Dana Plateau conditions anyone?

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Footloose

Trad climber
Lake Tahoe
Topic Author's Original Post - Jun 22, 2013 - 10:45pm PT
My guess is that the Dana Plateau overlooking 3rd Pillar, say, is now dry.

Or at least has some large dry areas. Given this last winter's conditions.

Wouldn't mind getting a first hand report, though.

Anyone know? Thanks.
Cragman

Trad climber
June Lake, California....via the Damascus Road
Jun 22, 2013 - 10:47pm PT
Dry and perfect.
Footloose

Trad climber
Lake Tahoe
Topic Author's Reply - Jun 22, 2013 - 10:50pm PT
Cragman, thanks.

By the way, have you ever seen those large rabbits
up there around the brink? Way larger than reg jacks. I've wondered
what they are. A guess might be white-tailed jacks?

Anyways hope to see them this season.
Cragman

Trad climber
June Lake, California....via the Damascus Road
Jun 22, 2013 - 10:57pm PT
I shot 'em all.....Ron is stuffin' 'em right now.
SCseagoat

Trad climber
Santa Cruz
Jun 22, 2013 - 11:13pm PT
^^^^^. With your firepower I'm surprised there was enough left to stuff. They must be mondo big!

Susan
Cragman

Trad climber
June Lake, California....via the Damascus Road
Jun 22, 2013 - 11:20pm PT
Yeah Susan....they're sizable....

Credit: Cragman
Jebus H Bomz

climber
Peavine Basecamp
Jun 23, 2013 - 12:22am PT
I just saw the marmots up there. Like Cragman said, it's good to go. Although, the weather conditions are looking a little dynamic for the next few days.
ms55401

Trad climber
minneapolis, mn
Jun 23, 2013 - 12:26am PT
two in the ass...


hey, buffalo bill
ec

climber
ca
Jun 23, 2013 - 12:29am PT
Weather is headed our way:

http://forecast.weather.gov/product.php?site=NWS&issuedby=MTR&product=AFD&format=CI&version=1&glossary=1
Footloose

Trad climber
Lake Tahoe
Topic Author's Reply - Jun 23, 2013 - 01:38am PT
That's funny, Cragman. They are pretty big.
So I take it, I'm the only one who's seen them?

Jebus, what'd you climb? You were just there this last week?
Willoughby

Social climber
Truckee, CA
Jun 23, 2013 - 01:47am PT
They are white-tailed jackrabbits. I study 'em - fascinating beasts. Big males can push 10lbs, so they're way bigger than black-tailed jacks. Here's an adult female road kill I found near Tioga Pass last weekend.
Credit: Willoughby

They turn white in winter, too.
Footloose

Trad climber
Lake Tahoe
Topic Author's Reply - Jun 23, 2013 - 01:53am PT
Will, perfect timing!

Indeed you came to mind when I saw them up there last summer, and again when I posted this evening when I speculated on what they might be.

Your pic looks spot on, thanks for confirming!

p.s. I've never seen such a one in the Carson Range up north here - despite all my mileage and time - eg around Duane Bliss Peak. Only black tails down lower, of course.

Did cross paths with a bear though, couple days ago, up Woodfords, Cloudburst Canyon. Exciting! :)


Edit to add:

Willoughby, very cool. Thanks. Neat to learn there are white-tails in my neighborhood, in Carson Range at at Jobs Sister. I'll keep a look out for em, vestiges and such.
Willoughby

Social climber
Truckee, CA
Jun 23, 2013 - 02:06am PT
Happy to be of your service. Most folks have never heard of the species, so kudos to you, sir! I did a study here in Tahoe a few years ago, trying to confirm and document their distribution around the Tahoe basin. I'm still trying to fill in the gaps along the west shore, and have been expanding the work to include more DNA analyses (of all of our rabbits). Anyway, both the USFS-LTBMU and NDOW considered them extirpated from the region for decades, but I knew that was preposterous. I guess being a high-elevation, cryptic, nocturnal rabbit that only gets seen by skiers who assume they're snowshoe hares, means you occasionally don't get "documented" by the authorities for ... decades. But still, come on! Weird stubborness, and I don't know where it comes from. We've even had folks in high positions at NDOW refuse to believe that there were snowshoe hares at Tahoe. Anyway, we still got 'em. They're particularly thick around Carson Pass, but I found them hanging on to some surprisingly small patches of habitat in the Carson Range. Here are a few pics from my remote cameras, first a two-fer from the ridge between Mt. Rose and Church Peak, ~10,500':

starting to turn to their summer coat
starting to turn to their summer coat
Credit: Willoughby

And here's a comparison of size against a cottontail from about 10,000' on Job's Sister:

Credit: Willoughby

Jebus H Bomz

climber
Peavine Basecamp
Jun 23, 2013 - 09:13am PT
I climbed the Regular Route of the 3rd Pillar on the 17th. You planning something different out there?

Anyway, it was very good to go at that time.
Ron Anderson

Trad climber
Soon to be Nipple suckling Liberal
Jun 23, 2013 - 04:42pm PT
Hey Will! Used to hunt those in Dog Valley during winter thinning projects- on the henesse pass road and summit 2 areas! They are tasty but a wee tough.
Willoughby

Social climber
Truckee, CA
Jun 24, 2013 - 11:58am PT
Hey Ron, the beast in the first shot went to my friends' farm dogs (minus the head and hind feet for specimens, that is). Anyway, those dogs didn't seem to mind the flavor/toughness! You'd mentioned seeing them in Dog Valley in another thread. Seems so low!! I think I need to spend more time poking around there and on the surrounding peaks.
Ron Anderson

Trad climber
Soon to be Nipple suckling Liberal
Jun 24, 2013 - 12:02pm PT
Yep they are all over the area from summit one on the main dog valley road over to summit 2 (heading for the lakes) and then onto the "loop road" which goes up the ridge between boca and Dog valley. And Verdi peak area..We used to drive that henesse pass rd inbetween summit 1 and 2 at night for them. I remember some BRUTES!
Willoughby

Social climber
Truckee, CA
Jun 24, 2013 - 12:09pm PT
Good to know! So close to my home, yet I've barely explored that area at all. I road ride out to the end of the Boca-Stampede Rd all the time, I've cut a couple of Christmas trees in Dog Valley itself, and I do try to ski Lady Bug to Gold Ranch when I can, but really I've barely penetrated that whole area.

Sorry for the thread drift!
Ron Anderson

Trad climber
Soon to be Nipple suckling Liberal
Jun 24, 2013 - 12:13pm PT
i also saw a wolverine cross low on the dogvalley road - and went into a culvert. But they dont exist here according to some hehehe..
Greg Barnes

climber
Jun 24, 2013 - 12:21pm PT
Cool, so are the "snowshoe hares" you see early season near Sonora Pass (like opening weekend, at night, still white) snowshoe hares or white-tail jackrabbits, or would you need to actually study them to figure out?

Also the "snowshoe hares" up in the White Mountains in summer - you can walk right up to them at night, lots near the gate on the road below the Barcroft lab - those might be white-tailed jackrabbits instead?

Thanks for the interesting thread drift...
Ron Anderson

Trad climber
Soon to be Nipple suckling Liberal
Jun 24, 2013 - 12:27pm PT
Snowshoe hares have white flanks year round as well as shorter often dark tipped ears than the white tail jacks.. Most ive seen east side have been Jacks and not "shoes"..
Cragman

Trad climber
June Lake, California....via the Damascus Road
Jun 24, 2013 - 12:28pm PT
I've seen some BIG hares up in the Luther Pass region in winter....assumed they were Snowshoe hares...no?
Ron Anderson

Trad climber
Soon to be Nipple suckling Liberal
Jun 24, 2013 - 12:35pm PT
If they were BIG, they were White tail jacks- they outweigh snowshoe hares by up to 6 lbs... Snow shoes are much smaller.
Cragman

Trad climber
June Lake, California....via the Damascus Road
Jun 24, 2013 - 12:36pm PT
Thanks Ron...yeah, these suckers you could saddle.
Ron Anderson

Trad climber
Soon to be Nipple suckling Liberal
Jun 24, 2013 - 12:43pm PT
I advise you clean White tail jacks exceptionally, separating ALL the viscous and sinew material from the meat- cubed up in smaller pieces, then marinated for a while, and stir fried with veggies and a little sauce. mmmmmmmmm.. As for black tailed jacks,, i suggest running them over in a tank a few times for tenderizing..

Nev rabbits can be the BUGGIEST critters youll ever see. Warbles, fleas, u name it. ONLY good when COLD AS HELL!
Cragman

Trad climber
June Lake, California....via the Damascus Road
Jun 24, 2013 - 12:45pm PT
I'm not a hunter. I go to the market.
Ron Anderson

Trad climber
Soon to be Nipple suckling Liberal
Jun 24, 2013 - 12:46pm PT
Then ur eatin New Zealand whites lol!;-)
Cragman

Trad climber
June Lake, California....via the Damascus Road
Jun 24, 2013 - 12:47pm PT
Actually...I just do chicken and fish...occasionally beef.

Leaning more towards being a veggiesaurus these days though.
Ron Anderson

Trad climber
Soon to be Nipple suckling Liberal
Jun 24, 2013 - 12:50pm PT
hhmmm, perhaps i should send you some deer, or maybe some bear sausage or elk burger..Lean protein is king! And wild game is the leanest. And cleanest. but i like fowl and fish too!
Footloose

Trad climber
Lake Tahoe
Topic Author's Reply - Jun 24, 2013 - 12:58pm PT
Ron, so would say snowshoe hares are about the size of black-tail jacks then? If so, then I remain pretty confident what I see atop Dana are white-tails because of their size.

It's too bad we didn't meet up as teens so close to each other in the CV area bitd, we too enjoyed our share of jack rabbit and cotton-tail meat after a good hunt. It was one of the things to do out there - esp after being primed watching a tv show like Daniel Boone or Wild Kingdom, ha! (btw, I'm a vegan, now, and no longer hunt.)

Good on you, Jeebs, gettin some!
Ron Anderson

Trad climber
Soon to be Nipple suckling Liberal
Jun 24, 2013 - 01:05pm PT
Black tailed jacks typically up to 7 lbs,, and snow shoes typically up to 4 lbs, while the white tails typically to 10 lbs. The snowshoe has the largest FEEt though lol.. But they are just a little bigger than cottontails. Ive only seen a few snowshoes "round here"..

ANd Foot,, yeah seems like we led parallel lives eh lol!
Footloose

Trad climber
Lake Tahoe
Topic Author's Reply - Jun 24, 2013 - 01:23pm PT
Ron, thanks for the reply.

So the conclusion then is that there's just no confusing white tails
and snowshoes.

Good to know!
Ron Anderson

Trad climber
Soon to be Nipple suckling Liberal
Jun 24, 2013 - 01:25pm PT
Yep,, if you think you saw an albino COTTONTAIL,, it was a snowshoe..;-)

Everything else is easily identified by the white or black tail o da bunny..
Willoughby

Social climber
Truckee, CA
Jun 24, 2013 - 01:52pm PT
Well, I'll say it can be a little trickier than that. It all depends on how well you see them.

Habitat is a big help, as the white-tailed jacks like the highest elevations, open ridges, and wide-open spaces, whereas the snowshoes like dense cover, mature mixed-conifer, riparian, and especially that super-thick new conifer growth that you can't even really walk through. But there is a lot of overlap, especially in the winter. Here at Tahoe, white-tailed jacks tend to stick to 8500' or above, but in the winter, those within easy striking distance will migrate downslope to the east if the snows get too deep (e.g., Carson Range critters will drop down to the Carson Valley). But those stuck over in the Carson Pass area seem to actually migrate uphill to concentrate on the slopes where the winds scour the ridgetops free of snow (so they can get at something to nibble on - sage, rabbitbrush, creambush, granite gilia).

Sonora Pass, lots of White-tailed Jacks, but prob. some patches of both, depending. White Mtns., definitely White-tailed Jacks.

Right at Luther Pass, the habitat is much better for snowshoe hares, but I've gotten pics of white-tailed jacks on the west side of Waterhouse Pk., and I'm sure they're in Hope Valley too, so they could be transiting from Freel to Stevens via Waterhouse, or going up or down to/from the Valley. I would expect both species there.

BIG = white-tailed jack. That is true, but the snowshoe hares are quite a bit bigger than the cottontails I'm used to seeing, and they can give you the impression of being a surprisingly big rabbit, especially on a gallop, or sprawled out as roadkill. But if you're thinking about saddles, that's a white-tailed jack.

Both of the jacks and the snowshoe are all in the same genus, and actually, all the snowshoe hares we've sequenced from Tahoe have Black-tailed Jack mitochondrial DNA, which means they hybridized at some point. I'm seeking DNA from both White-tailed Jacks and Snowshoe Hares throughout the Sierra, btw.

Two things I look for are relative ear length (longer than head on jack, usu. shorter than head length on snowshoe), and whether or not you notice the tail. On a dead run, the jack sticks its tail out, but you really don't see much of a tail at all on the snowshoes, ever. Here's a pic of a White-tailed Jack that Maysho posted a while back: http://www.supertopo.com/climbing/thread.php?topic_id=1081557&msg=1087220#msg1087220

As far as the feet go, snowshoe hare feet are definitely crazy big and they can definitely splay them out (they can look a lot like dog tracks in the snow), but still, the jacks' are bigger. I think these are all from adult females, L-R = White-tailed Jack, Snowshoe Hare, Nuttall's Cottontail:

Credit: Willoughby
Ron Anderson

Trad climber
Soon to be Nipple suckling Liberal
Jun 24, 2013 - 02:15pm PT
Good info Will!

Ive only taken a few showshoes, winter time they seemed to have HUGE hind feet. As i remember. in relation to the cotton tails. and the ear tips always a dark color yr round. I guess the altitude of the dog valley "herd" of white tails to be 5700 up. They come down in the winter when they are common on the summit 1/2 road area. Probably summer on Verdi peak and the ridge between Boca and "Dogville".

But its fairly easy to distinguish White tails from "jacks" for me at least. WAY bigger and youll always get a glimpse of the white under tail on them, whereas the jacks just be black. Up around wildhorse, there are good populations of jacks white tails and cotton tails. I never mistakenly shoot a jack lol! They make better boot strap than to eat !
Cragman

Trad climber
June Lake, California....via the Damascus Road
Jun 24, 2013 - 02:18pm PT
^^Grim. Somewhere there's a few rabbits saying, "Now why doesn't he write?"
Ron Anderson

Trad climber
Soon to be Nipple suckling Liberal
Jun 24, 2013 - 02:27pm PT
hhahahahaa! Dang Crag,, your on a ROLL!



Footloose

Trad climber
Lake Tahoe
Topic Author's Reply - Jun 24, 2013 - 09:26pm PT
Willoughby,

you're quite the student/expert in this area.

Kudos to you for your scientific work and care. It's nice to know you're one among others paying attention to this very important part of nature.

Also, it IS a public service, though not always recognized as such. Thank you.

Keep on keepin on! :)
Willoughby

Social climber
Truckee, CA
Jun 25, 2013 - 12:59am PT
Thanks, Footloose! I often feel a bit selfish in my research endeavors, since they have their own rewards, but it's very kind of you to recognize the public benefit. Much obliged!

Given the position that rabbits have in shaping both vegetation and predator communities, it's kind of surprising that the local agencies haven't paid any attention to them. That's starting to change, but it takes a lot of salesmanship and evangelism on my part. We got rejected for a small grant a couple of years ago, with the eventual rationale being that white-tailed jackrabbits weren't a TRPA threshold species. My counter of "well, of course they aren't - you guys didn't even know that species was still around!" wasn't met with the enthusiasm I'd hoped.

We're working with the Veterinary Genetics Lab at UCD Davis on some of this stuff, and we'd really like to suss out some of the connections with Sierra Nevada Red Fox. Surely White-tailed Jackrabbits must be the most important winter prey item for that still-extant Sonora Pass population. Yet another creature that folks didn't even realize was living right under their noses - for almost 90 years!
Willoughby

Social climber
Truckee, CA
Jul 30, 2014 - 05:53pm PT
This thread sorta became an unofficial White-tailed Jackrabbit discussion last year, so I'm sticking with it, title be damned. Spent a few hours stalking jacks in Tuolumne last weekend, and thought I might share a few pics.

Big handsome brute, just loungin'

Credit: Willoughby

Twilight nibblin'

Credit: Willoughby

Credit: Willoughby

Credit: Willoughby

Credit: Willoughby

Credit: Willoughby

Eating his own poop:

Credit: Willoughby

Gross!!

Credit: Willoughby

I love the buffy/peachy muzzles.

Credit: Willoughby

This last one's not in focus, but ... pregnant?

Credit: Willoughby
Willoughby

Social climber
Truckee, CA
Jul 30, 2014 - 05:57pm PT
Also, check out this crazy deer that's been milling around the meadow:

Credit: Willoughby
Credit: Willoughby
HighTraverse

Trad climber
Bay Area
Jul 30, 2014 - 07:46pm PT
About 15 years ago discovered a Burrowing Owl on the southern side of the plateau. I wasn't sure what it was but someone with me was an amateur Owl ornithologist.
Footloose

Trad climber
Lake Tahoe
Topic Author's Reply - Jul 30, 2014 - 07:48pm PT
Hey Willoughby,
Thanks for the heads-up.

Those are really cool. Really like the closeups,
something I was never able to get. They certainly are
distinct from the black-tail jackrabbit around here
in my neck of the sagebrush!

Ran to Duane Bliss Peak a couple days ago,
thought of you up there leaving a note in the jar.
Which is still there!
OR

Trad climber
Jul 30, 2014 - 07:51pm PT
Very cool bunny pics!
Kalimon

Social climber
Ridgway, CO
Jul 30, 2014 - 08:00pm PT
I thought this was supposed to be about the Dana Plateau . . . rabbits?

Summer in the Sierra . . . conditions are perfect . . . what else would they be?
Psilocyborg

climber
Jul 30, 2014 - 09:52pm PT
Not true Kalimon, I was up there a couple days ago, and almost got hit by a sharknado. Probably hungry for rabbits.
T H

Boulder climber
extraordinaire
Jul 30, 2014 - 11:47pm PT
You can summit Gibbs before heading out on the plateau pretty easy.
KabalaArch

Trad climber
Starlite, California
Jul 30, 2014 - 11:50pm PT
Remember to pack a car jack for trundling the Lee Vining Ck SCE plant.
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