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Re: May 02-04 Trip Report

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May 02-04 Trip Report
May 05, 2008 11:01AM
So I visited Yosemite for the second time this year, the first time in the hiking season. Well, at least I thought it was! I hiked Yosemite Falls Trail to El Cap, but once you get up to the rim, there is still a ton of snow up there. We hiked about 4.5 miles in 3-4 feet of snow. I had originally planned to try to get to North Dome, but decided on El Cap for whatever reason (the signs in the park say the distances are the same, but my trail map had El Cap 0.2 miles shorter. Why 0.2 miles shorter would mean anything over a 17 mile hike, I don't know...but that's why I chose it, LOL!!!) Luckily the snow was all hard-packed, so we weren't post-holing too bad. Couple of times I fell through, but at least I didn't crash through a snow bridge into a creek. Speaking of which, there is a LOT of runoff going on now. All the creeks are flowing well, and anytime the terrain allowed, there was an active drainage. We were able to hike all the way to El Cap without snowshoes or crampons, but it was very difficult walking on a surface which never felt solid. That really wore me out...Trekking poles did come in handy though. It was a fantastic, but very arduous hike. I would not have been able to do it without my GPS. I have the National Parks add-on pack, which has most of the trails in Yosemite. We had to follow it almost constantly, or else we would have lost the trail easily. Though there are very large patches of open ground, there was still 3-4 feet at 6800-7500'. I'm sure had we continued upward, it would have been thicker. I don't recommend any hiking above the valley yet unless you have a GPS or are an expert navigator. However, we did see our fair share of backpackers going up the Falls Trail...didn't ask where they planned on camping.

Sadly though, the valley is starting to fill up with people. (Yes, I know I'm one of them, but I feel like so many don't respect the park as it should be.) Even for early May, it was tough finding parking, and the roads were fairly clogged. Too many RV's for my liking (why do people feel the need to carry their house with them when they travel? Oh well, I digress...) They are still reparing the road out/in, so we had to wait about 20 minutes while they let one way traffic through, and to do some work. Northside Dr is still closed (those who have been there recently know the area I'm talking about), but they are working on it, from what I saw.

Anyway, I'd post pictures, but I don't know how on this site...it's beautiful right now! The waterfalls are going strong, and I'd guess in a few weeks or a month, things will greatly improve in the high country for hiking or backpacking.

Oh, and I spoke to the rangers about the 4-mile trail, and they said workers were still improving/clearing the trail above Union Point, so it would likely be until the end of May before that trail is open.

Re: May 02-04 Trip Report
May 05, 2008 12:57PM
Hi!

Thanks for report. It is really helpful.

I am planning to hike the North Rim during the week of May 25. Entry point: Mirror Lake; Exit Point: Big Oak Flat Rd.

In your opinion, what re the chances of the snow melting in another 3 weeks. I know this may be totally arbitary question but any advice would be appreciated. Moreover I don't own a GPS and am a little concerned about the trail. But I am hoping that in coming 3 weeks more people are going to explore that area and the trail would be more visible.

Regards

abm
Re: May 02-04 Trip Report
May 05, 2008 02:12PM
Hey abm, sounds like a great plan. How many days are you planning on taking?

I'm not so sure about the east end of your route. I assume you will be going up snow creek? That for sure is snow free up to the rim, but above that I'm not sure. The elevations are higher on that end, so I'm sure there would be even more snow then the portion from Yosemite Falls to El Cap. In fact, when I talked to the ranger, I asked about going from Yosemite Falls to North Dome, and she told me that route would be very difficult, with still 5'+ of snow in places.

Unfortunately I can't really fully answer your question, but there are large areas of open ground. However, the shaded areas, and north facing slopes are still heavily snowed in, and I wouldn't suspect it would be entirely snow free for a while. You may have to do some route-finding, or be able to use your map and compass until you re-find the trail. We were able to find the trail pretty easily when the ground opened up. One thing we always do is look for cut logs when they have fallen across the trail and workers have cut them to keep the trail clear. Those are easy to see, even in the snow.

It's really up to you how confident you are at navigating when the trail becomes obscured. Given another 3 weeks, it may be easier by then, but I can almost guarantee there should still be areas covered with snow.

Hope this helps.

Re: May 02-04 Trip Report
May 06, 2008 10:30AM
cthenn2 wrote:

> Hey abm, sounds like a great plan. How many days are you
> planning on taking?
>
> I'm not so sure about the east end of your route. I assume you
> will be going up snow creek? That for sure is snow free up to
> the rim, but above that I'm not sure.


Hi cthenn2,

Thanks for the reply. I am planning on a 3-4 days of backpacking. Yeah I ll be going up Snow Creek. It seems that most of the backpacking trails in Yosemite currently have snow with varying amount of intensity.

Lets hope it warms up in the next few weeks.

Wishes

ABM
avatar Re: May 02-04 Trip Report
May 06, 2008 12:06PM
I'm betting that by May 25th most if not all snow will be gone between the valley and 120. There will probably be a patch or two in sheltered areas at the higher elevations.





Old Dude
Re: May 02-04 Trip Report
May 06, 2008 04:40PM
mrcondron wrote:

> I'm betting that by May 25th most if not all snow will be gone
> between the valley and 120. There will probably be a patch or
> two in sheltered areas at the higher elevations.
>


I don't know about that...depends on what you mean by "between the valley and 120". There is still 3-4' along the trail to El Cap, and when we drove to Glacier point, there was literally a wall of snow they have plowed down to allow car traffic. I know this is the opposite side of the valley, but I can't see it melting down in the higher elevations that fast. Also, check the California Dept of water resources website...they have great info on snow depth and snow water content. http://cdec.water.ca.gov/cgi-progs/getAll?sens_num=3

For purposes of abm's trip, he may be close enough to the rim to be mostly snow-free, but I don't know.

avatar Re: May 02-04 Trip Report
May 07, 2008 08:49AM
The snow patch visible on the Sentinel Dome camera will tell the tale. When that patch is gone then I would bet the snow is gone most everywhere south of 120.





Old Dude
Re: May 02-04 Trip Report
May 05, 2008 08:19PM
Thanks for the great trip report, you've got me excited to get up there. I'm actually glad to hear there's a good amount of snow above...it keeps the falls and rivers flowing nicely. In two weeks from right now I expect (or hope) to be thoroughly exhausted after a Half Dome venture, and since Glacier Pt. road is open, hope to get out to Sentinel dome, Taft Pt. and the fissures, places I don't often get since my visits are usually in off-season. Thanks for all the info.





Gary
Yosemite Photo Galleries: http://www.pbase.com/roberthouse/yo
avatar Re: May 02-04 Trip Report
May 05, 2008 09:41PM
so Glacier Point is open for sure? i'm going there this coming friday to spend the night camping in the valley, i was hoping it would be open.
avatar Re: May 02-04 Trip Report
May 05, 2008 09:46PM
forrestranger wrote:

> so Glacier Point is open for sure?

Yes, and it's even on the NPS web site.

Re: May 02-04 Trip Report
May 06, 2008 02:56PM
Sierrafan ...

Positively jaw dropping PBase galleries you linked here ....

You are pro ... or semi-pro?

I'll eat a plate of month-old crow with hot sauce, if my hunch is wrong ... but those are not the sign of an amateur photographer!

Thanks for the link!

Anvanho

also:

Cthenn2 wrote:

" ... Too many RV's for my liking (why do people feel the need to carry their house with them when they travel? ... ...) "

Made me laugh ... my worst encounter with RVs was in Cuyamacha National Park (name?) in Arizona during one winter ... and the neighboring campsite occupants were in a smaller RV ... well, anyhow one evening right in the middle of the night, I was awakened by the "fragrance" of nasty engine exhaust!

They decided that (cough, ... cough!) it was too cold that night, and decided to turn on and LEAVE ON their RV ... the thing was more or less pointed at me ... UNREAL!!! I was getting seriously asphyxiated!!!!

I rumble out of my sleeping bag/tent ... saunter over to thier RV ...

... pound, pound, pound on the window ... they finally awaken ...


them: "Yeah? ... what'dya want???"

me: "Well, ... HELLO there, I'm your neighbor right (cough, ... cough!!) over there about 15 feet away ... and I am getting gassed!!!! CAN YOU PLEASE TURN OFF YOUR RV!!!!"

them: "well, .. uh,, it's mighy cold tonight ... just tryin' to stay warm ..."


me: "Yeah GUYS BUT I"M DIEING!!!!! PLEASE TURN IT OFF! WILL'YUH????"

they finally did ... Im still coughing from that episode .... ouch ...
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