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[Yosemite]

Topo Maps

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

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Topo Maps

Postby JdBSound » Wed Aug 12, 2015 7:50 pm

hey do any of you ladies and gents have some good 1:50000 scale topo maps that you love? looking to get some better ones than what i currently have been using.

thnaks!
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Re: Topo Maps

Postby Phil » Wed Aug 12, 2015 9:11 pm

Hey,

I don't know about 1:50,000, but my absolute, all-time favorite general map is the 1:63,360 Tom Harrison of Yosemite High Country. Second favorites, if we need to tune in a little more on an area for something like cross-country or just want tighter contour intervals for whatever reason, are the National Geographic 1:40,000 series shaded relief maps. The only problems with the latter are that they can sometimes cut you off in an area to where you have to switch over to/carry another map and that it's next to impossible to find UTM tools for that scale. Both types of maps I've mentioned are easy to find at places like REI, but yeah, if it's only one map I'm carrying, it's always the Tom Harrison.
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Re: Topo Maps

Postby MadDiver » Thu Aug 13, 2015 11:07 am

I bought the NatGeo/Trails Illustrated map set - 4 double side maps 1:40000 for my trip. I wasn't overly thrilled. They're not bad but I think they are too thick (I'm not going to use it a a tarp) so don't fold well except on original crease; cut off the page at foolish points; and have a red/brown shading with milages shown in RED that I don't care for. They also lack parallel line makers for compass use :evil: Lastly they have this big heavy black line (the heaviest marking on the entire map) right though the middle that shows country borders. County borders: like I care what county I'm in! I got by but I've certainly seen better. A trail buddy had the Tom Harrison maps which looked better, IMO.
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Re: Topo Maps

Postby JdBSound » Thu Aug 13, 2015 4:50 pm

thanks guys! hey Phil can you give me an idea of the area covered in the Harrison map? want to make sure i don't need to get a few of his others to cover al the parts i'll be in


thnaks
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Re: Topo Maps

Postby Phil » Thu Aug 13, 2015 5:48 pm

MadDiver,

The reddish-brown color doesn't bother me so much because that's just part of the shaded relief, ie: cliff shadowing and altitudes creating as much of a 3-D image of the terrain on a 2-D surface as possible. Although the Tom Harrisons also have it in more of a gray shaded relief, it's just not so obvious to where you're going "Damn, that's steep!" The smaller scale, tighter contouring, and that shading are really the only reasons we ever carry those Nat Geo maps...they're just too heavy otherwise, and it always seems like it takes at least two to do the job. Both brands of maps also have the blue UTM grid line (1000 meters=1 kilometer= a klick), and if you've never tried using UTM instead of lat/long, you'll be amazed at how much more logical and user friendly it is...I can find you to within a few meters on an average day. Also, the one thing that the Nat Geo maps have that the Tom Harrison don't is a compass rose. But! You couldn't be more right about the thickness of the Teslin on the Nat Geo maps!! My rain gear isn't even that thick!

JdB,

Let me see if I can describe the boundaries without resorting to coordinates: To the north- just past Regulation Peak,so it leaves out a lot/most of the far northern trails in the park, then you would need to use the Emigrant Wilderness in the western part or the Hoover in the eastern part. To the south- the entire southern park boundary is included, only chopping off slightly below Miraposa Grove and the southern entrance station. To the east- it cuts off at Saddlebag Lake, Mono Pass, and just beyond Mammoth Peak, but it also does include a good chunk of the Ansel Adams Wilderness to the SE. From there east, you would need the Mammoth High Country map. Finally, to the west- this is where it kind of gets killed. You've got the western part of Hetch Hetchy cut off, nothing west of about 2-3 miles from White Wolf, nothing just west of the Wawona Tunnel and a couple miles west of Badger Pass on Glacier Point Rd, and then again just a couple miles west of Wawona itself. Beyond any of that and they refer you to the Hetch Hetchy map. Confusing enough?

We have a 1:125,000 Tom Harrison that we use for route planning in the bigger sense of things, but it's just too small a scale and doesn't have trail junction elevations, so it's not something I take out with me. I always, always, always take that 1:63,360 map on the vast majority of the trails with me. If we have a gap, that's where we usually end up filling in with the Nat Geo tarps, hopefully have the right Tom Harrison, or, we just keep walking until we somehow manage to find our way and marvel at our navigational skills. :lol:
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Re: Topo Maps

Postby JdBSound » Thu Aug 13, 2015 6:21 pm

Thanks Phil that PERFECT! i may just get the Hetch Hetchy map just in case i decide to head that way during my 3weeks!
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Re: Topo Maps

Postby Phil » Thu Aug 13, 2015 6:41 pm

Here guys...

http://www.tomharrisonmaps.com/locationmap.html

Or this is very, very cool!!

http://www.hillmap.com/

Click on "tour" when the site opens up...
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Re: Topo Maps

Postby MadDiver » Fri Aug 14, 2015 9:12 am

The shading is OK, the color is not. Perhaps it's because I have a bit of red/green colorblindness (I can't see the numbers in those dot diagrams though I have no problem differentiating a red vs green traffic light) and the shades are just too close for me, YMMV.

I'll look into UMT, I guess I just like navigating "old school". Putting a parallel maker on a map doesn't seem like it's asking too much though :wink:

These aren't killers, just my personal preferences.

As an aside, when I was up on Cloud's Rest trying to figure out which peak was which in the direction of Red Peak I was totally befuddled. I finally realized that while I had the declination on my compass set to ~ 15deg, I had it set for 15 W not E so I was off 30deg! :oops: I thought I had adjusted it for Yosemite but had left it set for Connecticut! Turns out it was Grey Peak I was looking at.
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Re: Topo Maps

Postby Phil » Fri Aug 14, 2015 2:22 pm

For some useful info on UTM vs lat/long check this out:

https://www.maptools.com/tutorials/utm/why_use_utm

There's a really great compass called the Silva Expedition 54 direct sighting compass that, unfortunately, has gotten kind of expensive since it came out, but I've used it's predecessor, the Brunton 54LU for years. No way to set the declination because it would screw up your reading that's based on magnetic declination to begin with (you have to remember to take it out only when you use it for mapping and True North reference), but you basically sight your target through a window in the bezel, get the front and back azimuths, then walk to that target, no questions, smoke, mirrors. And you can be in the trees, a canyon, wherever, and as long as you can keep moving forward, you'll always stay on course to within a half a degree and never need to see the target again until you actually get there. Check out the manual on the Silva site:

http://silva.se/products/proffessional/expedition-54
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Re: Topo Maps

Postby MadDiver » Tue Aug 18, 2015 8:12 pm

hey Phil, I checked out UMT a bit. Seems pretty straight forward. Only trouble now is the Trails Illustrated maps don't show the Grid North offset in relation to magnetic and true north! Weird, all the trouble of the gridlines and can't be bothered to put a little arrow and a angle number...
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Re: Topo Maps

Postby Phil » Wed Aug 19, 2015 6:41 am

Yeah, it's the same with the Tom Harrison maps. You hit directly on a pet peeve of mine with this one. All three references should be shown on any map, along with a date of publication below it, IMO. It's just that using the edge of the map to align your compass is the easiest way to plot your course on it. All maps, being 2-D, introduce some distortion. There's a lot of disagreement about just how relevant the differences in True and Grid North are for field mapping in most cases, being generally well within 2 degrees in most places (Yosemite being 1.5 degrees east for Grid and 14.5 degrees east for Magnetic), the argument being that most people don't need to or can't reasonably navigate to that level of accuracy anyhow, and anyone that needs to/can, is going to be capable of ascertaining where they are and how to do the math to plot the course to their target within the range of their compass's accuracy and/or by sighting or some sort of dead reckoning. Where UTM coordinates really fall apart is nearer the poles. then it shifts over to the UPS system. That's a whole other conversation though. In the mean time, the metric system goes in easy increments of 10 meters at a time, GPS receivers can easily be set for it, SAR people know how to interpret it, and despite what's missing from a map, if the publishers are going to give me a bunch of blue lines to work with, I'm going to use them to the best of my ability, but with as much knowledge of the limitations and considerations as possible beforehand. I personally consider it a much better way to get to where I'm going or figure out where I am than having to calculate something as nebulous to me as using d/m/s and relying on my battery powered GPS or a bunch of lines I've drawn myself to do it well enough to even matter. No matter what system you use, on course or not, you still have to be able to walk to where you're going from where you already are.
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Re: Topo Maps

Postby MadDiver » Wed Aug 19, 2015 1:51 pm

Agreed. Except one typo: Yosemite is 1.5°W of True not E at least according to USGS 7.5 quads. I looked it up before your reply because I realized the UTM grid is fixed (at least for a Datum) and therefore can't vary from map to map in relation to True N. So any reference between the two (as long as you trust it) can be used on any map for the same area. Since nearly all maps have Magnetic declination to True I can just pull GN declination off the usgs quad and add it to my map - handy.
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Re: Topo Maps

Postby balzaccom » Wed Aug 19, 2015 2:18 pm

We usually print large scale maps from Acmemapper or mappingsuppoort.com

Both offer free topos that you can customize completely to scale, region, etc.
Check out our website and blog at: http://sites.google.com/site/backpackthesierra/home
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Re: Topo Maps

Postby dan » Fri Aug 21, 2015 8:58 pm

I lost some posts upgrading the phpbb software, but recovered them from my phone. Sorry for the inconvenience.
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Posted by Phil • on Thu Aug 20, 2015 7:31 pm

Yeah, that should have been: Grid-True North offset is west. Specifically, it varies from 1°29'- 1°48' W of True North, but those numbers are only going to be accurate in the center of any map, so it's probably better to just disregard it and adjust in your head if you really need to. Mostly, I'm just concerned with getting it as right as possible while avoiding cliffs and too many boulders the size of Buicks between point A and B. The one thing I did just catch is that the Tom Harrison maps for 2015 show the declination East as 13°, not 14.5°. I just switched to new map because I ended up trading my old one for a ride back to my car from a trailhead at 10pm (long story!). What got me more than a little declination error though was I had years worth of trail and campsite notes on the old one and now have to transfer everything from memory (I'm screwed!) , but what do you when you're soaking wet and desperate?...I suppose it turns out that I needed a new one after all. Sounds like you have it all well in hand
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Re: Topo Maps

Postby rafal » Sun Feb 19, 2017 7:07 am

http://www.traillon.com/map/yosemite-national-park

It's an interactive map of Yosemite where you can plan your hike and get detailed route analysis. You can check approximate hiking time, distance, elevation change of the whole route and also between adjacent waypoints. Allows also for viewing elevation profile chart and sharing link of the route with friends.

We recently launched our website and hope that you will like it! Would also appreciate your feedback, cause it could help us better understand of what we can improve.
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