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[Yosemite]

Can I apply for a Wilderness permit more than once?

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

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Can I apply for a Wilderness permit more than once?

Postby CarolE » Fri Sep 25, 2015 11:09 pm

If I am successful in my application for a Wilderness permit for a certain date/route am I able to apply for another permit with either a different date or route as well ? In other words, can you do more than 1 trip each season? If yes, does your first permit mean that you reduce chances of getting another permit so you should wait until you receive your preferred date before trying for a second permit?

I'm only looking at doing short hikes (2 nights camping) near Tuolomne or Yosemite Valley.

Thanks for any information, I haven't been able to find the answer online anywhere.
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Re: Can I apply for a Wilderness permit more than once?

Postby Phil » Sat Sep 26, 2015 5:28 am

Yes, you can apply for another permit with different trailheads and dates within the same season. You can even do the same route again. There's no penalty or taking a backseat if you've already applied before. This late in the year things taper off pretty dramatically, so there shouldn't be any logistical problems with going pretty much where you want, when you want as far as reservations go, or, in most cases, picking up your permit on a walk-up, first-come-first-served basis at an entrance station or in the Valley. Although, keep in mind that you're coming up on some parking restrictions for Tioga Rd, major shuttle service changes, and some of the facilities in the area are closed already, or at least just days away from it. Get the info you need, keep a very close eye on the current weather forecasts and leave yourself the option of bailing out quickly if things change, and plan accordingly. Without questioning your confidence or abilities in the least, you might also want to consider that, since it is so late in the season and there are less people on the trails, depending on where you go, any problems you have are potentially going to be yours to deal with, and only yours to deal with. Solitude is amazing, but it also has its downside at times. They don't automatically come look for you if you're late, so make sure someone you know has your trip itinerary and the right contact numbers. Just needed to throw that out there.

Maybe even before booking your permit online, call the Valley Wilderness Center for the latest info you'll need: 209-372-0745, or, for the latest on the status of facilities: 209-372-8502.

Did you figure out where you wanted to go yet? Wasn't it Cathedral Lakes via the JMT?
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Re: Can I apply for a Wilderness permit more than once?

Postby CarolE » Sun Sep 27, 2015 4:04 pm

Great, thanks for confirming that. I only could find info on the lotteries that said only one application.

I'm thinking that if the predictions for the strong El Nino year than early June might not be a good idea but that's when I'd prefer to go, and there'd be less people, so I'd like to book a trip then. But a friend can maybe come with me if I go late June, which might be a better idea if the snowpack does turn out to be significant. So, I'm thinking I'd try to book the early June trip for me and that way if I do get a late June permit I still have something?

Tuolomne-Sunrise-Clouds Rest-Half Dome (if I can get permits)- Yosemite. 2 nights camping: 1 near Sunrise and 1 near the Half Dome/JMT junction. I'm not sure whether the Cloud's Rest portion is smarter to do as a section hike or how bad it is to hike over it with a pack and then down the Half Dome side? Seems to make sense routewise. Probably not ideal for well seasoned backpackers but I'm ok with the "everyone wants to see route" for this time, especially as I might be solo and I'm new to backpacking and have a somewhat new hip that I'm still getting worked out. I chose the Tuolomne to Yosemite direction thinking it might be easier but if the other way is more dramatic then I'd be ok with that too.

Thanks for any info

Carol
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Re: Can I apply for a Wilderness permit more than once?

Postby Phil » Sun Sep 27, 2015 9:43 pm

Hey Carol,

Welcome to my dissertation.

Ah, I was under the impression that you were going to try to fit the trip in this season, so that changes things in my mind. With the lottery, that would be staying at the High Sierra Camps (Sunrise, May Lake, Vogelsang, etc...), no lottery for wilderness permits, just book as early as possible. You won't need to worry about seasonal closures (maybe spring season openings for some of the facilities such as Tuolumne and Sunrise), but I can almost guarantee you that your single biggest issue anytime in June is going to be mosquitoes. No kidding! Like you'll fully understand how people in jungles go insane because of insects and that DEET does a real number on mucous membranes when you apply it in the quantities you'll need to even try to get any relief at all. Bring a face net and full rain gear, too.

Okay, so, that said... anytime in June is going to definitely make getting reservations easier. It's way early for most. To give you an example, just fyi, on your proposed route up from Tuolumne to Upper Cathedral Lake, we've been post holing in thigh-deep snow, while it was snowing and hailing, as two thunderstorms converged right over our heads on the 4th of July weekend. Maybe an exception, maybe not, but it happens, and, there will almost definitely be some snow. Make sure you take this winter to practice your navigational skills if there's any chance that there will be snow cover at all. If there is snow, don't leave the trail for any reason, even if you see lots of footprints that head off, and know what a trail blaze on a tree looks like, and how to follow them. No reason to be scared though, just aware and willing to stop and turn around if the situation calls for it, but I'm just going to try to keep you safe since you're new to this. I would bring someone else with you, and maybe even get used to backpacking on some of the lower elevation routes such as the North Rim of the Valley, or even an overnighter to somewhere like Little Yosemite Valley in order to know your gear in the field and to see how you're going to hold up under more controlled conditions.

Which brings me directly to my next concern...your newish hip. You should seriously run that by your doctor!! That's also why I would suggest that you take a friend, at least until you know how it's going to go. You collapse and you're going to sit for a while, even if you have a rescue beacon, or a friend has gone for help. If the weather turns, being alone and crippled, and with not many people coming by because it's not quite peak season, you're possibly going to sit there until you die. That would suck, and I would feel bad having given you any advice at all!

Now let's talk about your route: I would plan at least 4 nights for this (no less than 3), and I'm going to assume that you're doing great and everything except your hip is clicking. I'm going to advise you to go fairly slow and easy in order to see how you do, get used to altitude, and to take advantage of what I consider the best campsites.

Day one- start in Tuolumne Meadows at the JMT trailhead for Cathedral Lakes- night 1, Upper Cathedral Lake. Day 2- From Upper Cathedral to Sunrise. If you need to stop, even though the High Sierra Camp will still be completely shut down, you can overnight it at the backpacker's camp. If you want to continue, leave the JMT and go right up to Upper Sunrise Lake. Go around the other side of the lake for the best campsites, or, you can continue and go to Lower Sunrise Lake. There are some nice sites that are pretty much trailside, but, there are lot's of bears that aren't necessarily dangerous, but good at being kind of pushy- night 2. Day 3- From there, go about 1/4 mile up-trail until you reach the junction with the Sunrise Trail coming up from Tenaya Lake. If you do have any problems and need to bail, this is going to be the fastest way out from where you are, but do keep in mind that when you reach the bottom, you're probably going to have to ford about 100 yards across Tenaya Creek, which might be fast, and probably thigh deep, and, maybe even just an extension of the lake itself if it's a wet year. So let's just say you decide to keep going...when you hit that junction at the top of the Sunrise Trail, follow the signs to Cloud's Rest. It is well worth visiting, but don't plan on camping near the top unless you have plenty of water and don't mind sparse and cramped places. Stay lower, in the flats, at or around the junction that goes back down to the JMT at Sunrise Creek. You'll have a very short hike that day, but it's going to serve you better in the long run, and since you'll have plenty of daylight left, I would advise you to day-hike Cloud's Rest from there, because if you have a full pack and go up and over Cloud's Rest, the descent there is going to be where you're going to have any problems with your hip that you're going to have. It is very steep, and it will hurt...and I can promise you that Stryker didn't stress test their artificial hips in conditions anywhere near it. If you have time, or the flats up there aren't what you have in mind, and you're up for it, you can go ahead and head down that 2.4 mile trail to the JMT and look for campsites there. In my opinion, the best sites along the JMT at Sunrise Creek are going to be up to your left from the junction and along the Creek. If you do decide to go up and over Cloud's Rest, or you want to keep going down the JMT from there toward the Valley, the junction of the JMT and Cloud's Rest just under 2 miles further along also has a few nice sites that are going to be fairly obvious, or, go down a little way and head out into the rocks to the left side of the trail a couple hundred yards or so past that and above the Half Dome spur for better views. The entire area also has lots of bears, in case you were wondering. Everything depends on what you want, need, and are up for- night 3. Day 4- Down to Little Yosemite Valley. You can overnight it there- night 4?, or you can push through about another 4.5 or so miles into the Valley and exit at Happy Isles and stay at the backpacker's camp in the Valley. Pretty much whatever route you end up taking, your travel distance will be about 30+ish miles. Whatever works.

I know I just gave you a lot of info, and I hope it helps. I would keep this post handy, because it's basically, with the exception of a few terrain technicalities, a trip manifest. And if you have any questions, are confused by anything I wrote, need clarification, or just want to bounce around thoughts, no worries.

Anybody want to add anything I might have missed?
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Re: Can I apply for a Wilderness permit more than once?

Postby CarolE » Mon Sep 28, 2015 1:34 pm

Wow, thanks. Tons to think about. I was there last year for June 10-12 and it was crazy hot. While I knew that it wasn't a normal year by any means I didn't think a normal year would still have so much snow Tuolomne towards the Valley. I'll have to relook at elevations for sure and maybe think in terms of applying for later in June for the Happy Valley to Tuolomne direction instead so that I might be able to still do whatever parts I can and then come back out at Happy Valley. Is that allowed or do you have to still exit North if you started in Happy Valley and indicated your exit point was Sunrise or Tuolomne?

My hip irritates me still, I think it's more tendonitis or bursitis but I'm not frail by any means, just weaker compared to the old me as I'm still regaining muscle mass. I did the Mist/Vernal/Nevada Falls/JMT loop last year as a post hip surgery hiking trial as I was worried about whether I could make it up something like that as the info I had read made it sound so tough. I loved the hike and made it just fine. In fact, because I was worried about taking too long I actually finished in time to take the shuttle to the Ahwanhee for their 1 pm tour so I must have done the loop in around 3-3.5 hrs, which I think was ok. I wouldn't mind doing it again- slower with more breaks to better enjoy the views. I met very few people on the trail last year until I came back down/out at the JMT crossing and then got to see a glimpse of what "could be" later in the year, which is why that early June timeframe attracted me for next year. Just enough people around for comfort's sake but not so many as to ruin the experience. I assumed it might be a little less so further back but still bodies around.

Lots to think about but I love to plan ahead. Looking forward to more information/comments and I'll plan for one more night.
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Re: Can I apply for a Wilderness permit more than once?

Postby Phil » Mon Sep 28, 2015 2:47 pm

You're welcome. Excellent. I wasn't trying to be all doom-and-gloom, but thinking about it pragmatically ahead of time and knowing what you possibly might encounter along the way is a good way to start any trip. June in the backcountry alone at almost 10k feet is considerably different than the frontcountry at 6k. And, for all intents and purposes, the Awahnee isn't much more than a theory when you're standing at the top of Cloud's Rest with a full pack on. I want you to enjoy yourself, be safe, and make it an accomplishment you can be proud of, that's all.

You reserve entrance trailheads, the rest is up to you. Although they want you to tell them where you're going to exit for permit duration and other purposes, you're pretty much free to go whatever way you want to once you're in, including a loop to back where you started.
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Re: Can I apply for a Wilderness permit more than once?

Postby balzaccom » Mon Sep 28, 2015 10:28 pm

Just for a little clarity and comparison, this is at 10,000 feet this year (2015) in mid-June in Yosemite.

Image

The second photo is at under 7,000 feet during that same month, only in 2010

Image

Don't make any firm plans for 2016 until you have a better idea of what this winter will bring1
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Re: Can I apply for a Wilderness permit more than once?

Postby Phil » Tue Sep 29, 2015 9:07 am

balzaccom wrote:Just for a little clarity and comparison


A couple succinct pictures being worth a couple thousand long-winded words.
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