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[Yosemite]

End of May - 6 Day Point to Point Questions

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

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End of May - 6 Day Point to Point Questions

Postby Bighead » Thu Mar 24, 2016 9:28 am

This is my first time backpacking in Yosemite and I wanted to post our plan and get some input from folks with experience in the park. We have our permit so we are set in that department.
Day 1
Start at the Wawona Tunnel View Trailhead and hike the Pohono trail to camping at Bridalveil Creek (only camping allowed on Pohono).

Day 2
Bridalveil Creek along the Pohono to Panorama Trail south along Illilouette Creek and camp just outside no camping zone.

Day 3
Backtrack up Panorama Trail and then follow it east to John Muir Trail. Then take John Muir trail north through Little Yosemite and camp along Sunrise Creek.

Day 4
Leave camp along John Muir Trail to Sunrise Lakes Trail and camp near junction of Sunrise Lakes Trail and turnoff for Clouds Rest.

Day 5
Clouds Rest back to John Muir Trail camp along Sunrise Creek

Day 6
John Muir to Mist Trail and back into Yosemite Valley

QUESTIONS?
I will need to get back to our vehicle at the Tunnel View Trailhead and I'm curious about options. Still no timeframe for the shuttle so are people pretty good about hitchhikers in the park?
Also I'm curious about Clouds Rest if there is still some snow/ice during that time. We have crampons and poles but has anyone done this trail with snow in late May that has any advice?
Finally does anyone see any major issues with this plan that I'm missing?

Thanks
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Re: End of May - 6 Day Point to Point Questions

Postby Phil » Thu Mar 24, 2016 10:31 am

Hi,

I'm not sure why you're starting at Tunnel View when you're going in May? Is it a quest, because that time of year you should have plenty of other trailhead options that start low enough to not get caught behind seasonal road closures- Glacier Point road is generally open by then. It's a nice area, but it comes with a lot of climbing and limited camping, as you've discovered, but that you might be able to avoid. It sounds like you've done your homework though. Everything you propose sounds solid. The only two real issues would be where you camp when you get up to Sunrise x Cloud's Rest- you'll need to decide whether you want to head toward CR or Sunrise Lakes to find a good site. It depends on whether you'll be coming up from the Sunrise Trail at the Forsyth Trail or from Sunrise HSC. If it's the former, that junction is doable, but lousy place to camp, and you'll have to walk some for a water source. If it's the latter, you might as well camp up at one of the Sunrise Lakes. The other issue you might want to consider is your descent at the Mist Trail. The Merced River is going to be charged up like crazy at the end of May/early June. That's a treacherous trail when carrying a pack on a good day, and even more so that time of year. You will be very wet, and it will be incredibly slick.

As for hitchhiking: it's sort of a luck of the draw proposition. We've had a ride within minutes, and we've ended up walking. Instead of thumbing it and letting people decide if they want to stop by evaluating a couple of very grubby looking schmoes, we try to hit people up face-to-face at campgrounds or pullouts that are already stopped. It seems to work better, more consistently. The best strategy is to have only one person hitch a ride and the other hang out with the packs and wait till the other gets back with the car.
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Re: End of May - 6 Day Point to Point Questions

Postby Bighead » Thu Mar 24, 2016 10:47 am

Phil wrote:I'm not sure why you're starting at Tunnel View when you're going in May?


We are starting on May 20th and the Glacier Point won't open until May 27th. When I spoke to the backcountry office they suggested Tunnel view as an alternate so we took it. As a bonus from the information I've found the Pohono trail is a great hike.

Phil wrote:The other issue you might want to consider is your descent at the Mist Trail. The Merced River is going to be charged up like crazy at the end of May/early June. That's a treacherous trail when carrying a pack on a good day, and even more so that time of year. You will be very wet, and it will be incredibly slick.


So would you suggest coming out on the John Muir Trail to Happy Isles?

Thanks for the info.
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Re: End of May - 6 Day Point to Point Questions

Postby Phil » Thu Mar 24, 2016 2:14 pm

They told you that Glacier Point wasn't going to open until the 27th? That could be the case, but it seems speculative, at best. Historically, it varies wildly, but they begin plowing on or around April 15th. It really depends on the thaw and whatever variables they run into during operations. As deep as the base might be, right now, we've got at least two weeks of warm weather that are going to take their toll. That said though, Tunnel View it is then. If things change and Glacier Point Rd does open before you get there, you can always revise your permit if that suits you better.

It's not that I would necessarily recommend the JMT over Mist, it's just that you should have at least some idea what to expect before you take that route down.

I forgot to mention it before, but I wouldn't bother hauling crampons along. If you need them it's going to not be for very long or far, and the weight and bulk most likely won't be worth it. You won't need them at all at any of the lower elevations, but maybe go ahead and have them in the car in case you look up toward CR and still see a lot of snow.
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Re: End of May - 6 Day Point to Point Questions

Postby Catie » Thu Apr 07, 2016 5:36 am

Hi, I'm headed to Yosemite may 19-25. Did they act as if glacier point road would for sure stay closed until the 27th? If that's the case I may reschedule my trip. But looking at the history and the April 1 snowpack it seemed hopeful that it would open mid May. Thanks!
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Re: End of May - 6 Day Point to Point Questions

Postby robow8 » Thu Apr 07, 2016 7:00 am

Catie wrote:Hi, I'm headed to Yosemite may 19-25. Did they act as if glacier point road would for sure stay closed until the 27th? If that's the case I may reschedule my trip. But looking at the history and the April 1 snowpack it seemed hopeful that it would open mid May. Thanks!

There is a series of storms headed towards California right now, and it appears that they will drop some more snow. How much and how long it will stay around is anybody's guess.
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Re: End of May - 6 Day Point to Point Questions

Postby balzaccom » Thu Apr 07, 2016 10:10 am

robow8 wrote:There is a series of storms headed towards California right now, and it appears that they will drop some more snow. How much and how long it will stay around is anybody's guess.


And that is the definitive answer right now!

We'll be able to answer the question more accurately in about three weeks!
Check out our website and blog at: http://sites.google.com/site/backpackthesierra/home
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Re: End of May - 6 Day Point to Point Questions

Postby Phil » Thu Apr 07, 2016 2:25 pm

The first 5 miles of Glacier Point Rd stays open up to Badger Pass Ski Resort (Yosemite Ski and Snowboard Area) for winter sports pretty much constantly. They only stop plowing from there up to Glacier Point itself for the winter. It's generally the first to open completely when they begin plowing ops in another 8 days or so. It's about 11 miles of plowing vs almost 50 on Tioga.

Yeah, weather makes it hard to predict with real certainty though. Both roads have even been known to open only to close again because of late season snowfall. It might be about to rain/snow, but we've also had record heat the last couple days, and that trend is supposed to continue past this weather event. Who knows?

Just so you do know: the current temp there right now is 67°, with rain predicted tomorrow, then only a couple inches of snow predicted through early next week, then a slight chance of rain again after that. From the webcam at the resort, it also looks like a lousy base...probably less that 2' at just over 7k feet, and the entire road isn't much higher. Have faith. Plowing should go pretty quickly. Don't quote me though.
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Re: End of May - 6 Day Point to Point Questions

Postby Phil » Thu Apr 07, 2016 2:46 pm

And check this out too.

You can get a rough historical comparison of opening dates by referencing the far right column for snowpack this year vs previous years that are similar, although that data is from the Tuolumne drainage, and therefore generally higher in elevation than Glacier Point. Variables abound, but it's something to hang your hat on. Looks like mid-May is the time to shoot for travel-wise, but Balzaccom is right...we'll know more for sure in about 3 weeks. Also remember that on or around April 15th you can get daily plowing updates through this link as well. I know they'll map it for Tioga, so I assume they do the same for Glacier Point.

https://www.nps.gov/yose/planyourvisit/tiogaopen.htm
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