Re: High altitude diving in the Sierra Nevada

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Posted by tleemay on September 05, 2000 at 09:22:18:

In Reply to: Re: High altitude diving in the Sierra Nevada posted by JR Gordon on September 01, 2000 at 18:37:23:

Ah yes, Huntington Lake - as well as Shaver and
the other power generation system lakes and
forebays of the central Sierra Nevada range.
This area was my backyard growing up in the 70's
and 80's. I still believe that Huntington is
perhaps the clearest inland body of water in all
of California.

Yeah, John, the plane is still there, deep near
the dam on the southwest side of the lake - the
depth of 175 or so rings a bell. I believe it was
one of those twin tail planes. I wasn't into
serious deep scuba back then, so I was just able
to look down onto it from 60' on the bottom, it was
far and away deepet than 175' from what I
remember. It was relatively still together, I
think it had the right wing separated, but other
than that it was in reqasonable shape. I did have
algae growth all over it.

Oh yeah, the water temp that day was 43...and
this was before I owned a drysuit - only a 1 piece
7mm that barely did the job for the brief dive.

There are lots of power and sailers in that lake
in much shallower water. From the launch area,
head towards the Three Pines Island on the South
East end of the lake, towards Camp Miramichi-
travel just past about 200 yds and then look over
the side, you will probably see the latest regatta
mis-hap from the previous spring. plan on 80 to 170'.

But if you really want a kick on an altitude
dive, dirt trail it into Lake Edison which is
about anouther 3k higer than Huntington up the
river - For those of you around here that think
the Caissons are a cool dive, there are some old
cement form shrouds in that "pond" that are a bit
larger. For some reason I recall the structures
are in about 110' feet depending of where the high
water line was that time of the year - it could
easily be much deeper though. There are some of
biggest & baddest speckled brown trout I ever saw
"guarding" these structures.

The forms are from the the building of the
underground Edison Hydro Electric project from
decades ago where they systematicaly let the
snow pack melt and flow through the river beds
enroute to the hydroelectric plants Edison has
built to generate power. In the off hours, they
pump the water back up to the top of the lakes
through a series of tunnels and pipes where
the water stays until demand id required and
the water is dropped through the plants again.
There's a great book available on the building
of the system called "The Edison Project" - it
really was an engineering marvel for it's time.

There are all kinds of construction "junk" in the
bottom of these lakes... most of them are rather
too deep to air dive though.

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