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[Yosemite]

MEMORIAL DAY NORTH RIM

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

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MEMORIAL DAY NORTH RIM

Postby PirateDoc » Fri Mar 01, 2013 4:14 am

Hi all. I just want to say thank you to those regular posters who might lend some advice here. I am a pretty experienced backpacker who hasn't made it to Yosemite and am planning to do a 3-4 nighter the end of may. Just wanted to run the trip by you guys and see if those experienced in and around yosemite might give me some feedback on my plan. Much appreciation in advance. I dont have the logistics of getting to/from the park and getting to/from the trailheads worked out yet...trying to lock in my route and back country plan first then worry about logistics in and out.

http://www.backpacker.com/destinations/hikes/368705

I want to do the North Rim - I have read the backpacker article (link above) that talks about starting in the valley and climbing up the defunct/rockslide OBOFR and camping the first night by Cascade Creek before ascending the next morning up through Ribbon Meadow to El Capitan etc. I have read a lot of consternation on the web about that trail and thought instead I would start at Tamarack Creek campground and hike in that way - its shorter and I could check out the Devils Dance Floor etc on the way in. Any advice on that? Does the hiker shuttles go by Tamarack Creek late may? Or would I have to do the rental car deal to get me there? Any better place to start (and possibly avoid the long climb out of the valley).

- The second day I would end and camp by the top of yosemite falls same as in the article.
- The third day I would end at the vantage point on the snow creek trail looking across at half dome - same as in the article.
- The fourth day I would descend snow creek trail down into the valley and take the Tanyana Loop trail past Mirror Lake and back into the valley and finish OR try and catch a shuttle from there back to Tamarack creek campground to get my rental car if I had to leave it there.

As for the logistics of getting in and out quickly - I will take any advice. I have read about the backpacker camps you can stay at the night before you take off into the backcountry - any advice on staying there?

Also - where is a good place to spend the last night to get cleaned up and get a good meal in my belly before taking off the next day to get out of the park and back to the airport?

I appreciate the help fellas.

Cheers.

Jack
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Re: MEMORIAL DAY NORTH RIM

Postby AlmostThere » Fri Mar 01, 2013 7:53 am

Well, first you'll need a permit. I note the Rockslides trailhead is full for May 24. You can still show up the day before and try for walk ins, as they hold a percentage of available permit slots for walk ins. You can hang out till the next day and try again, this time for unclaimed permits that were reserved and no one showed up to get - that happens a lot.

Or you can reserve a permit for May 23 or May 25, following instructions on the website.

There's no trail from the Tamarack Campground to DDF, so starting there is a no go. Plus, going down to the trail from DDF is STEEEEEEEEP with a backpack, unless you choose the right route on the topo map, which isn't always so easy to do.
ETA: I forgot about Tamarack Creek - you would start from the campground and get a permit for that trailhead. All off trail hikes start from a designated trail head when it comes to permits.

Hiker shuttles? Do you mean YARTS or the hiker bus? You can take either if they are running and the pass/Tioga Road is open. Look at the schedule for YARTS at yarts.com and go to yosemitepark.com to look up details on the hiker bus. Free shuttles do not travel out of the designated areas - the valley free shuttles are not going up toward Crane Flat, I think. The maps of the free shuttle routes are available at nps.gov/yose, I think.

OBOFR and Rockslides are two different trailheads. OBOFR is also booked for May 24 and also the 26th. OBOFR doesn't start from the valley floor. There is parking and bear boxes in a pullout on the road between the valley floor and Crane Flat.

None of the shuttles or busses will go down the dirt road to the campground. Hiker bus will let you off at trailheads along tioga road if it is running - however - Tioga Rd may be delayed in opening this year not by conditions but by snafu related to budget and politics, so, if it is not open in late May, no bus at all going that direction, unless you want to grab the YARTS that is bound out of the park on 120 and walk in from Crane Flat. The gate is just past Crane Flat and you won't get a car in either if it's closed.

So, for maximum certainty, I would reserve a permit for May 23 or May 25, from OBOFR, and plan a rental car to leave in the OBOFR parking area, and hitch a ride up from the valley when you're done. Or plan to walk the long narrow highway up from the bottom....

Backpacker camp, if it is open, is straightforward enough. Walk in, pay your $5, hang the tag on your tent. For the clean up/good meal, you can stay in Curry cabins and take a shower, or just sneak into the showers and stay in the campsites, and then hit the pizza deck or the hamburger place at Curry. Or hop a free shuttle to the Ahwahnee for a five star dinner with an inflated price to match, or all the way to the Lodge for cafeteria food, a slightly less posh restaurant, or the bar with drinks and bowls of chili.
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Re: MEMORIAL DAY NORTH RIM

Postby PirateDoc » Sat Mar 02, 2013 1:50 am

Thanks for the reply. I faxed my wilderness permit request so we'll see how it goes. I did use tamarack flat, OBOFR, and ROCKSLIDES as alternate starting points and used days that were open and fit in with my schedule. As for starting at Tamarack Flat Campground. If Tioga road is closed I could walk in from crane flat to Tamrack Creek campground and get on the trail from there as you said.

I will wait and see what I get back from Yosemite as far as the permit goes and then I will pop back up here and let you know what they said and Fraggo from there.

Cheers.

Jack
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Re: MEMORIAL DAY NORTH RIM

Postby Rush » Thu Mar 07, 2013 3:54 pm

OBOFR and Rockslides are two different trailheads.


Where do you get information for the Rockslides trailhead? I'm planning this same trip in June (you can see the thread I made) and had read to use the Rockslides trailhead. I searched and didn't see any information about a "Rockslides" trailhead on either the trailhead information page, trailheads map, or on the wilderness permit reservation form. I asked about this in the thread I made and didn't receive a response so I just put OBOFR since it was the closest. Will I run into any problems with this?
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Re: MEMORIAL DAY NORTH RIM

Postby AlmostThere » Thu Mar 07, 2013 7:05 pm

Look at the full trailheads report. Rockslides is listed there. You're right, it's not on all the lists, but it is a trailhead with reservable permits. The trailhead is near milepost 9 on the valley loop, you park near a locked gate.
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Re: MEMORIAL DAY NORTH RIM

Postby Rush » Thu Mar 07, 2013 7:34 pm

Damn, so do I need to submit another permit reservation form, or could they modify my existing permit?
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Re: MEMORIAL DAY NORTH RIM

Postby AlmostThere » Thu Mar 07, 2013 7:42 pm

They don't do modifications. You'll be getting a whole nother permit. However, the only full day on the calendar is May 24, so you're probably going to get whatever you need.
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Re: MEMORIAL DAY NORTH RIM

Postby PirateDoc » Fri Mar 08, 2013 2:31 am

Got my email with my wilderness permit approval. I am starting from tamarack creek...which is on Tioga rd and the trail runs south into the tamarack flat campground. So I assume if I get there on may 25th to pick up my pass for the 26th and Tioga road is still closed that I will have to try and switch at the last minute to rockslides or OBOFR trailhead? Or does anyone who knows the area think hiking in all the way from crane flat to the tamarack campground and then jumping on the OBOFR to the cascade creek campsite is a doable option distance wise? Or would it be better scenery and similar elevation change to change the pass if I needed to and hike up from the valley floor using rockslides/OBOFR?

Or will anyone even know where I actually start from as long as I camp that first night where my pass says I am camping?
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Re: MEMORIAL DAY NORTH RIM

Postby AlmostThere » Fri Mar 08, 2013 7:57 am

They are strict about your starting trailhead. As often as I meet rangers on backcountry trails, I figure that's a risk I'd rather not take - start where you are supposed to. If there's room for you on another trailhead and the one you have is closed, they'll issue you another permit. If there's no more space on the second and third choice trailheads, they'll suggest a different itinerary. No flexibility there. However, chances are pretty good you'll get rockslides even if the other two don't pan out.
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Re: MEMORIAL DAY NORTH RIM

Postby Ty51 » Sun Jun 05, 2016 1:03 pm

I just finished up this trail, Rockslides to Snow Creek over four days and three nights, and wanted to leave a report for anybody seeking information on it in the future. The dates of our trip were May 30 - June 3.

There's a tricky part on the rockslides where the old road you hike up is disconnected underneath the final slide, so you have to climb upwards and to the right to reconnect with it. Otherwise you'll end up doing a forty foot vertical scramble up some very unsteady terrain, as we did. When you see the yellow and red arrows spray painted on rocks, you know you've gone too far and should likely return to the slide and climb up that way.

The rockslides are also prime locations for rattlesnakes - we saw two on the slides and one the following day on the el cap trail. Also, there is a small amount of poison oak on rockslides, though it's not nearly as overgrown as I had feared and easy to avoid if you keep your eyes peeled.

Once you meet up with the el capitan trail, everything is well marked and the trail has been cleared of nmajo debris by the park service. The footbridge over cascade Creek has some good camp sites for the first night.

On the second day, large stretches of the el capitan trail were covered by snow in the ribbon meadows area. It was packed hard and required no postholing, but was several feet deep in many places. The route is flagged with red blazes in this area and there were discernible footprints for most of way, but I was glad to have my GPS app (Chimani Yosemite, free) in two sections where we lost the trail.

Once you reach the summit of el capitan, you've basically passed all the hazards for a memorial day-ish hike on this route. You'll find solid camping in the mile after Yosemite falls for the second night and an absolute stunner on the elbow just past the snow creek footbridge for the third night. Happy trails!
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