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Winter Backpacking ideas

Travelling to and visiting Yosemite National Park in Winter and most of Spring, when snow is on the ground. Includes visiting in winter, snow play, downhill and nordic skiing, ice skating, snowshoeing, and snow camping.

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Winter Backpacking ideas

Postby WanderingJim » Sat Sep 09, 2017 4:59 pm

So I did the Badger Pass to Glacier Point/Sentinel Dome backpacking trip over 2 nights last Winter and want to try something a little more adventurous this Winter.

Already have a -20 degree (F) bag, but may have to spring for a real 4 season tent this time (used my regular tent and just made extra sure the weather was going to be good).

So any recommendations for a good 4-5 day snowshoe winter trek in Yosemite?
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Re: Winter Backpacking ideas

Postby dan » Fri Oct 27, 2017 1:44 pm

The easiest place (trailhead) is Badger Pass. They have lots of infrastructure with the ski resort and plowed road. Register at the Ranger Kiosk at Badger Pass before heading out.

You can head to Dewey Point and camp out or one of the less visited points, such as Taft Point or take the south rim trail and get multiple views.

You can head to Ostrander Lake where there's a ski hut--you can camp there too. Follow one of the ski trails out.

Another popular option is to head up Snow Creek Trail from Yosemite Valley. You can head toward the old ski/ranger cabin (shown as a black box on topo maps). Head to the North Dome/Basket Dome area. You can return via the Snow Creek Trail or down the Yosemite Falls Trail. Camp along the north rim. It gets a lot more sun than the south rim!
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Re: Winter Backpacking ideas

Postby WanderingJim » Tue Oct 31, 2017 10:15 am

I did a Badger Pass to Glacier Point trek last winter, so looking at other parts. Also, not sure how much the fires have changed that area,

Snow Creek is one route already on my radar.
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Re: Winter Backpacking ideas

Postby dan » Sun Mar 18, 2018 1:28 pm

by WanderingJim » Wed Jan 24, 2018 2:52 am
Well, I have a couple unexpected days off this upcoming weekend and am aiming for Tahoe for some winter backpacking. Yosemite still seems like it might not have enough snow above Snow Creek to make it a winter wonderland I'd like to have, even with tomorrow's expected snowfall.

Thursday looks like there still be enough bad weather to prevent me starting, but maybe I'll be able to get up there on I-80 to allow a early start on Friday.

Mt Rose Summit trail head to Brockway Summit along the TRT is my intended route. Depending on conditions, may even pop up to Mt Rose summit (without my full camping gear) the first day. Found several winter trail reports of people doing that as a day hike so seems like it's possible as a side trip.

As always, local conditions will dictate what I'm able to accomplish.



Postby Phil » Thu Jan 25, 2018 9:19 pm
Hi jim,

I was just up there over the past few days. It was all pretty well tracked over and not really so deep to the point where we didn't need snowshoes until mid afternoon, but I think this latest storm front is supposed to drop about two feet of new snow. We went out of Tahoe Meadows/Ophir Creek. A route south from there basically follows the ridgeline. I think it's a good, doable, bite-sized weekend getaway. Regardless of season, that's a nice area for a departure point. Although, there have been a few smash-and-grab car break-ins recently, so don't leave anything in the car up at the summit parking lot.
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Re: Winter Backpacking ideas

Postby WanderingJim » Tue Apr 03, 2018 8:12 pm

Well I went to Yosemite this past weekend and went up the Snow Creek Trail.

I had to adjust my clothing taken to allow for the 60-70 degree weather at the bottom and the 30-40 degree weather at the top. :) Plus Snow Creek Trial is very exposed, so it got quite toasty.

Half way up I remembered that I'd sworn every time I descended on the Snow Creek Trail that I'd NEVER go UP that trail. :) That has to be one of the worse switchback climbs in Yosemite. Of course with a full pack AND my snowshoes strapped to my pack it was particularly rough. No ice or snow until at least a 1/4 mile past the top of the switchbacks.

But I did make it up and found a spot for the night with a view of the very top of Half Dome. Clouds at sunset anyway, so not much of a light show that night.

It was probably freezing or a little below for the night, but not really that bad.

My problems started in the morning as I started towards Tenya lake. My left knee start giving me some pain and before long I had to turn back. Hoping to salvage the trip, I found a spot along the trail to North Dome to spend the night hoping that my knee would feel better in the morning. Plus I didn't want to go down Snow Creek that afternoon with my knee feeling like it did.

I did find a spot with a good view of Half Dome and got some nice color for the evening.

The next morning I knew my knee wasn't going to allow me to continue, but it did allow me to make it down myself without calling SAR.

So not what I wanted to do for that weekend, but still a nice two night stay in Yosemite.
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