.

Weather and Conditions

Partly clear and breezy, the clouds present were non-threatening. the Parker Pass Trail is generally in good condition, although somewhat worn where it leaves the old wagon road and gets steep.

About 15 miles (4 miles cross-country), 3250 feet of ascent, 8:00 on the trail. Bunnyhike rating: 74


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Area maps, route in blue and red

Map with route

Cross-country route in blue and red

Map with route
Detailed Map (322K)

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Parker Pass / Robert Parks / / revised September '05