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[Yosemite]

September Sunrise Lakes TH + Half Dome, 3 days/ 2 nights

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

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Re: September Sunrise Lakes TH + Half Dome, 3 days/ 2 nights

Postby timberdog26 » Thu Sep 28, 2017 12:56 pm

tsarles wrote:
timberdog26 wrote:Awesome advice, thanks everyone. The current plan is try to get permits for the day before, and include an additional day of hiking. We are traveling from across the country so our schedule is tight due to work and flight schedules. Thanks again for the advice!


Did this trip ever happen? I'm planning a similar trip first weekend of October, instead going out the valley. If you could share your experiences, where you camped and how you dealt with water sources I'd greatly appreciate it!


It did - with some modifications! We were planning on beginning a day early and TRYING to get permits the day of. This would have been starting at the trailhead on Friday. HOWEVER we found out on our drive from San Diego that Tioga Rd was closed Thursday night, and we were unable to enter the park until Friday afternoon. Camped in a snowy Tuolumne Meadows campground, woke up on a cold Saturday AM and left the Sunrise Lakes trailhead at 9AM. Summited Clouds Rest by 2-3PM, hiked the other side and found a camp site about 1/2 mile before the junction to Half Dome by 5:30pm. Sunday we were on the trail by 6AM, stashed our packs and bear cannister, and summited Half Dome before 10am. Hiked down to Yosemite Valley (SO MANY PEOPLE) and grabbed the shuttle back to Sunrise Lakes. Unfortunately, this shuttle is no longer running. We probably could have done a few extra miles Sunday back to our original TH via John Muir, camped, and finished on Monday AM but due to the snow and the crazy snowy start, we decided to skip night 2. It was a perfect trip. I think the 3rd day would have been a bit challenging but definitely do-able.

I appreciate the input from everyone! This trip was incredible. Yosemite backcountry is so beautiful.
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Re: September Sunrise Lakes TH + Half Dome, 3 days/ 2 nights

Postby tsarles » Thu Sep 28, 2017 1:22 pm

timberdog26 wrote:
tsarles wrote:
timberdog26 wrote:Awesome advice, thanks everyone. The current plan is try to get permits for the day before, and include an additional day of hiking. We are traveling from across the country so our schedule is tight due to work and flight schedules. Thanks again for the advice!


Did this trip ever happen? I'm planning a similar trip first weekend of October, instead going out the valley. If you could share your experiences, where you camped and how you dealt with water sources I'd greatly appreciate it!


It did - with some modifications! We were planning on beginning a day early and TRYING to get permits the day of. This would have been starting at the trailhead on Friday. HOWEVER we found out on our drive from San Diego that Tioga Rd was closed Thursday night, and we were unable to enter the park until Friday afternoon. Camped in a snowy Tuolumne Meadows campground, woke up on a cold Saturday AM and left the Sunrise Lakes trailhead at 9AM. Summited Clouds Rest by 2-3PM, hiked the other side and found a camp site about 1/2 mile before the junction to Half Dome by 5:30pm. Sunday we were on the trail by 6AM, stashed our packs and bear cannister, and summited Half Dome before 10am. Hiked down to Yosemite Valley (SO MANY PEOPLE) and grabbed the shuttle back to Sunrise Lakes. Unfortunately, this shuttle is no longer running. We probably could have done a few extra miles Sunday back to our original TH via John Muir, camped, and finished on Monday AM but due to the snow and the crazy snowy start, we decided to skip night 2. It was a perfect trip. I think the 3rd day would have been a bit challenging but definitely do-able.

I appreciate the input from everyone! This trip was incredible. Yosemite backcountry is so beautiful.


That's exactly our plan, try and get day of permits on Friday. How difficult do you think day 2 would be if we camped north of CR summit first day? It would involve us going up HD and then back down the valley from CR summit all in one day... or do you think we should break this to 2 days and camp where you guys camped? How was that campsite? Did you guys have any issues with having enough water?
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Re: September Sunrise Lakes TH + Half Dome, 3 days/ 2 nights

Postby timberdog26 » Thu Sep 28, 2017 6:12 pm

tsarles wrote:
timberdog26 wrote:
tsarles wrote:Did this trip ever happen? I'm planning a similar trip first weekend of October, instead going out the valley. If you could share your experiences, where you camped and how you dealt with water sources I'd greatly appreciate it!


It did - with some modifications! We were planning on beginning a day early and TRYING to get permits the day of. This would have been starting at the trailhead on Friday. HOWEVER we found out on our drive from San Diego that Tioga Rd was closed Thursday night, and we were unable to enter the park until Friday afternoon. Camped in a snowy Tuolumne Meadows campground, woke up on a cold Saturday AM and left the Sunrise Lakes trailhead at 9AM. Summited Clouds Rest by 2-3PM, hiked the other side and found a camp site about 1/2 mile before the junction to Half Dome by 5:30pm. Sunday we were on the trail by 6AM, stashed our packs and bear cannister, and summited Half Dome before 10am. Hiked down to Yosemite Valley (SO MANY PEOPLE) and grabbed the shuttle back to Sunrise Lakes. Unfortunately, this shuttle is no longer running. We probably could have done a few extra miles Sunday back to our original TH via John Muir, camped, and finished on Monday AM but due to the snow and the crazy snowy start, we decided to skip night 2. It was a perfect trip. I think the 3rd day would have been a bit challenging but definitely do-able.

I appreciate the input from everyone! This trip was incredible. Yosemite backcountry is so beautiful.


That's exactly our plan, try and get day of permits on Friday. How difficult do you think day 2 would be if we camped north of CR summit first day? It would involve us going up HD and then back down the valley from CR summit all in one day... or do you think we should break this to 2 days and camp where you guys camped? How was that campsite? Did you guys have any issues with having enough water?


I think it would be challenging to do both Clouds Rest and HD in one day, especially considering crowds. You'd want to get a very early start for HD. The place we camped was perfect. There were already fire pits around and a creek very close. My fiancé and I carried 4 1L smart waters and our Sawyer water filters, and had no issue. You might be able to do it but you probably wouldn't feel great and you don't want to climb down either CR or HD in the dark. Can you skip Sunrise Lakes or try to hit it on your way back to the TH the next day?
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Re: September Sunrise Lakes TH + Half Dome, 3 days/ 2 nights

Postby timberdog26 » Thu Sep 28, 2017 6:22 pm

I think our campsite was right at the junction at the JMT trail coming down from CR. There's a sign ahead (can't remember exact details), JMT towards Sunrise Lakes must be to the left and JMT towards the HD junction is to the right. Also on the left is a creek. Our camp site was on the right up the hill back towards CR. Lots of open spaces and you can see HD through the trees.
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Re: September Sunrise Lakes TH + Half Dome, 3 days/ 2 nights

Postby Phil » Thu Sep 28, 2017 8:34 pm

You guys sound like you're figuring it out. Thanks for the feedback Timberdog.

I would put that cross country shortcut at about an hour-ish. It'll save you probably about 3, and lots of descending and climbing (about 2400 in total elev change...lose it, only to have to retake it from Sunrise). It's undoubtedly the fastest, shortest, easiest way to assure you take both summits in the same day. The water is an issue, for sure. There are four possibilities: First is to go ahead and haul maybe an extra 2-3 liters per person from Phil's Creek to make HD (backtrack sans pack in the morning if you end up short with what you have left from on the way in the day before). 2L if it's cooler, 3L or more if it's hot. That should easily get you across to HD and back down to Sunrise Creek plenty hydrated. It's the safest bet, and it's what I would do unless I knew exactly what was flowing or not past CR. Second is that there's a spring that crosses the trail down from CR. If it's flowing, it's slow. Consider this a sketchy option that shouldn't be counted on this late in the season, but, it's on a long,straight, westerly traverse that you may want to use for your trail departure point because the proximity and elevation work out almost perfectly. Third is that there's a seasonal creek below the Pinnacles; maybe, doubtful, don't count on it either. Finally, there's a spring on the way up to HD from the JMT. Your map should show it. It's fairly reliable, but it's also lower than you'll likely want to depart for the cross country route down from CR>HD. If you screw up on how much you need to carry, you'll have to do it. HD on a hot day is not a good place to run out of water. The whole idea here is to start high, stay high, intercept the HD trail high.

Yes, for the most part, you'll have HD as a visual target, and of course, Tenaya Canyon is going to keep you from going too far right. Both are really hard to miss. If you have a compass, take a reading from up higher and follow the contours as you can, but at least roughly try to hold your heading. Good practice. Cake.
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Re: September Sunrise Lakes TH + Half Dome, 3 days/ 2 nights

Postby tsarles » Thu Sep 28, 2017 11:56 pm

Phil, you are hero. Thank you so much for the input this info literally saving our trip. I think we have our game plan. Whichever day we get our pass we will Camp CR first night, wake up for Sunrise at the summit and take the cross country path to Half Dome, descend to the Valley but if we run out of water or light, back up plan will be to camp at LYV for the night.

Last few questions:

Phil wrote:Finally, there's a spring on the way up to HD from the JMT. Your map should show it. It's fairly reliable, but it's also lower than you'll likely want to depart for the cross country route down from CR>HD.


1. By this do you mean it's lower than where we would exit back on to HD trail if we took the optimal cross country path route from CR along the highest ridge?

Image

2. I found this pretty confusing map from Chick-On over at Yosemite.info, is the optimal departure point you're talking about the first red line that goes along the ridge at the first switchback or is it the lower one after the switch backs?

3. The path along the ridge intrigues me, I'm guessing its a lot more scenic than the loop. How steep is this on a scale from 1-10 (10 being switchbacks on sub dome)? Will I have to have hiking pants to protect my legs from shrubs or would shorts be fine?

4. I think were going to haul 2L of water extra each for the CR->HD cross country path, it sounds like a 2 hour ordeal and I ran on 3L for HD day hike from the Valley so 2L each should be plenty right?

5. Should we summit quarter domes along the cross country path? Would it be a lot of extra climbing?

Thanks again. Hoping to post an epic trip report after this.
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Re: September Sunrise Lakes TH + Half Dome, 3 days/ 2 nights

Postby Phil » Fri Sep 29, 2017 6:33 am

That map is a wreck, on top of being a NatGeo. As best I can tell, it's the lower red line that appears as being the most direct route. Her departure point is in about the correct location, and at the correct altitude. She's been all over the place.

To more or less answer your questions:

Yes, that particular spring is much lower than you want to be. The other spring on the CR trail, you'll pass by.
Yes, anything that's not being used as a shortcut only is more effort.
Climbing things is all a matter of your comfort level.
I wear Kuhl Liberators exclusively, so I have pants and shorts (shants) and switch up when I need to.

Check it out on a Satellite image: https://www.google.com/maps/place/Half+ ... 19.5331992

Zoom in, zoom out, play with it. I'll also give you a really good idea of how much distance and altitude you're saving yourself.

You can make it an epic wandering along the canyon rim, or you can get to Half Dome faster. If you want to climb up the Pinnacles and Quarter Domes, you can, and I'm sure there are some fairly well-worn use trails to get you there, but you want as much trail as possible, accomplishing two things all said and done: 1) Not losing more altitude than you need to, 2) getting to the HD trail.

Okay, so a lot of it is going to be empirical. Uphill will look harder, downhill will be just altitude loss. On the sat image and on your map (what map do you have, btw?), you'll see the longer westerly traverse I mentioned in my previous post. It's not the first one roughly below the Pinnacles, it's the one after a series of longer switchbacks that's roughly below Quarter Domes. At the west end of that traverse, leave the trail. Your altitude should be somewhere between 8000-8100 ft, and your abbreviated rough coordinates that correspond with the margins of a Tom Harrison 1:63,360 scale map will be in UTM (full coordinates in parenthesis, but all you need is the numbers after):
E (2)79397.60 N(41)81696.34 (lat/long 37.756002 -119504156).

The neighborhood of where you're trying to hit the HD trail is: UTM E(2)78089.81 N(41)81309.23 (37.752200 -119.518870). You'll stay below/east of the ridgeline. Like I said, you will hit the HD trail, but the idea is to hit it as high up as possible while still maintaining a straight and direct course west/slightly souhtwest. You might even find some worn use trails, but just be sure to keep in mind that just because there's a trail, it's not necessarily the right one. Do what makes sense.

Or, just wander and wing it.....get there eventually, somehow, somewhere. "It's not the destination, it's the journey"....blah, blah, blah...about the worst that can happen is that you end up spending more time and effort than you needed to, just don't run out of water.
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