Conditions in Eagle Cap/Wallowas?

Trip recommendations, current conditions, and other trail related Q&A
byoc
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Conditions in Eagle Cap/Wallowas?

Post by byoc » June 7th, 2018, 11:01 am

Hoping to do at least an overnight in the Eagle Cap Wilderness in the next week or so. What's it like up there? Hoping to leave from Two Pan TH from Lostine.

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Bosterson
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Re: Conditions in Eagle Cap/Wallowas?

Post by Bosterson » June 7th, 2018, 11:52 am

As it's early June, I would guess lots of snow...
Will hike off trail for fun.

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texasbb
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Re: Conditions in Eagle Cap/Wallowas?

Post by texasbb » June 7th, 2018, 3:18 pm


Aimless
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Re: Conditions in Eagle Cap/Wallowas?

Post by Aimless » June 7th, 2018, 8:01 pm

I have not been within 300 miles of the Wallowas yet this year, so take this advice with a grain of salt.

The snow water equivalent map published for the state of Oregon shows NE Oregon river basins at 29% of 'normal' as of today (6/7/18). Similarly, the NOHRSC Interactive snow depth map shows computer models of snow depth all across the western states, chopped into 1 sq. mile chunks and its models show TwoPan TH should be accessible by now, and either no or very little snow for some distance up the West and East forks of the Lostine River.Neither of these two sources is foolproof, but the general data seems to indicate the Wallowas will melt out several weeks ahead of normal this year.

As long as you understand you are venturing into those mountains weeks earlier than usual and may encounter snow -- and lots of bugs where the snow has recently melted -- it appears you ought not be shut out of any overnight opportunities if you make the long drive there. I'd try the Lostine's West Fork, if I were you. There is good camping where the Copper Creek trail splits off, at about 6000 ft, which looks like it ought to be available, even if the higher meadows aren't.

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drm
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Re: Conditions in Eagle Cap/Wallowas?

Post by drm » June 8th, 2018, 6:12 am

But be aware that at this point in the snowmelt, creek crossings can be more challenging. Some wading will probably be required.

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Re: Conditions in Eagle Cap/Wallowas?

Post by byoc » June 8th, 2018, 8:33 am

Thanks. I've never hiked in the Wallowas before. I guess I'll just wait another month. Maybe I'll try some earlier season trips next year when I'm more familiar with the area.

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justpeachy
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Re: Conditions in Eagle Cap/Wallowas?

Post by justpeachy » June 8th, 2018, 9:25 am

It can be tricky to get the timing right for the Wallowas. June is usually too early with snow and high water levels. July is mosquito hell and possibly still some snow. August and September could possibly bring closures due to wildfires, or obscured views from the smoke of fires nearby. Good luck! :D
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rllcat
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Re: Conditions in Eagle Cap/Wallowas?

Post by rllcat » June 14th, 2018, 7:54 pm

Any thoughts on what conditions might be like July 8-14? My partner and I might be able to get a ride out there and back from Portland then, which is the major benefit for us of going in early July versus having to rent a car for a week just to park it at a trailhead in early August.

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Re: Conditions in Eagle Cap/Wallowas?

Post by Aimless » June 14th, 2018, 8:31 pm

Predictions are a mug's game, but I'm always ready to try it anyway. What have I got to lose? :D

I've been out that way a lot of times in late July, and a few times in mid-July. This year qualifies as a fairly low-snow year. In the July 8-14 time frame I'll predict you would still walk on snow over most of the high passes, which tend to run from 7300 ft. up to 8200 ft. There will be minimal snow patches below 7000 ft. but it is situational, and depends on a lot of local factors. Lower down, in the 6500 to 7000 ft. range you'd find many snow-free campsites available, but where there are meadows, I'd expect plenty of mosquitos. Below about 6500 ft. I think your hiking and camping would mostly be a piece of cake, although the creek fords would still be running high. Beware of thunderstorms, too. They can get pretty wild in July.

Depending on your bug-tolerance, route-finding ability, and your creek-fording and snow-coping skills, you could probably manage to go wherever you chose in the whole wilderness, but there would be challenges. If you prefer to avoid bugs, high water in the creeks and lingering snow at high elevations, go in late July, when things calm down more.

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Re: Conditions in Eagle Cap/Wallowas?

Post by byoc » June 25th, 2018, 8:29 am

Any updates on what the lake loop is like?

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