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[Yosemite]

Half Dome and...?

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

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Half Dome and...?

Postby bconnell » Wed Jul 13, 2016 9:42 am

Hello all!! I got permits for Happy Isle to HD July 24-25. I am looking at packing past LYV the 23rd, packing up Half Dome and back down the 24th and then continuing on for a few days. I have a pack ready for 7 days but want to be headed out of the valley by July 28th. I was looking at taking the Mist and Panorama trail down to the Illilouette Falls and all the way down to Glacier Point.
Has anyone done this particular pack before? We are in a group of 5, Army fit hikers. Any suggestions? This will be my first trip out in Yosemite and not sure the best trails for the mid-July weather. Are you familiar with available water on those trails? By that I mean, did you find any creeks or ponds I can filter from?
Can't wait!! :D :D
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Re: Half Dome and...?

Postby Phil » Wed Jul 13, 2016 11:42 am

I'm not exactly clear on your itinerary here, but I'll add what I can. What day is it that you're actually headed out with your packs on? You've got 7 days of food and plans, but you also mention the 23rd, the 24th, 25th, but you're exiting the 28th??? If you have a permit for LYV and HD for the 24th, what permit are you going to be using for the 23rd? Are you going out for one night, returning to the Valley then re-climbing it all again from Happy Isles on the 24th? I'm a lot confused!

First of all, the Mist Trail is not the route to the Panorama or Glacier Point. And Illilouette and Glacier Point are not "down", but decidedly up from LYV. The Panorama is accessed on the JMT side of the Merced River, just beyond Nevada Falls. Illilouette Creek is viable water, as is the Merced, but, there is no camping on the Panorama or near Glacier Point. In fact, you need to travel well uptrail from there to be legal. At this point, it's probably best if you familiarize yourself with this map to see where camping is allowed and some of the regulations that go with it; anywhere past the arrow points is open camping.

https://www.nps.gov/yose/planyourvisit/ ... lheads.pdf

There's also no camping allowed on Half Dome, and water on the way up is very limited unless you know where to look. To camp beyond LYV you need a pass-through permit. For the purposes of climbing HD, after LYV, you have to be 2 miles beyond it to again, be legal. That puts you above the use trail up to HD itself, and the best sites and water are at the junction of the JMT and Cloud's Rest trails along Sunrise Creek.

Seven days of food and gear can take you to a lot of places far beyond what you've mentioned, and you have two sides of the Merced drainage going right now, the JMT/HD and up Illilouettte Creek. Two separate hikes that don't really take you that far out, and that most of us would honestly consider day-hikes with some camping thrown in. Let's see if we can get you into the wilderness, loop you back around, and get you beyond what hundreds of thousands of other people see every year. Got a good map? Let's beat this around and get you set up right.

And, the best trails for mid-July, shady ones not withstanding, are the ones that most of the people aren't on too.
Phil
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Re: Half Dome and...?

Postby balzaccom » Wed Jul 13, 2016 11:51 am

Phil has asked some good questions.

I'll ask a couple more. Do you want mountains, fishing or solitude? And are you comfortable with cross country, or do you want to stay on a trail the whole time?

You have plenty of time for adventures in Yosemite---but what do you want to DO?
Check out our website and blog at: http://sites.google.com/site/backpackthesierra/home
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Re: Half Dome and...?

Postby bconnell » Wed Jul 13, 2016 12:55 pm

Oh my goodness! First of all.. you're both amazing and incredibly helpful. This is what I have planned so far (email I sent to others in our group):
Here is the new schedule:

Friday July 22:
Miner's Inn Motel

Saturday July 23:
Pick up permits BEFORE 10AM
Entry Date: 07/24/2016
Entry Trailhead: Happy Isles->Little Yosemite Valley
Exit Date: 07/25/2016
Exit Trailhead: Happy Isles->Little Yosemite Valley (called and changed this!! I can obviously still call and adjust fire if needed)
Number in Party: 6
Number hiking Half Dome: 6
Backpackers camp in valley
$5/per person

Sunday July 24:
Backpack past Little Yosemite Valley


Monday July 25:
Hike up to Half Dome and back to Little Yosemite Valley site (possibly onwards depending on the time and weather)

Tuesday July 26:
Tentative backpacking around the different falls working our way on the backside of the park down the Panorama and Mist trails.

Wednesday July 27th:
Hike back down to the valley (eventually) and kayak where we can.

Thursday July 28th:
Drive home!

So as you can see "loose plans". Yes! I have a GREAT map and excellent map reading/compass skills. I want to see things that take my breath away and be outta breath getting there! Solitude would be ideal and no need for trails the entire time. I'm sure I missed half of your questions...
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Re: Half Dome and...?

Postby Phil » Wed Jul 13, 2016 2:02 pm

Adjust fire!

With your permit, you're currently stopped by regulations at LYV. You must have that "pass-through" permit to go beyond it to camp, and you will be cited to the tune of $300 if you get caught (not unlikely). Half Dome is fine, but you're going to have to return to LYV or exit at Happy Isles to be legal. DO NOT cancel your existing permit or you'll lose your HD permit...tweak it for that pass-through. If you don't have the phone number for the wilderness office it's (209) 372-0826. Tell the ranger what you want to do and let them help you work it out. Keep your Happy Isles exit though, but maybe change the date to a couple days later.

Try to get going earlier for the climb up on the 24th. It gets hot. LNT 0500-0600 would be best.

If you get your updated pass-through permit, get up to Sunrise Creek and make camp. LYV or there, lots of bears!!!! So be aware of that and make sure your food and gear are tight. Don't mess with that at all!! Forget hauling your full packs up to HD, keep camp and day-hike it, then return at the end of the day. Did I mention that there are lots of bears in the area? Make sure you get the full drill on that from the ranger when you pick up your permit. Be clear on it, ask questions if you need to.

Since you're up there anyhow, might as well go ahead and hike uptrail on the JMT a couple miles and take the cutoff right and loop back down to further up the Merced River past Echo Valley which is above LYV, then exit back at Happy Isles the 26th. Along your route, you'll find some good campsites above Bunnell Cascade that are going to blow away anywhere else you're going to be so far. You can also head up to Merced Lake and spend the night there if you're willing to write off kayaking the 27th.

But, if you do want to go up Panorama and Glacier Point, you guys might actually be better off hanging out at LYV (and I seldom recommend that at all). Keep the permit you have, but add another night to it. Once you reach LYV, take one day to day-hike HD, and another to day-hike up to Glacier on the Panorama. Why lug full packs and climb more than you have to? When you do exit at Happy Isles on Day 3, use the opportunity to hike down the Mist Trail then.

Are we 5x5 on this?
Phil
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Re: Half Dome and...?

Postby bconnell » Wed Jul 13, 2016 2:56 pm

Healdsburg?! We are Santa Rosa and have an extra permit... wanna just come with?!
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Re: Half Dome and...?

Postby bconnell » Wed Jul 13, 2016 4:23 pm

Alright, got home and busted out the map...

Here is what I am thinking (provided I can get the pass changed):

Friday July 22:
Miner's Inn Motel

Saturday July 23:
Secure site at backpackers camp and proceed to drink away our regrets

Sunday July 24:
HIT TRAIL NLT 0500
Happy Isle to Sunrise Creek

Monday July 25:
HIT TRAIL NLT 0500
Hike up to Half Dome and back to Sunrise Creek site
Depending on weather and exertion attempt to reach Sunrise Camp

Tuesday July 26:
Loop around to Merced Lake (if this ends up being too far we will break off at Echo Valley)

Wednesday July 27th:
Merced Lake down the LYV (if we are feeling some sort of spunky we can head all the way down?)

Thursday July 28th:
Drive home!
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Re: Half Dome and...?

Postby Phil » Wed Jul 13, 2016 6:13 pm

Thanks for the invite, but nah. Don't drink too hard the night before, even if you guys are in shape. That's not a fun ascent, even on a day without a hangover. Happy Isles to Sunrise is 3200 ft of elevation gain, and it's going to be hot and crowded!

Sounds like your plan is taking shape. The biggest part is getting that Happy Isles> Sunrise pass-through. You might have to try that on a walk-up basis, so if you can't get it changed over the phone, keep the Happy Isles>LYV as your ace. If it happens, you guys can easily hit Merced Lake from where you want to camp. It's only about 7 miles and not too much climbing at all. And then Merced back to Happy Isles is easy enough too if you still want to float around on the river the last day.
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Re: Half Dome and...?

Postby WanderingJim » Wed Jul 13, 2016 7:59 pm

By Sunrise Creek site, do you mean the area on the JMT between the Half Dome and Clouds Rest junctions? If so, that's a good first day's hike an a great place to camp, especially if you're doing HD the next morning. Woudl need that pass-through permit for that. Camping at LYV isn't horrible, but it does mean more climbing in the morning to reach HD.
Next day after going up Half Dome, I'd suggest going up Clouds Rest to reach Sunrise Lakes. The view from the top of Clouds Rest is great and you can see people on top of Half Dome from 1000 foot above them. :)
As an alternate to camping at Sunrise Lakes, you could camp near Clouds rest. There's a great site you'll pass on the way from HD to CR about a mile short of CR that has a 270 degree view of the sunrise and sunset, HD, the Merced River valley. You can even leave your gear down at the camp before going to the top of CR.
Then hiking down along the ridge overlooking the Merced River is great. See the Merced Lake area and then head back to the valley along the river. Great views and mostly downhill after Merced Lake. :)

I did almost that same hike (didn't get all the way to Sunrise Lakes) in the opposite direction for Memorial Day weekend in 5 nights/6 days.. Had the Merced Lake area to myself for a day. :) You won't in July. :P

But your itinerary looks good overall.
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Re: Half Dome and...?

Postby Phil » Wed Jul 13, 2016 9:00 pm

Yeah Jim, that's the area for camping I'm talking about. And yes, you do have to have the Happy Isles>Sunrise pass-through permit for it.

That's another option you guys could think about, too -- Cloud's Rest, then either go up, over and down the lower trail at the next junction you come to or go over to Sunrise Lakes for the night and pick the JMT back up by the High Sierra Camp back to LYV and the Valley.

The only possible problem with cross-country and that site up by Quarter Domes that you're talking about besides the timing for the HD permit, is that the creek might be dry already or at least well on its way by the last week of July. That trailside spring on the way up to CR might be okay still, but it's a big risk when going up to camp for the night and then HD the next day if it's not flowing enough for 5 or 6 people to draw off of.

If you can get that pass-through permit, best if you guys hang down at Sunrise and know that you'll have a big enough site for your group, and that you'll have plenty of water. HD and/or CR, make sure you guys load up enough at camp to stay hydrated all day.
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