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[Yosemite]

Got a permit! :) Now time to plan!

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

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Got a permit! :) Now time to plan!

Postby trails4life » Mon May 07, 2018 2:13 pm

Hi Everyone!

After attempting to secure a wilderness permit several times the past few years, I finally got one - with Half Dome included! Yippee! :D I am beyond excited, and am now in research mode. I will be going with a friend in July and we are both big day hikers. We do 10-12 mile hikes on most weekends here in SoCal, but this will be our first backpacking trip.

We will be entering at Tuolumne Meadows, and I wanted to check this basic itinerary against everyone's expertise. Any thoughts/advice on how to add a few more miles on Day 2?

Day 1: Start at Cathedral Lakes Trailhead from Tuolumne Meadows. Camp first night at Sunrise Lakes (~10 miles)

Day 2: Depart Sunrise Lakes for Clouds Rest. Camp at the JMT junction (~5 miles)

Day 3: Wake up early and climb Half Dome. Descend, have lunch, then hike the ~7 miles down to the Valley.

Is my approximate mileage checking out? Anything I am missing here? Thank you for any advice and recommendations! :)
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Re: Got a permit! :) Now time to plan!

Postby Phil » Mon May 07, 2018 2:29 pm

Sounds solid and entirely reasonable. Be sure to stay on top of food storage. Have fun!
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Re: Got a permit! :) Now time to plan!

Postby Justin-T » Mon May 07, 2018 7:49 pm

Yes, sounds like a good itinerary. I'd suggest not trying to add too much more mileage, because you should allow a fair amount of time to drink in the view from the top of Clouds Rest, very hard to beat that view. Sunrise Lakes are also really beautiful and good for swimming, so a morning dip might be in order. There's some great scrambling to be done around the Lakes too, so I think you could do a lot worse than sticking around there until lunch and then put the packs back on and head over to CR, you'll still be down to the JMT in time for dinner. IMHO the reason to be in Yosemite backcountry is to really drink in the peace and the views, so if you have a bit short of a day two in terms of mileage its not a problem that needs solving.

Night 2 camping is in an area where there's a decent chance of seeing bears, so take all precautions with food as Phil mentions. Half Dome will be busy but you can definitely reduce that some by arriving at the sub-dome by mid-morning. That should also lessen the chance of having a thunderstorm screw up your plans - if there's any hint of a storm approaching don't go up. Especially because you've already had a better view the day before from CR, which is a 1000' higher than HD, with a full 360 view because its such a sharp peak. HD views are nice but the top is spread out enough that you don't have such a panoramic experience, and it will be full of people. You will likely have CR to yourself for some of the time, especially because you may want to stick around for at least an hour.
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Re: Got a permit! :) Now time to plan!

Postby Phil » Tue May 08, 2018 3:01 pm

The Sunrise Lakes area also has a lot of bear activity, so pretty much stay on top of it all the time.

As an alternative for you guys to consider, instead of coming down from CR to the JMT junction, you can spend that second night at the north approach to CR, then head cross country to HD (no big deal), staying up high, saving time and distance, avoiding the re-climb, beating the crowds, and having a good part of the route to yourselves. You'll have some incredible views of Tenaya Canyon from your site, more privacy, have a cakey second day, and can take in the view from CR at sunset, and again the next morning as you pass by on your way over to HD. You also get that chance to slow down and take it in, as Justin suggests. The only downside is that your closest water source is back toward Sunrise Lakes about a mile, so you'll either need to carry in more from the get-go, or make a second trip back before heading over to HD and back down the third day. Sunrise Creek at the junction has quite a few nice campsites, but it tends to be crowded, and competition for the good ones is fierce in July (most people bypassing LYV on their way to HD, headed further out the JMT, or that are coming out of the wilderness from Cathedral Lakes or the high country, are shooting for Sunrise Creek for proximity, known abundant site choices, and water, so you get heavy traffic and impacts from both directions). In the alternative I mentioned, with your short second day and coming into camp early, you'll likely have your pick of the best...all for just lugging a little extra water a short distance. The payoffs are huge. Been there, done it just about every way you can think of, it's what I would do.
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