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[Yosemite]

Hammocks

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

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Hammocks

Postby Randy » Mon Jul 07, 2014 9:11 pm

Our team is planning to head from Half Dome out to Vogelsang, then across to the Lyell fork, over the Donahue Pass and on through Thousand Island lake to Mammoth. A couple in our group want to use hammocks rather than a tent. Are there hammock conducive trees in the camps sites I've mentioned?
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Re: Hammocks

Postby centurycyclist » Tue Jul 08, 2014 1:36 pm

My son and I hiked from Tuolumne to Mammoth a month ago... he took his hammock and used it only once, not because of lack of trees, but that it was too cold when we hiked most nights. So, yes, you could use a hammock just need to choose your campsites accordingly. If you are in Vogelsang, I am not remembering a lot of trees, but there were some....maybe pull up a photo of the area and decide whether to camp before or after the High Sierra Camp? Are you coming up via Merced Lake from Half Dome?
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Re: Hammocks

Postby AlmostThere » Wed Jul 09, 2014 7:31 am

A properly insulated hammock works fine in this area - if you have very long straps to get around the larger pines. If it's much above 9000 feet the trees are too flexible and put you on the ground tho. A couple of good pads are the better solution than an underquilt so you can use the hammock as a bivy on the ground if needed.

I've hammocked plenty in Yosemite, in freezing temps, without an issue. The rangers kind of look at you funny but it's become much more popular.
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Re: Hammocks

Postby centurycyclist » Thu Jul 10, 2014 10:11 pm

We were just under Donahue Pass, so 10,000' + there were enough trees for a hammock (depending on your site!) but early June was COLD!! Below that elevation, lots of options and the trees could handle anything. The question is, will you be warm enough? This week the Sierras are having a warm spell. So you could sleep under the stars, barely zipped. Not how it is all the time. Be prepared for anything.
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Re: Hammocks

Postby AlmostThere » Thu Jul 10, 2014 10:19 pm

centurycyclist wrote:We were just under Donahue Pass, so 10,000' + there were enough trees for a hammock (depending on your site!) but early June was COLD!! Below that elevation, lots of options and the trees could handle anything. The question is, will you be warm enough? This week the Sierras are having a warm spell. So you could sleep under the stars, barely zipped. Not how it is all the time. Be prepared for anything.


I can assure you that trees at 10000 feet do not hold up a hammock with a person in it. A hammock will put 700+ lbs of force on a tree - at elevation trees are flexible and put you on the ground when you get in. I know this from experience.

Until you get much farther south - foxtail pines with trunks 4' around are great - don't forget long straps. Trees on Donahue are all too small.
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Re: Hammocks

Postby centurycyclist » Thu Jul 10, 2014 11:06 pm

I suppose I will need to post a pic of my son in his hammock not far south of Donahue. Maybe he was lucky... Trust Almost There-he is WAY more experienced than we are.
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Re: Hammocks

Postby Caminante » Thu Oct 27, 2016 10:06 am

I'm a hammock convert. Down to 15-20F I'm fine with my 20F quilt set and fleece baselayers. Lower than that, and I'd have to invest in a 0F quilt set. Temperature is not really the issue, assuming proper equipment, so much as an appropriate site. As long as there are two trees or something else to put a strap on, I can hang in a hammock at the same temperatures that I used to tent or tarp in.

I have no experience with the route you're describing other than having recently done a short loop between LYV and Echo Valley. I brought long straps (12') being worried about big trees, but every night I found good trees that weren't more than 24". I'd still take long straps if I did it again, just to be safe.

One note on straps - the resident at the backpackers' camp as well as two rangers told me that I had to "pad" the trees where my straps were. Chocking the straps with twigs to prevent strap <-> tree contact was acceptable. Just something to keep in mind - some rangers might care, some might not. I can't find anywhere online where this is posted.

Finally, a lot of people have hammocked the JMT which might give you another data point. Apparently, as long as you clear the pass and get to a lower elevation before camping you are fine with the sole exception of Guitar Lake.
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Re: Hammocks

Postby AlmostThere » Thu Oct 27, 2016 10:07 am

The thing is the straps are good enough to distribute the weight just fine without causing damage... the rangers are being nervous nellies. Ropes are what damages trees.
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Re: Hammocks

Postby Phil » Thu Oct 27, 2016 12:58 pm

I guess it's one of those things where some ranger got an idea that applying any external pressure to bark at all must be a bad thing and the others ran with it. Those straps are designed for one thing, and one thing only; not damaging the trees.

I wish I could use a hammock, but only 15% of L5-S1 left makes it impossible. I tried it once, and it was 1600mg of Ibuprofen and 2 Vicodin washed down with coffee for breakfast, and it still took me over an hour to straighten up and get going. But I'm perfectly fine sleeping on a granite slab, even with no pad. Go figure.
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Re: Hammocks

Postby Grzldvt » Thu Oct 27, 2016 9:03 pm

This why I don't bring a hammock backpacking https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gc6Up31iER0 :mrgreen:
Last edited by Grzldvt on Thu Oct 27, 2016 9:41 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Hammocks

Postby AlmostThere » Thu Oct 27, 2016 9:04 pm

Right, because they can't get into a tent....

Guess what's never in ten years ever happened to anyone I know who uses the hammock? Animals. I've had a few run underneath, but they keep right on going.
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Re: Hammocks

Postby Phil » Thu Oct 27, 2016 9:57 pm

I feel so much safer knowing I'm surrounded by my magical mesh force field. Add a little 20D nylon and I'm like a god.
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Re: Hammocks

Postby AlmostThere » Thu Oct 27, 2016 9:59 pm

Phil wrote:I feel so much safer knowing I'm surrounded by my magical mesh force field. Add a little 20D nylon and I'm like a god.


You and everyone else. :lol:

The worst thing that ever happened to me while cowboy camping was a mouse -- I blame myself, we didn't notice the hole under the gnarly pine tree we parked the ground sheet next to.... I think I shocked him, parking in front of his front door. He beat it across my chest fast as he could go...
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Re: Hammocks

Postby Caminante » Fri Oct 28, 2016 9:01 am

Chocking the straps with twigs does seem like overkill, especially on the conifers which have really thick bark. But I'll take that over an outright ban, I guess it's fair middle ground.

Phil, that's too bad about the back. One of the big upsides for me to a hammock is how refreshed I wake up and how good my normally sore back feels. It's also nice when things get wet or muddy.

One thing I learned talking to the permit ranger at Yosemite, who was from Georgia, is how unlikely you are to be attacked by a bear in Yosemite as compared to the Smokies. We had a guy bitten through his tent earlier this year, and a teenager was mauled in his hammock two years ago. Both are fine, I think the last fatality was ~2000 or 2001. The ranger said that no one had ever been killed or seriously hurt by a bear in Yosemite which made me sleep a lot better while swaying in my hammock.
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Re: Hammocks

Postby AlmostThere » Fri Oct 28, 2016 9:17 am

Phil tried the wrong hammock. A bridge hammock would have worked fine for him. Probably a shaped hammock would have too -- the asymmetrical hammocks made for camping are very popular with people with back issues. He probably tried the cheap gathered end models -- no one likes those.

Bears in Yosemite are GPS tagged, followed around, and the more aggressive they become in trying to get people's food, the more they are monitored until that fateful day when they are shot for being too aggressive. Many of the rangers in Yosemite are actually bear watchers. I have had bears sneak up on me while I am eating -- once a ranger showed up just a few minutes after I chased away the bear. He wanted to know what the bear's ear tag said, what color it was, because he was trying to make sure the bear and her cub were continuing to move away from LIttle Yosemite Valley into the wilderness. That's why it's important to chase bears away from you and always store food properly.
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