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Yosemite Creek Campground or Yosemite Falls communication

Discussion of camping and road-accessible campgrounds in and near Yosemite National Park

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Yosemite Creek Campground or Yosemite Falls communication

Postby mikerain » Thu Aug 22, 2019 2:01 pm

Is there any sort of communication with the outside world...
- at Yosemite Creek campground?
- at Eagle Peak?
- at the top of Yosemite Falls?

Perhaps there's a pay phone at or near the campground. I see a phone on a map of the campground but maps can be outdated.

My cell service is with T-Mobile. When at Yosemite Falls or Eagle Peak, can I get a cell signal across the valley from Sentinel Dome where the cell towers are?
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Re: Yosemite Creek Campground or Yosemite Falls communicatio

Postby WanderingJim » Thu Aug 22, 2019 7:22 pm

I got cell service at the top of both Yosemite Falls and Eagle Peak with AT&T.

Usually anywhere that has an unobstructed view of the east side of the valley may have coverage. Not sure where they have cell towers (maybe one near Sentinel Dome).

Can't tell you about t-mobile coverage.

(edited to indicate the east side (brain fart).
Last edited by WanderingJim on Fri Aug 23, 2019 7:36 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Yosemite Creek Campground or Yosemite Falls communicatio

Postby Phil » Fri Aug 23, 2019 12:44 pm

Here's this:

https://www.nps.gov/yose/planyourvisit/internet.htm

The cell relays for the Valley are up by North Dome. It's not at all likely that you're going to get anything at Yosemite Creek because it's in a valley. Top of the falls and Eagle Peak, more likely. When they say mostly eastern Yosemite Valley, they mean it (like Curry and Yosemite Village), but a few years ago we tried to get a signal out via text/phone/data using a T-Mobile device from up at the flats on Snow Creek, with an almost direct line of sight to the equipment, and we got absolutely nothing.

It is weird sometimes, though. You get a couple bars every now and again in some strange places, but if you do want/need reliable contact (at least text), your best bet just about anywhere is an In-Reach and the subscription it requires. But for cell service, Verizon blows doors overall.
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Re: Yosemite Creek Campground or Yosemite Falls communicatio

Postby mikerain » Fri Aug 23, 2019 2:53 pm

Thanks a lot Phil. I didn't know cell towers were on North Dome. I thought they were on Sentinel Dome.

When I was with AT&T, I got good cell service on the top of Half Dome, Glacier Point, and at North Dome. Now that I'm with T-Mobile, I suspect coverage won't be as good. If the tower is on Sentinel Dome, I figure I'll probably get a good signal at the top of Yosemite Falls or Eagle Peak, since they're right across the valley. If T-Mobile's tower is on North Dome instead of Sentinel Dome, I'm not so sure. It might be closer but there might be mountains in the way. I'll find out next week.

Do you have experience using satellite phones? Can they be rented for a short trip? Is the service good? Is the price right?
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Re: Yosemite Creek Campground or Yosemite Falls communicatio

Postby Phil » Fri Aug 23, 2019 3:59 pm

There may be one on Sentinel Dome as well. I just know that the old lines for AT&T, I guess pre-solar, run down through the area above North Dome. It's kind of on the face and below the dome, facing into the valley, not up high. I found couple coverage maps for Yosemite, but I can't zoom them enough to make them out clearly. I guess you can see if you can make them out, but the red/pink circles showing coverage seem to be emanating from the north rim, so I guess that might stand to reason that there's at least one tower on ND.

Be that as it may, Iridium does do short-term sat phone rentals, and while it's been years since I've bothered, and they are pretty reliable, reasonable cost isn't something I would attribute to it. :shock:

I take it the Mrs wants you to stay in touch? That's the "I'm ok" beauty of the In-reach. With me and mine, it was always that the worry should begin when a call comes, and if that doesn't happen, assume we're fine. I know how it goes though.
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Re: Yosemite Creek Campground or Yosemite Falls communicatio

Postby mikerain » Fri Aug 23, 2019 5:01 pm

The Mrs is fine with the no-news-is-good-news philosophy. But I'm in business for myself, so it's good to check my voicemail now and then to make sure no catastrophes are happening I need to deal with. Also it's good if I can call if something happens to me while hiking.

I just looked at T-Mobile's coverage map for Yosemite and it's surprisingly good. They show reception at Yosemite Falls, Eagle Peak, and even for part of the trail along Yosemite Creek. I'll be curious to see how accurate that is.
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Re: Yosemite Creek Campground or Yosemite Falls communicatio

Postby Phil » Sat Aug 24, 2019 5:44 am

Yeah, my world seems to erupt on a daily basis, so I know what you're talking about. With that, instead of using the no-news-is-good-news approach, I use the delegate-and-pray approach. You know how coverage goes though. Theoretical, looks good on a map, perfect-world....I guess you'll find out. Along that trail, you'll be out of that valley quick enough, and it'll open up for the most part as you get down toward the falls.

I've been accused of lecturing and being kind of preachy lately, but I do have to say something about relying on phones for rescue if you get into trouble; not a particularly good idea. These days we have all these devices like SPOT, In-Reach, and ACRs. I've always used an ACR Res-Q-Link+ myself. I like it because it doesn't require a subscription, just a free registration and new sticker every couple years with the NOAA. Still electronics, but very reliable, small and light enough, easy to deploy, sat link tests through easily, battery lasts about 5+ years. If getting out and doing a lot of backpacking/hiking is something you're going to do, it's something to seriously consider over taking your chances on having a cell signal.

Have a great hike!
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Re: Yosemite Creek Campground or Yosemite Falls communicatio

Postby mikerain » Sat Aug 24, 2019 7:46 am

Thanks a lot Phil. I hadn't thought about personal locator beacons. I'll look into those.
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Re: Yosemite Creek Campground or Yosemite Falls communicatio

Postby AlmostThere » Sun Aug 25, 2019 8:31 pm

I have T mobile and have to go to Curry Village and use the wifi. News to me that they have any coverage anywhere in Yosemite.... I think the map is lying.
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Re: Yosemite Creek Campground or Yosemite Falls communicatio

Postby mikerain » Sun Aug 25, 2019 8:46 pm

Yikes. I hope the map isn't lying. I'll find out soon enough. I'm going this week.
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Re: Yosemite Creek Campground or Yosemite Falls communicatio

Postby Phil » Mon Aug 26, 2019 7:52 am

T-mobile and AT&T both use GSM, so you might be able to buy minutes unless your phone is locked. AT&T still sucks, but it does eventually get a signal. Everyone else uses CDMA. Apple phones can use both with a new SIM card, I believe.
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Re: Yosemite Creek Campground or Yosemite Falls communicatio

Postby AlmostThere » Mon Aug 26, 2019 12:06 pm

In Montana de Oro on the coast, I started getting ATT - the little moniker in the upper left corner of the phone switched from T-Mobile to ATT. In some areas it appears that Tmobile has a deal with ATT to provide coverage, and I never got any kind of surcharge on the bill after. That hasn't happened in Yosemite. Maybe they have added coverage in the six months since I was last in Yosemite, but with this sort of thing I really don't hold my breath for long. I have an InReach, which, with a ten minute delay (sometimes longer, it's taken 40-50 minutes to sync sometimes), I can exchange texts with someone's cell phone if I need to, while I'm out in the mountains.
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Re: Yosemite Creek Campground or Yosemite Falls communicatio

Postby Phil » Mon Aug 26, 2019 9:23 pm

One last thing if you haven't left already and read this.

There used to be a payphone at the iron ranger at Yosemite Creek (right across from where you turn left and pick the trail down to the falls back up). Whether it's still there or works is another matter. I guess haul some quarters.
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Re: Yosemite Creek Campground or Yosemite Falls communicatio

Postby mikerain » Thu Aug 29, 2019 6:21 pm

I'm back from the trip. I ended up not doing the Yosemite Creek - Yosemite Falls hike because yellow jackets were so bad at Yosemite Creek campground that we moved out after one night. We moved to Tuolumne Meadows campground which was WAY better - cooler weather, almost no bugs, and they have water.

That meant I didn't get to test T-Mobile's service at the top of Yosemite Falls or Eagle Peak. We never got T-Mobile service anywhere, including Tulomne Meadows or Cathedral Lake. A ranger told me that Verizon just turned on cell service in the Tuolumne Meadows area.

As for pay phones, we found these:
- Yosemite Creek Campground - there's a phone but it doesn't work.
- At a turnout on Tioga Road across from the entrance to Porcupine Flat campground - there's a phone but it doesn't work.
- At the Tuolumne Meadows campground office - two pay phones and they both work.

Phil, you mention a pay phone at the "iron ranger" at Yosemite Creek. What's that and can you clarify where it is? I might try it out next time.
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Re: Yosemite Creek Campground or Yosemite Falls communicatio

Postby Phil » Fri Aug 30, 2019 5:32 am

Hi Mike,

I'm sorry, I thought everyone knew what that is. An "iron ranger" is the locked metal box where you drop in your payment for your campsite. Pretty standard stuff at most all campgrounds and day-use/parking areas that require money. If you paid at Yosemite Creek, you used it. At Yosemite Creek, that and the phone are right there at the entry, by all the signs just before the bridge. I had a feeling that phone wouldn't be working. There's also a phone up at White Wolf, though. Might even still be one at the Yosemite Creek/Ten Lakes parking area up on Tioga Rd.

Yellowjackets are horrible and aggressive as hell by nature, but once you get out of the campgrounds, they become less concentrated and more in balance with the natural carrying capacity that doesn't include so many greasy grills and foods. Glad you found a workaround and enjoyed the trip. Adjusting on-the-fly is an art form that comes in really handy.
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