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[Yosemite]

Indian Canyon questions

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

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Postby balzaccom » Wed Jul 22, 2009 12:20 pm

On a similar vein...does anyone have a TR on a climb up Indian Canyon? I have always been intrigued by that route...
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Postby bill-e-g » Wed Jul 22, 2009 1:15 pm

Indian Canyon is sorta a sore spot with me...
I was set to go up it twice earlier this year and got rained out both weekends.
Indian Canyon Creek all the way up.
My biggest concern was how much, if any, poison oak I'd have to deal with.

Summitpost has a description:
http://www.summitpost.org/route/157980/ ... anyon.html
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Postby balzaccom » Wed Jul 22, 2009 6:41 pm

Thanks Bill---I had seen that and wondered if anyone on these boards had tried it. If you go, please post a trip report. My wife is a bit apprehensive about this sort of trail...but she has managed to work her way across country any number of times, including fairly far up Tenaya Canyon...

And here is where we were last week...suffering from bugs but also having a grand adventure:

http://www.highsierratopix.com/communit ... 338#p26021
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Postby bill-e-g » Wed Jul 22, 2009 10:06 pm

My wife has done alot of xcountry now... but up Indian Canyon is
one I'd do solo. Too much uncertainty. (I'd just have her go
up Yosemite Falls and meet her at the top).

Been going crazy again this year (the Sierra is my drug).

You may enjoy this. Did this last Fri-Sun:

http://picasaweb.google.com/dale.dekeyser/RedPeak09#

So many mountains... so little time...

Happy Trails
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Postby balzaccom » Thu Jul 23, 2009 6:42 pm

Great stuff! We did most of that trip last year. The fishing at Lower Ottoway was quite amazing...

if you follow the previous web link to my Picasa photos, you'll see a whole set on that trip as well...
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Indian Canyon questions

Postby tjmartn1 » Fri Sep 07, 2012 10:43 am

Hi, I am going to the Valley at the end of the month and have been eyeing Indian Canyon as a possibility to do one day. How hard is it to avoid the hardest class 3 spots? Is this suitable for someone with limited class 3 experience? My girlfriend is going to be with me. She's a strong hiker and has been up Mount Dana, along with other high sierra class 2 climbs. She is somewhat less experienced on class 3 terrain, so I'm wondering if it would be feasible to do the canyon without too much tough class 3.

I've read the other board posts about the canyon, but if anybody has any new insight I'd be much appreciative. Thanks.
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Re:

Postby Grzldvt » Fri Sep 07, 2012 8:46 pm

bill-e-g wrote:My wife has done alot of xcountry now... but up Indian Canyon is
one I'd do solo. Too much uncertainty. (I'd just have her go
up Yosemite Falls and meet her at the top).

Been going crazy again this year (the Sierra is my drug).

You may enjoy this. Did this last Fri-Sun:

http://picasaweb.google.com/dale.dekeyser/RedPeak09#

So many mountains... so little time...

Happy Trails

I am amazed at the snow :shock: But great pics. Have a 3 day coming up and we were thinking about camping at Ostrander or beyond, and day hike across the Buena Vista Crest to Red Peak. We only have 3 days. I have been eyeballing that route for years, just haven't had the time to do it.
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Re: Indian Canyon questions

Postby bill-e-g » Sat Sep 08, 2012 6:59 am

tjmartn1 wrote:Hi, I am going to the Valley at the end of the month and have been eyeing Indian Canyon as a possibility to do one day. How hard is it to avoid the hardest class 3 spots? Is this suitable for someone with limited class 3 experience? My girlfriend is going to be with me. She's a strong hiker and has been up Mount Dana, along with other high sierra class 2 climbs. She is somewhat less experienced on class 3 terrain, so I'm wondering if it would be feasible to do the canyon without too much tough class 3.

I've read the other board posts about the canyon, but if anybody has any new insight I'd be much appreciative. Thanks.


Since this thread started I've done the canyon up twice and down once. All times staying on the old trail...
Not sure what other board posts you are talking about...
but here is a very comprehensive thread on yosemitenews about the canyon:
http://yosemitenews.info/forum/read.php?3,49133

My first time up the canyon was a dayhike with the wife... nearly every time we are in the valley I ask if
she wants to go up it and she say "Never again!". Bear in mind I've taken here a zillion places off trail so...
Here's a set with her in it:
https://picasaweb.google.com/yosemite.chick.on/Indian

Read the thread from yosemitenews if you haven't already. It should give you nearly everything you need.
There is one other person that I know over there that I've hiked with and has gone up the canyon.
From what he told me he was never on the old trail and never really in the creek and he
would never go up the canyon again (at least with a backpack).
My recommendation is to start going up the creek and see what happens.

Have fun
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Re: Re:

Postby bill-e-g » Sat Sep 08, 2012 7:09 am

Grzldvt wrote:I am amazed at the snow :shock: But great pics. Have a 3 day coming up and we were thinking about camping at Ostrander or beyond, and day hike across the Buena Vista Crest to Red Peak. We only have 3 days. I have been eyeballing that route for years, just haven't had the time to do it.

This thread is a few years old.... those pix were from mid July of 2009.
I'd suggest camping at BV Lake or on the Crest if doing that...
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Re: Indian Canyon questions

Postby pakman » Fri Oct 18, 2013 1:17 pm

My only time I went hiking in Indian Canyon (Palm Springs) I ran into a coiled rattlesnake. I guess I've been lucky in my other hikes as that was my only encounter so far with a snake of any kind. And it was very close.
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Re: Indian Canyon questions

Postby Pbattler » Mon Nov 18, 2013 8:55 pm

I lived in the Valley from the Summer of '82 until the Fall of '83. My roommate and I hiked up Indian Canyon in the Spring of '83. If you remember the Winter of '82-'83, you know it was a huge snow year. This made Indian Canyon interesting but feasible. We crossed over Yosemite Point and came down the Falls trail.
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Re: Indian Canyon questions

Postby Epic Steve » Fri Nov 22, 2013 3:34 am

I haven't had time yet to follow all the links posted in this thread and my memory is probably a bit rusty, but I worked in Yosemite Valley from April 1984 – June 1999 and lived in The Valley for about the first half of that period.

I hiked up and back down Indian Canyon once and another time I hiked up and then came down via the Upper Yosemite Fall trail. I don't remember it being a particularly difficult cross country route, even carrying a fairly heavy day pack. However, I was in my early twenties at the time and was in great condition. Plus I already had a lot of off-trail experience, including technical rock climbing and general mountaineering, so obviously that affects my perception of the experience.

First of all, I don't remember there being much (if any) poison oak. Maybe a little right at the bottom of the canyon, but it's rare to find poison oak much higher than the floor of Yosemite Valley (4,000 feet).

I started by taking the trail that goes from Church Bowl to Lower Yosemite Fall. Only a couple of minutes from Church Bowl, when the trail passed behind the Yosemite Medical Clinic (which I think has been renamed to something else now, but I'm not certain), I left the trail and scrambled over some well-settled talus to the right of Indian Creek. After a short distance, the drainage narrowed and became more of a "canyon," which gradually steered my route closer to the creek.

Initially, there was no sign of an old trail, but as the canyon narrowed and steepened there was really only one possible route, still on the right side of the creek. Just as I reached some large boulders (or small cliffs perhaps? - I don't quite remember) and was wondering how I would surmount them, I came to a couple of galvanized steel ladders that were cabled (or bolted? - again, my memory is a bit hazy) to the granite.

I wondered why the ladders were there, but shortly after that, I found a fat old telephone cable that was lying on top of the ground and would frequently disappear underground and then reappear on the surface. This continued for almost the entire length of the canyon, so obviously the ladders were installed to aid installation/maintenance technicians that worked on the telephone cable.

Shortly after climbing the ladders (which were steep, but less than vertical and maybe 15 - 20 feet tall or so), I came to a place where the walls of the canyon dropped steeply into the creek and the only feasible route was along a fairly level ledge above the creek. I recall the ledge as being dirt-covered granite, about 20 feet above the creek. It was narrow enough that I probably wouldn’t have risked crossing it, except that there was a steel cable installed to use as a hand railing, which I found adequately reassuring.

I don’t remember exactly what came next, but I think it was just easy scrambling up a moderate talus slope through fairly open oak woods. But as I approached the confluence of Lehemite Creek and Indian Creek, the oak wood turned into a forest of large cedars and pines and the terrain became a bit more rugged.

Crossing Lehemite Creek was a bit tricky and I had to take a moment to puzzle out my route first. But again, there was a steel hand cable that helped (although I seem to recall the cable being awfully high and having just enough sag/flex to make it still usable). I don’t think falling into the stream at that location would’ve been disastrous – just unpleasant and inconvenient. But I don’t remember which month of the summer it was or what the snowpack was like that year. I do remember that it was much easier the second time I hiked the canyon, because the water was significantly lower.

After passing that obstacle, I crossed Indian Creek to the left (west) bank and the rest of the route was straightforward, mostly on pretty stable but steep talus, with a lot of bay trees around, initially. I recall the smell of bay leaves permeating the air on that section. At the very top, the canyon just petered out into a fairly unremarkable drainage in the middle of a pine forest. A few minutes later, I found the trail that parallels the north rim of Yosemite Valley.

I apologize for all the “I THINK I remember” moments, but for what it’s worth, I hope all of that helps!
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Re: Indian Canyon questions

Postby bill-e-g » Fri Nov 22, 2013 8:17 am

That's awesome. Thanks for posting that. Yet to to the ladder route myself. On Z list o things to do...

There's an old trail for parts of the trek up way to the left / west of the creek. From above:

Since this thread started I've done the canyon up twice and down once. All times staying on the old trail...
...
here is a very comprehensive thread on yosemitenews about the canyon:
http://yosemitenews.info/forum/read.php?3,49133
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Re: Indian Canyon questions

Postby Epic Steve » Mon Nov 25, 2013 12:33 am

Thanks for posting that link, bill-e-g. I had no idea that the old toll trail from the 1800's even existed. Fascinating! Suddenly I realize that on a couple of other occasions when I was rock climbing, I must have briefly stumbled upon the lower part of the old toll trail, while doing the approach to Arrowhead Arete and Arrowhead Spire.

I knew nothing about any established route when I started up Indian Canyon with a couple of buddies one day. We were very excited to discover the ladders and hand cables. Made for a really fun adventure! Later I did it as a solo hike and came down the Upper Yosemite Fall trail and that was a really nice loop, because the walk (or shuttle bus ride) from one trailhead to the other is so easy.

This thread is making me want to go back next summer and revisit Indian Canyon. It would be interesting to see what it's like at 52 years old, as opposed to 24! On the one hand, my body isn't as strong and flexible anymore, but on the other, I have more experience and know how to pace myself better. Hmmm...
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