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[Yosemite]

Partial HSC Loop Hike + Half Dome

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

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Partial HSC Loop Hike + Half Dome

Postby masterv » Thu Aug 17, 2017 4:11 pm

Greetings,

My wife and I have a partial HSC loop hike planned for Aug. 31st through Sep. 6th.
We have our wilderness permit for May Lake TH + Half Dome, exiting at HappyIsles.

Here is our basic itinerary:
1) Tuolumne Meadows (Aug 26th to Aug. 31st)
- We are coming from Houston TX, so we planned time to Acclimate with day hikes (Dog Lake/Lembert Dome, Elizabeth Lake, Cathedral Lake)
2) Aug. 31st - May Lake HSC (via May Lake TH)
3) Sep. 1st - Sunrise HSC or camp by Sunrise lakes
4) Sep. 2nd/3rd - Merced Lake HSC
- We may day hike to Washburn Lake
5) Sep. 4th/5th - Little Yosemite Valley Campground
- Summit Half Dome, start early morning Sep. 5th
6) Sep. 6th - Exit HappyIsles

Possible Alternate itinerary, to include Clouds Rest
1) Tuolumne Meadows (Aug 26th to Aug. 31st)
2) Aug. 31st - May Lake HSC (via May Lake TH)
3) Sep. 1st - Camp by Sunrise lakes
4) Sep 2nd - Clouds Rest
- Camp that night at campsite WACS09934N, 1/2 mile North on JMT (past CloudsRest TH/JMT Junction)
5) Sep. 3rd - Merced Lake HSC
6) Sep. 4th/5th - Little Yosemite Valley Campground
- Summit Half Dome, start early morning Sep. 5th
7) Sep. 6th - Exit HappyIsles
Note: If we have the energy, and get an early enough start on Half Dome, we may try to make it down to HappyIsles on Sep. 5th vs. Sep. 6th

My wife and I are in our mid 50's, we are in medium level shape. We did a JMT section hike, Mammoth Lakes to Tuolumne Meadows last year (4 days/3 nights).
We had planned to continue on the JMT to Happy Isles, but didn't make our mileage the 2nd and 3rd day, so the last day was 16 miles up over Donahue Pass, hiking till 10:30pm, and we were done. Lessons learned though bout trying to cram too much into a short period. We should have planned an extra day.

Hopefully we have a better plan this time, 8 to 10 miles per day (shorter starting off to May Lake to ease into it), we have the tough 1000 ft climb out of Tenaya Lake up to CloudsRest/Sunrise Junction, and then Half Dome, but hopefully we are a bit better prepared this time.

Would really appreciate any feedback/comments/tips for this hike.

thanks

regards,

Bill & Julie.
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Re: Partial HSC Loop Hike + Half Dome

Postby balzaccom » Thu Aug 17, 2017 4:30 pm

Both version seems quite reasonable. May Lake is only a couple of miles, so if you are feeling adventurous, you might climb Mt. Hoffman while you are at it---it's the best view in all of Yosemite, IMHO.

And the only other issue is how you get back to your car, if you leave it at May Lake. I assume a shuttle...or a lift from a like-minded/nice-minded visitor.
Check out our website and blog at: http://sites.google.com/site/backpackthesierra/home
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Re: Partial HSC Loop Hike + Half Dome

Postby Phil » Thu Aug 17, 2017 5:35 pm

I also agree that when at May Lake, take the time to climb up Mt Hoffman. If you're ambitious, instead of staying at the sites up by May Lake, think about going a few miles more and camping at Raisin Lake.

The only things I would say is that you're doing a fair amount of backtracking, descending, then re-ascending, and by planning on staying at what are otherwise basically "campgrounds", you're missing out on the opportunity to camp in some really wonderful and much more private locations. You'll pass many...take advantage of that.

The only partial HSC route is causing some twists and turns. First of all, even if you hike up from Tioga Rd, the distance up to May is only a few miles, and if you go from the parking lot, it's just over a mile (you already spent 5 days in TM acclimatizing to the altitude...might as well take advantage of it). Another thing along those lines to think about is, even though you have a permit reserved for May Lake entry, with all the day hikes around Tuolumne (they're all well worthwhile), you could take a portion of the time you're there and just go ahead and begin your HSC loop by going out to Glen Aulin if that permit is available (easy hike, lower altitude, time to acclimate and get your trail legs going, allows you to then proceed on to May Lake from there). From May Lake, on to Sunrise, still going forward with no backtracking. By all means, camp at one of the Sunrise Lakes in lieu of the HSC, they're wonderful, Sunrise HSC, not so much. From there, up and over to Merced Lake via the Cathedral Fork/Echo Creek Trail. The extra effort going beyond Merced and up to Washburn for camping is also well worthwhile. After Merced, instead of going all the way back down to LYV, go up to the JMT at Sunrise Creek and be closer and higher up in proximity to the Half Dome spur trail; less people, nicer sites, plenty of water, earlier start up HD, no re-climbing the altitude you scrubbed going down to the LYV campground the day before. If you do decide to go back down along the Merced River from Echo Valley, stop short of LYV and find a far superior site around the footbridges above Bunnell Cascade, then either go forward and head up to HD, or backtrack and approach it from above on the JMT.

All in all, either of the itineraries you have are solid, but a few tweaks here and there will not only make it easier, it'll give you a better trip overall.
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Re: Partial HSC Loop Hike + Half Dome

Postby masterv » Sat Aug 19, 2017 2:08 pm

balzaccom wrote:Both version seems quite reasonable. May Lake is only a couple of miles, so if you are feeling adventurous, you might climb Mt. Hoffman while you are at it---it's the best view in all of Yosemite, IMHO.

And the only other issue is how you get back to your car, if you leave it at May Lake. I assume a shuttle...or a lift from a like-minded/nice-minded visitor.


Thanks for the feedback balzaccom.
Yes, we may go ahead and climb Mt Hoffman for sure, while at May lake, thanks for the tip.
We plan to leave our car near TM Lodge, at the Dog Lake TH, since there is a bear box there too (and we can stash anything last min. stuff we don't want in our packs)
We will exit Happy Isles, and plan to take the backpacker's shuttle bus back to TM to pick up our car (purchased tickets already)

regards,
Bill
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Re: Partial HSC Loop Hike + Half Dome

Postby masterv » Sat Aug 19, 2017 2:48 pm

Phil wrote:I also agree that when at May Lake, take the time to climb up Mt Hoffman. If you're ambitious, instead of staying at the sites up by May Lake, think about going a few miles more and camping at Raisin Lake.

The only things I would say is that you're doing a fair amount of backtracking, descending, then re-ascending, and by planning on staying at what are otherwise basically "campgrounds", you're missing out on the opportunity to camp in some really wonderful and much more private locations. You'll pass many...take advantage of that.

The only partial HSC route is causing some twists and turns. First of all, even if you hike up from Tioga Rd, the distance up to May is only a few miles, and if you go from the parking lot, it's just over a mile (you already spent 5 days in TM acclimatizing to the altitude...might as well take advantage of it). Another thing along those lines to think about is, even though you have a permit reserved for May Lake entry, with all the day hikes around Tuolumne (they're all well worthwhile), you could take a portion of the time you're there and just go ahead and begin your HSC loop by going out to Glen Aulin if that permit is available (easy hike, lower altitude, time to acclimate and get your trail legs going, allows you to then proceed on to May Lake from there). From May Lake, on to Sunrise, still going forward with no backtracking. By all means, camp at one of the Sunrise Lakes in lieu of the HSC, they're wonderful, Sunrise HSC, not so much. From there, up and over to Merced Lake via the Cathedral Fork/Echo Creek Trail. The extra effort going beyond Merced and up to Washburn for camping is also well worthwhile. After Merced, instead of going all the way back down to LYV, go up to the JMT at Sunrise Creek and be closer and higher up in proximity to the Half Dome spur trail; less people, nicer sites, plenty of water, earlier start up HD, no re-climbing the altitude you scrubbed going down to the LYV campground the day before. If you do decide to go back down along the Merced River from Echo Valley, stop short of LYV and find a far superior site around the footbridges above Bunnell Cascade, then either go forward and head up to HD, or backtrack and approach it from above on the JMT.

All in all, either of the itineraries you have are solid, but a few tweaks here and there will not only make it easier, it'll give you a better trip overall.


thanks for the detailed feedback Phil, a lot of great suggestions !

Yes, we didn't originally intend to set our hiking itinerary this way, with the backtracking, but we had originally submitted application for the HSC lotto for the "meals only plan" to try to keep our pack weights down. We won the lotto back in Feb., but we didn't understand the meals only plan didn't come with wilderness permits, so by the time we submitted application for permit, we were only able to get the May Lake TH, not Glen Aulin TH or Rafferty Creek to Vogelsang TH to do the full loop, but anyways, were trying to put together the best route, given the permit to enter at May Lake TH.

Ok, will consider Raisin Lake, looks like its right off the trail between May Lake and Glen Aulin

Yes, that's a good suggestion, we may go ahead and see if we can get walk in permits for Glen Aulin on Aug. 30th.
Do you try to get walk in permits the day you want to hike, or the day before ?

Do you happen to know if there are bear boxes at the May Lake trail head ?
If we do Glen Aulin TH, TM to Glen Aulin, then on to May Lake the 2nd day, to help lighten our pack weight, was thinking about driving to the May Lake TH the day before we start our hike and leaving our bigger bear canister in a bear box, if there is one at the TH, then we only have to carry two days food for the first section of the hike and we can pick up our large bear canister with food on the 3rd day, May Lake to Sunrise Lakes. Yes, agree, we will camp at one of the Sunrise Lakes vs. Sunrise HSC, thanks for that tip.

If we go Sunrise Lakes to Merced Lake, and not Sunrise Lakes to Clouds Rest and down to junction JMT (camp area's nearby), to do half dome the next day.
How is the water supply along the Cathedral Fork/Echo Creek Trail on the way to Merced Lake ?

From what I have read, if we decide to go Sunrise Lakes to Clouds Rest, then down to JMT Junction, there is really no source of water that whole section, until the campsites near the JMT junction, is that true ? (so we would need to pack extra water, like 3 to 4 liters each for that section).

Good suggestion on coming over to JMT at Sunrise Creek from Merced Lake (if we go to Merced Lake vs. Clouds Rest), to be closer and higher up to the Half Dome spur trail to do HD the next day.

If we do Sunrise Lakes to Clouds Rest, then camp at campsites near the JMT Junction, we will probably do HD the next day, then head over to Merced Lake.
If we pick that route, we would probably go back down along the Merced River from Echo Valley, but I like the suggestion to camp near Bunnell Cascade vs. LYV (as I'm sure it will be crowded over labor day weekend)
Then we would just add a few extra miles from Bunnell Cascade to our Happy Isles exit the last day.
In this last scenario, we would miss out on Washburn Lake (I think it would be too far for us, vs. camping at Merced Lake, extra 4 miles, I believe). And we would miss the hike along the Cathedral Fork/Echo Creek Trail from Sunrise Lakes to Merced Lake.

On the fence right now, which route to pick, but I'm sure either one will be great.

thanks again for all the tips.
regards

Bill
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Re: Partial HSC Loop Hike + Half Dome

Postby Phil » Sat Aug 19, 2017 7:41 pm

Not a problem. Let's see if I can get everything.

All trailheads have 40% of their quota held as walk-ins. Those become available at 11am the day prior to your hike. You also have the option of waiting until the day of, but that's pushing it, especially for popular trailheads like Glen Aulin.

Yes, there are bear lockers at the May Lake trailhead, both at Tioga Rd and up the road in the May Lake parking lot proper. I don't want to confuse you here, but if you do want to go from below, on Tioga Rd there's a paved lot. That's not the one you want for your trailhead. The one you want is east about a quarter mile from there, dirt...looks more like a big pullout, but that's the one. Your trail is just across the road. Yes, there are lockers there too. DO NOT EVER leave a canister in any locker!! Instead, leave your food in garbage or grocery bags. If it's a resupply, en-route food drop you want, don't leave it at anything May Lake, leave it at the base of the Sunrise Trail down by Tenaya Lake (this is your HSC loop route., not back out to the road at May Lake...consult your map).

Sunrise Lakes are fine, even if you want to go towards Cloud's Rest. Lower Sunrise is closest to the trail junction, middle and upper are nicer and usually less crowded/more private. If you want to head towards CR for the night, the sites on the edge of Tenaya Canyon are on the flats just below the summit (somebody posted proper coordinates somewhere here), back in the trees, to the right. Critical to remember is that, yes, it's dry camping. For the night and next day, you'll need to bring all your water with you from the creek about 1.5 miles north of CR. That is the last water before the JMT junction below. It's important that you know roughly where it is beforehand. There is a spring on the trail about half of the way down the south side of the peak, but don't rely on or plan for it to be flowing. For Half Dome, definitely try to position yourselves up higher at the JMTxCR junction at Sunrise Creek...every reason there is.

The other way (to Merced Lake first): if you do go over the hill above Sunrise Lakes, through the HSC, then up and over to Cathedral Fork/Echo Creek, both should be flowing nicely. On Echo Creek, there are also some nice sites just above the first footbridge you come to.

Coming back from Merced Lake, definitely go up from Echo Valley and hit the JMT at Sunrise Creek. Again, camp at the JMTxCR junction. After HD, you can either return to that camp for the night (that's probably what you'll want to do), go ahead and exit at Happy Isles, or you can go back up the JMT to the same crossover you made coming back from Merced Lake, back to Echo Valley, down to the sites around the footbridges above Bunnell. This can be done immediately after coming back down from HD or the next day.The route is definitely longer, but the gorge that the Merced drops down is spectacular and worth it. So is the camping. Drop right on down and out to the Valley from there. It is more distance back out to Happy Isles, but you had a nice trip, saw everything you wanted to see, followed a fairly logical route, kept backtracking and re-climbing to a minimum, and, maybe best of all, you get to walk right on through LYV on your way to someplace else. Yay!

I think that's about it. If something's not clear, or I missed anything you wanted to know, ask.
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Re: Partial HSC Loop Hike + Half Dome

Postby masterv » Sun Aug 20, 2017 4:27 pm

Phil wrote:Not a problem. Let's see if I can get everything.

All trailheads have 40% of their quota held as walk-ins. Those become available at 11am the day prior to your hike. You also have the option of waiting until the day of, but that's pushing it, especially for popular trailheads like Glen Aulin.

Yes, there are bear lockers at the May Lake trailhead, both at Tioga Rd and up the road in the May Lake parking lot proper. I don't want to confuse you here, but if you do want to go from below, on Tioga Rd there's a paved lot. That's not the one you want for your trailhead. The one you want is east about a quarter mile from there, dirt...looks more like a big pullout, but that's the one. Your trail is just across the road. Yes, there are lockers there too. DO NOT EVER leave a canister in any locker!! Instead, leave your food in garbage or grocery bags. If it's a resupply, en-route food drop you want, don't leave it at anything May Lake, leave it at the base of the Sunrise Trail down by Tenaya Lake (this is your HSC loop route., not back out to the road at May Lake...consult your map).

Sunrise Lakes are fine, even if you want to go towards Cloud's Rest. Lower Sunrise is closest to the trail junction, middle and upper are nicer and usually less crowded/more private. If you want to head towards CR for the night, the sites on the edge of Tenaya Canyon are on the flats just below the summit (somebody posted proper coordinates somewhere here), back in the trees, to the right. Critical to remember is that, yes, it's dry camping. For the night and next day, you'll need to bring all your water with you from the creek about 1.5 miles north of CR. That is the last water before the JMT junction below. It's important that you know roughly where it is beforehand. There is a spring on the trail about half of the way down the south side of the peak, but don't rely on or plan for it to be flowing. For Half Dome, definitely try to position yourselves up higher at the JMTxCR junction at Sunrise Creek...every reason there is.

The other way (to Merced Lake first): if you do go over the hill above Sunrise Lakes, through the HSC, then up and over to Cathedral Fork/Echo Creek, both should be flowing nicely. On Echo Creek, there are also some nice sites just above the first footbridge you come to.

Coming back from Merced Lake, definitely go up from Echo Valley and hit the JMT at Sunrise Creek. Again, camp at the JMTxCR junction. After HD, you can either return to that camp for the night (that's probably what you'll want to do), go ahead and exit at Happy Isles, or you can go back up the JMT to the same crossover you made coming back from Merced Lake, back to Echo Valley, down to the sites around the footbridges above Bunnell. This can be done immediately after coming back down from HD or the next day.The route is definitely longer, but the gorge that the Merced drops down is spectacular and worth it. So is the camping. Drop right on down and out to the Valley from there. It is more distance back out to Happy Isles, but you had a nice trip, saw everything you wanted to see, followed a fairly logical route, kept backtracking and re-climbing to a minimum, and, maybe best of all, you get to walk right on through LYV on your way to someplace else. Yay!

I think that's about it. If something's not clear, or I missed anything you wanted to know, ask.


Thanks for the additional feedback Phil, very helpful !!
Let me make sure I understand all your key points, and have a few additional questions ...

Ok, we will look to get a walk-in permit for Glen Aulin on Aug. 29th 11am, to hike on Aug. 30th.
Now with our current May Lake TH permit, we requested and received the permit to hike half dome during our hike (Aug. 31st to Sep. 6th)
We don't want to loose the half dome permits. So should we still pick up our May Lake permit on Aug. 30th when the TM ranger station opens, before we start our Glen Aulin hike that morning ? Or can they transfer the half dome permits to the Glen Aulin permit (assuming the quota is not full) ?

On the May Lake TH, May Lake TH Parking lot proper vs. Tioga Rd. paved lot. Got it, bear boxes at each and I can see the difference in their locations on the map, thanks !
Also got the tip to put resupply in bear boxes at Sunrise TH, not in either of the two May Lake locations.
Looks like Sunrise TH is at the West end of Tenaya Lake, right at Tioga Rd.
(we would come down from May Lake to Tioga Rd., cross the road and follow the trail along Tioga Rd. approx. 0.7 miles to the Sunrise TH)
Is there a parking lot there at Sunrise TH ?

Re: DO NOT EVER leave a canister in any locker!!
Why is that ?? We have two bear canisters, so was hoping to carry only one from TM to Glen Aulin, Glen Aulin to May Lake, May Lake down to Tioga Rd. to Sunrise TH, and pick up the other bear canister already packed with our food for the rest of our hike.
So we would need to carry both bear canisters with us, one empty (to put our resupply in), one with our food for the first two days of the hike, correct ?

We will probably camp at the middle Sunrise Lake, it looks like it's only approx. 0.25 miles from the lower lake (especially if it's more private). Since the hike from Tenaya Lake up to CR trail junction is pretty tough climb (approx. 1100 ft), and coming from May Lake, we would be doing that climb in the afternoon with the sun most likely on us the whole climb, will probably be too much to push on another 4.5 miles to CR, but thanks for the tip on the camping spot just at the edge of Tenaya Canyon, right below the summit. If we feel up for it, we may push on, but also if we have enough water, as you mention it is dry camping until the camping area at JMT junction.
You mentioned there is a creek about 1.5 miles north of CR, is that Tenaya Creek, about 0.5 miles before the first trail junction that goes back down to the JMT, about 1 mile before CR ?
Does that creek still have water in early Sep. ?

Yes, we will most likely camp at JMT/CR junction and then summit HD the next day (assuming weather is good). I understand it is more likely to be clear in the mornings, and cloudy/storms in the afternoon.
Are there bear boxes at the campsite at JMT/CR junction ?
We were planning to leave our tent set up, leave our backpacks in our tent (all food toiletries in bear canisters, either in bear boxes, or 100 ft away from our tent), and take our day packs with some food/water/gloves/first aid kit/rain gear to do a day hike to HD and back.
Is it safe to leave our tent and gear at the campsite to hike HD lighter ?

I think we are leaning toward this route to do CR's vs. Sunrise Lakes to Merced Lake.
After summiting HD from campsite at JMT/CR Junction, we would either return to campsite at JMT/CR Junction, or perhaps go a bit further up the JMT to the next campsite near the junction of JMT at Sunrise Creek, to be closer for next day hike to Echo Valley and Merced Lake.
How is that campsite (WACS0943L on the NATGeo map, section H page 3) for water, sunrise creek nearby ?

We would stay at Merced Lake, then next night campsites by footbridges above Bunnell. That appears to be about 4 to 4.5 miles from Merced Lake, right ?
Then the last day, down past LYV and down to Happy Isles.
We are not sure yet if we will do the Mist Trail (with full packs and if it may be crowded, Sep 5th or 6th), or take the JMT route over bridge at Nevada falls to Clarks Point, then down to the West side of the Mist trail, right above the bridge below Vernal falls (looks like approx. 1.5 mile longer route than the mist trail)

thanks again for all the detailed info !!

regards,
Bill
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Re: Partial HSC Loop Hike + Half Dome

Postby AlmostThere » Sun Aug 20, 2017 4:45 pm

masterv wrote:Re: DO NOT EVER leave a canister in any locker!!
Why is that ?? We have two bear canisters, so was hoping to carry only one from TM to Glen Aulin, Glen Aulin to May Lake, May Lake down to Tioga Rd. to Sunrise TH, and pick up the other bear canister already packed with our food for the rest of our hike.
So we would need to carry both bear canisters with us, one empty (to put our resupply in), one with our food for the first two days of the hike, correct ?


You want to leave a full bear can in a public shared locker for someone to snag. "Oh, look, free stuff."
Yosemite has a jail and a judge, because it also has a crime rate. Without proof that it's yours a canister is up for grabs. Since you're gone for a few days, plenty of opportunity to snatch and go, and no one recognizes it as a crime. I've left a resupply in bear lockers in Yosemite in a grubby looking trash bag and come back to find it there - cannot say the same for the nice stainless coffee mug. If it looks like good stuff it's worth taking. Friend lost more than $100 worth of stuff in a trailhead locker earlier this summer. I do resupplies a little differently these days.
Generally I trust backpackers -- but people who are not backpackers or hikers will go hiking in Yosemite.

Are there bear boxes at the campsite at JMT/CR junction ? No, there are not.

I would use my backpack for a day pack - no need to take a day pack that way. Habituated bears are known to steal empty backpacks. Leaving it in the tent, as long as there is nothing with a smell - no wrappers, no food, no trash - in the tent with it, would be the second better option.
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Re: Partial HSC Loop Hike + Half Dome

Postby Phil » Sun Aug 20, 2017 5:30 pm

I'm not sure the HD permit can be transferred with a change in entry trailheads. That's worth a call to verify, but it might be possible because your itinerary beyond where you come in and for passing by HD on the same dates still include it.

As AT just mentioned, if you value your canister, don't leave your canister. It's too much of a temptation, and really, loading a can with a properly prepared fresh supply of food only takes a few minutes.

Yes, there is a parking lot at the bottom of the Sunrise Trail. The route you see on your map, inclusive of crossing the road and hiking 0.7 miles is correct, and that is the HSC loop route.

No, that creek that's 1.5 miles north of CR isn't Tenaya Creek, which is the outlet for Tenaya Lake. The creek I'm talking about runs down from Sunrise Mountain and eventually feeds in right below Pywiack Cascade where it drops into Tenaya Canyon. You described it's location accurately (+/- 0.5 miles north of where the Forsyth Trail drops back down to the JMT), so I think you've got it. I don't think it has a name, so, henceforth, since I've mentioned it about 800 times over the past couple years, it will now be named after me, "Phil's Creek". Yes, as such, I hereby declare that it will be running in Sept.

And again, no, there are no lockers at the JMTxCR junction or the HD spur trail. This is the job of your canister. Yes, it's generally safe to leave your camp set up while you hike up HD, but you MUST maintain all food storage regulations to the letter, and since bears in that area will haul off packs, keep it and all of your unscented gear in your tent. Essentially, out of sight out of mind. This also applies to people. The only thing in your site should appear to be the tent itself.

Sorry, I don't use Nat geo maps or know their referencing system. But if it's near Sunrise Creek, it has water. If you can give me UTM coordinates I can check it. The only thing to consider in that area is that much of it burned a few years ago, but there are many good sites with water up there otherwise.

Yes, the footbridges (campsites) above Bunnell are about 4.5 miles from Merced Lake.

The Mist Trail won't be misty, and it'll be crowded. Do yourselves a favor, go left over the bridge at the top of Nevada Falls and take the JMT down to Happy Isles instead.
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Re: Partial HSC Loop Hike + Half Dome

Postby masterv » Sun Aug 20, 2017 7:00 pm

AlmostThere wrote:
masterv wrote:Re: DO NOT EVER leave a canister in any locker!!
Why is that ?? We have two bear canisters, so was hoping to carry only one from TM to Glen Aulin, Glen Aulin to May Lake, May Lake down to Tioga Rd. to Sunrise TH, and pick up the other bear canister already packed with our food for the rest of our hike.
So we would need to carry both bear canisters with us, one empty (to put our resupply in), one with our food for the first two days of the hike, correct ?


You want to leave a full bear can in a public shared locker for someone to snag. "Oh, look, free stuff."
Yosemite has a jail and a judge, because it also has a crime rate. Without proof that it's yours a canister is up for grabs. Since you're gone for a few days, plenty of opportunity to snatch and go, and no one recognizes it as a crime. I've left a resupply in bear lockers in Yosemite in a grubby looking trash bag and come back to find it there - cannot say the same for the nice stainless coffee mug. If it looks like good stuff it's worth taking. Friend lost more than $100 worth of stuff in a trailhead locker earlier this summer. I do resupplies a little differently these days.
Generally I trust backpackers -- but people who are not backpackers or hikers will go hiking in Yosemite.

Are there bear boxes at the campsite at JMT/CR junction ? No, there are not.

I would use my backpack for a day pack - no need to take a day pack that way. Habituated bears are known to steal empty backpacks. Leaving it in the tent, as long as there is nothing with a smell - no wrappers, no food, no trash - in the tent with it, would be the second better option.


Thanks for the feedback AlmostThere
Ok, got the point on not leaving bear canisters in bear boxes, guess I was being a little naïve. Thanks for sharing your experiences !
Will put resupply in a trash bag and carry the empty bear canister, it's 2.5 lbs extra weight, but being lite 5 days of food should make up for that the first two days on the trail.

Oh Ya, good idea on using backpack as a day pack, won't need to pack the extra day pack too (save a bit of weight) and can leave our gear in the tent and make double sure we leave nothing with any smell in or around the tent.
We eat at least 50 feet from our tent anyways, and always check our packs for any wrappers,trash etc. and put in our bear canisters and then leave the bear canisters 100 ft in opposite direction from where we eat or have our tent set up.

regards
Bill
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Re: Partial HSC Loop Hike + Half Dome

Postby masterv » Sun Aug 20, 2017 7:33 pm

Phil wrote:I'm not sure the HD permit can be transferred with a change in entry trailheads. That's worth a call to verify, but it might be possible because your itinerary beyond where you come in and for passing by HD on the same dates still include it.

As AT just mentioned, if you value your canister, don't leave your canister. It's too much of a temptation, and really, loading a can with a properly prepared fresh supply of food only takes a few minutes.

Yes, there is a parking lot at the bottom of the Sunrise Trail. The route you see on your map, inclusive of crossing the road and hiking 0.7 miles is correct, and that is the HSC loop route.

No, that creek that's 1.5 miles north of CR isn't Tenaya Creek, which is the outlet for Tenaya Lake. The creek I'm talking about runs down from Sunrise Mountain and eventually feeds in right below Pywiack Cascade where it drops into Tenaya Canyon. You described it's location accurately (+/- 0.5 miles north of where the Forsyth Trail drops back down to the JMT), so I think you've got it. I don't think it has a name, so, henceforth, since I've mentioned it about 800 times over the past couple years, it will now be named after me, "Phil's Creek". Yes, as such, I hereby declare that it will be running in Sept.

And again, no, there are no lockers at the JMTxCR junction or the HD spur trail. This is the job of your canister. Yes, it's generally safe to leave your camp set up while you hike up HD, but you MUST maintain all food storage regulations to the letter, and since bears in that area will haul off packs, keep it and all of your unscented gear in your tent. Essentially, out of sight out of mind. This also applies to people. The only thing in your site should appear to be the tent itself.

Sorry, I don't use Nat geo maps or know their referencing system. But if it's near Sunrise Creek, it has water. If you can give me UTM coordinates I can check it. The only thing to consider in that area is that much of it burned a few years ago, but there are many good sites with water up there otherwise.

Yes, the footbridges (campsites) above Bunnell are about 4.5 miles from Merced Lake.

The Mist Trail won't be misty, and it'll be crowded. Do yourselves a favor, go left over the bridge at the top of Nevada Falls and take the JMT down to Happy Isles instead.


Ok, will give the TM Ranger station a call this week before we leave to find out about HD permit transfer or not.
If they won't transfer the HD permits, I guess we will try our luck at Glen Aulin walk up permit anyway, if we get it, will come back the following morning to pick up our May Lake TH permit too (though I don't like to use a TH permit that someone else could use, since all I need are the HD permits)

Yes, will leave food at Sunrise TH bearbox in a garbage bag, and pack the empty bear canister, you're right it only takes a few minutes to pack the bear canister with the resupply.

Ok, we will look for "Phil's Creek" for water on the hike to CR
:-)

Yes, we will make sure we follow food storage regulations to the Tee. We have established pretty good habits our last couple backpacking trips, so will not be an issue. Will leave the tent with gear inside, take our backpacks and hide bear canisters 100ft from our tent.

Oh Yes, that's right I remember reading about the fire along that part of the JMT.
The WACS0943L campsite is 0.5 miles south of the MercedLake/JMT Junction, 14.1 miles south of PCT (mile 943.3)
UTM coordinates (hope I got these right)
Zone: 11S 281300E 4181150N

thanks

regards,

Bill
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Re: Partial HSC Loop Hike + Half Dome

Postby Phil » Sun Aug 20, 2017 8:28 pm

That'll work just fine, Bill. I don't know of a specific site at location exactly, but that whole area is dotted with them. Some are trailside, and others require a little recon. Burn damage aside, further north on the JMT, just beyond the Echo Valley/Merced Lake x Forsyth Trail junction (the one up to Cloud's Rest) walk over the rise upstream along the creek to the left of the trail and there are some nice ones back in what's left of the trees there. That's visually. Coordinate-wise, about a klick further north and about half a klick further east of the ones you gave me. But, pick the right one down by the Cloud's Rest junction, and the views are incredible.
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Re: Partial HSC Loop Hike + Half Dome

Postby masterv » Sun Aug 20, 2017 10:39 pm

Phil wrote:That'll work just fine, Bill. I don't know of a specific site at location exactly, but that whole area is dotted with them. Some are trailside, and others require a little recon. Burn damage aside, further north on the JMT, just beyond the Echo Valley/Merced Lake x Forsyth Trail junction (the one up to Cloud's Rest) walk over the rise upstream along the creek to the left of the trail and there are some nice ones back in what's left of the trees there. That's visually. Coordinate-wise, about a klick further north and about half a klick further east of the ones you gave me. But, pick the right one down by the Cloud's Rest junction, and the views are incredible.


thanks for the additional info Phil.
Will keep an eye out as you have outlined.
Appreciate all the input, it has really helped me to solidify our hiking itinerary and be much more informed ahead of our trip !!
We are really looking forward to a week on the trail
:-)
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Re: Partial HSC Loop Hike + Half Dome

Postby Phil » Mon Aug 21, 2017 8:48 am

It's probably best if you go ahead and remained camped after your hike up HD at Sunrise Creek in the area or the JMT x CR junction. Someone just sent me pictures from a few days ago of the burned area and it's recovering very slowly. It's not so much a forest anymore as it is meadows with no canopy and lots of widowmakers.
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Re: Partial HSC Loop Hike + Half Dome

Postby masterv » Mon Aug 21, 2017 2:41 pm

Thanks for the additional tip Phil.
Will look to stay at the same campsite then after we finish summiting HD, instead of pulling up and trying to find another site further North up the JMT.
We will just strike out early to make Merced Lake in time to enjoy a good part of the afternoon.
It looks like approx. 800ft elevation gain over approx. 2 miles from the JMT/CR Junction to the JMT/Merced/Echo Valley Junction, then mostly flat and downhill to Merced Lake, correct ?

regards,
Bill
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