Home A - Z FAQ Bookstore Art Prints Online Library Discussion Forum Muir Weather Maps Lodging About Search
CalHotels.US--online reservations now CalHotels.US Lowest Hotel Rates Guaranteed. Click Here For Yours!
Hotel photos, maps, reviews, & discount rates.

U.S. Hotels in California (Yosemite, L. A., San Francisco ), AL, AK, AR, AS, AZ, CA, CO, CT, DC, DE, FL, FM, GA, GU, HI, ID, IL, IN, IA, KS, KY, LA, ME, MD, MA, MI, MN, MS, MO, MT, NE, NH, NJ, NY, OK, NV, MH, MP, NM, NC, ND, OH, OR, PA, PR, PW, RI, SC, SD, TN, TX, UT, VT, VA, VI WA, WV, WI, WY

[Yosemite]

Trip Report: Sunrise Lakes to YV 6/8-6/11

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

Moderators: Wickett, dan

Trip Report: Sunrise Lakes to YV 6/8-6/11

Postby ErinJ86 » Tue Jun 14, 2016 7:18 pm

Finally after months of research and anticipation, our trip from Sunrise Lakes to the valley has been completed. I have a lot of pictures to share and far from tech savvy. I'm hoping the links to my Facebook photos work. I also apparently have a lot to write about this trip based on the length of this post. Reader, beware.

We arrived at Yosemite from LA on June 7th. When we picked up our permits in the valley we were cautioned to reconsider our planned route. With our intended route to start at Tenaya Lake, camp at Sunrise Lakes, continue onto Clouds Rest, take advantage of our Half Dome permits, and finish in the valley, the ranger at the permit office said he had only heard of one person going over Clouds Rest from Sunrise Lakes in the last few weeks. He also quickly mentioned something about a helicopter taking someone out of that area recently. He encouraged us to go around Clouds Rest and approach it from the south and come back down the same way. Our group got a bit concerned and figured we should heed his advice, however, I wasn't sure if we could add that extra mileage onto our trip.

Luckily, while we camped in North Pines, we ran into Mark who had just gone over Clouds Rest from Sunrise Lakes. He shared his potato chips with us and said there was definitely snow on the way to Clouds Rest, but as long as we had a map, a compass, and some orienteering experience we'd be just fine. Understanding that the ranger at the permit station simply wanted to keep us safe, Mark eased our nerves and we planned to stick with our intended route.

On June 8th we drove to Tenaya Lake, left the car and set out for our four days in the backcountry. Right away we were faced with my biggest concern: the Tenaya Creek crossing. Thanks to Instagram I was able to scope out some recent pictures of the crossing. From the pictures it seemed doable and it definitely was. At its deepest the creek came to my mid-thigh. Sure it was cold, but it was a warm sunny day and it was quite refreshing. We came across a few day hikers who were turned off. We, on the other hand, just trudged right through. (Side note: Do not trust that your waterproof iPhone case is indeed waterproof. My phone was in my pants pocket and I figured it would survive a little bit of water. I was wrong. However, I think Mother Nature was just trying to tell me to let that phone go for a bit. A bag of rice fixed the problem once we got home.)

https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=10107756171706660&set=a.10107756379460320&type=3&theater
https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=10107754994790210&set=a.10107756379460320&type=3&theater

We continued toward Sunrise Lakes without any issues for the first half of the trek. As we climbed higher we started to face more snow and kept losing the trail. I knew this section of the trail was tough, but I didn't realize how tough. Already by about mile two our group's morale was dropping quickly. The sun was beating down on us, the snow was slippery, and we weren't 100% sure we were even going in the right direction. Little victories like spotting a cairn or running into other folks kept our spirits up. At the highest point of the trail, near the junction of the Sunrise Lakes and Clouds Rest trails, we ran into two women who pointed us in the direction of Sunrise Lakes. We came across two tents near the first lake and decided to continue onto the second. We set up camp and checked out the lake. We couldn't resist jumping in. Again, it was very cold but worth it. That evening was the coldest evening we had. I was very thankful for my fall camping trips along the Lake Superior North Shore.

https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=10107755062264990&set=a.10107756379460320&type=3&theater
https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=10107755004121510&set=a.10107756379460320&type=3&theater

Day two we continued towards Clouds Rest and made a decision as a group that we'd stop to check the map and compass anytime we felt like we were losing the trail to decrease wasted time and increase group morale. As we came to the junction of Sunrise Lakes Trail and Clouds Rest Trail we came across a couple groups of day hikers. We all worked together to figure out the trail. We only lost the trail a couple of times and made our way to Clouds Rest around 1pm. At this point the snow was pretty slushy and challenging to navigate. If we could do it again I would have had our group leave camp a couple hours earlier. But even the slushy conditions couldn't stop us from marveling at the view from Clouds Rest. I'm glad we had this on our agenda. If the heavy packs and altitude didn't take our breath away, the views definitely did.

https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=10107755004001750&set=a.10107756379460320&type=3&theater
https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=10107755010119490&set=a.10107756379460320&type=3&theater
https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=10107755062898720&set=a.10107756379460320&type=3&theater

Although the trek down from Clouds Rest is brutal on the knees and ankles, we were happy to say "goodbye" to the snow for good. We planned to camp near the JMT and were surprised by the number of sites that were already taken. We were pretty spent after CR and lucky to find a terrific site that overlooked JMT and the creek. As a group we decided to make this site home for two nights as we were doing Half Dome the next day.

On day three we woke up to tackle Half Dome. We were thrilled to swap our big packs out for daypacks and practically skipped toward HD. I had been told that the sub dome is no joke and that is definitely the case. I didn't realize we'd be scrambling up granite even before we got the cables. Once we got to the cables I thought for sure the half of our crew who feared heights weren't going to make it. But after some coaxing from hikers who had just come down the four of us started to make our ascent. We made it up in about 25 minutes with no issues. The wind was picking up and the cables were getting busy so we only spent about 20 minutes on the top. Unfortunately, there was a line forming for those ready to descend as we started to approach the cables. It took us almost an hour to get to the bottom as there was a lot of congestion and fearful people climbing up. Excuse my language, but I can see why people think of Half Dome as a shit show. Too many impatient people with zero experience with climbing. I wasn't afraid of going up or down the cables, but I was afraid for those around me. (Also, the six dudes who gave the ranger a hard time because they didn't have permits but "only came to Yosemite to climb HD" put a bad taste in my mouth. And the chick in sandals.)

https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=10107755064191130&set=a.10107756379460320&type=3&theater

That evening some rangers stopped by our site to let us know that bears had been very active in the area. Sure enough my husband heard one of the other sites yelling "get away!" at about 3am. As far as we know our site was untouched.

On our final day we woke up for an early start down to the valley. Our plan was to take the Mist Trail down as we wanted to see the waterfalls. If I could redo this trip I would not finish in the valley on a Saturday. The rangers from the night before had told us there had been a rockslide on JMT so the Mist Trail was our only option down so we didn't really have a choice on this trip. The closer we got to the valley the bigger the crowds grew. Everyone in our crew felt a bit overwhelmed. We were coming from the quite, serene wilderness and entering what seemed like Disneyland. After many dirty looks from those visiting the falls due to the width of our packs while going down the narrow stairs (and probably how badly we smelled), we made it to the shuttle at the Happy Isles Nature Center. We ate a lot of much anticipated pizza and bummed around the valley until the YARTS bus headed to Tuolumne picked us up.

https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=10107755004226300&set=a.10107756379460320&type=3&theater
https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=10107755004356040&set=a.10107756379460320&type=3&theater

**Note on the YV to Tuolumne bus** We got to the bus stop around 4:40pm and the bus showed up five minutes later. There was already a line and by the time everyone got on the bus at least two people were left without seats. And this was on June 11th! Since the formerly free Hiker's Bus is only running once a day and with a ridiculous fee, I can only assume this YARTS route is going to be in high demand. Plan accordingly and get in line early.

Final thoughts, Yosemite is amazing and I'm envious of those who have easy access to the park. Our group is really grateful for the wisdom from all of you on this forum (especially Phil), other forums, social media, and Reddit. There's an incredible community of backpackers and hikers out there and everyone's advice makes a trip like mine happen. Lastly, and I'm not being compensated by these brands, but there's two products that made this trip even better. First, we had been warned about the mosquitoes. As true Minnesotans we understand these pests and I would say Yosemite has nothing on our mosquitoes, but 3M's Ultrathon insect repellent lotion is incredible! I put it on in the morning and was not bothered throughout the whole day. I left with maybe two bites the whole trip. The other product (I realize my audience is mainly men) is the pStyle. For the few ladies I came across on the trail I wanted to share my love of this product with them! Ladies, look it up. And you're welcome.

Thanks again and happy hiking!
ErinJ86
Regular
Regular
 
Posts: 16
Joined: Mon Feb 15, 2016 3:21 pm

Re: Trip Report: Sunrise Lakes to YV 6/8-6/11

Postby Phil » Tue Jun 14, 2016 8:33 pm

Thank you Erin. I'm so glad you had a great time, and I know a lot of people will appreciate you putting all the work that piled up while you were gone aside long enough to make your report a priority on behalf of others planning for (and worrying about) their upcoming trips! It's been more than a pleasure helping you out these past few months and knowing that your trip came to a happy and safe ending. Don't be a stranger here, or in Yosemite.

She did it, had fun, and found out why people who take the time and effort to go into the backcountry have every reason to be proud of themselves in their accomplishments and in being part of something much bigger than any one of us. GO, and have fun, too!

Just Awesome!
Phil
Veteran-poster
Veteran-poster
 
Posts: 894
Joined: Mon Jun 08, 2015 5:02 am
Location: Healdsburg, Ca

Re: Trip Report: Sunrise Lakes to YV 6/8-6/11

Postby Bachus » Tue Jun 14, 2016 8:52 pm

Thank you for the excellent trip summary :)
Bachus
Newbie
Newbie
 
Posts: 5
Joined: Tue Jun 14, 2016 8:07 am

Re: Trip Report: Sunrise Lakes to YV 6/8-6/11

Postby mebgardner » Wed Jun 15, 2016 11:58 am

Erin:

For the ascent through the snow, did you wear waterproof boot? Would you recommend them?
mebgardner
Frequent poster
Frequent poster
 
Posts: 47
Joined: Wed Feb 03, 2016 7:22 am

Re: Trip Report: Sunrise Lakes to YV 6/8-6/11

Postby MadDiver » Wed Jun 15, 2016 1:31 pm

Glad you were able to safely push through and complete your trip! Nice report and pics. What a difference from last year. On that route one year ago I took exactly one step in snow and didn't even get my socks wet crossing at Tenaya Lake. As for taking a dip in the lake surrounded by snow :shock: That'll wake ya up!

For pics in the future, you may want to set up a PhotoBucket or Pisca account (others as well). Once uploaded (drag and drop) there's a simple code line you click to copy a link to that pic, then paste the link into your trip report (as you did with the facebook links) and boom! the pics show up in the report and not as a link. Really quite easy once you do it the first time (works for every site I post on not just this one).
MadDiver
Very frequent poster
Very frequent poster
 
Posts: 98
Joined: Sun Apr 05, 2015 5:26 pm

Re: Trip Report: Sunrise Lakes to YV 6/8-6/11

Postby ErinJ86 » Wed Jun 15, 2016 6:01 pm

Mebgardner, we had Gortex lined boots. I would recommend at least that for the next couple of weeks on the north side of Clouds Rest. We hit lots areas where the snowmelt had pooled and we had to splash through. Bring extra socks just in case. We had snow in our boots due to postholing a few times.

Thanks for the photo advice, MadDiver!
ErinJ86
Regular
Regular
 
Posts: 16
Joined: Mon Feb 15, 2016 3:21 pm

Re: Trip Report: Sunrise Lakes to YV 6/8-6/11

Postby mebgardner » Fri Jun 17, 2016 10:23 am

ErinJ86 wrote:Mebgardner, we had Gortex lined boots. I would recommend at least that for the next couple of weeks on the north side of Clouds Rest. We hit lots areas where the snowmelt had pooled and we had to splash through. Bring extra socks just in case. We had snow in our boots due to postholing a few times.

Thanks for the photo advice, MadDiver!


OK, thanks. I'm ready with gaiters, too, and maybe rain pants. Depends on how hot I think I'll get during the packing. Yup, extra socks for the evening dry-out.

I'm thinking that there will have been enough attempts at the route by end of this month, that there *might* be a broke trail by then. Maybe... If they don't all wander, all over...

It's my return route via Vogelsang HSC and Toloumne Pass that have me most concerned about snow depth, still. That route probably does not get as much traffic, its high altitude, and the route north off the pass is ... north facing, so snow could still be deep. I think I'll see some of it from Toloumne meadows, when I get there.
mebgardner
Frequent poster
Frequent poster
 
Posts: 47
Joined: Wed Feb 03, 2016 7:22 am

Re: Trip Report: Sunrise Lakes to YV 6/8-6/11

Postby AlmostThere » Fri Jun 17, 2016 12:22 pm

I use neoprene waterproof socks and the shoes I always wear, with OR Crocodiles (waterproof gaiters) this time of year. That way the waterproof part is replaceable instead of prematurely wearing out a GTX inner of a shoe and ending up with a shoe that is neither breathable nor waterproof.

I have no desire to lose toenails again. Goretex was the major contributor to horrible foot-eating fungus that took months to subside, a ton of money sunk into ineffective medicines, and never wearing it again....
AlmostThere
Veteran-poster
Veteran-poster
 
Posts: 1695
Joined: Fri May 15, 2009 6:57 pm
Location: Central Valley California

Re: Trip Report: Sunrise Lakes to YV 6/8-6/11

Postby ErinJ86 » Fri Jun 17, 2016 1:14 pm

That's good to know about the Goretex, AlmostThere!

I will say that we ran into some guys on the YARTS bus that came from Tuolumne. I'm not sure how far North they were, I believe Cathedral Lakes, but they had snowshoes and told me they were grateful they had them. Now that was last week and the snow was melting fast.
ErinJ86
Regular
Regular
 
Posts: 16
Joined: Mon Feb 15, 2016 3:21 pm

Re: Trip Report: Sunrise Lakes to YV 6/8-6/11

Postby Phil » Fri Jun 17, 2016 1:57 pm

We've had rain here the past couple days, and I haven't looked to see how that translated out in snowfall, if any, but for sure that trail has been tracked down pretty well by now.

I do wear Gore-tex boots, but I switched from Scarpas to Zamberlans a couple years ago, and it's made a huge difference in every way, all positive. I throw in a pair of REI expedition weight Merino wool socks and I have no foot problems at all, ever. But Gore-tex will always leak through eventually, and even if my boots do the job most of the time, if it's really wet, I prefer a lighter neoprene kayak sock over the wool socks. Instead of a heavier 3-5mm sock by itself, I use 0.5mm NRS Hydroskins. My feet stay dry and warm, no blisters, no fungus, and the wool absorbs the excess moisture. Then, at the end of the day, instead of all these overpriced things people wear, we found these $10 OP water shoes at Walmart that are comfortable, work great for fishing, and breathe. Everything working together as an effective system makes a big difference. I got sick of losing nails to fungus and long, steep descents, too.
Phil
Veteran-poster
Veteran-poster
 
Posts: 894
Joined: Mon Jun 08, 2015 5:02 am
Location: Healdsburg, Ca

Re: Trip Report: Sunrise Lakes to YV 6/8-6/11

Postby Phil » Fri Jun 17, 2016 2:03 pm

AlmostThere wrote:I have no desire to lose toenails again. Goretex was the major contributor to horrible foot-eating fungus that took months to subside, a ton of money sunk into ineffective medicines, and never wearing it again....


I used tee tree oil, got it up under the nail-bed, applied it often and liberally, and it took care of that. Some of those meds have side-effects that are nasty...nothing like destroying your liver to fix your toenails.
Phil
Veteran-poster
Veteran-poster
 
Posts: 894
Joined: Mon Jun 08, 2015 5:02 am
Location: Healdsburg, Ca

Re: Trip Report: Sunrise Lakes to YV 6/8-6/11

Postby MadDiver » Fri Jun 17, 2016 2:07 pm

mebgardner wrote:It's my return route via Vogelsang HSC and Toloumne Pass that have me most concerned about snow depth, still. That route probably does not get as much traffic, its high altitude, and the route north off the pass is ... north facing, so snow could still be deep. I think I'll see some of it from Toloumne meadows, when I get there.


Looking at the snow model that keeps getting posted, I don't think you'll have too much to worry about. This link is for predicted snow cover June 20th (furthest forecast date): http://tinyurl.com/zd9lmc4
MadDiver
Very frequent poster
Very frequent poster
 
Posts: 98
Joined: Sun Apr 05, 2015 5:26 pm

Re: Trip Report: Sunrise Lakes to YV 6/8-6/11

Postby Phil » Fri Jun 17, 2016 2:24 pm

We're shooting for next Tuesday or Wednesday to go back and completely redo our previous route, and hopefully then some. I'll try to allow some extra time to get a better idea of what's going on other places.

I found that model to be accurate overall, but especially in low-lying and forested areas, it was way off. Looking at the map, you would think that much more of the higher elevations are clear, but the reality didn't really work out that way.

And if anyone is thinking of heading to the park this weekend, maybe skip it. Obama and family are going to be there with all that entails, and wherever he goes, it's bound to be screwed up more than it already is. **And that is in no way a political statement. It's that I'm sure they'll restrict access wherever he is, and I get the feeling that people carrying large backpacks anywhere nearby will make the Secret Service very edgy.
Phil
Veteran-poster
Veteran-poster
 
Posts: 894
Joined: Mon Jun 08, 2015 5:02 am
Location: Healdsburg, Ca


Return to Yosemite Hiking & Backpacking

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 3 guests