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[Yosemite]

3 day 2 nights backpacking that includes Clouds Rest

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

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3 day 2 nights backpacking that includes Clouds Rest

Postby Duy » Tue Mar 15, 2016 1:19 pm

Hi,

I was wondering if anyone would be able to help me figure out a good route/itinerary that includes Clouds Rest for early September. I'll be backpacking with 5 friends. We're not hardcore backpackers. All of our trips have been 4 days or less and no more than 30 miles total. We like to average 7-9 miles per day but not exceed 11 miles.

I first considered starting at Tenaya Lake, summit Clouds Rest, then camp near the JMT/CRT junction for the night. Wake up early to beat the crowds and do a day hike up Half Dome (if we're able to obtain permits via lottery) then back to camp for another night. Next morning loop back to Tenaya Lake via JMT.

But after some research, I think starting at Glacier point may be better in terms of getting as much view of Yosemite as possible during our 3 days there. Start at GP, camp near the JMT/CRT junction. Next day, hike HD, camp at the same location. Last day, summit CR via CRT then onto Tenaya Lake. My only concern with this route is the ride/bus logistics. I hear the parking lot at GP is really small and overnight parking is not allowed. Would we be able to park at YV, bus to GP, start our hike, finish at TL, and bus back to YV? I couldn't find that much info on bus routes and time.

Since this has been a wet season for CA, I'm assuming water will be plentiful along Sunrise Creek.

Are there any other routes we should consider that includes HD and CR over the 3 days? Of course, this is all pending lottery for HD and back country permits. We'll be coming from San Diego, so first come first served permits is not an option for us.
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Re: 3 day 2 nights backpacking that includes Clouds Rest

Postby AlmostThere » Tue Mar 15, 2016 2:00 pm

Half Dome permits work differently - the separate lottery is for day hikers only. For doing HD on a backpack trip, there is a box on the Wilderness permit application to check. You may or may not get awarded the HD permit. You cannot use a permit obtained for day hiking if you have a concurrent wilderness permit.

Starting at Glacier Point will be a harder trip. If you aren't hardcore hikers, the first option would be much more enjoyable. The added complications of bus schedules will be difficult to manage as well. There are local free shuttles for different parts of the park. There is the YARTS bus. There MIGHT be the hiker bus that travels Tioga Road, if the new concessionaire is still doing that, and the tour bus that goes to Glacier Point -- but September is when schedules start to change, stuff starts to shut down for the winter, and the YARTS goes on weekend only scheduling over Tioga at some point. I'm not certain when they will shut down the bus to Glacier Point. By mid October they stop allowing overnight parking on Tioga Road, and there are no longer services at Tuolumne Meadows.

What starting at Glacier Point will get you is crowds. At Glacier Point, on the Panorama trail, and all the way to Little Yosemite Valley. You won't be alone on the first itinerary either but tourists tend to visit Vernal and Nevada Falls, Glacier Point, and as you know, Half Dome. By September the JMT thru hikers thin out (services are shutting down in the high country, resupply points among them).

Going from Glacier Point to the JMT/CRT junction is NOT an easy day. At all. Much of the way it is exposed sunny walking and there is a lot of elevation loss and gain -- down, and up, and down, and up. The hike from Tenaya Lake has some exposure but I remember it being magnitudes more pleasant than the Panorama trail in terms of temperature -- higher elevation, more shady spots.
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Re: 3 day 2 nights backpacking that includes Clouds Rest

Postby Duy » Tue Mar 15, 2016 4:30 pm

Thank you for the info and suggestion AT! My friends and I have already submitted for the preseason HD permits. We're going to apply for the wilderness permits at the end of the week and will check the box for the HD hike. We're applying for both to better our chances of obtaining HD but would definitely prefer the wilderness permits (with HD) because we're not particularly interested in car camping and day hiking.

If I'm understanding you correctly, are you saying that if we get awarded the wilderness permit (with no HD) and also happen to get awarded the day hiking permit for HD, that will not be permitted/allowed?

Because of possible complications with bus scheduling in September, I think I'll take your suggestion on doing the Tenaya Lake loop with CR and HD in the itinerary... unless someone else chimes in and can give more info on bus scheduling. Upside with the loop is that it should give us a little more time to drive around and check out the park.
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Re: 3 day 2 nights backpacking that includes Clouds Rest

Postby AlmostThere » Tue Mar 15, 2016 6:52 pm

You can't use the day hiking permit for HD on a backpacking trip. You have to have the HD on the wilderness permit. So if you are set on doing HD either way, and have only the day hiking permit, you'd have to do the backpacking before or after the day hike. It sounds strange, but the quotas often do to people -- trying to limit the number of people on Half Dome has cut the number of medical interventions necessary in half, from an average of a dozen per day to an average of about six per day, and it seems to have radically decreased the long lines for the cables. So in that sense it's a success. The most dangerous thing about HD is the people on the cables -- they do irrational, unpredictable things that impact everyone else on the cables with them. I personally won't be going up there at all in the future. There are plenty of views, many of them better, and all of them less crowded.
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Re: 3 day 2 nights backpacking that includes Clouds Rest

Postby balzaccom » Tue Mar 15, 2016 8:20 pm

We agree with AT. If you are interested in another version of your hike, you could include some time at either Cathedral or Echo Lakes. Both are beautiful and within and easy hike of Clouds Rest and Sunrise HSC.
Check out our website and blog at: http://sites.google.com/site/backpackthesierra/home
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