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Vernel Fall, Merced River, Yosemite National Park

The Moon is Waxing Crescent (28% of Full)


Re: yosemite 1st timer

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yosemite 1st timer
May 27, 2008 09:40PM
Im planning a 60 mile hike departing Happy Isles heading east to Merced Lake, then North to Vogelsang then East past Evelyn Lake past Potter Point to connect to the JMT then heading North to Tuolmne Meadows then SW to Sunrise campground, west to Sunrise Lake then south to Clouds Rest back down to the JMT, Half Dome, then back to Happy Isles.

I've never been to Yosemite and Im very excited. I believe I'm going a little early in the season (will be on the trail June 12 - 22) but this is the only window I have. Does this loop sound like a good first timer's hike? I will be between 8,000 to 10,000 feet the majority of my route. Does anyone know of any areas on this route that is potentially dangerous with the current trail snow coverage? Also at elevation that looks as if it will be mostly rock, is there enough soil to stake a tent? Would you change the route at all due to current snow?

Im going alone as I cannot find anyone at home that wants to go. I am confident in my navigation and survival skills, I just want to make the most of my 1st trip without having to reroute that much while on the trail.

thank you

Post Edited (05-27-08 21:51)
avatar Re: yosemite 1st timer
May 29, 2008 11:07AM
This is a great hike. There will be footbridges over all the major waterways so crossings should not be a problem. The trails are very prominent and easy to follow. During the no-snow times they are also well traveled so any time help is needed someone will come along soon. Hiking alone after the snow is melted I don't consider a problem.

At this time of year with the amount of snow still present things are a bit different. There will be areas of the trail that will be under snow for good distances. Since you have not been to Yosemite before your knowledge of the terrain is limited. Even with a GPS and good map you could find yourself wondering where you are. The snow will make the going tough even though you are averaging about 6 miles a day. If you had a hiking partner I would say go for it since you have navigation and survival skills. A partner, I think with conditions as they are now, is important. Two heads and all that.

The store at Tuolumne Meadows may not be open by the time you get there so plan on carrying all you food for the whole trip. Check on this though.

Use this site to keep track of the snow at the higher elevations. If it looks like it has melted off be the time you plan on leaving then the conditions might be a lot better than I've proposed.


Old Dude
Re: yosemite 1st timer
May 29, 2008 12:16PM
thank you mike. I am actually now looking at hiking the entire JMT alone June 10 through June 28. What do you think about that this time of year?
avatar Re: yosemite 1st timer
May 29, 2008 03:38PM
The JMT has about eight or more passes that are at 12,000' and miles of trail over 10,000' with even more miles at 9,000'. There will be lot of snow at the higher elevations and if you are willing to hike on snow perhaps for days on end then go for it. I've done the trail from Tuolumne Meadows to Kings Canyon with no snow and I can say there are places I would not want to be traveling with snow on the ground. Going up to the top of some of the passes and down the other side with a lot of snow could be treacherous. I would not think of doing this hike alone and at this time unless you want severe punishment. The PCT through-hikers we met at Dorothy Lake in 2006 (very heavy snow year) talked about the days on end of snow. (We hiked on snow a lot of the day from about Tildon Creek to Dorothy Lake) Bear in mind that they had been on the trail for a couple of months already and were in peak shape. I would save the JMT for late September.

Others may have a different take on this. I'm pretty cautious and hate hiking on snow.

Old Dude
Re: yosemite 1st timer
May 29, 2008 06:29PM
I agree the snow may be a bit of a challenge now. I plan to start from the north in the middle of July, I think it will be a lot more pasable by then.

Check out other stories:



Re: yosemite 1st timer
May 29, 2008 07:56PM
Here are some photos (not mine) from the Mt. Whitney area the past (Memorial day) weekend.
http://www.flickr.com/photos/[email protected]/sets/72157605294612704/
Keep in mind that Outpost camp
http://www.flickr.com/photos/[email protected]/2529754611/in/set-72157605294612704/
is the lower of the two camps on the main Whitney Trail, only at around 10,000 feet.

Last year, I'd have guessed you'd have been OK with mid-June, but with only a couple of weeks to go, you'd need some significant hot weather to clear things up, and even at that there are bound to be areas that don't clear.

Hiking solo, you've just got to be more cautious, regardless of how well equipped you may be, or how experienced with crampons and ice axe. If it doesn't work out for your dates, I hope you are able to work out some alternative options.

Yosemite Photo Galleries: http://www.pbase.com/roberthouse/yo
avatar Re: yosemite 1st timer
June 01, 2008 07:15AM
You've already gotten some great adivce already. Here's my 2 cents.
Let me say that I just ran up to Miwok Lake and over to Ardeth Lake down
into Jack Main Canyon. Ardeth is at 8400 ft. There was approx 3ft of
snow on the ground still and Ardeth was still half frozen over. I was
postholing around 8 inches. On the way out talking to a ranger he
said they just got another foot of snow at Tuolumne.
So, what am I saying? hmm... I would not recommend you attempt the
JMT. I think it is just going to be a major pain for anyone at this time.
However, the main reason you should not do the JMT has already
been mentioned by yourself... You have never been to Yosemite!
mrcondron and myself did the JMT last year and we both agree the
JMT is very very nice but Yosemite still wins with us. (mike?)
The original route you chose.. DO THAT! The merced river canyon
around Bunnel Pt and Moraine Dome is spectacular! Actually one of
my favorite places in Yosemite. After you've done that hike I'd
recommend Tuolumen thru Glen Aulin to Return Creek and back.
If you have the time you can do the whole Grand Canyon of Tuolumne.
If you want snow pass like JMT then go to Ottoway Lake and attempt
Red Peak Pass. 3 years ago on July 28 the east side of that pass
was STILL 100% snow coverage down to 10,000 ft.

Whatever you decide have fun and let us know what you did and your

Everything I know I learned from Chick-on is looking at you!
avatar Re: yosemite 1st timer
June 01, 2008 11:55AM
I'm hiking a lengthy portion of the JMT next weekend from Devils Postpile (west of Mammoth Lakes). I am bringing crampons as a precaution, but I don't think snowshoes will be necessary, though there will be some snow. Not planning on getting much over 10k feet, tho.
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