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2 Night Backpacking Trip - Recommendations

PostPosted: Sun Oct 09, 2016 5:39 pm
by jbravoco
I'm planning a trip up to Yosemite in 2 weeks (Oct 22 - 24th)

My friend decided to fly out last minute and really wants to go out to Yosemite. I just moved here from the East Coast and have been very experienced on the AT, but not familiar with Yosemite at all. We both are experienced, late 20s and in good shape, so we want to push ourselves physically but don't want to bite off more than we can chew.

First question, what is the weather like along the Yosemite Falls Trail and Snow Creek around this time?

Original plan:

Day 1 - Park in Half Dome Village and take the shuttle to Yosemite Falls Trailhead - Hike up Yosemite Falls - Potentially hit the ND if we have time and set up camp shortly after the ND
Day 2 - Hike Snow Creek and set up camp along the Creek somewhere
Day 3 - Have an easy hike out towards Mirror Lake and back to our car early Monday Morning

Is this over ambitious? I've read that the Upper Yosemite Falls hike is very strenuous but I figured we'd be able to make it a few more miles after that and then set up camp if we get an early enough start. Also I've read that the Switchbacks on Snow Creek can be maddening and just overall a pain.

Option 2 -
Day 1: Yosemite Falls - and try to set up camp near North Dome.
Day 2: Hike back to Eagle Point and then back towards the Yosemite Falls Trail
Day 3: HIke down Yosemite Falls

Any other recommendations for a short trip? We're just looking for a difficult hike and good views that can be done in 2 - 2.5 days.

Thanks in advance!

Re: 2 Night Backpacking Trip - Recommendations

PostPosted: Sun Oct 09, 2016 8:16 pm
by balzaccom
That trail up Yosemite is a steep 3.5 miles that climbs close to 3,000 feet. Lugging a pack up there is hard work. It's about 8 miles all the way to North Dome, and from there is another 8 miles down Snow Creek. If you are looking at two days of hiking, that would be a long two days. Remember that the top is over 8,000 feet.

On the other hand, you could easily get to the top of Yosemite Falls, and camp near Eagle Peak for stunning views, hike back down the next day and still have time to explore some of the other treasures of Yosemite...and there are a lot!

One final note--remember that the days are a lot shorter now, and temperature drops 3 degrees F for every 1000 feet you climb.

Re: 2 Night Backpacking Trip - Recommendations

PostPosted: Mon Oct 10, 2016 6:39 pm
by Phil
The view from the top of the falls, Eagle Peak, El Cap are hard to beat. Big climb, rough descent for the feet and knees.

Another thought would be up past Happy Isles and LYV, up the Merced River to Echo Valley, back to the JMT at Sunrise Creek, then exit back at Happy Isles.

Going up Snow Creek is hard. Going down isn't bad at all, IMO. Problem is: camping at the top of Snow Creek is currently restricted because of bear activity.

Re: 2 Night Backpacking Trip - Recommendations

PostPosted: Mon Oct 10, 2016 10:27 pm
by jbravoco
Ah Phil, thanks for the mention about the Snow Creek camping situation. Just was reading through the current conditions page earlier today and realized that too.

Well I like your idea about the Happy Isles, LYV and up to Echo Valley. Did some more research about that and looks pretty cool.

Thanks for the help! Appreciate the suggestions and the advice.

Only other one I was looking at was:

Day 1 - Happy Isles to Clouds Rest - roughly 10.5 miles - Set up camp up there (only bad thing is no water sources I'd assume)
Day 2 - Head down towards JMT via Sunrise Creek and then camp along the Creek somewhere
Day 3 - Head back out through Happy Isles.

We'll see - Planning on giving them a call tomorrow when they open back up since they had off for Columbus day and see if it's even possible. I sent in the Wilderness Permit Application this evening with your suggestion as one of the options, hoping that works out since as of 10/5 there were still a number of openings.

Thanks again!

Re: 2 Night Backpacking Trip - Recommendations

PostPosted: Tue Oct 11, 2016 4:22 am
by Phil
I didn't check the full trailheads report, but I would be really surprised if you didn't get your first choice this time of year.

We've already had some snow. It'll be cold, and it could turn in a heartbeat, so be ready.

I wouldn't plan on making Cloud's Rest up from the Valley in a day. All uphill, with a 5,000+ foot elevation gain from the Valley to the summit. And then you're right, no water. What you could do instead is modify my recommended route by going up the Forsyth Trail if you want CR: I would think that you would realistically need a 3rd night, but when you hit the JMT at Sunrise Creek up from Echo Valley, head trail right and up another 2.75 miles or so and camp just below the summit to the north. You can either carry the water you need up from Sunrise or one of you run to the pond headed towards Sunrise Lakes. Camp, summit, head back down and either stay at the CR x JMT junction, LYV, or head back to HI.

Here's how I would break down my nights:

Night 1- Along the Merced near the footbridges north of Bunnell Cascade or somewhere in Echo Valley.

Night 2- Back in the trees just north of CR.

Night 3- CR x JMT junction or LYV

Exit Day- 4

You guys are going to be heavy if you you're carrying the right gear for staying warm, so it's going to slow you down at least a bit.

What's up with 'bravoco"? I ask because my kid is in BCT at Benning, and he's Bravo Co 2-47.

Re: 2 Night Backpacking Trip - Recommendations

PostPosted: Thu Oct 13, 2016 2:40 pm
by Caminante
I just did the loop mentioned here late Sept/early Oct based on the good advice I got on this forum. We had planned 3 nights incorporating CR, essentially what Phil is recommending, but at the end cut it to two days based on snow and temps in the teens in the forecast which we hadn't packed for. We modified our HI->LYV permit to a Sunrise/Merced pass through and hiked our first day to LYV and then up the Merced towards Echo Valley. We found a great campsite after we made it through the burn, just before reaching two footbridges. The next day we hiked up Echo Creek and turned back towards the JMT which we took to LYV where we spent our second night. Used the extra night to kick around the valley and have a few beers at Housekeeping Camp.

Incidentally, there were only 2 people besides us at the permit office and they were super flexible in modifying our permit

I have a few photos from our trip on my instagram (the last 9, then it switches to GSMNP...):

Re: 2 Night Backpacking Trip - Recommendations

PostPosted: Mon Oct 31, 2016 7:35 pm
by jbravoco
Hey All, thanks for the recommendations earlier. We wound up doing 1 night, 2 day hike. Started with Yosemite Falls around noon on Saturday, the 22nd which was a nice day weather wise. We packed a bit too heavy which made the hike that much harder, but overall was a great hike and am happy we did it. We made it up to top of Yosemite Falls filtered water and made it to the North Dome within another 3 hours with enough time to set up camp and get a good spot to watch the sunset.

Woke up the next day and made it up to Indian Rock, which was well worth the .6 round trip mileage, then went down Snow Creek and out to the Trailhead Parking by 3 PM.

Overall I'd say it was definitely a challenging hike, especially with the limited time we had to do it, but am happy we went the way we did because it was equally challenging as it was beautiful. I'll try and get some pictures posted up here later on this week.

Thanks again for all the help!