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Re: Half Dome via Glacier Point

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Half Dome via Glacier Point
September 12, 2008 10:02PM
We have a small group of midwest flatlanders coming to Yosemite for our first time in the middle of the week of 9/21. We have a few midweek nights reserved at Housekeeping Camp. We've also arranged a point to point hike from Glacier Point (1st car) to Little Yosemite Valley for an overnight stay and hike up Half Dome the following day. We can then either return to the main valley (2nd car)that same day or spend another night at the LYV campground. We already have our wilderness permits reserved.

I guess I'm just looking for advice and tips on the necessity of parking permits, weather this time of year, availability of food storage/lockers in main valey while we are in the backcountry. Any advice or general tips would be appreciated. While we are newbies at Yosemite, we've have the Tetons, Yellowstone, and Smokies in our past.

avatar Re: Half Dome via Glacier Point
September 13, 2008 02:08AM
Of course the recommendation is to not do it if there's a sign that it might rain. There are ample communal food lockers at the Backpackers Parking Lot (near the Happy Isles trailhead) that you can use.

I'd recommend getting the parking permits when you pick up your wilderness permit, as there's a theoretical 24 hour limit to leaving your car anywhere without a permit.

If you can stay the 2nd night after getting off Half Dome, do it. All the way back to the valley can be hard on your knees in one step.
avatar Re: Half Dome via Glacier Point
September 13, 2008 05:57AM
When you pick up your permit ask about the need for a parking permit at Glacier Point for two nights. I don't recall needing one when I've parked there. You will be directed to an area of the parking lot at Glacier Point for overnight parking.

Spend the second night at LYV and enjoy the break.

There are some really good views of the back side of Half Dome along the Panorama Trail so stop and look once in a while.

If the weather indicates rain or if you hear any thunder stay off the cables.





Old Dude
Re: Half Dome via Glacier Point
September 13, 2008 02:28PM
If you're staying at Housekeeping Camp anyway, I'd suggest taking the Glacier Point bus up instead of driving. It usually runs until around the end of October, and leaves from Curry and the Lodge at around 8AM (I think there's a later one also, but you'd have to check).

It's a pleasant ride, not too expensive, and you'll get some interesting info along the way. You'll have a nice easy hike from there to Little Yosemite Valley, so leaving Glacier at 10 or so isn't an issue.

If you're not booked at Housekeeping camp for the time you're hiking to Half Dome, that backpacker's parking lot the others mentioned would be your best bet.





Gary
Yosemite Photo Galleries: http://www.pbase.com/roberthouse/yo
avatar Re: Half Dome via Glacier Point
September 14, 2008 01:56AM
Mike,
We have never ever needed a parking permit for anywhere besides
maybe Happy Isles TH. This includes GP. Tina and I did Pan trail to
Starr King traverse mid June... no permit required... park anywhere at Glacier Pt.

My advice is don't assume it will be easy... From Ill. Falls you have to
climb nearly 1000 ft. If you would go out and back it would actually
be way more elevation than if you went from Happy Isles.
If you assume the panorama tr is flat then you'll get a nice surprise.

Anyway, you will really enjoy it. I'm orig from Midwest also.
avatar Re: Half Dome via Glacier Point
September 14, 2008 05:09AM
Getting back to the valley from the top of Half Dome will have less ascending than going back to Glacier Point. Several years ago I did the entire Glacier Pt. - Half Dome - Glacier Pt. hike (20 miles) in one day, from ~6:00 sunrise start to 9:30 p.m. arrival back at GP. The route back to GP will have two climbs after Nevada Falls, while going to Happy Isles will be all downhill and probably less strenuous. Definitely bring a water purifier!
Re: Half Dome via Glacier Point
September 15, 2008 12:27AM
Hey guys,,,thanks for the tips and hints so far.

I'll definitely have an eye to the weather, I got caught above treeline in the Tetons once,,,NEVER again!! And, we'll pick up parking permits when we pick up our wilderness permits. Might as well have them if we can get 'em.

We've had a slight change in our plans come up at the last minute. One in our group now has a fractured toe and it's pretty apparent that he won't make it into the back country hike with us, although he's still coming along to YNP. That will make our car jockeying a little easier since we all won't have to sqeeze us and our gear in one vehicle up to Glacier Point and the Panorama TH. However, it also means that we'll be leaning towards coming back all the way to the main valley the same day as our hike up Half Dome since we probably won't want to abandon our buddy for two straight nights. We were just leaving the "option" of spending another night at the campground in Little Yosemite Valley if we were really run down.

Thanks for the advice of photo ops and the 1000 foot climb on the Panorama trail portion of our hike. I pulled out the topo map and did see the climb coming out of Illoutte Falls. We were hoping our broken toed friend may have been able to make it (downhill) to LYV campground, wait there while we did Half Dome, then descent back to Happy Isles with us when we finished. That doesn't look feasible anymore because of that climb out of Illouette Falls and the difficulty of the rest of the trail. I feel so bad for this guy, we've been planning this trip for 8 months.

Again,,,thanks for the hints and tips,,,I'm a week away from my first visit to Yosemite and REALLY excited.

avatar Re: Half Dome via Glacier Point
September 15, 2008 01:00AM
When you come back down to the valley with backpacks on use the John Muir trail from Nevada Fall and avoid the Mist Trail. The Mist trail can be a bit risky due to uphill traffic. Of coarse this time of year the traffic may be very light but I would still go down the John Muir Trail.





Old Dude
avatar Re: Half Dome via Glacier Point
September 15, 2008 03:20AM
I've done the Mist Trail with full pack and traffic many times. It's not that bad.

avatar Re: Half Dome via Glacier Point
September 15, 2008 03:26AM
I was about to avoid the Mist Trail on the way down, when someone talked me out of taking the 2 miles route that avoided it. It wasn't so bad since I had poles to steady myself. I noticed that most people on the way up were very deferential to me since I had this heavy weight on my back.

Re: Half Dome via Glacier Point
September 15, 2008 06:25AM
This might be like taking advice about the Tour De France from Lance Armstrong! "I've gone up the Alpe d'Huez....it's not that bad!" EEEK's probably done this a few more times than most.

I think it depends on a lot of factors. While the Mist Trail is not that bad, the John Muir Trail coming down is quite a bit easier in my opinion. No slick steps or precipitous drop offs to worry about. I believe it's only 1 mile (not 2) longer than the Mist Trail, but certainly safer. Granted, there won't be the crowds that you would see on a summer weekend, but the Mist Trail is harder. I think if your knees still feel good and it's not dark by the time you get back down, then the Mist Trail will shave a mile and some minutes off of the return to the valley. But if you are really tired and your knees are hurting, the JMT may be the best way to go.

Here's a good link about the Panorama Trail and the Half Dome Hike:

http://www.yosemitehikes.com/glacier-point-road/panorama-trail/panorama-trail.htm





Bill
avatar Re: Half Dome via Glacier Point
September 15, 2008 02:45PM
wbmyosemite wrote:

>EEEK's probably done this a few more times than most.

Yeah, but these days I'm old and fat. But I still don't mind going down the mist trail.

avatar Re: Half Dome via Glacier Point
September 15, 2008 04:35AM
I've only gone down the Mist Trail once with pack on and it was pretty spooky with all the people coming up and the steps being really wet. The people coming up insisted on the inside track. This time of year should not present these problems but the Muir Trail may be a bit easier on the legs if you have done Half Dome and are coming straight out.





Old Dude
Re: Half Dome via Glacier Point
September 15, 2008 01:45PM
Your friend would probably not enjoy the hike back from Little Yosemite Valley with his broken toe. That route (after Half Dome) is where I learned the hard way to buy hiking shoes large to allow lots of toe room 8^).

But as for the Mist or JMT down from Nevada Falls, after a full (from the valley) Half Dome one-day hike I would always choose the JMT, and even though you've got a shorter distance that day, I think you might be happier going down the infernal switchbacks instead of the infernal steps...8^)

The Mist trail from Vernal Fall to the Valley is usually more scenic, but if you're going in October the water is low and I don't think one is all that much better than the other.

The time factor for the Mist or JMT has been nearly a wash for me; the steps on the Mist trail will slow you down which will compensate for the extra distance of the JMT, which I agree is about a mile. Definitely use a hiking stick or trekking poles if you're coming down the Mist trail, have pity on your knees.

One handy feature of digital cameras is that they record the time the photo was taken; looking back on files from the Nevada Fall trail junction to the valley via both trails shows almost exactly the same for me...the point being that you're not going to save a lot of time by using the mist trail, and if your legs are tired the steps are not pleasant (bring trekking pole(s) or a stick). Crowds shouldn't be an issue in October.

I didn't find the Panorama Trail's climb after Illilouette Falls to be all that bad, though you'll probably be packing more stuff. I guess the "easy day" I mentioned was meant in comparison to the one you'll do the next day. Glacier to LYV really should be pretty easy if you're not in a hurry and only going that far the first day. ~3 1/2-4 hours maybe.





Gary
Yosemite Photo Galleries: http://www.pbase.com/roberthouse/yo
avatar Re: Half Dome via Glacier Point
September 16, 2008 07:02AM
There has been a lot made about the wet steps on the Mist Trail but the only place it's wet is for a short distance below Vernal Falls. That said, I've come down that way with a full pack and it can put quite a strain on your knees if you are not accustomed to it. The JMT switchback descent can be almost as hard on the knees simply because it is longer by 1.1 mile. Each way has its good and bad points.

Jim

avatar Re: Half Dome via Glacier Point
September 15, 2008 02:30PM
Gary,
Out of Ill Falls isn't that bad... I just wanted to point out the climb
so that the flatlanders aren't surprised... If your topo isn't that great
with the cliffs around it looks flat... that's all.
Guess I'm still a flatlander too still since I live in San Jose...

Have fun
Re: Half Dome via Glacier Point
September 16, 2008 04:58AM
bill-e-g wrote:
> Gary,
> Out of Ill Falls isn't that bad... I just wanted to point out
> the climb
> so that the flatlanders aren't surprised... If your topo
> isn't that great
> with the cliffs around it looks flat... that's all.

Bill, somehow I must have interpreted "uphill" to "bad", and I know it wasn't meant that way. In fact, it's a good thing to know in advance, because the Pano trail is often talked about as the 'easy' approach to the Half Dome trail.

Now that you mention it, when I first did the Panorama trail I remember heading up that grade in the warm part of day, and complaining "What?!? I thought it was all downhill!?!" 8^)

This talk of the Pano trail has me anxious for next month and a fall visit, when I plan to do the Pano/mist hike among other things. I agree with everyone else, it's a great trail, very diverse and scenic.





Gary
Yosemite Photo Galleries: http://www.pbase.com/roberthouse/yo
Re: Half Dome via Glacier Point
September 16, 2008 05:27AM
I did the Panorama Trail to LYV with my extended family in 2005. While on the hike they sometimes complained about the climb out of Ill, but when we got back to Curry, they all agreed it was one of the best hikes they had ever taken.





Bob Nicholas
Re: Half Dome via Glacier Point
September 16, 2008 03:42AM
I always take the JMT down when backpacking. All it takes is one person behind me slipping / bumping me. The fall is long and steep.

I also think that taking the Panoramic Trail to LYV is the best way to go. The PT is one of my favorite hikes!
Re: Half Dome via Glacier Point
September 17, 2008 10:18AM
Wow,,,you guys are great, thanks for the advice and assurance that the Panorama Trail was a good call. I've been telling the others in my group that a hiking pole would be a good idea, I'm glad to hear youy back me up.

You do have me thinking about the descent from LYV to Happy Isles. It will probably be mid to late afternoon when we head that way. From a scenic and photographic view, is there any big difference between the JMT and the mist trail. Would I be missing any "can't miss" shots if we decide to utilize the JMT, or are they pretty much the same views. I know I'm probably overthinking this, but I figured I'd throw it out there and here what the vets have to say.

Thanks again,,,and can you tell,,, I'm almost there already!!

Re: Half Dome via Glacier Point
September 17, 2008 11:05AM
If you take the mist trail, you are up-close-and-personal with the waterfall.

JMT is back a little, you can photograph the entire falls without a fisheye lens. smiling smiley
avatar Re: Half Dome via Glacier Point
September 17, 2008 12:34PM
willydoit,

There are some places on the JMT to get great shots of Nevada Falls but eventually you will be spending a fair amount of your time in the trees. Taking the Mist trail isl definitely more up close and personal. I just don't know how much water is going over the falls this time of the summer. Never been there this time of year.

In June the climb up the Mist trail is an awsome display of thundering waterfalls, spray, and roaring river.

Jim

Re: Half Dome via Glacier Point
September 17, 2008 03:27PM
A lot of the beauty of the Mist Trail really doesn't apply in October...not that it's not a great hike, but without the water, it's more of an ordinary trail. The JMT from Nevada Falls, at least the section to Clark Point, I think is every bit as scenic. Below Clark Point it gets a bit monontonous, but one could say that for the dry and very steep steps in several sections of the Mist.

Here's some late-October photos of the Panorama trail hike with a couple at the end of the falls (you don't need a fisheye 8^).
http://www.pbase.com/roberthouse/panotrail
That was a wet year (2006).

Compare the last photo in that gallery with this
http://www.pbase.com/roberthouse/image/97758180
in late May, same location but not pointed at the falls.

These steps
http://www.pbase.com/roberthouse/image/61297012
will be dry, and just as steep, and you'll be coming down after going up Half Dome, satan's staircase, and a lot of downhill hiking.

I'm not pointing this out to discourage you from taking the Mist trail back...either way is great But just pointing out it's not really that scenic, at least in comparison to spring and summer. (I'm intending to do the Pano Trail in Oct. and will come down the Mist trail; my reason for using it is that parts of it are closed in winter, so I don't get to go on it as often). On Half-Dome day trips, I prefer the Mist up/JMT down from Nevada Falls because of the steps (some are pretty high, there are lots of them, and it's a workout on the knees anyway coming down from the Dome).





Gary
Yosemite Photo Galleries: http://www.pbase.com/roberthouse/yo
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