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Leavit Peak in December with Snow Plume
East Flank of the Leavitt Massif



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Backpacking Emigrant Wilderness
Leavitt Peak During Wintertime

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Wintertime Route South
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East Flank of Leavitt Massif
Leavit Peak in December with Snow Plume

This Image has a Story
A Fine Snow Plume blows off the Southeast Flank of Leavitt Massif. We're looking West after crossing over and along that part of the Sierra Crestline up there, Southbound from Sonora Pass during late Winter. We followed the buried route of Highway 108 West to Sonora Pass, then turned South to hike over Leavitt Massif as part of "climbing" Leavitt Peak during Winter. The fun part is finishing as a loop, rather than backtracking. Now, after crossing South over the Leavitt Massif we've dropped down and turned North, now hiking back to Highway 108 via the Tungsten Road, which is buried under about 15 feet of snow. At the end of Tungsten road we turn East down the equally buried route of Highway 108, to find the end of its plowed surface coming West from Highway 395, where we began the snowbound portion of this trip.
The State of California keeps Highway 108 open to a point just a short ways West of the Marine Base during Winter. Just past the end of the airfield, to be exact.

I believe it was 2005 or 6 when the Marines started running a snowcat dragging a grate West over the route of Highway 108 past the end of the plowed road, creating a "track" over and along the route of the buried highway. I have no idea if they are currently dragging anything out there (except troops) beyond the end of the plowed road during Winter.

We still have to get out, moving East, once we reach the end of the plowed portion of Highway 108, back to civilization itself.

One of the "cold weather Marines" (being qualified as a "cold weather Marine" is prestigious extra training & skills for "oh-rah" Marines. It is an extra diminsion of being a bad-ass.) will pick us up once we hike past the Marine Base. I've gotten rides from Colonels to E-Zeros out of there during my Wintertime bacpacking trips. And Corpsmen too. And the locals who work out there. I make the distinction between Marines and Corpsmen because Corpsmen are NOT Marines, they are Navy dudes assigned to the grunts. Most Marines like abuse, and most like being "in the field." Most Corpsmen are squids, and they are working extra-hard when they are in the field. They are actually "humanitarians." The Marines will hike over the hardest snow-covered mountains, all to blow your fucking head off. The Corpsmen will go with them, and try to plug up all the holes the Marines received along the way, and maybe even fix-up the folks they did not terminate. That's the distinction.

Whoever gives us a ride, be it a Marine officer, grunt, or Corpsman, they will be turning North on Highway 395 if we are lucky. If not we will be standing at the junction of Highways 395 and 108 looking for a ride North on our way towards the bottom of the Carson Valley. At the bottom of Carson Valley we can turn West towards the Tahoe Basin.
Most of the Marines are driving North on Hwy 395 to the family housing just North of Walker along Hwy 395. Unless they are going South to the bar in Bridgeport. Northbound drivers allow us to get dropped off at the store in Walker, where we can warm up, feed up, and stage-up for our next ride from there, setting us up for our move West over the Sierra or Carson Range, depending on which route West into the Tahoe Basin we end up taking.

Unless we are headed South towards Death Valley on Highway 395. Death Valley is amazing during Wintertime.

Winter is the time to visit Death Valley. Nonetheless, this page is set up to inform Winter and Summer backpacking trips into and out of the Highway 108 corridor across Sonora and Saint Marys Passes. I enter and exit from the East during Wintertime, as the image and story above attest.
By Foot.

Happy Trails!

Area Backpacking Information

East Fork of the Carson River to Leavitt Peak


Wintertime Backpacking Information

Snow Backpacking in the High Sierra


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Last page: Ebbetts Pass Region Weather                                 Next page: Emigrant Wilderness Yosemite Weather

Be Ready for the Range:
Basic Facts
Basic High Sierra Weather Resources for the

The Sierra Crest is noted for having the capacity to produce four seasons of weather during a single Summer Day.

Rain, snow, hail, fog, lightening, and a bit of sunshine can all happen in quick sequence.

The High Sierras are noted for rapid changes in weather and temperature, and the sudden appearance of harsh weather trends. You may experience anything from intense heat to bitterly cold Summer snow storms. Or you may not.

In any case, weather must be considered and proper gear preparations made to deal with the range of weather BEFORE entering the High Sierras.

Long Distance Backpackers who were on the High Sierra Crest in early August of 2009 experienced just such a series of Summer Snow Storms.

Temperatures dropped to the high teens and low twenties, snow and hail fell which partially obscured the trails, and all of those who entertained the misconception that the Sierras only have fine weather during the Summertime were bitterly disappointed. Luckily for the many backcountry travelers who were not properly prepared, those storms blew apart, rather than consolidated and deepened.

Weather considerations should guide your gear selection.

Weather Preparations for Backcountry Travel

All Seasons

All Seasons

Tahoe to Whitney
High Sierra Weather Resources

Always check the National Weather Service Satellites, Maps, and Forecasts

The NWS Satellites will give you an orbital view of potiential storm activity far off the coast of California. Combined with the NWS Maps and Forecasts, you can anticipate weather. Note: especially check the 28km infrared and water vapor animations.

Check the National Weather Service Maps

NWS Maps Note: Especially Check the 24 to 48 Hour fronts and Precipitation Maps.

Consult the National Weather Service Home Page

The National Weather Service Home Page displays large and small scale weather warnings which may pertain to your High Sierra backpacking plans.


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North: Highway 4 Weather               Sonora Pass Trail Map                  South: Emigrant Wilderness & Yosemite

Alex Wierbinski

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Frosted Backpack

Backpacking Lake Tahoe to Mount Whitney

Your guide to the High Sierra Crest, including the Tahoe to Yosemite, Pacific Crest, and John Muir Trails

Snug tent after Snow Storm
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