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[Yosemite]

Trip planning - Glacier Point, Half Dome, Clouds Rest

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

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Trip planning - Glacier Point, Half Dome, Clouds Rest

Postby floridahiker » Mon Jun 19, 2017 12:27 pm

Hi everyone! I'll be doing some backpacking in Yosemite and was hoping to get some knowledgeable feedback on the trip. My biggest concerns are finding good campsites and reliable water sources (mid-July). Does it seem doable? I'll give a rough itinerary below. Thanks in advance. :)

My small crew is hoping to hike from Glacier Point and to summit Half Dome and Clouds Rest. We have two nights of permits, including half dome, and have to leave from Glacier Point. We're all reasonably experienced hikers and in good shape. Well equipped...


Day One: Leave Glacier Point and stay near Illiloutte Creek - we want to get as close to Half Dome as possible but have reliable water

Day Two: Summit Half Dome and camp on the way to Clouds Rest - We'd like to get as close to Clouds Rest as possible, but we don't want to kill ourselves with tough hiking. Water sources?

Day Three: Summit Clouds Rest and return to car
We are debating hiking down to the valley instead of back to Glacier point, but GP seems easier since its where our car will be
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Re: Trip planning - Glacier Point, Half Dome, Clouds Rest

Postby Phil » Mon Jun 19, 2017 1:00 pm

All snow conditions aside at higher elevations, I think you're right on the edge of being overly ambitious and taking the possible need to acclimatize to altitudes, potentially hot temperatures and daily elevation gains that are going to be required to keep to your schedule too lightly.

Day one works fine. No shortage of sites or water.

Days two and three- don't underestimate how hot and strenuous going up and back down HD with full packs on is going be, especially if you're adding a big descent from Illilouette and a climb up from LYV up front to that climb. For proximity to Cloud's Rest you have two choices: stay high and go cross country to Quarter Domes/ Pinnacles to have the shortest distance and closest in elevation to CR (if you have the skills and abilities for it), with hopes for water in the creek up there, or go back down from HD and camp at Sunrise Creek at or around the JMT x CR trail junction, in which case you'll have plenty of water and campsites, but be looking at a 2700 ft ascent to the CR summit on the third day. If you do the latter, I can pretty much guarantee you that the last thing you're going to want to/be able to do is get yourselves back to Glacier Point on the same day you just climbed CR. Maybe. Maybe not. But if your itinerary is written in stone, instead of catching you by surprise if/when it happens, you might want to rethink it beforehand and plan for contingencies before they might be forced on you.

If you can pull off an extra day to slow down, not get hurt, stay entirely within the realm of being realistic, no doubt, and enjoy something other than a death march, that's what I would strongly recommend you shoot for.
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Re: Trip planning - Glacier Point, Half Dome, Clouds Rest

Postby balzaccom » Mon Jun 19, 2017 1:14 pm

So you can't stay really close to Glacier Point on Illilouette Creek. That area is closed to camping. You'll need to head upstream to camp legally. But that's not an issue. It will take you time to get your permit, time to drive to Glacier Point...etc. Hike down to Illilouette Creek and camp. But that's a long way from Cloud's Rest!

Day two is harder. That's a long way to hike, with a lot of uphill. But why only two nights? Why not add a third night and make this easy. That way you could camp below Half Dome, and climb it early the next day. Then on the following day, do CLoud's Rest and start heading back to Glacier Point. And it's an easier day from there on out for day Four.

I have a better idea for you, BTW. Instead of trying to cram in both HD and CR on a three-day trip from Glacier Point, stick with your original permit, hike up Illilouette Creek as far as you can, and camp up there. The next day, hike up to Lower Ottaway Lake for stunning views, Day three takes you back to Glacier Point but it's all downhill except the last couple of miles.

The other option, if you are with a group, is to take two cars. Leave one at Tenaya Lake, and hike from Glacier Point to Tenaya Lake in three days. That's a piece of cake, and you could fit in both Half Dome (morning of day two) and CLoud's Rest (morning of day three)

Your solution/hack of starting and ending at Glacier Point and still doing both big rocks is way too much work...and I doubt you'll complete your itinerary.
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Re: Trip planning - Glacier Point, Half Dome, Clouds Rest

Postby Phil » Mon Jun 19, 2017 1:31 pm

balzaccom wrote:I have a better idea for you, BTW. Instead of trying to cram in both HD and CR on a three-day trip from Glacier Point, stick with your original permit, hike up Illilouette Creek as far as you can, and camp up there. The next day, hike up to Lower Ottaway Lake for stunning views, Day three takes you back to Glacier Point but it's all downhill except the last couple of miles.


Oh yeah, assuming you can get in there, I would take Lower Ottoway over that other trip, any day. You're practically there already, go for it. Overrated and massively overcrowded icons be damned.
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Re: Trip planning - Glacier Point, Half Dome, Clouds Rest

Postby AlmostThere » Mon Jun 19, 2017 2:44 pm

Tourists love Half Dome and neglect to look at the rest of the mountain range....

I bet you this week is going to flood some low lying areas. It's 75-80 degrees up in the high country right now. Yosemite valley will be 90-100F. What a great time to start planning trips for August and Late July....

I would actually prefer getting hypothermia to having heat stroke, which is now becoming a risk. You really cannot do anything for heat stroke in the wilderness. It's immediate evacuation time, unless you just happen to have a safe place in a waterway to put the person, and there aren't gonna be many of those.
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Re: Trip planning - Glacier Point, Half Dome, Clouds Rest

Postby Phil » Mon Jun 19, 2017 4:34 pm

Heat casualties from 100 degrees and more reflected heat off the granite makes for a whole new spin on HD being on your "bucket list" :roll: Enjoy lugging that 15 lbs of water you'll need to stay ahead of it. There may not be a creek nearby for immersion, but the good news is that there's a cell signal and the rotor wash from the helicopter will have a cooling effect.
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Re: Trip planning - Glacier Point, Half Dome, Clouds Rest

Postby AlmostThere » Mon Jun 19, 2017 4:40 pm

Phil wrote:Heat casualties from 100 degrees and more reflected heat off the granite makes for a whole new spin on HD being on your "bucket list" :roll: Enjoy lugging that 15 lbs of water you'll need to stay ahead of it. There may not be a creek nearby for immersion, but the good news is that there's a cell signal and the rotor wash from the helicopter will have a cooling effect.


You're being too optimistic -- there's no guarantee that you'll fall down where the helicopter can land. Your buddies might also get heat stroke trying to move you to an area where there's a good landing zone....

Yeah, I swore off lugging 15 lbs of water a long time ago. Bleah. Hard enough to have 15 lbs of gear.... plus food, plus water.
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Re: Trip planning - Glacier Point, Half Dome, Clouds Rest

Postby floridahiker » Tue Jun 20, 2017 9:04 am

Thanks for the replies all. Your comments are kind of reinforcing what my gut has been saying, we should just pick HD or Clouds Rest. It's just a bit too aggressive, especially with the heat. :) Laughing at some of the comments. This is the only time we can visit, so there's really nothing to be done about the heat except plan for it. We live and hike in climates hotter than that, believe it or not.

I'm a bit mixed on the whole Half Dome thing, but some members of the group are really set on it. We do have another couple of days where we'll get to explore some less touristy stuff at least. I might be posting a question or two about an overnighter from Yosemite falls.

Great info on campsites near CR Phil. That's exactly what we wanted to hear. Appreciate it.
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Re: Trip planning - Glacier Point, Half Dome, Clouds Rest

Postby AlmostThere » Tue Jun 20, 2017 9:08 am

Determination kills a lot of people. More than 100 people have died attempting HD now... if they aren't willing to turn around or do something else in the event conditions warrant that, I wouldn't even hike with someone that determined, because I refuse to explain the body to their family or suffer the trauma. Going up no matter what is the leading cause of HD death. Heart attacks, heat stroke, falling.... being hit by lightning because they went up in a thunderstorm -- nope.

The rock will be there.

People do manage in the heat -- I'm just happy I don't have to be one of them. Phew. Being on the open granite in 80F = sitting in a cast iron skillet on an open flame. If you walk across an asphalt parking lot on a Fresno summer day, you get a similar experience, except granite reflects the sun up into your face despite the hat.

Sunscreen only works if you apply it often - don't forget your nostrils.
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Re: Trip planning - Glacier Point, Half Dome, Clouds Rest

Postby Phil » Tue Jun 20, 2017 9:29 am

floridahiker wrote: We do have another couple of days where we'll get to explore some less touristy stuff at least. I might be posting a question or two about an overnighter from Yosemite falls.


Sure, no problem. But just to get your thoughts going, it's not "from Yosemite Falls", it's past Yosemite Falls. At the top, it's illegal to camp overnight within a 1/4 mile of the brink, and not only is it also illegal to camp below the falls, there aren't any sites. That puts you upstream on Yosemite Creek in the vicinity of the junction to the Eagle Peak Trail or up past Yosemite Point, although decent campsites are, especially for a group, beyond both either up the creek more or in the area (kind of...eh) of Indian Canyon Creek if it's flowing.
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Re: Trip planning - Glacier Point, Half Dome, Clouds Rest

Postby AlmostThere » Tue Jun 20, 2017 9:32 am

Phil wrote:
floridahiker wrote: We do have another couple of days where we'll get to explore some less touristy stuff at least. I might be posting a question or two about an overnighter from Yosemite falls.


Sure, no problem. But just to get your thoughts going, it's not "from Yosemite Falls", it's past Yosemite Falls. At the top, it's illegal to camp overnight within a 1/4 mile of the brink, and not only is it also illegal to camp below the falls, there aren't any sites. That puts you upstream on Yosemite Creek in the vicinity of the junction to the Eagle Peak Trail or up past Yosemite Point, although decent campsites are, especially for a group, beyond both either up the creek more or in the area (kind of...eh) of Indian Canyon Creek if it's flowing.


Welcome to Yosemite. Regulations for everything, to keep you safe, and the wilderness from being hammered into oblivion...

I've night hiked and not-camped on top of things before with my tent safely in the legal zone while I took pictures. Just sayin'.
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Re: Trip planning - Glacier Point, Half Dome, Clouds Rest

Postby floridahiker » Tue Jun 20, 2017 10:22 am

Yes, understood on the permits and we're factoring that in. Meant leaving from the Yosemite Falls trailhead. Will be heading down Snow Creek after staying overnight. Debating on where to camp on that one as it sounds like the water sources up there can be a bit iffy. I'm assuming Yosemite Falls will have water and it sounds like Snow Creek will have water as well so those are our sources for worst case scenarios. I'll look into Indian Canyon Creek. Fingers crossed it's running. ;-)

Thanks for your feedback on my climbing partners AlmostThere. Just because they want to summit a particular spot doesn't mean we'll be reckless. We're all ready to walk away from it if things don't go well.
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Re: Trip planning - Glacier Point, Half Dome, Clouds Rest

Postby Phil » Tue Jun 20, 2017 11:56 am

Both Yosemite Creek and Snow Creek Falls are going to be deadly, and the spots where you'll get water are closeby to the brinks of both (enough to not be able to recover from in time). The North Rim will have no shortage of running water, but unless I've seen it or know for sure, it's a little too critical a resource in decision making to not err on the side of caution when giving trail advice. If you're heading east from the top of the falls, might as well camp at least by Lehamite Creek or go on to North Dome and grab your water when you cross over Royal Arch Creek if you take the lower trail. Right now, camping around the top of Snow Creek is restricted...yep, more rules, so back down you go. That'll be super hot and exposed if you don't get an early start there too.
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