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[Yosemite]

How late in the year to plan a hike?

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

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How late in the year to plan a hike?

Postby ChrisA » Fri Sep 12, 2008 3:44 pm

I'm not asking anyone to predict the future. I'm planning some trips and just wondering how late in the season is reasonable. I'm comfortable with snow and I'm actually looking forward to some back country skiing but these trips are going to be done with boots on a trail. I'll roughly follow the T. River down to Pate Valley then hike up to White Wolf then follow Yosemite creek and come down the falls trail. I can modify the route if need be. I've done those trails before. The group will be experienced.

How late can I plan this for? Yes I know, dumb question but I'm looking for a range of opinion.
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Postby bill-e-g » Mon Sep 15, 2008 7:04 am

It's not really a dumb question.

From what you said you are starting in Tuolumne Meadows.
So, the question is, how do you plan to get there to start?

If you plan on parking a car there then the answer is simple.
You cannot park overnight after Oct. 15 so plan your trip so
that you are back to retrieve your car before then.

Regardless Tioga Road can close at anytime from Approx Oct. 15 to
Dec. So even if you plan for someone to dump you at TM on
Nov. 15 it may not be possible since the road may be closed.
By Nov. you are also down to 9 hrs of daylight...

Myself and a buddy camped on Devils Dancefloor last nov. 18 and
it was beautiful. Nice crisp Autumn days and just awesome weather.
Also have done trips into Rancheria and Lake Eleanor during Thanksgiving
with the wife...

The only thing I would hate to see is it dump 4 feet of snow on you
and you have to plow your way thru White Wolf. Snow in spring
is not an issue really... it's compacted and you can walk on it w/o
shoes for much of the day... early snow... hmm... I'd be leary...
If you really want snow then I'd go early spring (that is what I do :) )

So, I guess my answer is:
1) w/car @ TM = First wk Oct.
2) shuttle to TM = Late Nov

Have fun
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Postby ChrisA » Mon Sep 15, 2008 9:17 am

bill-e-g wrote:If you plan on parking a car there then the answer is simple.
You cannot park overnight after Oct. 15 so plan your trip so
that you are back to retrieve your car before then.


Thanks. I didn't know about the rule. Seems a reasonable one.
I have not decided on transportation yet. But it will likely be the
buss to TM.
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Postby bill-e-g » Mon Sep 15, 2008 1:29 pm

I'm fairly certain that all the shuttle buses including YART have or will
stop very very soon going to Tuolumne.
They may already all have stopped service, just not 100% sure of it.
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Postby oakroscoe » Wed Sep 24, 2008 7:07 pm

Hey Bill,

Are you sure about the October 15th overnight parking stopping? I couldn't remember when they stopped allowing it in the late season. I found a list of the dates it opened and closed http://www.monobasinresearch.org/data/tiogapass.htm but not when they stopped allowing overnight parking.

I was hoping to have one last real trip before winter set in. Thanks

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Postby bill-e-g » Wed Sep 24, 2008 8:51 pm

Positive that is the date. This is from the nps.gov/yose site:

"In addition, overnight parking is prohibited on the Tioga Road and Glacier Point Road beyond Badger Pass beginning October 15 each year. Overnight parking is available at Badger Pass from October 15 until the road closes (usually in late October or early November). Overnight parking is again available at Badger Pass from around mid December through March (when the ski area is open)."

If it's close to that date you MAY not have a problem. One year we
parked at McGuirk Meadow after Oct. 15 and nothing happened.
I myself would not chance it though.
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Postby balzaccom » Sat Nov 22, 2008 8:10 am

And it's not a set rule---they just close it after the first snows up there. We were there around October 15th and they closed the road for two days, opened it for a day or two, and then shut it down for good.

WHich meant there were a LOT of people hiking up Snows Creek trail late in the day, trying to get into the high country before dark. And no water in the creek.

Late season hiking has its challenges, as well as its rewards!
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Postby bill-e-g » Sat Nov 22, 2008 9:10 am

Hi.

No water in the creek? I find that hard to believe since there are fish
in Snow Creek.

Badger pass is actually going to be open again this weekend (Nov. 22).
It just means you can dayhike and drive the road. After Oct. 15
regardless you cannot park overnight on either Tioga or Badger.

Indeed Late Season has it's challenges. I just did a 3-day trip up
Snow Creek all the way to Tuolumne Meadows (Cathedral Lake TH)
and then down the JMT (thru Sunrise HSC) to Mist Trail back to car.
The second day was 99% in the snow and was very slow going
with up to nearly 2 ft of snow in places. Even Upper Cathedral Lake
was frozen over.
All this being said I wouldn't recommend late season to anyone not
very experienced and knows the trails. Some guy just recently
on Oct. 28th went over Red Peak pass on 5 day trip and on day 3
got "stuck" at Red Devil when he lost the trail and got 2 ft. of snow
dumped on him. He stayed there for 12 days! waiting for rescue.
Step 1 is LOOK AT THE WEATHER COMING IN. This guy was very
lucky he did not get another storm and 4 ft. of snow. Then it would
have not been a happy ending.
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Postby balzaccom » Sat Nov 22, 2008 9:49 pm

Hi Bil

It was a dry year...there were lots of creeks that were completely dry.

In September we hiked through Emigrant Wilderness and found about half of the creeks were completely dry. DOn't know what effect that will have on the fish...but it can't be good.

Snow Creek falls was non-existent...just a dry cliff.
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Postby bill-e-g » Sun Nov 23, 2008 9:13 am

Are you saying that you could not find any pools of water near the
Snow Creek bridge? Porcupine Creek flows into Snow which
also has fish. So, I'm baffled...
(I was there last weekend and it was roaring... but, alas, that was
after the storm...)
Anyway, ya, alot of streams/creeks will dry up almost entirely...
(Cherry Creek near Emigrant is one...)
I personally have never had any issue with water in the Sierras.
Even last year when we did the JMT some people said some stuff
about water being scarce ... this again baffled us since we ran
across some water nearly every 5 miles.
My criteria for camping is 1) solitude 2) great view 3) water.
So I typically will camp very far from water unless by a lake
and just fill up 2 litre of water before I'm ready to find a spot.

Happy Trails
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