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[Yosemite]

Alternate route - 6/19?

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

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Alternate route - 6/19?

Postby switchflare » Fri Apr 28, 2017 2:05 pm

Hello,
At the beginning of the year I secured permits for 6/19 Cathedral Lakes - Happy Isles via Cloud's Rest and Little Yosemite Valley. Half Dome permits as well. We're experienced backpackers and we've hiked and camped in snow but Yosemite snowfall this year presents a major challenge during our permit dates. A lot can happen in the next 7 weeks but if it was you, would you proceed with this plan? Would the water crossings on this route be untenable? I already have base camp booked for our non-hikers for 6/17-6/22 and it's part of a larger trip, so I can't easily re-book for Aug/Sept. This route has been on my wishlist for a few years and I'd love to do Half Dome but I may have to wait.

Questions for the veterans if I need to move to plan B:
* What would you recommend as an alternate route? We've already got the gear and the time allocated.
* Would Glacier Point - Little Yosemite Valley (camp) - Half Dome - LYV (Camp) - Happy Isles be a reasonable weather-safe substitute assuming I could get the walk-in permits? I'm hoping the elevation differential will help. Is there another great 3 day, 2 night route worth considering?
* If I show up at Wawona at 10 AM on 6/18 to wait for the 11 AM opening, am I likely to get this route or something comparable?
* Does the permitting team allow a route change and keeping existing Half Dome permits? I'm guessing with much of the high country inaccessible, it's going to be tough competition for the walk-ins/alternates this year.

Any feedback is appreciated.
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Re: Alternate route - 6/19?

Postby Phil » Fri Apr 28, 2017 3:48 pm

If the road is open and you can get up to Tuolumne, give it a shot. The worst that can happen is you turn around and go to Plan B. No shuttle yet though. If you can get to Tuolumne, you can always head down past Glen Aulin on a pass-thru and go check out the falls below there, which should be absolutely amazing.

Now, Plan B could be the north or south rims, or it could be a trailhead up in the vicinity of Glacier Point, get an LYV pass-thru, drop down to LYV, keep going up above the spur to camp the first night at Sunrise Creek at the JMT x CR junction (as required by your permit), climb HD (tentatively opening 05/26), again camp at Sunrise Creek on the way out, and if you can get up a couple miles the next day, cut off the JMT and go down to the Merced via Echo Valley (that should be awesome too). Camp the night by the footbridges above Bunnell Cascade. Then head back out through LYV and climb back up to the car via the Panorama, or exit Happy Isles and find a ride back up.

You're going to be in some snow, at least in places. It's supposed to warm up pretty quickly and stay that way for a while. Hang in there and see what happens. Decide when you're on the ground and can see what's ahead of you.
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Re: Alternate route - 6/19?

Postby AlmostThere » Fri Apr 28, 2017 8:25 pm

switchflare wrote:* Would Glacier Point - Little Yosemite Valley (camp) - Half Dome - LYV (Camp) - Happy Isles be a reasonable weather-safe substitute assuming I could get the walk-in permits? I'm hoping the elevation differential will help. Is there another great 3 day, 2 night route worth considering?
* If I show up at Wawona at 10 AM on 6/18 to wait for the 11 AM opening, am I likely to get this route or something comparable?
* Does the permitting team allow a route change and keeping existing Half Dome permits? I'm guessing with much of the high country inaccessible, it's going to be tough competition for the walk-ins/alternates this year.

Any feedback is appreciated.


The problem with showing up at Wawona is that is not the right office to assure a walk in for Glacier Point. They'll call the one in the Valley, which gives priority to all the people in line there. So you're in line at the Valley office without being in the Valley office, behind everyone who's in line there - and there will be plenty o people in that line. Reserve a permit and you can pick it up anywhere, any office -- but the walk ins are regional. Hetch Hetchy walk in? show up at that gate and ask. Anything out of the valley, including Glacier Point, show up at the Valley wilderness office. Same with Tuolumne Meadows once that office opens.

If instead you get a permit for Chilnualna trailhead, or Alder Creek, both fairly decent options for earlier in the year, then Wawona is the right place to be. However, there is still the matter of livable water crossings that won't sweep you under and kill you, a high probability of snow all over the place (though not as much as up high) and also, gazillions of mosquitos.

I do not believe they will transfer the Half Dome permit, particularly if you end up with a route that can't logically include it.
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Re: Alternate route - 6/19?

Postby switchflare » Fri Apr 28, 2017 10:56 pm

AlmostThere wrote:
The problem with showing up at Wawona is that is not the right office to assure a walk in for Glacier Point. They'll call the one in the Valley, which gives priority to all the people in line there. So you're in line at the Valley office without being in the Valley office, behind everyone who's in line there - and there will be plenty o people in that line. Reserve a permit and you can pick it up anywhere, any office -- but the walk ins are regional. Hetch Hetchy walk in? show up at that gate and ask. Anything out of the valley, including Glacier Point, show up at the Valley wilderness office. Same with Tuolumne Meadows once that office opens.

If instead you get a permit for Chilnualna trailhead, or Alder Creek, both fairly decent options for earlier in the year, then Wawona is the right place to be. However, there is still the matter of livable water crossings that won't sweep you under and kill you, a high probability of snow all over the place (though not as much as up high) and also, gazillions of mosquitos.

I do not believe they will transfer the Half Dome permit, particularly if you end up with a route that can't logically include it.


This is exactly the intel I was looking for. I had hoped that they had any-office connectivity by now for permitting. Sounds like I'd better plan to be at the valley permitting office by 9 AM. If the line is already 30 deep, I'm probably out of luck for anything that might include Half Dome. We had planned to float the Merced in our inflatable kayaks through the valley on the 18th but judging from 2011's gauge data, it was near flood stage during that timeframe so we're probably skunked out of that activity.
Last edited by switchflare on Fri Apr 28, 2017 11:02 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Alternate route - 6/19?

Postby switchflare » Fri Apr 28, 2017 11:00 pm

Phil wrote:If the road is open and you can get up to Tuolumne, give it a shot. The worst that can happen is you turn around and go to Plan B. No shuttle yet though. If you can get to Tuolumne, you can always head down past Glen Aulin on a pass-thru and go check out the falls below there, which should be absolutely amazing.

Now, Plan B could be the north or south rims, or it could be a trailhead up in the vicinity of Glacier Point, get an LYV pass-thru, drop down to LYV, keep going up above the spur to camp the first night at Sunrise Creek at the JMT x CR junction (as required by your permit), climb HD (tentatively opening 05/26), again camp at Sunrise Creek on the way out, and if you can get up a couple miles the next day, cut off the JMT and go down to the Merced via Echo Valley (that should be awesome too). Camp the night by the footbridges above Bunnell Cascade. Then head back out through LYV and climb back up to the car via the Panorama, or exit Happy Isles and find a ride back up.

You're going to be in some snow, at least in places. It's supposed to warm up pretty quickly and stay that way for a while. Hang in there and see what happens. Decide when you're on the ground and can see what's ahead of you.


I'll definitely have to keep an eye on the status as time draws nearer. We had planned to have a non-hiker drop us at the trailhead and pick us up at Happy Isles so one-way hike is an option. I like the start at Glacier Point alternate because it keeps Half Dome in the mix with lower elevations...the path you provided looks pretty good. Thank you for the detail.
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