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[Yosemite]

backpacking May 2017, happy isles -> tuolumne meadows

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

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backpacking May 2017, happy isles -> tuolumne meadows

Postby mbitbb » Wed Apr 26, 2017 10:20 pm

I have some unexpected time off work and I'm considering a last-minute trip down to Yosemite next week for a 4 or 7 day hike. (Looks like passes are available.)

For this time of year, considering this year's weather, could any veterans share any concerns for either a one-way or a full loop between happy isles and tolume meadows? I'm thinking Happy Isles -> sunrise creeks -> clouds rest -> sunrise lakes -> cathedral lake -> tolume meadows, and then possibly back on a shuttle or possibly back via Vogelsang and Merced Lake.

I'm mostly concerned about this year's weather, though open to any and all feedback.

Thank you!

D
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Re: backpacking May 2017, happy isles -> tolume meadows

Postby AlmostThere » Wed Apr 26, 2017 11:16 pm

You should be concerned. You're not going to make it to Tuolumne Meadows without wading through a lot of snow and risking your life crossing creeks. There are 50 foot snowdrifts on Tioga Road. Clouds Rest is under snow. Cathedral Lakes, Sunrise Lakes, all under deep snow.

Just say no. Unless you have good winter skills. Any trip going above 7000 feet right now will be under snow. All trips of that length would be snowy.
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Re: backpacking May 2017, happy isles -> tolume meadows

Postby Phil » Wed Apr 26, 2017 11:55 pm

I'll echo that, and I hate to be rude, but if you have to ask about how it would be, don't go unless that unexpected time off is for keeps.

If you've got a hankering, head to the coastal ranges, or at least somewhere lower.
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Re: backpacking May 2017, happy isles -> tolume meadows

Postby AlmostThere » Wed Apr 26, 2017 11:59 pm

And no - there will be no shuttles. The road might open in June, but only because they are plowing it, and there will still be snow in June! The campground in Tuolumne Meadows won't be open til August.
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Re: backpacking May 2017, happy isles -> tolume meadows

Postby Phil » Thu Apr 27, 2017 9:25 am

I just wanted to follow up with the rationale behind my comments.

The conditions aren't good for any kind of last minute trip. What you would face would be epic and almost expeditionary in scale, and certainly not something to ever try alone. There's a lot of real, imminent danger involved right now: navigationally, avalanches, high water, deep snow, rockfall, a lot of miles that you would only be able to fractionally cover on the basis of what you would normally be able to travel in a day...full on winter gear; snowshoes, crampons, ice axes, shovel, ropes, rig...I would be surprised if you could get in with a pack weight of less than about 70 or 80 lbs. Unless you're an extremely experienced mountaineer that thrives on risk and suffering and already knows the drill precisely, it's not something that's either going to be safe or fun.
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Re: backpacking May 2017, happy isles -> tolume meadows

Postby mbitbb » Thu Apr 27, 2017 11:14 am

Message received - thanks everyone.
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Re: backpacking May 2017, happy isles -> tolume meadows

Postby ktrboston » Fri Apr 28, 2017 6:39 am

Hello All, I had a plan and a permit reserved for June 22 but it looks like I might have to change that. Our plan was to start at Tuolumne Meadows and make our way to Yosemite via Lyell and head west. Makes me sad :(
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Re: backpacking May 2017, happy isles -> tolume meadows

Postby AlmostThere » Fri Apr 28, 2017 7:56 am

ktrboston wrote:Hello All, I had a plan and a permit reserved for June 22 but it looks like I might have to change that. Our plan was to start at Tuolumne Meadows and make our way to Yosemite via Lyell and head west. Makes me sad :(


Since Lyell is not west of Tuolumne Meadows, more southeast, you wouldn't have been able to make that work anyway.

Come back in late August or September when the snow is gone. It's worth doing.
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Re: backpacking May 2017, happy isles -> tolume meadows

Postby Phil » Fri Apr 28, 2017 8:14 am

From the west, the plowing crews are just short of White Wolf at Siesta Lake. At 8000 ft, they're cutting through 8-10 ft of snow. No estimated opening date.

From Tuolumne Meadows (~8500 ft) ranger report as of earlier this week, 100" of snow in the meadow, and with a very high water content.
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Re: backpacking May 2017, happy isles -> tolume meadows

Postby AlmostThere » Fri Apr 28, 2017 8:24 am

A ranger told someone on the Facebook page that his trip over Tioga Pass in June would not happen. Possibly late June the road will open - not early June. And nothing will be snow free once you're off the road.
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Re: backpacking May 2017, happy isles -> tolume meadows

Postby Phil » Fri Apr 28, 2017 8:36 am

Yeah, for fun, I decided to have a look at the full-trailheads report...well, there's a lot of wishful thinking, bordering on delusional, but there'll be even more cancellations and no-shows. We hit August and September and it's going to be so insanely crowded that it might not even be worth it. Too bad they don't plow the JMT for an early June opening, but you would think that some people expect there to be a sidewalk and trail crews throwing down salt.
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Re: backpacking May 2017, happy isles -> tolume meadows

Postby AlmostThere » Fri Apr 28, 2017 8:38 am

Me, I'm holding permits for lower routes outside the parks -- not telling where. :twisted: Me and my fishing pole have other plans.... It's not easy to find a route that doesn't cross major waterways but it's possible!
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Re: backpacking May 2017, happy isles -> tolume meadows

Postby Phil » Fri Apr 28, 2017 8:42 am

...for when altitudes are just arbitrary numbers.
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Re: backpacking May 2017, happy isles -> tolume meadows

Postby AlmostThere » Fri Apr 28, 2017 8:44 am

What I'm struggling with is that some of that snow fell just a week ago... though it's predicted to be drier, who knows with the way things have been? If it snows again in May.... :shock:
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