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[Yosemite]

Hike for mid april??

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

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Hike for mid april??

Postby Bergtroll » Sun Feb 10, 2008 2:25 pm

I am from Europe and will be in San Francisco around April 15.

Is it possible to do some good hiking in Yosemite at this time, e.g., the Benson Lake Loop ( [xxx].accesscom.c[x]m/~ddonehoo/benson/benson01.h[x]m with snowshoes and/or crampons)? Or is this a bad idea because all the snow is melting at this time? Is there a lot of snow this year?

Many thanks for your help (and please do not delete this nick again. I am no spam bot ;).
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Re: Hike for mid april??

Postby dan » Mon Feb 11, 2008 8:54 pm

Sorry, no. The Benson Lake Loop is not accessible because the Tioga Road (Highway 120) is closed, because there's still snow there and it's not plowed until May or June. There's snow there even in low-snow years. Most snow in Yosemite doesn't start to melt until May and June and takes a month or two to melt.

You can hike in Yosemite Valley--it's low enough (4000' or 1500m) so you can find snow-free areas to hike most years.

If you want to get away from people, try the area out of Hetch Hetchy Reservoir. The entrance at Hetch Hetchy is only open during daylight hours (8 am to 5 pm). Also the "Hiker's tunnel" on the opposite side of the Hetch Hetchy dam has collapsed--it's closed until they clear the rock out.
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Postby Bergtroll » Tue Feb 12, 2008 3:17 pm

Many thanks for your reply, dan.

I would like to go to a remote area (i.e., Yosemite Valley is no option).

Do you have a particular hiking recommendation with respect to Hetch Hetchy? (I have the Garmin topo map and, therefore, can look-up the names of the locations.) Is it a problem that the tunnel is closed or can I still access the tracks at Hetch Hetchy?

Am I correct to assume that Hetch Hetchy will not be crowded in April? (In principle, I would prefer to meet noone or just a few people during the entire trip.) I would be happy to do some off track walking (if possible). I do not have a problem to walk over extensive snow fields (with crampons).

Thanks in advance for any hints.
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Postby dan » Mon Feb 18, 2008 11:22 pm

With the tunnel closed, there is no access to the north side of Hetch Hetchy.

You can hike southeast toward Smith Peak and up the Grand Canyon of the Tuolumne River from the Hetch Hetchy reservoir. There's a small campground south of the dam for backpackers.

In any case, there's still too much snow in April for backpacking. You need snowshoes or cross-country skis.

You will meet few people--especially in April
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Postby Bergtroll » Wed Feb 20, 2008 2:45 pm

1.
I have received information that a crew will try to excavate the tunnel next week. If nothing goes wrong, the tunnel should be open within 2 to 3 weeks.

2.
What do you think about the following hike:

[img179.imageshack.us/img179/5493/overviewzv5.jpg]
http://img179.imageshack.us/img179/5493/overviewzv5.jpg

I know that it will be difficult. But is it doable (with snowshoes and, if required, crampons)? Are some parts of the track simply too steep? Crossing of rivers? Terrible suncups? Risk of avalanches?

In particular, I am not sure whether the following section (ascent to or descent from Mt Colby/Ten Lakes) will be doable since there is no track:

[img45.imageshack.us/img45/1998/colbykm2.jpg]
http://img45.imageshack.us/img45/1998/colbykm2.jpg

Many thanks again for any helpful hints. (Unfortunately, I cannot post a direct link to the google earth images. You have to add hxxp and replace the colon by a dot.)

3.
I found certain reports indicating that there may not be a lot of snow in April ( http://www.fedak.net/albums/LeContePoint.html ). On the other hand, I understand that Evergreen Lodge still offers snowshoe trips in April. Probably, it depends on the year. Am I correct to assume that we have a lot of snow this year?
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Postby dan » Fri Feb 22, 2008 4:48 pm

I think the trip to Colby Mountain and Grand Mountain are too tough because of the snow and cross-country terrain. I never been to either peak though.

Hiking cross-country (off-trail) through forest slows you down. Navigating off-trail slows you down (although a GPS helps). Hiking with snowshoes slows you down. Hiking high where there's more snow slows you down.

I would stay low and head through the Grand Canyon of the Tuolumne (along the Tuolumne River through Pate Valley).

The risk of avalanche is low in these areas. Suncups are not a problem at this elevation. The problem is you'll be slow with snowshoes cross-country.

Rivers are not a problem on your route, except crossing the Tuolumne River. Sorry, I don't remember where the bridges are located.

The snow level is slightly above average so far this year, and it looks like more storms are coming in.

You can also snowshoe from Badger Pass Ski Area on the Glacier Point Road. They close sometime in mid-April though (there's still snow, but the ski area and rental services are closed).
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Postby Bergtroll » Sat Feb 23, 2008 1:17 am

Many many thanks, Dan. Your help is highly appreciated.

I found a description of the trail (Hetch Hetchy - Smith Meadows - Pate Valley): http://www.accesscom.com/~ddonehoo/tuol ... mne001.htm

Maybe I could return via Table Lake & Rancheria falls ...
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Postby dan » Sun Feb 24, 2008 12:58 pm

Bergtroll wrote:Maybe I could return via Table Lake & Rancheria falls


Maybe, if the conditions are right. You'll see Rancheria Falls and hike beneath Wapama Falls. The high point, near Rancheria Mountain, may be a problem in April (it's hard to find a trail), but having a GPS helps. Also, you could always return the way you came.
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Postby Bergtroll » Sun Feb 24, 2008 1:31 pm

"Also, you could always return the way you came."

But I should probably make my decision prior to descending to Pate Valley :twisted:

By the way: I gave up my initial idea to do the Benson Lake Loop because Highway 120 is closed. But it seems to me that the highways in Kings Canyon NP are not closed (e.g., Lodgepole). Wouldn't it be an option to do the Rae Lakes Loop or the Deadman Canyon Loop there? Looks much more spectacular than Smith Meadows ...

Probably, this would be a difficult hike with snowshoes. (But I have all the gear like GPS, super-warm sleeping bag etc.) The strange thing is that I find no website descriping hiking trips at higher elevations in April. Are the suncups so terribly bad already in April? Or is it impossible to cross the rivers? I found (only) one website indicating that Kings Canyon NP in April is actually a good destination ... mhhh.

Maybe I should make alternate plans (depending on the weather):

- Cold weather + lot of snow: snowshoeing in Kings Canyon.

- Warm weather + spring run-off: hiking at Hetch Hetchy?
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Postby dan » Tue Feb 26, 2008 12:02 am

[quote="Bergtroll"]"Also, you could always return the way you came."

But I should probably make my decision prior to descending to Pate Valley :twisted:

By the way: I gave up my initial idea to do the Benson Lake Loop because Highway 120 is closed. But it seems to me that the highways in Kings Canyon NP are not closed (e.g., Lodgepole). Wouldn't it be an option to do the Rae Lakes Loop or the Deadman Canyon Loop there? Looks much more spectacular than Smith Meadows ...

In winter the highway to Kings Canyon, Highway 180, is closed. Although Kings Canyon is low in elevation and doesn't get much snow, Highway 180 to Kings Canyon heads up to 7000+ feet and much of the highway has rock slide damage (falling rocks) that needs to be cleared and fixed before opening the highway. I don't remember when it opens though.

If you go to Rae Lakes, head into Rae Lakes from Onion Valley (the east side of the Sierra Nevada from US Highway 395) over Kearsarge Pass.

It's not the suncups, it's the piles of snow and, more importantly, the raging rivers that are impassible.
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Postby Bergtroll » Tue Feb 26, 2008 1:06 am

Hmm...I understand that, for instance, Lodgepole is open year round (highway 198). This would be the Deadman Canyon Loop. As regards, access to Rae Lakes: thanks for the hint!

As regards the rivers: yes, I am also concerned. However, I have seen photos of huge bridges going over the bigger rivers:

Image

The picture shows the suspension bridge over Wood's Creek (Rae Lakes Loop). I wonder whether this may help.

Edited: FINALLY, I found a report confirming that you can do a snowshoe trip in April @ Deadman Canyon :lol:

http://offyonder.com/story.lasso?id=8

http://www.bobskiing.com/shr05.htm
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Postby dan » Tue Feb 26, 2008 5:18 pm

Highway 198 is another Highway that heads to Sequoia National Park, which is open all year (from the south end).
Highway 180, which heads to Kings Canyon National Park, is closed in Winter.

Some river crossings have bridges (usually the major trails, such as the John Muir Trail), some river crossings do not have bridges.
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