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[Yosemite]

Lembert Dome, Mt. Hoffman, Backpacking in May Lake area

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

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Lembert Dome, Mt. Hoffman, Backpacking in May Lake area

Postby Cee » Fri Jul 22, 2016 8:33 am

Hello:

We have a backpacking permit for Murphy's Creek for next week and were planning on spending the first day (backpacker's camp day) doing a day hike to either Lembert Dome or Pothole Dome.
  • Are the views better from one of them?
  • If we go to Lembert Dome, should we go ahead and add Dog Lakes (pros and cons?).

Once we start backpacking, we were thinking of backpacking in to Raisin Lake and setting up camp there with the intention of doing subsequent day hikes before heading out.
  • Does Raisin Lake have water at this time of the year or is it a dry lake?
  • Are there any specific "great camping areas" in or around Raisin Lake?
  • What will the mosquito situation be late July?
  • For day hikes we were planning on going to Mt. Hoffmann one day, and something else the other day. Suggestions for the other day?
  • As far as Mt. Hoffman, is there a clear well-marked trail from May Lake to Mt. Hoffman? I ask this because last week we had planned on hiking from Lehamite Creek to North Dome. We got some GREAT views from a "dome" and ridge line that were along the trail to Indian Arch, but it looks like we should have taken a side spur to North Dome so what we thought of as our "North Dome" was not really North Dome. Just want to make sure we do not miss Mt. Hoffmann in a similar fashion.
  • While day hiking to North Dome, it seems that our last water stop will be May Lake, so we should carry enough to do the entire day hike, essentially, correct?
  • On the return, i.e., end of backpacking, we could either come back via May Lake or go back the way we came and end up at the Murphy Creek trailhead. Are there any advantages to one over the other?
  • We did not see any signs of bear (tracks, scat, bear canisters moved around) last week when we were in the North Dome and Eagle Peak areas. Are the higher elevations going to be similar, i.e., more or less low likelihood of meeting a bear?

Any other tips and suggestions would be very welcome.

Thanks,
Cee
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Re: Lembert Dome, Mt. Hoffman, Backpacking in May Lake area

Postby AlmostThere » Fri Jul 22, 2016 10:06 am

You should never ever assume the absence or presence of bears based on scat or tracks -- they are EVERYWHERE in the Sierra, whether you see them or not, but you don't have to fear them. As long as you follow the instructions on handling and storing food, that is. Bears that have learned to seek human food will follow them very high, above tree line, and are known to roam far and wide anyway -- I've seen bear poop in high treeless plateaus in the Sierra before. The same should be assumed about rattlesnakes, so watch where you step.

The hike to Hoffman is considered off trail as there is no maintained trail. There's a use trail (plenty of them, probably, it's popular) as there is to many other off trail destinations that get posted all over the internet. You can help preserve fragile alpine plants by using a use trail -- the usual protocol is to spread out and not walk single file off trail, so as not to trample and kill plants. In Yosemite I tend to just walk on use trails as there is so much use that it's just going to be that way.

There is a creek crossing on the way to North Dome, if you are using the trail from Porcupine Flat. I suspect there are other stream crossings along the rim trail as well. Not sure what route you are using.

A note of regulation -- crossing roads while on a backpacking trip is okay, if you cross and continue on a trail. If you spend any time walking or riding along the road, you have left the wilderness and technically are expected to get a second permit to continue on a trail for another overnight outing.
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Re: Lembert Dome, Mt. Hoffman, Backpacking in May Lake area

Postby MadDiver » Fri Jul 22, 2016 12:48 pm

Raison Lake to North Dome calculates out to over 28 miles round trip with close to 4K+ elevation gain on the way home... there is no trail between May Lake and Porcupine so you need to enter at the May Lake to Snow creek trailhead or violate your permit... you can see the route here: http://caltopo.com/m/L0QR Sorry it shows the trail in 2 parts, couldn't get it all in one. (if you haven't used CalTopo, on the far left under "lines and polygons" there are to small graphs you can click that will expand and show the trail profile). I also apologize if I am misinterpreting you intent for this hike. Since you just did ND (well close to it) why not head N from Raison, maybe up to Tuolumne Pass (summit Tuolumne if the weather is good)? See a different view of the park...

Do note the herd path to Hoffmann is on the South end of May Lake essentially through the backpackers area of the HSC. The approach from the North is considered (from what I've read) a technical ascent. There are many places to read about the route to Hoffmann just search and you'll find.
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Re: Lembert Dome, Mt. Hoffman, Backpacking in May Lake area

Postby balzaccom » Fri Jul 22, 2016 1:06 pm

Note that the Yosemite Foundation "built" a trail up Mt. Hoffman a few years ago. It is still rough and ready, but it is now considered an official trail--at least according to the Ranger we met up there...
Check out our website and blog at: http://sites.google.com/site/backpackthesierra/home
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Re: Lembert Dome, Mt. Hoffman, Backpacking in May Lake area

Postby Cee » Fri Jul 22, 2016 1:41 pm

I just want to clarify one thing -- the North Dome hike was a completely separate trip, so I probably should not have even mentioned it on this thread since we are not going to ND this time.

This trip we will start at the Murphy Creek trailhead, backpack in to Raisin Lake and then day hike the next day to Mt. Hoffmann. This is why we are trying to figure out if there is a well-marked trail to Mt. Hoffman from May Lake to Mt. Hoffmann.

We also have another night on our permit so were trying to figure out if there was another day hike we could do from Raisin Lake.

So, here are all my questions related to the Murphy Creek backpacking portion of our trip:
  • Is it safe to assume that Raisin Lake has water, i.e., I am assuming it is not a dry lake.
  • Are there any especially nice camping areas there that we should try to snag?
  • Is there a decent trail to Mt. Hoffmann from Raisin Lake (via May Lake)?
  • What is the overnight car parking situation like at the Murphy Creek trailhead?
  • Does the Murphy Creek trailhead have a bear box where we can leave food for the return night when we are at the backpacker's camp?
  • Once we leave May Lake and are on our way to Mt. Hoffmann, I do not see any water and am planning on just carrying the water needed for the round-trip day hike -- please let me know if I have missed something here.

As far as the day before we start backpacking, we were thinking of day hiking to either Pothole Dome or Lembert Dome -- does one offer much better views than the other?

Thanks,

Cee
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Re: Lembert Dome, Mt. Hoffman, Backpacking in May Lake area

Postby Phil » Fri Jul 22, 2016 3:25 pm

Raisin Lake has plenty of water. It's shallow, but it doesn't dry up. From extensive recon in the whole area, the best site is located at UTM coordinates Zone 11S E0282157 N4192040, NAD83 at 8,979 ft. What that translates to is: You'll see a big rock overlooking the lake on the north shore about 100 ft off the trail where it passes the closest to the lake itself. From there, head NE about another 100 ft and over the granite, and that's it. If that's taken, there's another on the opposite side that's slightly west of what looks like a little treed area that might have a site, but doesn't. Go left and work your way around the lake on the open slabs, not right and through the brush and trees. Beyond those two, the rest are scroungy, and better sites are the ones up-creek and away from the lake back in the forest. And while it's not shown, there is a creek that feeds the lake that you track for a pretty good distance along the trail. It should still be flowing or at least have some pooling, but May Lake is only about 1.5 miles away so you won't need to stop for water.

Raisin Lake isn't a particularly good place to set up for day hikes to Hoffman. It's more of a way point on the route to May Lake. The trail from there to Hoffman is the main trail. You can find some excursions within the area to the S/SE of Raisin, but they're going to be more exploration that set destinations. If you keep going down the drainage, you're just going to end up back on Tioga Rd and have to climb back up. You can always find plenty of places to hike around, but May Lake is where you should set up base after a night at Raisin. The trail up to Hoffman from May Lake is very worn and impossible to miss.

Murphy Creek has plenty of roadside parking and the parking lot across the road, as well as bear lockers.
Last edited by Phil on Fri Jul 22, 2016 11:08 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Lembert Dome, Mt. Hoffman, Backpacking in May Lake area

Postby Phil » Fri Jul 22, 2016 3:33 pm

AlmostThere wrote:There is a creek crossing on the way to North Dome, if you are using the trail from Porcupine Flat. I suspect there are other stream crossings along the rim trail as well. Not sure what route you are using.


Going towards North Dome, from the intersection of the Porcupine Creek/Snow Creek Trail down, or up from Lehamite Creek, those other creek crossings are both over Royal Arch Creek.
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Re: Lembert Dome, Mt. Hoffman, Backpacking in May Lake area

Postby Phil » Fri Jul 22, 2016 3:54 pm

Cee wrote:Hello:

We have a backpacking permit for Murphy's Creek for next week and were planning on spending the first day (backpacker's camp day) doing a day hike to either Lembert Dome or Pothole Dome.


Not sure exactly what you mean in that, but the day before your permit date is the one to explore Tuolumne and stay at the backpacker's camp. The "first day" is the date you actually need to be on your trail. If not, you're in violation of your permit.


***Mosquitoes shouldn't be any big deal this late in the season, but carry some DEET anyway.

***Rather than backtrack out Murphy Creek again, instead go up to May Lake, down to the parking area, turn left, and then go the last 2.1 miles down to the Sunrise trailhead parking lot. Either walk back to the car down the road at Murphy Creek or catch the Tuolumne shuttle back to the campground and backpacker's camp. This route is easier because it's both shorter and downhill. Whatever water you're carrying from May Lake should be plenty.
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