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Re: How to improve 4 day trip: Cathedral to Sunrise to Clouds Rest to ???

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How to improve 4 day trip: Cathedral to Sunrise to Clouds Rest to ???
May 16, 2012 04:18PM
Hi there. This is my 1st post and I've never been to Tuolumne Meadows, but have solid backpacking experience and have been doing lots of research for an early June trip to the high country. Right now I have wilderness permits reserved for the Cathedral Lake trailhead, and we're looking at a 4 day/3 night trip. I will post my initial thoughts, and hopefully some of you can offer recommendations on how this trip can be improved!

After seeing some incredible photos (and reading rave reviews on here), our main destination is Clouds Rest. I'm thinking:

DAY 1: Park @Cathedral Lakes trailhead and hike in. Setup camp at Lower Cathedral (is lower preferable?). There are no rock climbers in my group, but I've read that it's possible to summit Medlicott Dome with basic scrambling. If so, we would like to hike up there before sunset. The directions I have written down are: "from lower lake's northwest shore, walk northward across gently sloping granite slabs ~1 mile to summit." Anything else I need to know about reaching Medlicott Dome?

DAY 2: Pack up and hike to Sunrise Lakes. Setup camp near one of the lakes (I've read that the northern-most lake is most secluded, so perhaps we should go for that one?). Also, fire rings are okay here, right?

DAY 3: Leave camp setup at Sunrise. Look for fork that goes to Clouds Rest. Summit CR and return to camp at Sunrise. I'm thinking if we camp another night at Sunrise it might be too boring, so maybe we'll hike down to Tenaya Lake and camp somewhere around there.

DAY 4: What about leaving our stuff at Tenaya and heading up to May Lake / Mount Hoffmann? How many miles would it be to hike from Tenaya to the top of Hoffmann and back? Would this be a good way to end our trip, or can someone recommend something else for our 3rd night/4th day?

Other questions:

-I know that we can't predict the weather, but how much snow should we be expecting on the trails for the 1st week of June? Since there isn't much snow to begin with and it seems to be warming up quickly, I should plan on leaving my crampons/gaiters at home, right? Or should i take them just in case? Will there be enough snow on the ground to have a snowball fight? I hope so...

-Of the lakes mentioned above, which one would be best for swimming? I know the water will be cold, but just how cold? Any temp ranges someone can give me? My buddy and I are experienced swimmers and it would be fun to swim across one of the lakes, so I might bring a wetsuit and go for it!

-Boulder jumping into May Lake?? On the SummitPost page for Mount Hoffmann, it says there's a large boulder which can be used for jumping into the lake. Any idea how high up this is? I love jumping into water and have leaped from the bridge at the pools of Hana and from a high rock in Tahoe that most wouldn't dare consider, but I want to convince my buddies that this one is safe.

-Are there lots of snakes in Tuolumne Meadows? One of my friends keeps saying that we need a snake bite kit, which is an interesting point but seems unnecessary. Thoughts?

-Has anyone bought the GoPro2 camera and regretted it? It looks like the annual REI sale starts in a couple days and if the 20% off coupon can be used on this cam I might get it and wear it for the Clouds Rest summit!

Thanks for reading all, let me know if you have any suggestions. Cheers! smileys with beer
Re: How to improve 4 day trip: Cathedral to Sunrise to Clouds Rest to ???
May 16, 2012 05:02PM
The GO Pro is a great little camera. My buddy has one. It is on sale at REI, so the coupon is no good. They have bundled it with the LCD, which is normally a $60-70 option. The price is $299 which is the typical price without the LCD.
avatar Re: How to improve 4 day trip: Cathedral to Sunrise to Clouds Rest to ???
May 16, 2012 05:19PM
Don't worry about snakes...but you might need a mosquito bite kit.

I doubt that you will have to deal with snow,. but I haven't been up in the past month..plenty of others can chime in on that one. Mt Hoffman and Clouds Rest have the two best central park views...you can't go wrong with Hoffman, but you might consider your extra night at Mathes Lake...from Cathedral Pass follow the creek down past Echo Lake and then wrap around the south side of Mathes Crest. You could also go up and over if you wanted, from Echo Lake area up between Echo Peaks, Mathes Crest and Cockscomb and then down to Mathes Lake. It's definitley worth it and you are right in the area.
avatar Re: How to improve 4 day trip: Cathedral to Sunrise to Clouds Rest to ???
May 16, 2012 06:29PM
Between now and the first week of June I'm sure you'll see people posting about conditions, I think snow will not be an issue by then, it was melting quickly last weekend on my trip, plus much of your itinerary is a little lower than where I was. Even if snow were an issue, the snow I encountered was not forming any decent corn, I used snowshoes when I got sick of postholing, crampons would be pretty useless.

While I love swimming in SIerra lakes, I haven't done so in the ones you've mentioned (except Tenaya). Normally I'd say swimming would be impossible (sans wetsuit, of course) the first week of June, but your trip will be about as long after the Tioga Road opening as my mid-July Matthes Lake Trip was last year, and I went swimming in Matthes around sunset but only stayed 10 minutes or so. As a thought, if you're determined to swim even if you pack a wetsuit, you could take it in your car anyway and on your way see what you think of the water temperature in Tenaya Lake...its 1000' lower than lower Cathedral but is much larger so calibrate those factors accordingly.

As already mentioned, don't bother with the snake bite kit. Take bug dope instead. There were no mosquitoes last weekend but there was plenty of standing water around Tuolumne Meadows, it's only a matter of time.



Edited 2 time(s). Last edit at 05/16/2012 06:33PM by ttilley.
avatar Re: How to improve 4 day trip: Cathedral to Sunrise to Clouds Rest to ???
May 16, 2012 07:13PM
"doing lots of research on an early June trip"

That's kinda of funny:
Matthes Crest in mid June, 2010:
http://yosemitenews.info/forum/read.php?3,26329

Avoiding Tenaya Crossing June, 2010:
http://yosemitenews.info/forum/read.php?3,39233

So... you got lucky.

There should be little to no snow on your route. On some north facing you can prob. find a bit to play around in.
Temp of the lakes I'd expect close to 40 degrees. 45 if you're lucky.

Snakes? What? Not at that elevation. Tell your friend he's watching too much TV.

The big rock will be on the West side of May. Maybe you can just hike there from Sunrise Lake and camp there.
There is no legal camping "near" Tenaya Lake, per sey.

Consider not having a fire. I know there is a fire ring at Middle (the North-most one). Please don't build new ones.
Rangers really get pissed about this practice.

Def. no on the crampons... not on that route, no way, no how.

Have fun, you'll have a great time
(and what Bearpoofy and ttilley said.. )



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avatar Re: How to improve 4 day trip: Cathedral to Sunrise to Clouds Rest to ???
May 16, 2012 07:15PM
O... there is a big island at Middle Sunrise. I'd swim there. (well.. I wouldn't... too $@%! cold for me! but I'd rec. you swim out to the island)

Have fun



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avatar Re: How to improve 4 day trip: Cathedral to Sunrise to Clouds Rest to ???
May 16, 2012 07:33PM
You can't camp at Tenaya Lake on day 3. Here is an image showing what camping is legal (basically, anything beyond an arrow, also including the red dot at Lower Cathedral).

avatar Re: How to improve 4 day trip: Cathedral to Sunrise to Clouds Rest to ???
May 16, 2012 07:56PM
Medlicott ... no scrambling is required. Unless you really want to.

Map of Area

Hopefully that map works. You can easily knock off a bunch of those domes.
That area is incrediblely... awesome...

http://yosemitenews.info/forum/read.php?3,50166

Map here:
http://yosemitenews.info/forum/read.php?3,50166,50225#msg-50225

(this is not the easiest way up Medlicott) (and Medlicott is... um... how to say it... not that dome-age at the top)

And more here:
https://picasaweb.google.com/yosemite.chick.on/Echo



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Thanks for all the responses guys. My suspicions have been confirmed that this is a great forum smiling smiley

Points noted about not camping at Tenaya, not worrying about snakes, not expecting much snow and not building a new fire ring.

chick-on: I see that middle Sunrise island on the map and that definitely sounds like a fun idea. Since there's already a fire ring by the middle lake, maybe a fire will be our reward after reaching the island? Also, I like your idea of camping near May Lake on the last night. How long should it take to hike from Sunrise Lakes to May Lake with full packs?

Bearproof: the Echo Lake/Mathes Lake idea sounds fun, but it looks like we'd have to backtrack quite a bit if we hiked there after Clouds Rest. Maybe I'll save those for another trip that could include Budd Lake, Echo Peaks, etc...


~Also, can someone please explain how the Wilderness permit system works? Last month I got permits to enter Cathedral lakes trailhead on the 4th for a party of 3. At the time, the trailheads report showed Cathedral to be available from the 4th-7th, but NOW it says there are no reservation openings for June 5th. I ask because I would like to add 2 more ppl to our party. I've called them 20 times the past 2 days and a busy signal every time! But will they let me add ppl since the day we're starting @Cathedral still has openings, or will they say no since the June 5th spots are all reserved? I know they save some 1st come/1st serve permits, but I'm not expecting to get there by 11am (my group will prolly lag). Any help or backup plans? Thanks!
I thought nobody in the world faxes anymore, but the wilderness permit reservation likes faxes and seems to process them right away. So if you have access to a fax machine, send in your request for two more permits for June 4th that way.

Your day 2 looks very mellow, it's only about 5.5 easy trail miles from Lower Cathedral Lake to Middle Sunrise Lake, you'll be there by lunch time. Maybe after you set up camp, go ahead and do Clouds Rest that afternoon.

Day 3 Middle Sunrise to May Lake 6.5 miles in the morning, do Mount Hoffman in the afternoon.

Temperature of the water? All of the lakes are ice water cold, for sure. I go in anyway, but I'm out again so quick. The chick-on challenge of Middle Sunrise Lake Island is a good one, very short, maybe 10 feet, or 100 feet, anyway very short, no wet suit needed.
avatar Re: How to improve 4 day trip: Cathedral to Sunrise to Clouds Rest to ???
May 17, 2012 12:51PM
Quote
SpeedyE


Bearproof: the Echo Lake/Mathes Lake idea sounds fun, but it looks like we'd have to backtrack quite a bit if we hiked there after Clouds Rest. Maybe I'll save those for another trip that could include Budd Lake, Echo Peaks, etc...


I agree...but I was thinking Cathedral, then Mathes, then Sunrise, then Clouds Rest
Quote
Bearproof
Quote
SpeedyE
Bearproof: the Echo Lake/Mathes Lake idea sounds fun, but it looks like we'd have to backtrack quite a bit if we hiked there after Clouds Rest. Maybe I'll save those for another trip that could include Budd Lake, Echo Peaks, etc...

I agree...but I was thinking Cathedral, then Mathes, then Sunrise, then Clouds Rest

ohhhhh, now you're talkin! sounds like a great idea. do you have mileage estimates for Cathedral to Mathes and Mathes to Sunrise?
Re: How to improve 4 day trip: Cathedral to Sunrise to Clouds Rest to ???
May 19, 2012 04:55PM
Quote
SpeedyE

~Also, can someone please explain how the Wilderness permit system works? Last month I got permits to enter Cathedral lakes trailhead on the 4th for a party of 3. At the time, the trailheads report showed Cathedral to be available from the 4th-7th, but NOW it says there are no reservation openings for June 5th. I ask because I would like to add 2 more ppl to our party. I've called them 20 times the past 2 days and a busy signal every time! But will they let me add ppl since the day we're starting @Cathedral still has openings, or will they say no since the June 5th spots are all reserved? I know they save some 1st come/1st serve permits, but I'm not expecting to get there by 11am (my group will prolly lag). Any help or backup plans? Thanks!

There is a big explanation on the wilderness permit page on the Yosemite website.

If the 4th says full, and you want to add 2 people on your reserved permit for the 4th (that is the day you start to hike) you can't - they will have to show up on the 3rd (not the 4th) and try for walk in permits for the 4th. They can also hang out in the wilderness office on the 4th until they start releasing unclaimed reserved permits to walk ins.

The biggest deal about permits is that you are starting to hike on the entry date listed on the permit. You do not start on the 3rd or 5th if your permit says the 4th. Starting on any day other than the entry date on the permit is the same as having no permit at all. They expect your group will all be hiking at the same time when they are on a single permit, too.
avatar Re: How to improve 4 day trip: Cathedral to Sunrise to Clouds Rest to ???
May 25, 2012 06:38AM
What? Huh?

They can all show up on the 4th. And try to get 2 additional walk-in permits on the 4th.
They don't have to show up on the 3rd to get the 4th. There's an amount for the same day.
Yes, normally they are taken up the day before... but not so always. June 4th is early...
and a Monday... so the chances may be decent.
You only have to wait until 11 if you want the same day reserved or next day walk-in.



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avatar Re: How to improve 4 day trip: Cathedral to Sunrise to Clouds Rest to ???
May 17, 2012 12:03PM
Only openings on the entrance day matter, so you should be fine to reserve two spots today if there are two openings on the day you start. When I made my reservation I needed to wait until after about 1:00PM PST to be able to talk to anyone; otherwise, the signal was always busy. Then again, I made my reservation in March I think, so maybe the lines are busier now as the summer season is approaching.



Edited 2 time(s). Last edit at 05/17/2012 12:05PM by mbear.
avatar Re: How to improve 4 day trip: Cathedral to Sunrise to Clouds Rest to ???
May 17, 2012 02:00PM
SpeedyE,

Do you have any trail maps? If you picked up Nat'l Geo Trails Illustrated Maps #'s 308 & 309 they would cover everywhere you are talking about and much more. These provide trails, mileages, topography details, plus camping-vs-no camping zones.

A word on Sunrise Lakes. The most photogenic one (in my opinion) is the lower one and the most secluded is the middle one because it's actually off-trail (you have to walk through the woods slightly to find it). As for Lower Cathedral Lake I would recommend camping on the ledges on the north side (avoid the meadow like the plague--mosquito heaven).

On your 2nd day I too would recommend making it a little more interesting by going left off-trail about a mile above Upper Cathedral Lake to Echo Lake and south through the trees on the RH side of the creek where you will eventually intersect the trail that goes to Merced Lake. Turn right onto this trail which takes you back up to Long Meadow and turn left when you reach the JMT. This takes you to the Sunrise HSC on your way to Sunrise Lakes.

As for snakes, the Pacific Rattler is seldom seen and for the most part very docile. You would have to basically step on one or stick your hand into a crevice where is does not belong to get bitten. They keep to themselves and have no real interest in bothering people. Your odds of getting injured by a mule deer is greater than getting bitten by a snake in Yosemite.
avatar Re: How to improve 4 day trip: Cathedral to Sunrise to Clouds Rest to ???
May 17, 2012 03:09PM
I think I remember reading that May Lake is off limits for swimming. Not that it stopped anyone, I've seen people swimming there every time I've gone.

Mt. Hoffman is a "must" if you are staying at May Lake!!!

Sounds like a fun trip! Be sure to come back and tell us about it!



"It is all very beautiful and magical here - a quality which cannot be described. You have to live it and breath it., let the sun bake it into you" - Ansel Adams
avatar Re: How to improve 4 day trip: Cathedral to Sunrise to Clouds Rest to ???
May 17, 2012 03:16PM
Here's the Island:


You guys are driving me crazi with the spell-ons though.

Hoffmann - not Hoffman
Matthes - not Mathes

When I look back at gunk I wrote and see I spelled things wrong ... doh!

Anyway, SpeedE ... have fun... there's loads of stuff to explore... you can go over to Mildred... climb Tenaya Peak,
etc. etc. etc. Lookie at the map and explore...

Have fun



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Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 05/17/2012 03:52PM by chick-on.
avatar Re: How to improve 4 day trip: Cathedral to Sunrise to Clouds Rest to ???
May 17, 2012 04:54PM
My spelling bad! I know about Hoffmann...butt juz lernt sumpin gnu bout Matthes...
avatar Re: How to improve 4 day trip: Cathedral to Sunrise to Clouds Rest to ???
May 18, 2012 11:02AM
When I look back at gunk I wrote and see I spelled things wrong...

... I use the Edit function to correct my post. wink

.
avatar Re: How to improve 4 day trip: Cathedral to Sunrise to Clouds Rest to ???
May 18, 2012 01:26PM
If I went back to edit all of the mistakes that I have made I wouldn't have time to make new ones!
avatar Re: How to improve 4 day trip: Cathedral to Sunrise to Clouds Rest to ???
May 18, 2012 02:47PM
Yeah, I just fix them when I noticed them or someone else points it out. wink
avatar Re: How to improve 4 day trip: Cathedral to Sunrise to Clouds Rest to ???
May 18, 2012 05:20PM
ef ewe just talks en chick-on-ez then spell-on no matta

(btw... whats wit da <dot> at the end of all your posts?
Do you want to be called dot?
Or
does <period>=Peter

Annoyingly Curios Mindless Birds Would Likes 2 Nose)



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avatar Re: How to improve 4 day trip: Cathedral to Sunrise to Clouds Rest to ???
May 18, 2012 10:56PM
Quote
chick-on

(btw... whats wit da <dot> at the end of all your posts?
Do you want to be called dot?
Or
does <period>=Peter

Annoyingly Curios Mindless Birds Would Likes 2 Nose)


No, it's just the latent typographer in me.

I like to have a little bit of negative space between the words I write and the bottom of the message box. I especially don't like the looks of my posts when my words run up and end right above the "Reply" "Quote" and "Report" icons on the lower righthand corner of the message box. It looks messy to my eyes. Again, it's because I'm into typography as a hobby. (Yes, a weird hobby to have I guess.)

So I add a . at the bottom of my posts to ensure some spacing between my words and those icons on the lower righthand corner. If you're really observant, you'll noticed that if I re-edit my post, I'll remove the . because it's no longer necessary. The "Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 05/17/2012..." line at the end of the post will create the needed negative space that I like to see. Yes, it's a bit anal. But you asked.

Of course, if I added a sig to my posts (like you and some others do) then the problem would be solved by that too. Because any poster that uses a signature line will get a nice:


added to the bottom of their posts. And if you had been really, REALLY observant you would have noticed that on some earlier posts of mine, I manually added the horizontal line. But then my post would look funny if someone quoted it. So I stopped doing that. This is probably too much information, but hey, you asked.

smiling smiley

.

avatar Re: How to improve 4 day trip: Cathedral to Sunrise to Clouds Rest to ???
May 19, 2012 07:59AM
Thanks for the response.

It's confirms my suspicion that I already knew that you were an Odd Egg.

smiling smiley

(as opposed to a Rotten Egg)

(and no, I wasn't that observant)



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