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[Yosemite]

Suggestions for Challenging 3 Day Backpacking Trip

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

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Re: Suggestions for Challenging 3 Day Backpacking Trip

Postby rbm » Thu Jan 12, 2017 8:07 pm

Phil wrote:The thing with the JMT from Cathedral is that it's not only the most popular, crowded, and hard to get permit in the park, it's still going to take you up to 10k at the pass and Columbia Finger. I think last year around late June/early July we had a few reports that showed mixed results, and with <80% of normal snowpack.

Maybe about 5 years ago, we went up over the 4th of July weekend and postholed it up to our thighs to Upper Cathedral for about the last mile and a half. We camped the night in a wicked thunderstorm and then blew it off and descended.


That doesn't sound like a very pleasant experience!

I was really hoping to hike close to 20 miles (or 15) per day. How possible it this taking into consideration my limited snow experience? And HD is not a must in my book.

What about Sunrise Lakes - Clouds Rest - Merced Lake - ?? And...I don't know what could come next?

I wasn't thinking about snowpack when I first started planning this trip! I just knew it'd be Hot to go to Zion so my next thought was Yosemite.
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Re: Suggestions for Challenging 3 Day Backpacking Trip

Postby Justin-T » Thu Jan 12, 2017 9:56 pm

I think a loop starting Sunrise Lakes to Clouds Rest then Merced Lake, up to Vogelsang to TM via Lyell Canyon might fit what you're looking for without having to go thru snow in mid July. Covers some classic Yosemite. Wouldn't need 20 mile days, but there are some tough miles in there, Merced up to Vogelsang is a 3000 ft climb that will slow anybody. And don't you want to stop and smell the roses a bit? The views are worth going a little more slowly for, explore a little off the trail to see some more. By the way are you allowing a couple days to acclimtatize there before you start?

First day could include CR then camp half way between it and Merced (10-12 miles, but all at good elevation, you'll want to stop a while at the top of CR, it is breathtaking), second day up to Vogelsang or somewhere short, perhaps Emeric Lake or Bernice (another 10-12, but some down and then major gain of 2000-3000 depending how far you get), last day to TM maybe 11-13 miles. I doubt you'd be disappointed...
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Re: Suggestions for Challenging 3 Day Backpacking Trip

Postby AlmostThere » Thu Jan 12, 2017 9:58 pm

I think 20 miles a day would be difficult. I mean, there will be snow. It'll slow you waaaaaayyyyyyy down.
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Re: Suggestions for Challenging 3 Day Backpacking Trip

Postby Phil » Fri Jan 13, 2017 5:28 am

You know, if you want a challenge, something completely different, no altitude issues, no snow, and can do 20 miles per day, 3 days would be just about the perfect amount of time to do the entire Lost Coast Trail from Mattole > Usal.
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Re: Suggestions for Challenging 3 Day Backpacking Trip

Postby AlmostThere » Fri Jan 13, 2017 7:24 am

Phil wrote:You know, if you want a challenge, something completely different, no altitude issues, no snow, and can do 20 miles per day, 3 days would be just about the perfect amount of time to do the entire Lost Coast Trail from Mattole > Usal.


Yes, all you would need are tide tables, a bear can and a very expensive shuttle to the other end. Brewskies at Lost Coast after...
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Re: Suggestions for Challenging 3 Day Backpacking Trip

Postby Phil » Fri Jan 13, 2017 8:19 am

AlmostThere wrote:Yes, all you would need are tide tables, a bear can and a very expensive shuttle to the other end. Brewskies at Lost Coast after...


What a spoil sport. :D

If he can do all 57 miles of it in 3 days and kick in a few bucks for gas, I'll do the shuttling and buy the beer. The other alternative is bring a friend and use two cars.

The tide tables- Yes, that's an interesting one. We had it timed beautifully, but the off shore wind was up, which made getting around this one particular rock that we couldn't see the other side of impossible. We spent 4 hours holed up in this tiny little cove before we waited for the tide to go back out and got up the guts to go for it out of sheer desperation. That was...fun, but I got a hell of a tan.

And then we had the bull elk bushwhacking incident....

Really unique and cool hike though.
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Re: Suggestions for Challenging 3 Day Backpacking Trip

Postby AlmostThere » Fri Jan 13, 2017 8:23 am

Spoil sport? Do you know how much I paid for the shuttle from one end of the Ruby Crest Trail to the other?

To be fair, Cowboy John is a great resource for the fun stuff to do in Elko, and the best restaurants.

I could do all of it in three days. I've done 30 incredibly difficult miles in 26 hours before, with six hours of sleep, in the rain, with a full backpack and 1500+ feet of rolling gain. But I'd take five days, because that kind of scenery? What the **** are you going to NOT STOP AND SOAK IT IN for?
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Re: Suggestions for Challenging 3 Day Backpacking Trip

Postby Phil » Fri Jan 13, 2017 8:36 am

The thing with the north half from Mattole to Black Sands Beach was that a lot of it consisted of intense concentration as you step from one head-sized rock to the next in order to not sprain your ankle. The other was the wind. And the other one was the slope of the sand. To this day, the callous on the outside of my left foot is about twice as thick as the same spot on my right.

The south half has some wildly steep sections. We went a half a mile descending on our butts coming south down to Needle Rock. Then there was the elk, followed by up, down, up, down........... with around 12,000 ft of combined vertical gain/descent. We were pounded by the time we got to Usal, and then our shuttle ride didn't show, so we paid a couple headed north $100 for a ride, during which they hot boxed the car with bong hits. Needless to say, we were still exhausted by the time we got back to the car, but in no pain whatsoever.
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Re: Suggestions for Challenging 3 Day Backpacking Trip

Postby AlmostThere » Fri Jan 13, 2017 8:44 am

For 25,000+ feet of gain in four days with incredible scenery, starting at Onion Valley and going over Kearsarge, then Forester, then Guyot and onward to Horseshoe Meadow to reach the car, made a fantastic outing - the side trip to Whitney was canceled due to high winds, because being blown off that one spot on the ridge by 60 mph wind was not going to be fun - but of course the top of Forester pass is 13000 feet, and it'll be thick with snow when the OP wants to hike. There's likely to be a trodden path on the JMT right there by then thanks to determined PCT thrus, but still, it'll be a lot slower going than I had doing it in early August in a low snow year. We only had to do 15 mile days and only had to skirt a single lone snowfield on the north side of Forester. Of course, at the time, it was about to pound rain and snow down on us, and the original six day plan went out the window when it became obvious. The shuttle was a Lone Pine local who hauled us to Onion for a hundred bucks, without incident.
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Re: Suggestions for Challenging 3 Day Backpacking Trip

Postby rbm » Fri Jan 13, 2017 9:24 am

Hiking the full Lost Coast would be amazing. But since I'm coming up from southern CA I don't think the transit time will work within my timeframe. It is a trip that's definitely on the list though.

I didn't take into account how the amount of snowfall so far this year would be affecting my early July trip. I appreciate the reminder. Now to just figure this thing out!
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