I've been getting many emails recently inquiring if it's possible to get into Papoose Flat, in the Inyo Range east of Owens Valley. Until now I thought it wasn't. Today I got into Papoose Flat, and others were there also.
First of all, you will not be able to reach Papoose via Mazourka Canyon and Badger Flat. There still too much snow over Mazourka Pass.
The main road signed Papoose Flat from the Big Pine-Death Valley Road is still blocked by deep snow drifts near its junction with the road in from Harkless Flat, as shown below looking down the Papoose Flat road.
Today I came in from Harkless Flat, the first one to make it through (none of snow patches had tracks). There were snow patches in the southern end of Harkless, but the road that climbs the side of the mountain is snow free until you hit the top. Just before you top out atop that bald knoll, I managed to plow through a large patch of snow that was at least hub deep and about 65 feet across (got through it while climbing steeply, which sent the Tacoma skittering all over, snow flying off all four).
At the junction of the Harkless Flat and Papoose Flat roads, there was a deep snow drift, but the outside edge of the road was clear of snow. By locking up my rear differential I managed to plow through it on the second attempt, by keeping the outside wheels on the top of the berm on the side of the road.
Fresh tracks in and beyond large snowdrift indicated that someone came in from the Papoose Flat side and hit that drift, stopping them part way through. I knew that the only way that they could have come in was via the road branching off the Papoose Flat road at the bottom, that runs east of Andrews Mountain, into upper Marble Canyon, into Squaw Flat and entering Papoose Flat from the east. That road has a chapter in Roger Mitchell's INYO-MONO SUV TRAILS book, chapter entired AROUND ANDREWS MOUNTAIN or something to that effect.
The rest of the road to Papoose Flat was snow free and dry except for a few damp pockets and one muddy one. Papoose Flat was snow free, except snow on the northeastern side of the monoliths and the southern mountainsides. I saw three vehicles camping near the overlook of Owens Valley.
I exited via the road through Squaw Flat, into Marble Canyon, then back out to the Papoose Flat road a quarter mile in from the Big Pine-Death Valley Road.
Weather today was scattered snow showers from Harkless Flat and beyond, but periods of beautiful sunshine.
Squaw Flat, east of Andrews Mountain. View south.
Squaw Flat, view south.
Summit a few miles from the Big Pine-Death Valley Road, viewing north.