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[Yosemite]

Old Ledge Trail above Curry Village

Hiking, backpacking, running, biking, climbing, rafting, and other human-powered activities in Yosemite National Park

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Old Ledge Trail above Curry Village

Postby archive » Sun Jan 21, 2007 10:59 pm

Old Ledge Trail above Curry Village
Author: Paul Baik (---.san.rr.com)
Date: 04-28-01 15:40

Has anybody been to ledge trail or climbed it (above Curry Village) in the last couple of years? If yes, please give me a phone number where you can be reached. Thank you.
Paul Baik visa4us -at- aol.com

I would like the following information on this closed trail?
1) Who built this trail?
2) If you hiked this trail before, when did you hike it?
3) Is the trail marked all the way up?
4) What is the difficulty of this trail?
5) Does the trail have any warning signs when you hiked it?
6) How long did it take you?
7) Did you enjoy it?
8) How much experience do you have hiking?
9) Anything else you want to add?
Thank you.


Re: Old Ledge Trail above Curry Village
Author: Steve Duim (---.san.rr.com)
Date: 04-28-01 15:41



I hiked the trail several years ago. The original trail has been wiped out several times by rock slides. There are no markers at all. The original cable that assisted in hiking the trail is still hanging around but mostly buried. I don't remember but there may have been a warning sign. I was not into paying attention to signs at the time. The trail traverses right, up a very steep rock slide area, then dog-leg's left through what I would describe as a fern grotto- still very steep but lush with vegetation because of the water flowing down that part of the "trail" and a much easier climb. You can see the dog leg and the green by looking to the right of Glacier. I would not attempt the trail unless very experienced.
Steve


Re: Old Ledge Trail above Curry Village
Author: Rob Wurgler (66.122.21.---)
Date: 09-10-01 12:57

I concur with Steve, do not attempt the trail unless you are experienced in boulder scrambling and climbing scree slopes.

1) Who built this trail?
Unknown to me

2) If you hiked this trail before, when did you hike it?
1987

3) Is the trail marked all the way up?
No, the trail is wiped out. But the navigable area is so narrow, it's easy to determine where to go.

4) What is the difficulty of this trail?
Very difficult

5) Does the trail have any warning signs when you hiked it?
Yes, at the bottom.

6) How long did it take you?
About 3 hours, but we stopped to enjoy views and mess around the cliffs and ledges. Without stopping, a strong scrambler could probably do it in an hour (one-way).

7) Did you enjoy it?
Very much. I plan to do it again this October.

8) How much experience do you have hiking?
30 years, 20 of those I lived in Yosemite Valley.

9) Anything else you want to add?
This is a wonderful route, shady all day long with dynamite views of Yosemite Falls on the left to Half Dome on the right and everything in between. Prepare to sweat though, and bring plenty of water -- despite the lush vegetation in Leconte Gully (the upper half of the route), there is no reliable source for drinking water until you get to Glacier Point. Also, the cliffs in this area are relatively unstable and you should keep in mind that you are at risk of being pulverized by rockfall.

Interesting side note, I know a couple of people who have skiied down the route in winter. Needless to say, they were very accomplished skiers.


Re: Old Ledge Trail above Curry Village
Author: Bill Nelson (---.dsl.snfc21.pacbell.net)
Date: 09-11-01 03:17

1) Who built this trail?
unknown
2) If you hiked this trail before, when did you hike it?
My father hiked it in apx 1936. After hearing his description and being in the valley myself the day that two persons died on the ledge trail, I decided not to try it. (We heard the hikers calling for help before they fell to their deaths...two brothers up for the day with their family). Someone climbed down the trail later that evening and left a blinking light as a memorial to the two and the rangers thought someone else was stuck on the trail and did a night resue which was VERY visible from the valley floor. Heard Rangers were NOT amused.
3) Is the trail marked all the way up?
unmarked at the top but general area can be determined while on 4 mile trail when almost at Glacier.
4) What is the difficulty of this trail?
Two persons died on it when we were there about five years ago
5) Does the trail have any warning signs when you hiked it?
If you ask the rangers about the trail, they will strongly advise you not to do it. None would give me any information about it.
6) How long did it take you?
7) Did you enjoy it?
8) How much experience do you have hiking?
Extensive hiking and backpacking all over the Sierras and Coast ranges since 1962. There are lots of other good trails; The ledge trail just seems a bit risky.
9) Anything else you want to add?
I might change my mind and try the trail anyway. Did the 4 miles to Glacier a year or two back.


Re: Old Ledge Trail above Curry Village
Author: Rob Wurgler (66.122.21.---)
Date: 10-09-01 12:34

Just returned from Yosemite. Climbed the Ledge Trail on Oct. 7, 2001. About 200 feet of trail at the foot of the "ledge" is covered with a large quantity of (new) loose debris, which made the trail much harder and more hazardous than I remember from my trip in 1987. At this point, one is exposed to an uncontrolled slide to the edge of the cliff. It was somewhat nerve-wracking to cross this section. After that the trail becomes a little safer, but there's LOTS of bushwhacking involved. The trail still has residual paint marks, which are helpful. Staircase Creek was trickling water, enough to fill water bottles (using a pump-activated filter). Total time from Curry Village to Glacier Point was 2.5 hours, including time to take pictures and eat a light lunch.

This is "animal style" hiking...you're on all fours for a large part of the route. It's very similar to the effort involved in bagging a high Sierra peak, but there's more brush to contend with. Check for ticks!

NOT RECOMMENDED FOR GROUPS. Anybody following the "lead hiker" is at serious risk of being injured by loose debris that is released by the leader. It is possible for one to stay out of harm's way by traveling adjacent to the other member(s) of the party, but the route is so narrow it is feasible for only 2 or 3 people to climb this way. 4+ is too many people.


Re: Old Ledge Trail above Curry Village
Author: Jeff Bounds (---.proxy.aol.com)
Date: 03-16-02 21:09

I hiked it when I was a kid. I remember the worst part of the hike was the wet slippery rocks . In many places the trail went right up the stream bed and was very steep. We left about eleven and got back to Camp Curry about five.


Re: Old Ledge Trail above Curry Village
Author: Rob Wurgler (66.122.21.---)
Date: 03-18-02 21:50

I've posted some photos from my October 2001 trip up the Ledge Trail. Not the best quality, but they're better than nothing.

Also some photos of the return hike down the 4-mile trail.

http://bulldogadvertising.com/scrapbook/ledge_trail/


Re: Old Ledge Trail above Curry Village
Author: Jim Brown (---.proxy.aol.com)
Date: 07-28-02 16:45

Rob

Enjoyed the pics. My how things have grown over the last fifty years.
I and my buddie, Bill, climbed The Ledge twice, once in 1949 and again in 1950. Both the first week of July. [Bill took his wife up some years later. It nearly killed her.]

Fifty years have dimmed my memory, especially of the ledge portion itself. I remember following the yellow paint marks across the talus pile and again on portions of the fifty-foot ledge. At Staircase Creek there was a hard left and up the creek gulch. I remember climbing n all fours during part of this and that it was wet and slippery. Nowhere, at that time, was there the kind of brush that you showed in your pictures. Probably the NPS personel cleared the path. It took about three hours, if my recollection is anywhere near close.

We too came down on the four-maile trail. On the 1950 hike we went from Glacier to Sentinel Dome and then back to the Four-mile Trail. We temporarily got lost as the unmaintained connecting trail below the dome disappeared. Eventually, we found the four-mile trail. We encountered a rattlesnake, deer and a black bear to spice up our downhill jaunt. Fifty-two years later it is fun to reflect on these days of our youth.

Jim Brown, 72


Re: Old Ledge Trail above Curry Village
Author: richard kelty (---.lsanca1.elnk.dsl.genuity)
Date: 08-16-04 22:17

Just went up last week. First time was 20 years ago, or so. Took me about three hours hiking and about 30 minutes in a face to face at twenty feet with a small bear at the narrow portion of the upper gully. Start just left of the old cabin back of Curry Village and work your way up to the wall. Turn right and go past the sign that says "Closed Trail, Loose Rocks, Lick Granite". Perhaps the trail should be renamed to be the "Lick Granite Trail"? There are some old paint marks here and there to follow. There was water at the turn into the upper gully. The upper gully is quite overgrown, but the obvious route seems to work and runs across the paint marking periodically. There is a "Closed Trail' sign at the top as well. Just after the sign work across the gully to the left and proceed up to Glacier Point. It's a strenous hike and you will be using your hands. I didn't find the exposure significant. Common sense should keep you out of trouble. Have fun!


Re: Old Ledge Trail above Curry Village
Author: ralph miller (204.100.98.---)
Date: 09-30-04 15:58

great to read your message. my father has told me about the trail for years now and tried to find the base of the trail in curry two weeks ago. i heard it starts 300ft. west of old leconte museum spot; just couldnt find anything. you mentioned the old curry cabin. which cabin?, as there are hundreds of them. i would like to know. everyone has told me how dangerous it is but i still have a desire to do it as a longtime yosemite lover and whild my dad is alive to hear about it. is it extremely dangerous or dangerous only if you are not careful, and what is the real danger? I have done half dome and much hiking but i am not a hiking "expert" and im not as young as i used to be, just turned 50.
please elaborate as much as possible about finding the beginning of the trail. i know curry very well.


Re: Old Ledge Trail above Curry Village
Author: ralph miller (204.100.98.---)
Date: 09-30-04 16:08

i would appreciate any other info about the ledge trail and finding it as well as any other info ralph miller, millr4@aol.com


Re: Old Ledge Trail above Curry Village
Author: ralph miller (204.100.98.---)
Date: 09-30-04 16:10

any info on finding the beginning to the trail and its doability would be appreciated ralph miller millr4@aol.com


Re: Old Ledge Trail above Curry Village
Author: Rob Wurgler (---.dsl.scrm01.pacbell.net)
Date: 09-30-04 20:25

300 feet west of LeConte (Sierra Club) museum is wrong, it's all cliffs. However, 300 feet EAST you'll find remnants of the old toboggan run, known as Ashcan Alley. A trail possibly began here in the old days, but if there was a trail it's now wiped out by substantial rockfall and the route is impassable where it joins the existing trail halfway up the mountain. Don't go this way.

The current Ledge Trail approach is through the east end of Curry Village, where employees are/were housed, known as the Terrace. Alternatively, if you were to start at the Curry Village parking lot (the apple orchard), just start walking south straight toward the cliffs behind Curry Village, straight up the talus. when you reach the base of the Glacier Point Apron, turn right (west) and you're good to go.

Ragarding risk, it's dangerous if you're careful, and extremely dangerous if you're not careful. Half Dome hike isn't a good comparison -- Ledge Trail isn't a hike, it's a 2,500-foot scramble. Use common sense and know your limits, there's no shame in backing off to live another day.


Re: Old Ledge Trail above Curry Village
Author: Dan Anderson (---.west.biz.rr.com)
Date: 09-30-04 20:46

Ralph Miller mentions "the old curry cabin. which cabin?, as there are hundreds of them."

No, there's only one old Curry cabin. That's the former home of Mother Curry. It's in the middle of Camp Curry and is now employee housing (divided into 2 or 3 apartments). Not to be confused with the her son's cabin, more to the back. There's a small sign (historical marker) identifying this cabin. It's between cabins 299 and 359. See the map at

http://www.yosemite.ca.us/maps/curry_village_map.jpg

I wouldn't go on the old Ledge Trail (and haven't). From what I hear, it's a good idea to go when it's drier (late summer or early fall). The trail was located there because it was quick and easy to construct, but was closed because it's unsafe.


Re: Old Ledge Trail above Curry Village
Author: Dante (---.245.121.106.Dial1.SanJose1.Level3.net)
Date: 10-07-04 00:19

I just went up the hike today, and I agree with everyone.

Yes it is hard, it was VERY over grown in the upper part of the gully, so much so that I could not see my friend a few feet away in the vegitation.

Watch for falling rocks, my friend, since she was behind me almost got hit by a fairly good sized rock.

It took us about three hours.

To get to the trail I follow staircase creek through Curry, up to the base of the falls, and then follow the wall to the left.

Great views, a hard hike to do.

D.Rose


Re: Old Ledge Trail above Curry Village
Author: Robert Anderson (69.106.51.---)
Date: 01-06-05 15:24

I'm happy to see the ledge still lives. The answers and advice seem good. My dad was the Glacier Point ranger (seasonal) in 1960something. He participated in numerous rescues on the ledge trail. Usually it was someone who got hurt, or people who started too late and were overtaken by dark. Although it was B.C. (before cells), people at Glacier Point would hear someone yelling for help. (Sometimes you can hear car doors slam all the way down on the valley floor) At least once dad sent us kids to the point and to the top of the trail to listen for him when tourists had reported calls from below. I always assumed that the government built the trail. When I went up as a child much of the rockwork, mostly very high steps, was still identifiable, like WPA work. Nowdays, of course, the Park Service is more concerned with crowd control and liability management than with trail maintenance. Anyway, I do have one important contribution: Dad always said that even before they closed the trail you were only "allowed" to go up, never down. Down might seem easier, but it was deemed much more dangerous. So start early at the bottom and go back down the 4 Mile trail or meet your driver at Glacier Point.


Re: Old Ledge Trail above Curry Village
Author: ralph miller (---.proxy.aol.com)
Date: 09-17-05 00:16

finally climbed the ledge trail this past tuesday (9/13/05). I began the hike between wooden bungalows #'s289,290 at 8am, hiking straight back and up the south wall talus. another route is to follow the rocky swale(gully) behind Ma Curry's cabin beginning between tent cabins 64&66. The weather was dry and beautiful and the hike was cool and mostly shady. The initial scramble up the rocky talus was difficult as the ground was loose dirt causing my feet to slide back with each step. there was a lot of rockslide material. once to the wall i was suprised to find that i was half complete with the front ledge section. looking straight up the wall was dizzying. once to the wall i followed the steep ledge to the right and soon was plowing thru heavy manzanita. at this time i began to see yellow(origional) and orange(newer) paint marks to indicate a trail. these continued on and off till the top. a huge covey of quail busted out of the bushes. soon i crossed staircase creek and came out of the manzanita to find i was at the base of the "chimney" with no more ledge to traverse. turning left and up, this is where i found the trail to be the steepest and very hard going due to the dense brush and slippery rocks. this section is extremely overgrown. paint marks are very helpful here and mostly still very visible. its a steep, slippery, rockclimb only with bushes in the way. an old cable is still present in part of this section. The water was a mild trickle throughout the entire chimney. towards the top the brush finally thins and a pine forest takes over as the rockclimb transitions to a hike. i began to hear and see people walking on the four mile trail above me. intersecting this trail becomes obvious and you are soon at glacier point where i ate lunch with legs bleeding from the bushwacking. people kept asking me if i had taken a nasty fall. as you look back down the chimney it is clear why the trip down is not recommemded. the hike took 3 hours and i returned via the 4 mile trail. as steep and hard as the hike was, never did i feel in danger. what a thrill to hike "the ledge" finally at age 51, and to join the fourtunate group of ledge trail hikers.
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