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[Yosemite]

backpacking - CR and ? Vogelsang area?

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

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backpacking - CR and ? Vogelsang area?

Postby dannydibbert » Mon Nov 22, 2021 8:54 am

Hi, Friend and I have 5-6 days to spend in the backcountry late June. We normally prefer less impacted ares, but friend has it in her head that cloud's rest must be part of the route. Any advice for a route that works in CR and then a good sampling of less heavily traveled High Country? We are experienced hikers, not adverse to moderately long days and big climbs, cross country OK.
Thanks!
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Re: backpacking - CR and ? Vogelsang area?

Postby balzaccom » Mon Nov 22, 2021 11:48 pm

Depends on the snow levels, of course. If we do get a big snow year (fingers crossed!) you could have some issues.

If you need to visit Vogelsang and Clouds Rest, you'll be seeing people. Those are the definition of impacted areas of the back country. But you could camp at Bernice and Gallison Lakes above Lewis Creek on your way down from Vogelsang into the Merced drainage, and you might look at a side trip to Echo and Matthes Lakes on your way back to Tuolumne Meadows...off trail to the east of the JMT towards Cathedral Lakes.
Check our our website: http://www.backpackthesierra.com/
Or just read a good mystery novel set in the Sierra; https://www.amazon.com/Danger-Falling-Rocks-Paul-Wagner/dp/0984884963
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Re: backpacking - CR and ? Vogelsang area?

Postby snowcreek » Fri Nov 26, 2021 4:51 pm

You can always do clouds rest as a day hike and camp for a night in backpackers camp before hitting up a more remote backpacking trip.. Clouds rest would not be a fun hike with a full pack..
Snow wont be an issue in June. The hike from the valley at least is mostly in the sun and any exposed snow left will be pretty hard and easy to walk on. Just make sure you stick to the rim and stay on trail
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Re: backpacking - CR and ? Vogelsang area?

Postby Phil » Wed Dec 15, 2021 8:36 pm

Late June is a very transitional period in the high country. Balzaccom is right about snow levels, but the big thing to remember is, after the snow level begins to rise, the mosquitoes come out in force hot on its heels. Mind numbing in some places. Two of which are most definitely, CR/Sunrise Lakes and Vogelsang (06/29/2012...a date which will live in infamy!...friggin' BRUTAL!!...getting down to a lower elevation felt like a matter of life or death). DO NOT go anywhere without A LOT of mosquito repellent and head nets!! Higher up (again, dependent on the snowpack) you might very well find at least some serious snowfields that could conceivably require at least some navigational skills, microspikes and postholing, but you'll also be getting a lot of flooding on a lot of trails, not to mention, high water crossings. The latter is anywhere there's drainage, not just higher up. Wherever you go, be sure to throw in lots of mud, and gear up for it. If you can, stay lower, although that limits your choices. Depending on conditions, you guys could see what's going on in the GCT and kill about 3 days or so right there. You'll also be able to see the amazing falls complex pretty much at or around peak flows, which is well worth it. And while typically July is your best month for it, there's Ten Lakes, both of which could be linked up with CR and an exit back to either Tuolumne or the Valley via Murphy Creek, May Lake, or even Tuolumne>Catherdral Lakes>Sunrise HSC. Your 5-6 days are just about the perfect amount of time to pull off either of the routes.

I don't think I've ever gone up to CR without a full pack on, although it's a mixed bag between backpackers and day hikers anytime you go. Sure, it can hurt, but with a full pack on, best to put it into your itinerary later in the trip when you're carrying a lighter load than at the beginning when you still have that full 5-6 days onboard.
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Re: backpacking - CR and ? Vogelsang area?

Postby snowcreek » Thu Dec 16, 2021 5:54 pm

I grew up with snow- so I guess my reaction to it is different. I hiked CR in late april and early october with snow and I did not see much of an issue. I suppose though I should note that the summit is kind of thin and there may be a bit of a "cornice" on top of the ridge- dont get to close to the valley side. I wish I still had my photo showing my tracks next to someone' else's who came incredibly close to walking off the edge without even knowing it.
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Re: backpacking - CR and ? Vogelsang area?

Postby Phil » Fri Dec 17, 2021 8:39 am

snowcreek wrote:I grew up with snow- so I guess my reaction to it is different. I hiked CR in late april and early october with snow and I did not see much of an issue. I suppose though I should note that the summit is kind of thin and there may be a bit of a "cornice" on top of the ridge- dont get to close to the valley side. I wish I still had my photo showing my tracks next to someone' else's who came incredibly close to walking off the edge without even knowing it.


That's the difference ("experience") with everything that goes along with winter travel. I used to be a backcountry ski patroller and was an avalanche "expert" so snow is something I'm familiar with too, but that's not everyone. I'm sure it's an annual event whenever there's a heavy snowpack late season, but I recall a few years back when YOSAR spent a good part of their Spring running around the trail system up by CR locating people that were ill prepared, out of their element, utterly lost, and wandering in circles, en masse. What could possibly go wrong when you have a bunch of people that expect and need a well-worn line of dirt to figure out where to go, and all they see is white and a bunch of random trees, with maybe about 4 of them actually able to triangulate anything beyond a jr high school math problem? And then there are the ones that figure that the last guys to track up the snow had even the slightest clue where the hell they were going, just because they're not lying there dead and frozen. I have to admit, I've been known to do it sometimes too, not so much because I have faith in people's winter navigational skills, but because I'm incredibly lazy, and they already cut trail for me...so hey...and that's one of those rare times when I sit down and bust out the map, UTM grid, and GPS to figure out where I am, and then otherwise discover that the trail is only 100' away, but I had no idea of that, and then I can feel even more stupid for doing what I knew I shouldn't have.

You were trail crew? Thanks! I've enjoyed your work, but less cobbles please...I'm running out of extra pole tips.
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Re: backpacking - CR and ? Vogelsang area?

Postby snowcreek » Fri Dec 17, 2021 11:46 pm

Spring running around the trail system up by CR locating people that were ill prepared, out of their element, utterly lost, and wandering in circles, en masse.

You sure? Sounds unlikely with the highly traversed trail system and little yos camp right by...

less cobbles please.

The "cobbles are from the 70's and 80's...When it really did "snow" all summer long.. Its why they are highly polished. Some of the work is now to remove such problems...

I spent over 800 days in Yos.. Mostly on the trail. So if you experts want to dismiss me than thats fine. But...Thats just like your opinion, man...
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Re: backpacking - CR and ? Vogelsang area?

Postby Phil » Sat Dec 18, 2021 7:36 am

snowcreek wrote:You sure? Sounds unlikely with the highly traversed trail system and little yos camp right by...


Pretty sure. The reports don't lie. Most people aren't used to navigating in the snow, and most people that are lost are found not too far from the trail, and that "core" area is a mixed bag of experience levels...just not a high number of hardcore mountaineers and people wanting to go too far off the well beaten path for a true wilderness adventure. Doesn't always take a lot to spin people around and disorient them under conditions they're unaccustomed to. LYV is far enough away to not be a factor in immediate surroundings.

snowcreek wrote:I spent over 800 days in Yos.. Mostly on the trail. So if you experts want to dismiss me than thats fine. But...Thats just like your opinion, man...


I'm also not quite sure how you think I dismissed you...not an "expert", but I like to think I give good advice (and there are hundreds that would agree), or at least try to, although I do pay attention, and I do know the trail systems pretty well. Not sure why you would feel attacked and put things into an adversarial context when that wasn't where I was going with it in the least. It's obvious that you know what you're talking about and due the respect that entails, and I've read your posts for a long time now...

My opinions are free, and I have a ton of them.
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Re: backpacking - CR and ? Vogelsang area?

Postby AlmostThere » Sat Dec 18, 2021 8:41 am

I've rescued a lot of people since I quit SAR. By which I mean, I go hiking to enjoy a day in one of the parks, and end up finding lost people. Standing in the middle of the trail, lost. No map. No clue. "Where am I?" Or they think they are going somewhere, have been hiking longer than expected, and when I pull out the map and show them where they are, which I can say with some certainty because this peak and that peak and that ridge are the familiar ones I've hiked past often and I know where I am and have the receipts... they think they are on some other trail. Or they hiked miles in the wrong direction on the right one.

I'll never underestimate people's ability to get lost. They can get lost in the most established, most well marked, most traveled trail system in the world. That's not expertise. Just direct observation.

If you can stand on the Mirror Lake trail with Half Dome towering over us and ask me, is this the trail to Half Dome, and be completely serious standing there with your map in hand, you are lost and have no ability to navigate meaningfully. (This is a real example - a man did in fact ask me that question, while standing with his back to the most recognizable monolith in the park.) How do you miss the Happy Isles turnoff and end up at Mirror Lake? But there ya go. Hire SYMG, please. I'm surprised there aren't more SAR callouts than there are....

Over in Big Basin, same thing. I'm hiking down the Skyline to Sea trail, these folks are hiking uphill the other direction. One of them stops me and shows me a map. "How much farther to this waterfall?" "Well, you need to turn around and hike nine miles..." There are signs. Everywhere.

No idea how anyone hikes regularly in the parks and doesn't notice the lost people... they're everywhere.
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Re: backpacking - CR and ? Vogelsang area?

Postby balzaccom » Sat Dec 18, 2021 9:11 am

AT, your example reminds me of the two young women we met about five miles up Illilouette Canyon, well above the level of Mt. Starr King. They were using the parks welcome pamphlet for a map, and were pretty sure that they should be getting close to Half Dome.

First I asked them to show me where they thought they were. They pointed to LYV. I held my finger about two inches outside the page, and told them that they were completely off the map. ]

They were hiking in shorts and tank tops, with a half-liter bottle of water between them. They were miles off their route, and it was now about 2:30 in the afternoon. They had a long way to go just to get back to Happy Isles. I offered them water, which they refused, and sunscreen, which they refused.

But I never read about them in the newspaper, so I assume that they finally got back down into the valley...
Check our our website: http://www.backpackthesierra.com/
Or just read a good mystery novel set in the Sierra; https://www.amazon.com/Danger-Falling-Rocks-Paul-Wagner/dp/0984884963
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Re: backpacking - CR and ? Vogelsang area?

Postby AlmostThere » Sat Dec 18, 2021 9:43 am

Close calls all the time everywhere!

Then there are the attempts to take a pee break - I hiked off trail something like half a mile, as it was in Tuolumne Meadows and there were lots of people around. Got WAY out in the trees. Start to unhitch the pants and WHOA there are two people appearing from behind a big rock. "Do you know where the trail is?"

Well, yes. I do.

:shock:
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Re: backpacking - CR and ? Vogelsang area?

Postby snowcreek » Sat Dec 18, 2021 10:47 am

Sar does not waste time "rescuing" "lost" people in the valley.. You will be told to walk out on your own. Spent a few months working under half dome...Not one lost person the entire time...We had our park radio on every day too.. Never heard a report of anyone "lost" on trail....
Most of the time in the valley the rescues are for ledged out people and actual injuries. In fact a woman with a broken ankle was told to hike out on her own. They only came to pick her up when she failed to do so...
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Re: backpacking - CR and ? Vogelsang area?

Postby balzaccom » Sat Dec 18, 2021 4:09 pm

AlmostThere wrote:Close calls all the time everywhere!

Then there are the attempts to take a pee break - I hiked off trail something like half a mile, as it was in Tuolumne Meadows and there were lots of people around. Got WAY out in the trees. Start to unhitch the pants and WHOA there are two people appearing from behind a big rock. "Do you know where the trail is?"

Well, yes. I do.

:shock:


I've had the same experience in reverse, camping up by Smedberg Lake in a grove of trees overlooking the lake. A group of horseback riders came into view, set up camp too close to the water, and then one of them hiked up within about twenty feet of our camp before starting to drop her drawers. I cleared my throat and she zipped up quickly and wandered off to find somewhere else to squat.

Happily, they didn't past lunchtime, so I didn't both to tell them that tying their horses within ten feet of the water wasn't allowed...
Check our our website: http://www.backpackthesierra.com/
Or just read a good mystery novel set in the Sierra; https://www.amazon.com/Danger-Falling-Rocks-Paul-Wagner/dp/0984884963
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Re: backpacking - CR and ? Vogelsang area?

Postby snowcreek » Sat Dec 18, 2021 5:32 pm

Without the gov stock crews the trails would never be clear... You dont want to reincarnate as the Chainsaw mule...
Surprising as it is its up to literally under 6 people to clear 800 miles of trails every single year.
OHSA need not apply
Personally i would like the general public to not be allowed to use stock in National parks.
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Re: backpacking - CR and ? Vogelsang area?

Postby Phil » Sat Dec 18, 2021 5:58 pm

We have to define "lost". For some it's not getting back to their hotel room by dinner time, for others it's when they run out of food and water, and for others, when they're uncomfortable with their surroundings. But it never does seem to fail to amaze, and it's easy to make an assessment of what "I would have done differently" from the armchair when it's not you going through it.


Anybody remember the couple and their kids a bunch of years ago that drove out into the coastal range up by Grant's Pass and got stuck when it snowed, trying to take what they thought on their map looked like a shortcut? They were only about 12 miles out, but the road was already closed for the winter so there was no traffic or passers by at all. After 2 days, because the guy saw it on TV (and his wife was probably emasculating the hell out of him at that point for causing their predicament), he goes smashing through the brush down the mountainside to the creek in order to eventually follow it to civilization and help. Wife and kids stayed with the car. He died, they didn't. Awesome! So the guy on TV that jumps off cliffs into Class V rapids instead of safely going around the slightly longer way told you to do that? How about you just use your #1 resource...the road with only a few inches of snow on it? You know, the one that definitely goes back to the main highway...that's a given because you just drove in on it, the same one even the animals use because it's easier than bushwhacking and it makes the most sense? Nope, never fails to amaze me, but doesn't surprise me one bit.
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