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[Yosemite]

First trip to Yosemite from UK

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

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Re: First trip to Yosemite from UK

Postby AlmostThere » Wed Feb 15, 2017 6:50 pm

If you take a map and draw a ten mile circle around LYV, you'll encompass the busiest part of the park. That and the John Muir trail heading south from Tuolumne Meadows will have the worst bears - the most habituated ones that sneak up on people and steal their food almost out of their hands, steal their packs whether they are empty or not, break into cars that have a visible ice chest even if it's empty and clean -- the ones that are used to easy calories and know how to get them.

They won't go after your clothes, or you. They will tear into a tent for a stick of gum or a chap stick, or the food wrapper you forgot.

We always get up and chase off the bears when we hear them at the canisters so they won't bat them away into the lake, or off a cliff. They go away if you gang together and look big. No guarantee they won't come back and try again, tho. Not aggressive to people, but sometimes they can be persistent in trying at the canisters.
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Re: First trip to Yosemite from UK

Postby Phil » Wed Feb 15, 2017 7:10 pm

I believe that's still correct- first night from Mono Meadow can't be at LYV or Sunrise. What's happened is that, due to the crush of JMT permits and people trying to backdoor their way in from other trailheads, restrictions have been enhanced. Double check this with an email or a phone call to be sure. It's somewhat dynamic year-to-year these days.

Here's the basic regulations and contact info: https://www.nps.gov/yose/planyourvisit/wildpermits.htm

But yes, I would strongly recommend Mono as your first choice, Glacier Point as your second.

Renting your bear canister(s) is a good idea. It's $5 for the trip of whatever duration, plus credit card or cash deposit.

The trick is to make sure all your food, garbage, toiletries...anything with a scent is going to fit in the can. Repackage as much of your food as possible to compress it. If you need a second canister, don't hesitate to get one. You should also look on sites like YouTube for how to pack one properly since you're going to be new to it and on-the-fly when you finally have it in your possession.

Bears are present and active everywhere in the park. Illilouette is likely, LYV and Sunrise are almost certain. Around the latter two, somewhat aggressive at times (defined as brazen and pushy, not dangerous), but black bears are virtually harmless in most cases. Make noise, stand your ground, keep your food tight, and you'll run them off pretty easily the vast vast majority of the time. If they do get your food, it's theirs. Don't ever leave your pack unattended, and always remove your canister if you wander off to the loo, etc. At night, bring your packs into the tent or into your vestibule. They will often come into your camp (sleeping or otherwise), often multiple times and from multiple directions. No big deal! You're not food, and that's what they're looking for. 100 feet away from where you're sleeping is what's recommended for overnight canister storage, although perfect-world most of the time. Do your dishes! Obviously don't cook or eat too near or in your tent. Makes sure to empty your pockets and packs of all scented items. You'll be fine. Believe it or not, you'll actually enjoy seeing bears, even if it's somewhat up close and personal.
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Re: First trip to Yosemite from UK

Postby Coolguydudeman » Sat Dec 02, 2017 5:45 am

I was thinking about Yosemite this morning and remembered that I never updated this post.

For anyone interested in knowing the chances of getting a permit in early June, we both applied for both the preseason and daily lottery and lost both!

Driving from LA on the way to Yosemite we figured it wasn’t going to happen, but luck must of been shining on us that day as somehow we managed to get permits attached to our wilderness permits in wawona wilderness centre, on a Saturday too!

We saw a huge bear on the trail around mono meadows, slept in the wilderness listening to the coyotes howling at night and after a long hike up on the second day we successfully did half dome! (it wasn’t as bad as I was expecting it to be, but we did get stuck hanging on to the cables for 20 mins half way up due to someone who had passed out further up and was blocking the way :shock:).

We ended up sleeping at LYV backpackers campsite on the 2nd night, which was OK but the mosquitoes are truly relentless here. Anyway. What a truly beautiful park you have, this and Yellowstone were in my top favourite parks in our west coast trip and can’t wait to go back one day and spend more time in them. Thanks again for all the advise and suggestions !
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Re: First trip to Yosemite from UK

Postby balzaccom » Sat Dec 02, 2017 8:34 am

Thanks for the update! Sounds like you had a great adventure!

And if you want to avoid mosquitoes, aim for later in the summer. They are fierce for a few weeks after snowmelt, and then the slowly die back. By September they are scarce indeed.
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Re: First trip to Yosemite from UK

Postby WanderingJim » Sun Dec 03, 2017 12:55 pm

Wow... passed out on the cables. I've never seen that before. People too scared to continue up (and sometimes go down again), but passed out on the cables has to be a bad situation.
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Re: First trip to Yosemite from UK

Postby balzaccom » Sun Dec 03, 2017 7:00 pm

Once I thought about it, it didn't surprise me. People who are at high elevation and probably dehydrated, and completely unaccustomed to that kind of hiking? It seems that it might happen more often than you think...
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Re: First trip to Yosemite from UK

Postby AlmostThere » Sun Dec 03, 2017 8:26 pm

People freak out on the cables often, causing traffic jams, which leads to people walking up one side or the other instead of waiting in line.

I've had to deal with someone's all-out panic attack on the slabs on the climber's route to the Diving Board before - exposure triggers tons of anxiety. That's why I always use the hiker's route, which never exceeds class 3.

Next time you should try the Kings Canyon high Sierra. I love Yosemite, but the solitude and grandeur of the real High Sierra gets more of my time any more.
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Re: First trip to Yosemite from UK

Postby Phil » Mon Dec 04, 2017 8:37 am

When you take all the dramatic physiological changes a body goes through during times of high anxiety and panic attacks, passing out is actually pretty common. Crank up that heart rate, respiration, blood pressure, muscle tension, fear induced paralysis, and then do it at altitude as well, you never know from one person to the next. So this is why they're always talking about making people clip in on the cables as a rule. Aside from just sheer numbers of people, someone freaking out and refusing to move is the biggest reason why things backup: You can't fight your own mind because it's shut down and turned on you, you can't run because there's nowhere safe to run to, so you stop because it's all you have left. Then you throw in a handful of people trying to talk them out of it and get them moving again, and it becomes a big mess.
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