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Bridalveil Falls, Yosemite National Park

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Re: 1st visit to Yosemite

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1st visit to Yosemite
May 07, 2007 01:25PM
Several students and instructors from Gainesville State College in Oakwood, Georgia is coming to Yosemite to study the glacier patterns May 16 - 21. We are camping all over the three main valley campgrounds because we were not able to get two sites together for all of us.

Can anyone give us some last minute advice? We are doing a few small hikes, and then on Saturday the 19th we are headed to Half Dome providing the cables are up.

Thanks in advance. Several of us are staying in North Pines on one site the entire time, then the other half is staying in the North Pines the first night, Upper Pines the next two nights, Upper Pines on a different site fourth night, and back to the North Pines the last night. Any chance of getting two sites together when we check in?
avatar Re: 1st visit to Yosemite
May 07, 2007 01:37PM
gdsbls wrote:

> Can anyone give us some last minute advice? We are doing a few
> small hikes, and then on Saturday the 19th we are headed to
> Half Dome providing the cables are up.

Tioga Road should be open by then. So don't miss Tuolumne Meadows. You can see some good examples of glacial polish on Pothole Dome at the west end of the meadow.

> Any chance of getting two sites
> together when we check in?

Very little, but you can try.

Re: 1st visit to Yosemite
May 07, 2007 01:53PM
Do you know what "small hikes" you'll be doing yet?
Sentinel Dome off Glacier Point Road is a good one to get acclimated to the high altitude. Excellent views, not real long or difficult. You'll be driving right past it on your visit to Glacier Point (you ARE going to Glacier Point, right?)
And if you can't go to the top of Half Dome you could hike to North Dome in order to see Half Dome up close and personal (well, across the gaping valley, anyway).

What advice are you looking for specifically? Just campground related? If you have specific questions, we can help you with more specific answers.

I hope you are all in good hiking shape for the Half Dome hike!
avatar Re: 1st visit to Yosemite
May 08, 2007 08:43AM
If you do go up to Glacier Point then you should stop by Taft Point and The Fissures. This area is a one mile hike to the north off Glacier Point Road. The parking area is clearly marked. Hiking to Taft Point would work in very nicely with a hike around the Sentinel Dome area. Minimal elevation variations, breathtaking views, interesting geology, and close proximity to the snack bar at Glacier Point.

Also be sure to stop at Washburn Point. This is a pull-out very near the Glacier Point parking area and is a view that is often passed by. I consider it to be the best view spot off of any road with the exception of Olmsted Point on Highway 120.

Old Dude
avatar Re: 1st visit to Yosemite
May 07, 2007 05:16PM
On your Half Dome hike I would suggest that if everyone in your party is not able to do a very strenuous hike (13 miles round trip +4800 feet -4800 feet) plus the cable climb that you have a few spots picked for bailout points and a plan on how to get the entire party back together on the way back down to the valley floor. The entire round-trip can easily take 10-12 hours.

Anybody that thinks they might bail somewhere along the way might want to have a book to read or some other thing to entertain themselves until the party gets back together.

Water can be hard to find along the way after Nevada Fall but in any event have a filter or pills to treat any water you do find. I would suggest that everyone have at least two liters of water on them when you leave the Nevada Fall area.
Each person should have a lunch and about 1000 to 1500 calories of snacks.
A flashlight also.

If it has rained or may rain do not go up the cables. The granite is slick enough when dry but when even slightly wet it is as if it is oiled.

Do not go up the cables if you hear any thunder from anywhere or if there are any thunder storms brewing anywhere in sight.

Don't do anything cute on the edge after you all get to the top. I've had to look away a time or two so as not to see the face of a person that looked like they would go over the edge if anything went wrong with their stunt.

The above three things kill people.

This is a great hike and the sense of accomplishment when you get to the top will be with you the rest of your life. Very few people in the world get to do this thing. Take lots of pictures.

Old Dude
Re: 1st visit to Yosemite
May 07, 2007 09:15PM
In addition to Mike's list, bring mosquito repellent on the Half Dome hike...and if any stay behind along the way, make sure they have some. If it's like last year, as long as you're moving you're OK, but if you stop, you're on the menu.

Mike might have taken a shorter route, or else used a GPS to measure, as I think 13 miles is a bit low; usually it's considered 16.4 or 16.8, but it makes a little difference if you take the mist or John Muir Trail (not so much timewise, but distancewise). I had 21+ miles on my pedometer after the trip, but that included a half mile from the trailhead each way, plus walking around a lot on top (and of course a pedometer isn't very accurate for that type of hike (reads high), nor is a GPS (reads low)).

At any rate, the students may make it OK regardless of being in shape or not, just because they're young. But it's not an easy hike, and if the instructors haven't been getting in shape for it, it may be a tough one. It's a great hike, regardless of whether you get to the top.

If one of your 'small hikes' consists of going to the top of Upper Yosemite falls (you might think it's small because of the distance), don't do it the day before Half Dome. That's a tough, very uphill hike (and very downhill back) and would not be good the day before Half Dome.

Enjoy your trip!

Yosemite Photo Galleries: http://www.pbase.com/roberthouse/yo
Re: 1st visit to Yosemite
May 08, 2007 05:58AM
Thanks everyone for the great advice. We have all tried to train our bodies and minds for this event of a lifetime. Didn't realize about the extra calories too - that and the bail out points will give us something to talk about on the four-five hour plane ride to your beautiful state.

One thing we didn't think about was the mosquito's - THANKS.
Re: 1st visit to Yosemite
May 09, 2007 12:15AM
The trailhead sign states 8.2 miles to Half Dome, but I think that's via the Mist Trail to Nevada Falls and then the John Muir Trail the rest of the way. If you take the John Muir Trail the entire way, I believe it is an extra mile both up and down. (I think it's about another half mile from the Wilderness Parking Lot to the trailhead.)

Usually, when I do Half Dome, I go up the Mist Trail to Nevada Falls in the morning and come back down the John Muir trail in the afternoon from Nevada Falls. That extra mile is quite a bit flatter than coming down the Mist Trail at the end of the day when your legs, knees, and ankles are burning. And much safer in my opinion. The Mist Trail, as it leaves the top of Vernal Falls, can be a little tricky, especially if you don't like walking along a wet granite trail without any guard rails in some places. The John Muir trail from Nevada Falls to the Vernal Falls Bridge consists of ___ switchbacks that are medium in length, but not real steep. I didn't list the # of switchbacks, because some people hate knowing how many they have left. I like knowing because I know when I am getting close to the end! If you want to know how many there are, let me know.

The Mist Trail from the Vernal Falls bridge to the top of Vernal Falls is much shorter, but you will usually get very wet as you go up. If it's cold in the mornings, that's not much fun. Having a rain jacket will make the trip up a little nicer. People who don't mind a very steep grade to the top of Vernal Falls usually take this route and save the extra mile. The older I get, the more I like the longer, flatter trail. Both take you to the top of Nevada Falls from the Valley, and then the JMT takes you most of the way to Half Dome except for a small spur trail to the top.

I'll never do the Seven Summits and I wasn't sure I had it in me to even do Half Dome the first time I did it. But once you do it, you will never forget getting to the top. I've seen a 75 year old couple from Japan at the top who didn't even look like they'd worked up a good sweat and I've seen teenagers who gave up at the Vernal Falls Bridge. You just never know until you do it. Normally, you want to be heading down by 3pm or 4pm at the latest, so that you aren't hiking down in the dark. Take flashlights just in case.

Depending on how much time you have, I always find the 3.2 mile hike to the top of Yosemite Falls to be a great hike. It is overall more steep than the hike to Half Dome, but 5 fewer miles each way. (The top of Yosemite Falls is about 2700 feet in elevation gain at 3.2 miles in length while Half Dome is 5000 feet in elevation gain at 8.2 miles. So YF always seems more steep to me.) The views from the top of Yosemite Falls are great. If you go up there, try to go across the bridge an extra mile to Yosemite Point and the overlook to Lost Arrow Spire. tp://www.mountainsport.dk/yosem1sc.gif.

About half way up the Yosemite Falls trail, you will walk alongside where the Upper, Middle, and Lower Falls come together. Quite a site there too.

Back to the Half Dome Hike. If you like longer, flatter (and drier) switchbacks, I would go the JMT the entire way. If you want to get there more quickly and don't mind some wet, steeper grades with less distance, then you want to take the Mist Trail to Nevada Falls. From there it's the JMT the rest of the way to the top. There is a restroom at the junction of the JMT and the Mist Trail near Nevada Falls. There is another one in Little Yosemite Valley, but a little off the main trail.

The REAL fun of the Half Dome hike is the last mile, or so, to the top. You have to experience it, because it's hard to explain to someone who hasn't done it. You'll see what I mean when you get there.

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