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Route Advice?

PostPosted: Sat Apr 25, 2009 12:06 pm
by belowi
I'm not sure if this will work, but I've tried to post a picture below of the route I am planning to take for my backpack in late June. We are hoping to get wilderness permits when we arrive for either that day or the next...? Planning to spend 4 nights, starting at Tenaya Lake, ending at TM, with Day 1 and Day 5 also being travel days to/from Yosemite. Can we take the free shuttle that serves TM from there back to Tenaya? The website said the shuttle runs every 30 mins and is free, but I didn't know if we can get on with our packs. Any advice on the planned route would be appreciated.

PostPosted: Sat Apr 25, 2009 12:07 pm
by belowi

PostPosted: Sat Apr 25, 2009 3:26 pm
by belowi
Wow, that map is really hard to read at that size. The route it's showng is:
Tenaya Lake-to near Sunrise Lakes (Night 1- I know really short, but it's a travel and a get used to altitude day)
To Clouds Rest and down to Sunrise Creek (Night 2)
Hike up Half Dome, and then north on the John Muir Trail for 4 or so more miles and stopping for Night 3
Continue north on JMT and camping near Cathedral Pass for Night 4.
Goofing off around Cathedral Lakes and Peak and then hiking out.

This is likely to be mid week in late June, is the JMT likely to be crowded?

PostPosted: Sun Apr 26, 2009 7:05 pm
by bill-e-g
Not sure about the shuttle since I never do shuttle trips...
But... I can comment on your route.

Campsite on the JMT before Sunrise:
I'm just not sure how happy you will be with this area. You'll find
it very similar to your previous night accomodations ... provided you
don't start going up the hill... if that's the case then you'll be
hard pressed to find anything... I've stealthed camped (way off
trail... and no campfire) east of the 9854 hill and east of the trail.
My highest priority is that I like a view so I don't like to camp right
in the woods with only trees as the view.

What I would recommend is that you consider taking the lower trail
and go up Echo Creek. South of the pond at about 7600ft are
some great granite areas with some spectacular erratics.
Again, we never have campfires so we just want a nice flat spot
with a view and prefer to sleep on granite.

If you take the lower trail and go up Echo Creek the views and
scenery are more frequent and spectacular IMO.

You won't want to camp on Cathedral Pass itself is what I would think.
I really think you'll want to just continue to Upper Cathdral and
camp there.

If you go the way that I suggested it is actually less climbing.
The total mileage is around 33 miles.

It's good to have a plan and try to stick with it... but just remember
that you can camp just about anywhere. Just try to Leave no trace
doing so.

Hope you have a great trip!

PostPosted: Sun Apr 26, 2009 10:28 pm
by belowi
Thanks for sharing your experience, I hadn't considered the Echo Creek trail. I'd prefer to do a loop, but I can't figure out a way to get everything in with the time I have. I've posted a map showing the alt. route in red (I don't know if it will show up in the small size), I believe the trail you are talking about veers E and then SE from the JMT under two miles from Sunrise creek, is that correct? That pond sounds like a cool spot to stop at.

How is the sunrise creek area for campsites? I had chosen it as I am a bit concerned with the availability of water looking at the map, but if it is pretty busy as a stopping point for backpackers climbing Halfdome I might want to look into somewhere else.


PostPosted: Mon Apr 27, 2009 7:44 am
by bill-e-g
>How is the sunrise creek area for campsites?

There are a number of spots right in that area.
I can think of at least 4 that are spaced far apart.
If it is not to your liking (I'd expect it to be busy) then you could
just fill up on water for and continue towards Half Dome and
just ditch it in the woods on the way somewhere. Of course
provided you don't have to have a fire.

The pond that I spoke of that you have a mark on is just a pond.
You will be able to get water from it without too much issue.
For this one I'd recommend you get water and then go SW on the
open granite and find a nice spot.
As you are walking towards the pond east you will be able to
see down into the Merced River Canyon. You should be able
to clearly see the trail switchbacks on the South side of the river.

Another place to consider to camp is up Echo Creek at just before it
heads West towards sunrise. i.e. the closest location to Echo Lake.
There are some nice granite areas in there too.
What you could do to make it a loop is camp there and then do
dayhiking up to Echo Lake up to Cathdral Pass, etc. and back.
The cross country to Echo is not terribly difficult.
You could then hike out past all 3 Sunrise Lakes and not have to
deal with a shuttle.
Just more ideas for you...

Dunno your groups ability or whatnot but I always say to just not
plan any day over 10 miles unless it is dayhiking.

Again, you can change things up depending on how things are going and
how you're feeling. With 4 nights in the backcountry you've got
enough time to really enjoy it.