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4th of July GCTR or Sunrise lake loop

PostPosted: Thu Jun 25, 2020 7:18 pm
by WanderingJim
Well, my original 9 day June 27th grand tour of the Grand Canyon of the Tuolumne River and high country north of Hetch Hetchy was scuttled when COVID-19 caused my company to take back a week-long office closure originality planned long before the virus.

So with Yosemite opening up in early June, I went into search and reserve mode for other trailheads over the 4th weekend (which I can get 5 days off for).

I ended up with a Sunrise Lakes permit and then a Glen Alun pass through permit became available recently for the same day and I grabbed it just in case. And now I just managed to get a Half Dome permit for the Sunrise Lakes permit, which I was hoping to do as part of that hike through the lottery.

So I could do either. Opinions on which to do?

The GCTR route would send me down into the canyon, then up and around returning through the ten lakes bowl. This likely would have to go to a 6th day unless I skip Ten Lakes and try to hitchhike back to TM (hard this year). Waater levels aren't too high, so the water crossings aren't supposed to be too bad.

The Sunrise Lakes would probably go over Clouds Rest, do Half Dome, then loop around through Echo Creek and back to Tenya Lake. The bonus for this is it would keep me from even considering going up Half Dome during my JMT hike in August. :)

So I guess I just need a push in the right direction. :)

Re: 4th of July GCTR or Sunrise lake loop

PostPosted: Thu Jun 25, 2020 7:33 pm
by AlmostThere
After doing the southeastern part of the park last week, I would go as high as possible and stay there. Much cooler. The mossies are almost done.

Tho I confess to being biased after nearly dying on the switchbacks crawling up out of Pate.

Re: 4th of July GCTR or Sunrise lake loop

PostPosted: Fri Jun 26, 2020 6:32 am
by balzaccom
Sadly, the best recommendations have to do with weather. If it's cool, head down into the canyon to see the waterfalls. If it's warm head up into the high country to avoid the head.

That said, we've passed up the GCT trail twice now to do hikes in other parts of the park. Some day we'll actually do the whole thing!

Re: 4th of July GCTR or Sunrise lake loop

PostPosted: Sat Jun 27, 2020 7:50 am
by Phil
I guess it depends on how much work you want to do. Regardless of the new system, you have to know that Sunrise, HD, and all that are going to still take the bulk of the traffic over the 4th. That said, we once (once, mind you) did an in-and-out from WW to Pate and back with a Ten Lakes permit the next day. We fried! Spent the night at the top of Morrison Creek, hiked out the next morning, then hit the junction of Ten Lakes and WW trails about 2 pm, pitched the tent, then slept hard for 6 hours. I have to second that bias on those switchbacks...they hurt, a lot. They're definitely something you need to be realistic about giving yourself a couple days to recover from. If you don't time that ascent for early morning, you might as well just hang out in Pate for the rest of the day, and save yourself an afternoon of otherwise intense grovelling.

As far as the GCT itself goes, eh. Hit and miss on the views and attractions. Once you pass the falls complex, not much going on except that I always find myself blown away by looking up toward Ten Lakes and contemplating how huge the glacier that carved that gorge was. It's also as hell...wiltingly hot. But if it's something you haven't done before, you should do it, if for no other reason than to cross it off your list.

Re: 4th of July GCTR or Sunrise lake loop

PostPosted: Sat Jun 27, 2020 8:00 am
by Phil
***But, you know what's interesting? See if you can snag a Ten Lakes permit, get up to the basin, then head out cross country to the area SE of lake #5 and see if you can make it over to the backside of Mt Hoffman and out somewhere between May Lake and Murphy Creek. You'll have the area entirely to yourself, there are some nice little hidden lakes, and it's surprisingly open terrain for the most part if you use your map and a little route selection based on reconnoitering. Just a little something out of the ordinary.

Here's a brief HST thread on the area: ... php?t=3335