Dangerous waters

Staff Writer

Hot summer temperatures are melting the record Sierra snowpack in record time and local authorities are warning hikers and campers that fast-flowing water can be dangerous.
The most likely danger to the public is to those recreating anywhere near the creeks; anglers, campers and hikers who find a raging creek between them and the rest of the Pacific Crest Trail or their destination.
The danger is unlike anything even longtime backcountry hikers or land managers have ever seen and it is rising, said Jack Haskel, a trail information specialist for the Pacific Crest Trail Association. “Going out in mid-June would still be challenging,” said Haskel in a social media post. “This has not been a normal year at all. It has been challenging, dangerous and there have been a lot of serious incidents that are deeply concerning.”
Although Haskel’s primary source of concern is this year’s class of PCT thru-hikers, the snowpack and raging creek and river crossings have already resulted in several nearby fatalities, including on Mount Whitney where two hikers died earlier this spring, and several near misses, one just this past week, when a young hiker slipped and fell into a creek in Yosemite, losing his pack and all his belongings.