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Re: Illilouette Gorge and Fall

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Illilouette Gorge and Fall
May 19, 2008 07:43PM
Has anyone been up Illilouette Gorge in the last few years? We hiked it on Sunday and got to the 2/3 point but ran out of time. I'm hoping to go back in a couple of weeks and finish the hike all the way to the base of Illilouette Fall. The water level in the river was a bit high, but it looks like we could have found away around the spot where the western wall meets the river. If not, we will definitely be able to in a couple weeks.

By the way, I checked with the Visitor's Center before undertaking the hike. One park ranger had never heard of Illilouette Fall and the other told me that I couldn't do it without climbing experience.





Post Edited (05-19-08 19:45)



Steve's Death Valley Adventures-
www.panamintcity.com
Re: Illilouette Gorge and Fall
May 20, 2008 07:37AM
Hi, Steve - did you use the Horse Trail to access the pathway up the gorge?





Wilderness forever,
Bruce Jensen
Re: Illilouette Gorge and Fall
May 20, 2008 09:48AM
Check out this link:

http://www.summitpost.org/route/158056/illilouette-gorge.html

Mike



Post Edited (05-20-08 09:56)
Re: Illilouette Gorge and Fall
May 20, 2008 10:26AM
Yes, I used the horse trail and followed it past the water tank to the first bridge, where I turned right and hiked cross country. I generally stayed close to the river. There were 6 of us. 4 stopped after going 1/2 way, and 2 of us continued as it got really steep and we had to do a lot of boulder climbing (fairly easy, just tiring). We were limited on time, so I'm going to head back in 2 weeks and finish the hike and also do Sierra Point.

By the way, the river might look mild in the picture, but it was raging. That's why I'm not sure if it would have been passable just yet.
Re: Illilouette Gorge and Fall
May 20, 2008 02:15PM
i've been up there alot in the past . fun to fish some of the pools . it's pretty easy but don't try to exit up out of the gorge . take more photos when you go ok ?

Re: Illilouette Gorge and Fall
May 21, 2008 02:59PM
Yeah, I certainly will. Heading back either this weekend or next. From studying the photograph at the top, it certainly looks like the route is passable already, so I'm gonna give it a final push.

I wrote up a brief trip report with more photos on the Death Valley forum if you'd care to look at it:
http://www.death-valley.net/forum/viewtopic.php?t=20949
Re: Illilouette Gorge and Fall
July 16, 2008 03:23PM
I finally got back up there and finished this hike all the way to the base of Illilouette Fall. A full trip report and more photos are available if you check my trip report on the Death Valley forum listed above.

But here's a few pictures of this extremely difficult cross-country hike:











Re: Illilouette Gorge and Fall
July 16, 2008 09:27PM
Wonderful, Steve! Thank you! Great pictures! Next year, we do it for sure! :-)





Wilderness forever,
Bruce Jensen
Re: Illilouette Gorge and Fall
July 16, 2008 09:39PM
Thanks for updating us, Steve, what a fantastic experience!

I've looked at Illilouette gorge and fall from the usual spots, above and below, and always thought I'd like to get up (down) there, but had no idea what it entailed. Your pics and description are very informative and nicely done. If it happens that I never get there, the video gave an excellent view of what I'd be missing.

Definitely doesn't look like a wise solo hike, so I'll at least reserve it for when I'm not hiking alone.

That's one way to avoid the summer crowds yet be right in Yosemite. Bet you'd have been surprised to get to the base and find 40 or 50 people lounging around the swimming hole...8^)

Looking at the boulder fields, rappelling down from above on the Panorama trail seems tempting, but then I'd have to get out, which is another problem...





Gary
Yosemite Photo Galleries: http://www.pbase.com/roberthouse/yo
Re: Illilouette Gorge and Fall
February 13, 2009 08:57PM
Looking back, I'd have to say this was one of the best hikes of my entire life. To be able to enjoy such a beautiful spot in Yosemite with not a single person around all day was extremely special. But it also was the hardest hike I've ever done in Yosemite.
avatar Re: Illilouette Gorge and Fall
February 14, 2009 07:13AM
Yeah, when I was coming down the Mist trail I looked over and,
it's impressive... Didn't really realize when it was posted that it is
nearly 1500 ft. up from the trail...

I think people don't really realize how easy it is to get away from
people in Yosemite. On a number of the backpack trips we did last
year we didn't see anyone once we got about 4 miles away from
the trailhead and/or a mile off of the "high sierra camp" loop.
On some solo trips I didn't see anyone at all. Although, I must
admit, I was a bit pissed on 1 trip to see about 5 people at Mattie
Lake after xcountry from Glen Aulin... (turns out there is a horse trail from
the meadow in Cold Canyon!)... no worries, I just went over to
Virginia Lake instead and had it all to myself.. ahhh...

Snowed out again this weekend... sad smiley ... and smiling smiley (need the snow)
avatar Re: Illilouette Gorge and Fall
February 14, 2009 07:38AM
Sound like one more to add to the list of unusual, and underused trails in Yosemite Valley
1. Ledge Trail
2. Sierra Point
3. Illilouette Gorge





The cure for a fallacious argument is a better argument, not the suppression of ideas.
-- Carl Sagan
avatar Re: Illilouette Gorge and Fall
February 14, 2009 10:07AM
Frank Furter:>>
1. Ledge Trail
2. Sierra Point
3. Illilouette Gorge<<

thanx for the list! I just jotted it down for future research.

Can you give me a quickie round-up of distance/time alotted for each hike on the list?

B
Re: Illilouette Gorge and Fall
February 14, 2009 10:48AM
Umm, don't bother writing down any info on the Ledge Trail, unless you have a death wish.
avatar Re: Illilouette Gorge and Fall
February 14, 2009 11:29AM
Stevehall:>>Umm, don't bother writing down any info on the Ledge Trail, unless you have a death wish.<<

Duely noted; got a four inch scar on my head to remind me to take advice when given..

B
Re: Illilouette Gorge and Fall
February 17, 2009 02:04PM
My son and I tried the Legde Trail a year ago January. Not impossible, but there are locations beneath the cliffs about 1,000 feet up where the rocks look they are ready to calve off. I won't go up there again.

Illillouette Gorge, though - that's on the agenda for this coming June :-) Sierra Point is a snap (relatively speaking) - you will love it!

Want to get to Fern Ledge, but that route has confused me in the past, and I'd sure love a helping hand with it. I know it requires only minimal rock scrambling, but the pathway along Sunnyside Bench is in some cases darn tough to find, and this is not a place where you want to put your feet wrong...

Bruce





Wilderness forever,
Bruce Jensen
avatar Re: Illilouette Gorge and Fall
February 17, 2009 04:17PM
The Ledge Trail seems like one of those trails that people only do as a bragging rights kind of thing. Or maybe for an adrenaline rush? Either way, I'm sure there are better ways to get an adrenaline rush that are much safer. Too much loose rock from the stories I've heard and the pictures I've seen.
avatar Re: Illilouette Gorge and Fall
February 17, 2009 05:07PM
dqniel>>The Ledge Trail seems like one of those trails that people only do as a bragging rights kind of thing. Or maybe for an adrenaline rush?<<

Ive got both of those categories already covered with my skiing adventures smiling smiley Ledge Trail does not sound like my kind of fun -- too much left to chance with those boulders. I bought a new Falcon Guide: Hiking Yosemite, to help pass the time until this weekend's Firefall trip. Hopefully, the book will cover some of the other destinations mentioned.

B
Re: Illilouette Gorge and Fall
February 17, 2009 05:11PM
Just for the record, the hike up Illilouette Gorge was by no means easy. It was very difficult at times on our 2nd attempt (which was in early July), as we had to boulder hop across quite a few branches of the rushing creek. It would have been easy to get hurt, had we not taken our time and patiently plotted out each next move. Also, coming down we got stuck in one spot for 45 minutes but finally figured a way to get through. I'm a very experienced hiker but try not to get involved in rock climbing whenever possible. I also run one of the biggest Death Valley sites on the internet at panamintcity.com.

So I'm just saying that if anybody tries this hike, be careful.
avatar Re: Illilouette Gorge and Fall
February 17, 2009 05:27PM
SteveHall>>as we had to boulder hop across quite a few branches of the rushing creek<<

Do you suppose that this aspect of the hike would change later in the season (lower creekwater?). I guess its a balance between whether the falls would be active VS waiting for lower creekflow. Also, my new book is broken down by section: SOuthern Park, South Rim, north rim, etc., but unfortunately, it has no index. Could you give me the general area where Illouette Falls is? Also, is your trip report still on your Death Valley Site?

I will think this all through and do careful research before any future decisions (I am a desert rat; fully aclimated to heat and exposure, etc., but I am not an experienced mountain hiker of the bouldering type)

B
Re: Illilouette Gorge and Fall
February 17, 2009 05:38PM
That trip report is still on the Death Valley forum, my site is something different. Currently it is not on my personal site.

When I was at the YVC last year I looked through all of their hiking guide books, and not one talked about the cross country hike through Illilouette Gorge. They all talked about the hike down from Glacier Point across the top of the fall, though. I would guess South Rim, but I'm not entirely sure.

Yes, this hike is all about the water level and flow. There is a section about 2/3 of the way up the hike where the canyon wall takes an abrupt turn and closes against the creek. Thus, there is absolutely no way to complete the hike without being able to go through the creek. It would be impossible before June and after that it just depends. I can see why the park ranger didn't recommend it to me. I don't want to discourage you, I just want everybody to be aware that it is not just a simple cross-country hike. You can make it without climbing experience (as I mentioned I'm not a good climber), but you need to make intelligent choices about the route you follow when you get into the creek and boulder hop.
avatar Re: Illilouette Gorge and Fall
February 17, 2009 05:45PM
SteveHall>>but you need to make intelligent choices about the route you follow when you get into the creek and boulder hop.<<

Thank you for the prudent advice. I think that my new book is trying to keep folks from trying this route, because it only lists the hike from glacier point. Oh, well.

Thanks for all the info, I will check out your report.

B
Re: Illilouette Gorge and Fall
January 08, 2011 06:58AM
Quote
Bee
SteveHall>>but you need to make intelligent choices about the route you follow when you get into the creek and boulder hop.<<

Thank you for the prudent advice. I think that my new book is trying to keep folks from trying this route, because it only lists the hike from glacier point. Oh, well.

Thanks for all the info, I will check out your report.

B
Your book, as nearly all hiking books do, only covers maintained trails. This scramble has never been a maintained trail and thus is unlikely will ever appear in a guide book.
Re: Illilouette Gorge and Fall
February 17, 2009 09:00PM
I almost tried this route when I was up in late October, after reading Steve's account, as the time was perfect for low creek flow. But I just plain ran out of time, and whether I'd have gone was a big 'maybe'. Was going to have another look at it from the Panorama trail before deciding.

For a solo hike, I think anyone should think it over carefully. There's little traffic up illilouette creek, and if you did get hurt in the scrambling, it may not be so easy to get help. Cell phones "may" work there (they work on Half Dome and in the Valley), but they also may not. It could be a long time before someone comes by. So like any solo hike in a questionable area, plan for the worst.





Gary
Yosemite Photo Galleries: http://www.pbase.com/roberthouse/yo
avatar Re: Illilouette Gorge and Fall
February 17, 2009 10:21PM
Sierrafan>>For a solo hike, I think anyone should think it over carefully.<<

Yup; doesnt matter how many people I inform of my wherabouts -- theyre still 200 miles away. It gets frustrating trying to guage the desire to get further away from the beaten path, and screwing up and being really sorry you wandered so far off the path. This destination really intrigues me because I have have read virtually nothing on Illiluette Falls, so that probably means same for other folks.

B
avatar Re: Illilouette Gorge and Fall
February 17, 2009 10:57PM
You've convinced me to try this some time. Even though it looks dangerous, it looks doable. I'm a small guy and am pretty good at climbing around stuff. I think I'd be able to do it if I take my time and just don't get myself into any spots for which I haven't thought out an exit. I love getting off the beaten path so I don't have to deal with the crowds. Offers up some unique vistas that you don't see in the standard postcard pictures and whatnot...
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