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[Yosemite]

backpacking loop ideas????

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

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backpacking loop ideas????

Postby tucotuco » Tue Oct 13, 2015 1:50 am

Hi Everybody!

I am Italian so please be patient with my lenguage :D

My girlfriend and I are planning a multiple days (6/7??) hiking in Yosemite, with the plan to sleep overnights with our tent.
I read some guides but it looks like in August all the wellknown trails are all overcrowded :( and we are looking for something more "wild". So I would appreciate if somebody of you experienced Yosemite lovers, can provide any suggestion in terms of trails and places to spend the night.

Thanks in advance and CIAO!!!

PS We are experienced in backcountry and trained to walk 6/7 hours per day with 1.500 mt increase.
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Re: backpacking loop ideas????

Postby balzaccom » Tue Oct 13, 2015 6:35 am

The backcountry trails in Yosemite are only crowded in comparison to the rest of the Sierra--not in comparison to most of the mountain regions in Europe. For example, many of the trails in Yosemite have a quota system that limits the total number of backpackers on that trail each day. The quotas are in the range of 6-30 backpackers each day. That's not a lot of people. And if you choose to camp anywhere but in the most obvious places, you will see far fewer people than that.

On the other hand, if you want to see absolutely nobody, you can take some of the cross-country trips that we have outlined in our backpacking website (link below). Look at Echo Lake, Nelson lake, or Roosevelt Lake via Conness Creek. The trail quotas for those routes are 6 people per day, and we didn't see that many.

Yosemite is huge and wonderful. Don't let the stories keep you away.
Check out our website and blog at: http://sites.google.com/site/backpackthesierra/home
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Re: backpacking loop ideas????

Postby robow8 » Tue Oct 13, 2015 3:14 pm

Balzaccom's trip to Lower Ottoway Lake is a good one. And you can keep going over Red Peak Pass, then follow the Merced back around, then finish up in the Valley, or Glacier point, or Mono Meadow. Here is another trip report of that loop: http://beaut-tree.net/backpacking-red-p ... onal-park/
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Re: backpacking loop ideas????

Postby Phil » Wed Oct 14, 2015 5:29 am

Both these suggestions are good, but since August is peak-season, there will be more people in any case. Avoiding, or minimizing the time spent in the core of the most popular trail systems that radiate out from Yosemite Valley or Tuolumne Meadows is going to be the key. I would favor the trails along the actual Pacific Crest. Conness Creek and the JMT/PCT in the north of the park is rugged and scenic, but without some cross-country, finding a true loop that doesn't put you back down to Hetch Hetchy or at least Pate Valley along the Tuolumne River takes some strong route planning. On the other hand, Ottoway Lakes, Red Peak, and the entire area around the Mt Lyell massif is something that even someone that's familiar with the Italian Alps would appreciate. You can enter the area through Mono Meadows or Wawona and likely see far fewer people than some of the other trailheads that come out of the Valley. Since you're comfortable with what are basically mountaineer's standards for daily elevation gain, your opportunities to find less traveled routes are going to do nothing but increase for it. Get a good topo map and search some Google Images for places that interest you and I'm sure you'll narrow it down quickly.
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Re: backpacking loop ideas????

Postby tucotuco » Thu Oct 15, 2015 2:17 am

Many thanks to all of you!

I will study your proposals, all look very interesting at first sight.

Question: which wilderness permit I need? shall I reserve it in advance?
I am not very familiar with such burocracy and since I come from far away some delays could happen..... what happens if I have to postone for any reason the hicking of 1 or 2 days?

CIAO!
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Re: backpacking loop ideas????

Postby Phil » Thu Oct 15, 2015 9:06 am

I would reserve your permit in advance since you have plenty of time to do it. All the information you need is going to be on the link below, including trailhead maps, quotas, regulations, and the reservation link itself. It is bureaucracy, but it really isn't that hard to get through. Although, if you miss your departure date or don't pick up your permit by 10am that day, you lose your reservation and then you're back to what they call getting it on a walk-up basis, which means that you stand in line, take your chances that your first choice isn't full, and, worst case scenario, you go to Plan B and choose another trailhead. So, do try to pin down the date you want to begin your trip exactly and remember that your permit is only valid and legal for entry into the trail system on the date specified, and they will fine you/escort you out for violations if you are stopped and asked to present it for a ranger.

http://www.nps.gov/yose/planyourvisit/wildpermits.htm

If you get your entry and exit points planned out, re-post with what you want to do, and no doubt someone here will be able to help you with the permit details.

Arrivederci
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Re: backpacking loop ideas????

Postby robow8 » Thu Oct 15, 2015 4:06 pm

You can always add in an extra day or two before your start date. That way, if you run into delays or other problems, you won't miss your start. And there are plenty of things to do in the park while you wait.
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Re: backpacking loop ideas????

Postby Phil » Thu Oct 15, 2015 7:30 pm

robow8 wrote:You can always add in an extra day or two before your start date. That way, if you run into delays or other problems, you won't miss your start.


Yeah, but you only have a confirmation letter ahead of time and have to pick up the actual permit for the trail in person no earlier than the day before. I guess if you're going to be around the park anyhow, and your delay is just because you want more time to take in the sights and not because SF was too hard to tear yourself away from, it could work out though. But you'll be frowned on (at least) if you get caught obviously just starting out on a trail and the dates are a day or two off. A lot of the wilderness rangers are seasonal or volunteers, and they take their "job" very seriously and aren't very understanding when something doesn't seem right.
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Re: backpacking loop ideas????

Postby robow8 » Thu Oct 15, 2015 9:18 pm

Phil wrote:
robow8 wrote:You can always add in an extra day or two before your start date. That way, if you run into delays or other problems, you won't miss your start.


Yeah, but you only have a confirmation letter ahead of time and have to pick up the actual permit for the trail in person no earlier than the day before. I guess if you're going to be around the park anyhow, and your delay is just because you want more time to take in the sights and not because SF was too hard to tear yourself away from, it could work out though. But you'll be frowned on (at least) if you get caught obviously just starting out on a trail and the dates are a day or two off. A lot of the wilderness rangers are seasonal or volunteers, and they take their "job" very seriously and aren't very understanding when something doesn't seem right.


I wasn't saying that they shouldn't honor the date on their permit. It sounded like they were concerned that they might have travel delays and miss their start date. So I was just suggesting that maybe they should think about having a couple of extra days before their start date, just to make sure they make it to the park. And if they have no delays, they could either try for a walkup or play tourist for a couple of days.
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Re: backpacking loop ideas????

Postby Phil » Fri Oct 16, 2015 7:06 am

Okay, cool. I just wanted to make sure that he didn't misinterpret anything that we tell him and leisurely pop by a permit station thinking he could game it and have everything fall into place. For me, too many experiences with rangers stalking the first couple miles of trails to even think of not having my permits in perfect order, and they'll all tell you that it's amazing how many people they encounter that think they're perfectly legit, but aren't.
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Re: backpacking loop ideas????

Postby tucotuco » Thu Jan 07, 2016 2:49 am

Hy Everybody and happy 2016!

Further to your suggestions I took time to make some planning and arrived at the following approxmate guidelines:

Day 1 Happy Isles / Half Dome - night somewhere around JMT junction
Day 2 Up to Clouds Rest - night somewhere before Toloune Meadows (Cathedral lake?)
Day 3 Lunch + shopping + relax at Toloumne Meadows / Lyell Canyon - nigt camp before uphill to Vogelsang (or further to Evelyn lake area?)
Day 4 Vogelsang / Merced Lake - Night somewhere after M lake direction trail heads
Day 5 Back to trailhead

We have 1 or 2 extra day for planning /rest / bad weather on the way. Maybe, if we have much time (or some strenght) remained, we could get home via Glacier point.

What do you think, has this sense?
Do you have suggestions for overnight spots?

Thanks in advance and ciao!
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Re: backpacking loop ideas????

Postby Phil » Thu Jan 07, 2016 7:52 am

Sounds about right.

After descending Half Dome, go left on the JMT until you get to the trail junction up to Cloud's Rest. Look for a site to camp in that general area. Lot's of bears!

The ascent to Cloud's Rest from where you're camped is about 2700 feet, and steep. Depending on how you're feeling, Cathedral Lakes might be a little overly ambitious. Instead, try to shoot for camping at one of the Sunrise Lakes. Get an early start, and from there head through the Sunrise High Sierra Camp back to the JMT and maybe think about having lunch at Upper Cathedral Lake. You may want to go ahead and exit down in Tuolumne Meadows (there's not much to shop for), but depending on the time of day, you may also want to go ahead and spend the night at the Lake and take that last 3.6 miles down first thing in the morning, then head up toward Vogelsang via Lyell. ***A note here*** Once you've gotten to Tuolumne Meadows on the JMT, you've technically left the wilderness, and a new permit is going to be required. Address the "pass-thru" with the ranger when you pick up your original permit.

If you want a campsite prior to heading up to Vogelsang, once you get to the trail junction from the PCT up to Vogelsang, start looking off to the left of the trail around the bottom of Ireland Creek. You'll find better sites than for at least several more miles of uphill, better water, you can build a fire if that's your thing, and you might be ready for a bit of a break at that point, too. Besides being a nice area to camp, it's also a good strategic call if you're planning to push through Vogelsang on to Merced Lake the next day, because it breaks the distances down pretty well.

Once you get to Merced Lake, if you're exhausted, stay at the backpacker's camp there. Camping is restricted around the High Sierra Camp, and once you get past it, desirable campsites beyond that point are harder to come by through Echo Valley and down most of the Upper Merced River. If you want to hike-through to the Valley that same day, it's doable. If you want to stay at LYV (not Recommended by me!), you can do that, too. You will also face restrictions around LYV, and there's really not much to choose from anyhow. Instead of Merced Lake, LYV, or much in between, there are some really nice sites around Bunnell Cascade (cross the bridge, head uphill right). From there, you avoid the more crowded areas around Merced and LYV, and from what I understand of your abilities, you're also in a good place to get down to Yosemite Valley fairly easily by day's end.

Hope that helps. If you need more details, ask.
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Re: backpacking loop ideas????

Postby balzaccom » Thu Jan 07, 2016 8:57 am

Another option that would involved less climbing would be to start and end at Tuolumne Meadows

Day 1: Tuolumne Meadows to Vogelsang--maybe explore Bernice Lake
Day 2: Merced Lake or hike up to Washburn for fewer people
Day 3: Sunrise or Cathedral via Cloud's rest--maybe a side trip to Echo Lake
Day 4: Easy hike back to Tuolumne Meadows. Stay in the backpackers campsite there
Day 5: Day hike some of the other great hikes there: Gaylor Lakes, Lembert Dome or Pothole Dome...
Or head down into the valley to enjoy the waterfalls, including Vernal and Nevada Falls.
Check out our website and blog at: http://sites.google.com/site/backpackthesierra/home
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Re: backpacking loop ideas????

Postby mdewey12 » Thu Jan 07, 2016 4:48 pm

I Like Balzaalcom's suggestion. I'm planning a similar route, but with a possible two nights at Sunrise to add a little 'leisure' to the trip.
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Re: backpacking loop ideas????

Postby balzaccom » Thu Jan 07, 2016 4:52 pm

That would allow you to explore Echo and Matthes Lakes...
Check out our website and blog at: http://sites.google.com/site/backpackthesierra/home
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