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Re: Campsite help

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Campsite help
March 13, 2009 02:57PM
I’m organizing a group trip for the end of July but have a few questions and was hoping to get some guidance.

We will need a group site that is close to half dome, since we are planning on doing the hike. However, I’m having a hard time figuring out how far the respective sites are from the start of the trail. According to the rough maps Bridalveil seems to be the close, any idea how far the drive is? Any other site recommendations that are close enough to make the early morning drive to the trailhead? I’d like to have some backups in case Bridalveil fills up for our planned days.

What’s the best way to make the reservations to ensure we get the site, phone or website?

The website says that you can only make 2 reservations per phone call or website visit, does that mean if we’re staying 4 nights we would need to make reservations in 2 sets?

Thanks a lot for all your help, I really appreciate it.

Re: Campsite help
March 13, 2009 03:08PM
Bridalviel is at a different elevation and different area than where you want to be. There is a little known group backpackers campsite area just norht of, and accessed through, North Pines campground. From there it is about a one mile hike to the trailhead for Half Dome. I'm not sure about the logistics of getting into that campground, I think it is first come, first serve and is generally empty, but I'm sure someone else will jump in with some more info. This area is not on the campground reservation system. You can drive really close to it but after dropping off your people and gear you'll have to park your vehicles in the Camp Curry parking lot. A shuttle bus stop is somewhat closeby.
Re: Campsite help
March 13, 2009 03:21PM
Thanks!
Any thoughts on tuolumne meadows? Estimated drive time?
Re: Campsite help
March 13, 2009 03:25PM
Were thinking about doing it as a dayhike.
The estimated plan is get up early and take off from which ever campsite we're at, drive over, complete the hike, drive back to campsite.
Just trying our best to minimize the driving distance.
avatar Re: Campsite help
March 13, 2009 03:36PM
bluskyz08 wrote:

> Were thinking about doing it as a dayhike.
> The estimated plan is get up early and take off from which ever
> campsite we're at, drive over, complete the hike, drive back to
> campsite.
> Just trying our best to minimize the driving distance.

OK then. Really the fastest option would be to start in the Valley from Happy Isles. It's going to be less than a one hour drive from pretty much anywhere from Bridalveil Creek to the western campgrounds on Tioga Road. Even Crane Flat should be fine. If you really want minimal driving, then it would be Lower Pines. There are some sites at Upper Pines closer to the Happy Isles trailhead than the trailhead parking lot. It's going to be hard to get though. I tried the last period and got shut out. If you really want to do this, it's not that bad driving from outside of the Valley.

The Happy Isles trailhead parking is right across from Upper Pines Campground. Sometimes the sign says it's full when the sign hasn't been changed, and sometimes they intentionally put it up and tell wilderness permit holders that it's likely not really full. The parking lot doesn't show up on the park maps, but the sign is there.

Here's a satellite closeup of the trailhead/backpackers' parking lot.

http://maps.yahoo.com/;_ylc=X3oDMTExNmIycG51BF9TAzI3MTYxNDkEc2VjA2ZwLWJ1dHRvbgRzbGsDbGluaw--#mvt=h&lat=37.735827&lon=-119.565805&zoom=18

http://www.nps.gov/yose/planyourvisit/upload/valleyhikes1.pdf



Post Edited (03-13-09 15:39)
avatar Re: Campsite help
March 13, 2009 03:26PM
mtn man wrote:

> Bridalviel is at a different elevation and different area than
> where you want to be. There is a little known group backpackers
> campsite area just norht of, and accessed through, North Pines
> campground. From there it is about a one mile hike to the
> trailhead for Half Dome. I'm not sure about the logistics of
> getting into that campground, I think it is first come, first
> serve and is generally empty, but I'm sure someone else will
> jump in with some more info. This area is not on the campground
> reservation system. You can drive really close to it but after
> dropping off your people and gear you'll have to park your
> vehicles in the Camp Curry parking lot. A shuttle bus stop is
> somewhat closeby.

That's the Valley backpackers campground. It's only supposed to be open to those with valid wilderness permits for the night before and the night after a permitted wilderness trip, or those arriving on foot, bicycle, or bus. If you've got your own car and aren't doing an overnight wilderness trip, that would be an unacceptable misuse of the system. The charge is $5 per person (not per site) and sometimes tents need to be doubled up.

avatar Re: Campsite help
March 13, 2009 03:21PM
You'll have a tough time doing so for any location in the Valley.

Are you planning on doing this as a dayhike or an overnight?

The following has trail mileages. There is a trailhead right at Bridalveil Creek Campground, but that might not be in the right direction.

http://www.nps.gov/yose/planyourvisit/upload/wawgp.pdf

If you're going to do this as a dayhike, you're probably better off driving to Glacier Point or Happy Isles from wherever you're camping. If you want to start hiking from Bridalveil Creek Campground, it's at least 5 more miles to Glacier Point.

Lower Pines Campground is actually the closest you'll get if you want a reasonably shorter Half Dome trip. You could probably walk to the Happy Isles trailhead. It's a zoo though.

avatar Re: Campsite help
March 13, 2009 04:38PM
y_p_w wrote:

> Lower Pines Campground is actually the closest you'll get if
> you want a reasonably shorter Half Dome trip.

Do you mean Upper Pines? The back loops of Upper Pines are right on top of Happy Isles.

Re: Campsite help
March 13, 2009 04:51PM
Thanks everyone for the info, lets keep it coming! Can anyone recommend a map that I can use to find the distance between respective campsites?
Anyone have any experience with tuolumne meadows? Distance from Happy Isles trailhead?
Are there any large group regulations that we need to be aware of? We're probably going to have around 20 people.

Is it possible to book 4 nights at one site or do we have to break it up into 2 reservations for 2 days each?

avatar Re: Campsite help
March 13, 2009 04:59PM
bluskyz08 wrote:

> Anyone have any experience with tuolumne meadows? Distance from
> Happy Isles trailhead?

Unless you want to get up before sunrise I wouldn't recommend camping at Tuolumne. The drive is over an hour.

avatar Re: Campsite help
March 13, 2009 05:17PM
http://www.nps.gov/yose/planyourvisit/campregs.htm

Quote

A maximum of six people (including children) and two vehicles are allowed per campsite. Both vehicles must be parked on the parking pad.

I've also heard the limit is two tents per car-camping site.

Good luck. Frankly I'm thinking your chances of snagging four reserved campsites in this timeframe are slim, but it's worth a shot. I'm not sure if Crane Flat might be a bit easier than any of the Valley campgrounds.

avatar Re: Campsite help
March 13, 2009 05:10PM
eeek wrote:

> y_p_w wrote:
>
> > Lower Pines Campground is actually the closest you'll get if
> > you want a reasonably shorter Half Dome trip.
>
> Do you mean Upper Pines? The back loops of Upper Pines are
> right on top of Happy Isles.
>

I corrected that in a later post. I always get them mixed up.
Re: Campsite help
March 13, 2009 04:03PM
March 15 is coming up Sunday; If staying in the valley, rather than the early drive, is acceptable, I'd suggest being up at 7AM with good internet access, the reservation site already open to upper pines (or whichever one you prefer), credit card in hand, and a campsite map handy; with your clock set right, click on the dates you want right at 7AM (maybe go through the process earlier so you know what to do). Know your date, number of nights, and what sites are acceptable. If you get a list of available sites, pick one without wasting time, and finish the reservatioin process.

You could have a backup plan, say Wawona campground, in case you run into a problem...just don't waste any time...the mid summer reservations are extremely popular.

The reason I mention Upper Pines is you can get some of the higher numbered sites and have a minimal walk to the trailhead at Happy Isles. But, lower numbered sites and even Lower or North Pines would work (they have fewer sites so probably a lesser chance of getting in).

For several reasons, starting early to Half Dome is desirable, probably as soon as you can see where you're walking, so if you don't need to drive, it just makes things simpler. Plus, when you get back, you're back, and it feels good 8^). The reasons include cooler weather, less chance of thunderstorms, less cable crowding (by being early or late).

For any of the other campgrounds out of the valley, generally you could probably leave an hour before daybreak and hit it about right at the trailhead parking lot, assuming you're all ready to go.

You can also leave from Glacier Point, but unless you're staying at Bridalveil, it seems just as easy to leave from the valley. There's less overall altitude gain, but I'm not so sure that it's really any easier.





Gary
Yosemite Photo Galleries: http://www.pbase.com/roberthouse/yo
Re: Campsite help
March 13, 2009 04:29PM
Thanks Y P W for the clarifying info on the use of that campground. I 'll have to assume that there is no wilderness permit required for a round trip day hike to Half Dome so this campground is not a viable choice for this group's plans?

Thanks ,

Tom
avatar Re: Campsite help
March 13, 2009 05:05PM
mtn man wrote:

> Thanks Y P W for the clarifying info on the use of that
> campground. I 'll have to assume that there is no wilderness
> permit required for a round trip day hike to Half Dome so this
> campground is not a viable choice for this group's plans?

Where to start? I was in the backpackers campground a couple of years ago and I did see one site with a massive multi-room tent. It definitely went against the posted rules which were that the tents used should be "backpacking equipment". They were also at the same site the day I left and the day I got back. I'm guessing they had their own motor vehicle and were abusing the rules. I will say that I slept on a closed-cell Therm-A-Rest pad and a tiny solo tent for three nights, so I did go to my car and grab a small car camping tent and Coleman full-size air mattress for the two nights at the backpackers campground. I don't think that would get me in trouble.

Yosemite doesn't require a day use permit for the wilderness. I don't know of any NPS trails that require a day use permit except for non-public areas open only to researchers. Theoretically you could "day hike" at any hour and the permit is only required for sleeping overnight. If you never sleep or pitch a tent, then I guess you wouldn't need a permit. I know some USDA Forest Service wilderness areas (Desolation in Tahoe is an example) require a day use permit to even enter the wilderness area boundary. They're typically free and are self-issued with the original copy dropped in a box and the carbon-copy strapped to the leader's pack.

Yosemite's wilderness permit is essentially a backcountry camping permit. The idea of the backpackers campgrounds is that they're primarily for people preparing for or getting back from overnight backcountry trips.

I'd think a lot of campgrounds would make for a viable option if they're willing to drive to the trailhead parking lot. Some people avoid the Valley campgrounds because they're like zoos and some of the patrons are boorish louts who bring noise and excessive partying. They're also hard to get reservations during the peak season.

As for my trip to HD - I broke it up into 3 nights with the HD, Clouds Rest, and Little Yosemite Valley - starting from Tenaya Lake. I don't think I did more than 10 miles a day.

Oh - here's the sign in front of the Happy Isles trailhead parking lot. It goes into the shuttle bus area, where there's eventually a sign saying that only shuttle buses or bikes are allowed. This sign is often inaccurate as to full status.



avatar Re: Campsite help
March 14, 2009 09:18AM
I was going over various campsites preparing for tomorrow, and I forgot that Bridalveil Creek is a group site. If you've got a group of 20, that's probably your best shot at getting enough space to accommodate your entire group.

It's hard enough getting one site in the Valley, so four family sites is probably going to be ever tougher.

Good luck and maybe we'll cross paths.

Re: Campsite help
March 14, 2009 10:21AM
Yes, I agree that getting that many sites in the valley during summer is probably hopeless...even if you had 3-4 people each working on getting a site, the likelihood of some being aced out is pretty high. There are 3 or 4 group or double sites in Lower Pines, but not for 20 people...I think it's 12.

I don't think the 2-tent rule in the valley is enforced, probably unless there's a problem like someone hogging space from nearby sites. But 20 people, I'd say forget it.

One other thing occurred to me, that may not be obvious. If you're all going up Half Dome as a group, you might split into 3-4 smaller groups and just be in the same general vicinity...maybe carry walkie talkies or something if you need to, or meet at trail junctions etc. Or at least when you get to the cables, don't try to all go up in one group. A mob of 20 people all together makes it hard for people coming down who don't want to go outside the cables to get around.

Of course, I haven't done this in late July, so perhaps it would be pointless to space yourself out if it's really crowded...just a suggestion for more normal traffic times.





Gary
Yosemite Photo Galleries: http://www.pbase.com/roberthouse/yo
avatar Re: Campsite help
March 16, 2009 01:51PM
So how did it go? I got lucky and scored four nights in Upper Pines, but that's only for my wife and myself.

Worst case scenario is maybe the KOA near Mariposa if you guys really want to do Half Dome. They do have a limit of 4 people and 1 car per campsite though. You'd need to wake up early.
Re: Campsite help
March 17, 2009 02:29PM
Thanks so much for everyone's input and information. Unfortunately, we weren't able to get reservations for the campsites. So I guess the new plan is trying to get there early on Thursday morning and get sites that don't require any reservations.
Any recommendations on which sites we should be looking at? Around what time do we need to get there to ensure that we have sites? Is it possible to send one group really early and get multiple sites or is it limited to one site per car? Thanks again, hope everyone is getting excited for the upcoming season!

avatar Re: Campsite help
March 17, 2009 02:34PM
bluskyz08 wrote:

> Any recommendations on which sites we should be looking at?

In the Valley or elsewhere?

avatar Re: Campsite help
March 17, 2009 06:31PM
bluskyz08 wrote:

> Thanks so much for everyone's input and information.
> Unfortunately, we weren't able to get reservations for the
> campsites. So I guess the new plan is trying to get there early
> on Thursday morning and get sites that don't require any
> reservations.

Just curious, how big is this group?





The cure for a fallacious argument is a better argument, not the suppression of ideas.
-- Carl Sagan
avatar Re: Campsite help
March 17, 2009 11:45PM
Frank Furter wrote:

> Just curious, how big is this group?

It was buried, but a size of about 20 was mentioned.
avatar Re: Campsite help
March 18, 2009 04:32AM
y_p_w wrote:

> Frank Furter wrote:
>
> > Just curious, how big is this group?
>
> It was buried, but a size of about 20 was mentioned.

Yes,
Now I see it (as I read the posts for the third time). From the questions, it seems like bluskyz08 has not been to Half Dome or at least not in the summer.
I would like to say this a gently as possible, but I think that there should be some re-thinking of the idea that just because something like taking a large group to Half Dome can be done, that it should be done.

By this discussion, are we facilitating the wrong use of this area? Any group of this size is likely to have a huge variation in abilities, be at increased risk of having members spread out over miles of the trail (thus extending the stay of everyone in the group), put extreme pressure on the toilet facilities, add to the crush of people at the bottom of the cables, etc. If the group does stay together, it will be like a pack train to the top of Half Dome with more noise and "human" impact. I argue that even 5 groups of 4 spread out over time have less impact than a large collection of individuals who would want to often stay together for meals or breaks.

As remarkable as the trip to Half Dome is, I personally do not think it is a wise project for a large group given the physical challenge it presents, the condition of the trail, and the facilities in route.





The cure for a fallacious argument is a better argument, not the suppression of ideas.
-- Carl Sagan
avatar Re: Campsite help
March 18, 2009 07:53AM
Frank Furter wrote:

> y_p_w wrote:
>
> > Frank Furter wrote:
> >
> > > Just curious, how big is this group?
> >
> > It was buried, but a size of about 20 was mentioned.
>
> Yes,
> Now I see it (as I read the posts for the third time). From the
> questions, it seems like bluskyz08 has not been to Half Dome or
> at least not in the summer.
> I would like to say this a gently as possible, but I think that
> there should be some re-thinking of the idea that just because
> something like taking a large group to Half Dome can be done,
> that it should be done.

Summer to Half Dome depends on the day of the week. Midweek isn't bad. I did it on a Thursday and frankly the crowds were manageable. I saw a group of at least 12 and they looked to be OK. It looked a bit more crowded from my telephoto shots from my Clouds Rest hike the next day, but not too bad. Later that trip I was waiting at the Roads End Permit Station at Kings Canyon chatting away with the permit officer (frankly he had nobody to talk to most of the day) and I noticed the photo of the crowded Half Dome cables with the caption "Be glad this isn't Yosemite". It was one of the typical summer weekend days at the cables, where there literally wasn't more than 3 feet between anyone and the backup to get on the cables was maybe 50+ people deep.

> By this discussion, are we facilitating the wrong use of this
> area? Any group of this size is likely to have a huge
> variation in abilities, be at increased risk of having members
> spread out over miles of the trail (thus extending the stay of
> everyone in the group), put extreme pressure on the toilet
> facilities, add to the crush of people at the bottom of the
> cables, etc. If the group does stay together, it will be like
> a pack train to the top of Half Dome with more noise and
> "human" impact. I argue that even 5 groups of 4 spread out
> over time have less impact than a large collection of
> individuals who would want to often stay together for meals or
> breaks.

It's already a pack-train to the top of Half Dome. It gets more manageable when groups carry radios.

In any case, Yosemite's day use group limit in wilderness areas is 35. Just stay on the trail and you're not considered going cross-country. I you need to "do your business" off trail, approach it in groups of 8 or less.

http://www.nps.gov/yose/planyourvisit/backpackinggroups.htm

Quote

Large Groups

In order to preserve the natural and aesthetic value of the Yosemite Wilderness, groups of eight people or more should be aware of the following information.

Group Size Limits
Day hiking group size limit: 35
Overnight group size limit: 15
Cross-country use group size limit (day hiking or overnight): 8

> As remarkable as the trip to Half Dome is, I personally do not
> think it is a wise project for a large group given the physical
> challenge it presents, the condition of the trail, and the
> facilities in route.

I think it's manageable. Members of the group should probably temper their expectations, and not get disappointed if the plans don't work out (such as summer rain making the ascent up the cables dangerous).

I would also note that gloves are very helpful to help with grip and to protect the hands. I heard that the NPS started hauling out many of the gloves left behind in that hole carved at the base that were rotting away. I did it wearing two mismatching rubber-palmed cotton gloves that I pulled from the supply at the base of the cables; I figured they would work better than what I had. I brought a pair of leather work gloves, but determined that those rubber-palmed gloves would be better. The best known example is Atlas, but there are numerous similar gloves. They'll give excellent grip on the cables but breathe to an extent. I use one of these for shucking oysters.



[edit] - Had to correct some egregious proofreading errors.



Post Edited (03-18-09 10:33)
avatar Re: Campsite help
March 18, 2009 08:22AM
Again, just because it can be done does not mean that it should. There are inherently problems with large groups. Dust, noise, resource overuse. I think 20 is a size that should be seriously questioned for the Half Dome hike in consideration of others. Radios are a good idea but they can also be a source of chatter and electronic noise in an area that should be considered primitive. Although few people would expect it to be, the trail to Half Dome is technically wilderness. It seems that that feature should be respected. Recognizing that there is heavy hiking pressure on that trail, large groups are less acceptable, in my opinion, than on other trails.





The cure for a fallacious argument is a better argument, not the suppression of ideas.
-- Carl Sagan
avatar Re: Campsite help
March 18, 2009 12:48PM
For what it's worth, I share Franks opinion regarding large groups in the wilderness, whether it be Half Dome or elsewhere.

Aside from the environmental impact, the problems of 20+ people all with different levels of capabilities and limitations do not make for the best trail experiences. It's like ships in a convoy. The convoy speed is the top speed of the slowest ship and then only when the slowest ship is capable of its peak performance. Normally, your slowest person will not be at his or her peak performance climbing to the top of Nevada Fall, let alone the summit of Half Dome.

I think the intentions are good but in practice large groups just don't yield lots of happy experiences for everybody on a very demanding hike like Half Dome. Half Dome is a very demanding day hike for anybody except a few cybernetic miler type hikers. I'm willing to bet in any group of 20+ people there will be quite a few who will not have conditioned themselves for a 4,800' ascent and 16 mile round trip. How many of those folks will have ever hiked 16 miles on flat ground at sea level?

Jim

avatar Re: Campsite help
March 19, 2009 05:14AM
tomdisco wrote:


>
> Aside from the environmental impact, the problems of 20+ people
> all with different levels of capabilities and limitations do
> not make for the best trail experiences.

On one trip to Half Dome while in the western end of Little Yosemite Valley, I proceeding at my usual slow pace and was passed by a mob of teenagers and then by a mule team. As the dust settled, and the noise receeded, suddenly a bear appeared on the trail in front of me, apparently convinced that all the traffic had passed! Even the wildlife adjusts to the crowds.





The cure for a fallacious argument is a better argument, not the suppression of ideas.
-- Carl Sagan
Re: Campsite help
March 20, 2009 05:44PM
Thanks again for all your feedback. Definitely appreciate the heads up on the gloves we'll need.
We are definitely going to be splitting up into smaller groups during the half dome hike. You guys are absolutely right, it wouldn't make any sense trying to keep such a large group together during such a long trek. I'm thinking probably groups of 3-4 people, based on physical conditioning.
Does anyone have any experience with the Bass Lake camping sites? We're debating between Cedar Bluffs and Crane Valley, so any help will be appreciated. I saw that it said that Cedar Bluffs is "not recommended for tent camping" any idea what that means? Although the drive from these site to half dome is going to be quite long (1.5 hour -ish, right?) the group seems to be willing.



Post Edited (03-20-09 17:47)
avatar Re: Campsite help
March 20, 2009 09:14PM
bluskyz08 wrote:

> Does anyone have any experience with the Bass Lake camping
> sites? We're debating between Cedar Bluffs and Crane Valley, so
> any help will be appreciated. I saw that it said that Cedar
> Bluffs is "not recommended for tent camping" any idea what that
> means? Although the drive from these site to half dome is going
> to be quite long (1.5 hour -ish, right?) the group seems to be
> willing.

I looked at the satellite image via Google Maps at the highest magnification where I got a result. It took me a while to figure out that Google's direct link didn't match up with the actual loops with public campsites, and the Recreation.gov map is lined up with north pointing to the bottom. They seem to be areas with large sections that have been cleared to park vehicles on the grass. The satellite imagery shows several sites with what look to be cars, along with others with large RVs and trailers with what appear to be large awnings. They seem to have large patches of grass without shade, so that's probably what's meant by "not suitable for tents".

http://maps.google.com/maps?f=q&source=s_q&hl=en&geocode=&q=&ie=UTF8&ll=37.308412,-119.547606&spn=0.002334,0.005751&t=h&z=18

Bass Lake looks to be very much developed. The satellite map of Crane Valley shows that it's next to some large village that even has tennis courts. There are homes all around the area. Crane Valley Campground is somewhere in here, although I'm having problems lining up where it is. You can click on this and play around with zoom and re-centering the map. One of the large sites (A, B, C, or E) would be pretty good for your group.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bass_Lake_(California)
http://maps.google.com/maps?f=q&source=s_q&hl=en&geocode=&q=&ie=UTF8&ll=37.330311,-119.583719&spn=0.009333,0.015879&t=h&z=16

Maybe camp in Oakhurst? It's a decent sized town near lots of businesses, including supermarkets and restaurants. Maybe even Erna's Elderberry House? Here's a campground there, although their tent camping restrictions seem to be a bit tight (1 tent and five campers per basic site). You could get a group rate for reserving at least 5 sites.

http://www.highsierrarv.com
avatar Re: Campsite help
March 17, 2009 03:06PM
If you really want to do this, you have many options. You could probably find places to stay in Mariposa or Oakhurst and drive early in the morning. Maybe even stay in Merced or some place along 120.

Some people might even drive all the way from Fresno or the Bay Area to do the HD hike directly, so it's not impossible.

Hope you can make it, and again, maybe we cross paths.
Re: Campsite help
March 17, 2009 03:21PM
Thanks for the encouragement, we're definitely going to do our absolute best to make this trip happen. I'm assuming that the Valley is going to be quite packed so that might make it more difficult for us, so I think were going to prefer else where. Any one have specific site recommendations? If you could point me in the direction of where to look I would really appreciate it.
avatar Re: Campsite help
March 18, 2009 02:39AM
y_p_w wrote:

> If you really want to do this, you have many options. You
> could probably find places to stay in Mariposa or Oakhurst and
> drive early in the morning.

In doing a quick search re. a question that appeared in a post last year, I came across the following link to camping at the Mariposa County Fairgrounds:
http://www.mariposafair.com/camping.htm

This would be a shorter morning drive than the Bass Lake (Oakhurst) option.
Re: Campsite help
March 17, 2009 04:19PM
Search for campsites in the Bass Lake area. This is about 1 1/2 hrs. from Yosemite Valley. They are reservable and if you can do midweek you might have a chance. That time of year hiking to Half Dome can be very warm at the start so start about dawn and carry LOTS of water. Good Luck! When you get down from the hike go to Camp Curry and get pizza at the pizza porch, then pick drivers who will stay awake for the winding trip back to Bass Lake.



Post Edited (03-17-09 17:23)
Re: Campsite help
March 17, 2009 04:44PM
Just checked through the same campground site reservation system you use for Yosemite campsites (Recreation.gov.) and there are numerous campsites available 7/30 for 2 nites in Cedar Bluff c.g. (Bass Lake)
avatar Re: Campsite help
March 17, 2009 11:54PM
mtn man wrote:

> Just checked through the same campground site reservation
> system you use for Yosemite campsites (Recreation.gov.) and
> there are numerous campsites available 7/30 for 2 nites in
> Cedar Bluff c.g. (Bass Lake)

Nice catch. Not exactly a group campground but practically so for your purposes. Looks like their basic site is set up for up to 12 and their double sites are for up to 24. And up to 8 vehicles? It's also unclear what their $5 "extra vehicle charge" applies to. I'd probably call.

Looks like it's run by California Land Management. The operate major USDA Forest Service campsites in California and/or the Lake Tahoe area.

Did you notice the details? Might be important. If they don't have RVs or trailers, it should be OK to sleep in cars. Sounds to me like it's an RV parking lot more or less. I looked at the satellite image, and although they have big and wide driveways, it doesn't look like it wouldn't be able to accommodate tents.

http://www.recreation.gov/camping/Cedar_Bluff_Ca/r/campgroundDetails.do?page=details&contractCode=NRSO&parkId=71722&topTabIndex=CampingSpot

Quote

Huge Ponderosa Pines create a majestic setting for a fantastic camping experiance. Bass Lake is within walking distance where you can enjoy the beach, fishing, water sking and swimming. This is the only campground where you can reserve sites together!! Cedar Bluff is located 24 miles from the entrance of Yosemite National Park. Not suitable for tent camping. The campground is operated by California Land Management visit our website at www.clm-services.com

avatar Re: Campsite help
March 17, 2009 04:47PM
Tamarack Flat campground is a first-come-first-served campground and is not too well known and it is primitive, no potable water and no showers. Not recommended for RVs. If you get there early in the morning you may very well get some sites. It is a campground where you find a site and then go back and self register. The other nice thing is that it is not far from the valley floor. It's about four miles up 120 out of Crane Flat and then three miles down a road from120 to the campgrounds. This road used to be the route to the valley floor.

http://www.nps.gov/yose/planyourvisit/tamarack.htm



Post Edited (03-17-09 16:49)



Old Dude
avatar Re: Campsite help
March 17, 2009 04:53PM
mrcondron wrote:

> If you get there early in the morning you may very well get some
> sites.

Don't get there too early. You need people to actually leave before you can snag their sites.

avatar Re: Campsite help
March 18, 2009 08:58AM
YPW: >I did it wearing two mismatching rubber-palmed cotton gloves found at the supply at the base of the cables would work better.<

I buy these glove en masse from Home Depot for about $3 a pair -- I love them for work (and play)

B
avatar Re: Campsite help
March 18, 2009 10:43AM
Bee wrote:

> YPW: >I did it wearing two mismatching rubber-palmed cotton
> gloves found at the supply at the base of the cables would work
> better.<
>
> I buy these glove en masse from Home Depot for about $3 a pair
> -- I love them for work (and play)

I once found myself volunteering for invasive plant removal (spur of the moment thing after a ranger walk) at Muir Woods. Atlas Fit was the glove they supplied for us. The cloth back was actually a problem because there was a lot of stinging nettle in addition to the forget-me-nots and hemlock that we were instructed to pull. It felt like I was losing circulation in my hands for the next two days.
avatar Re: Campsite help
March 18, 2009 11:15AM
YPW: <The cloth back was actually a problem because there was a lot of stinging nettle in addition to the forget-me-nots and hemlock>

YES!!! A BIG problem. I have one site where I am charged with keeping the Forget-me-Nots down to a low roar, and I walk away looking like some sort of mutant porcupine (the seed pods stick to EVERYthing) In fact, I am now the culprit of exporting Forget-me-nots to TWO OTHER SITES due to the fact that the pods fell off of me onto the ground. I would say that one of those Hazmat suits would be required under those conditions smiling smiley

B
Re: Campsite help
March 18, 2009 03:50PM
One of the biggest problems of the hike is those who do it the first day they arrive in Yosemite. It's better to do it the last day you are in the area in order to give yourselves a little time to adjust to the altitude. At least a couple of days is pereferable.
Re: Campsite help
March 18, 2009 05:20PM
I had looked this morning and there were sites available at the KOA campground near Midpines at the end of July. This might accomplish two things...a place about an hour away from the trailhead, and a campground more suited to large groups. While I've seen a lot of larger groups that were fine camped in the valley, most every late-night noisy bunch was a large group. With granite walls surrounding, it doesn't take much to keep a lot of people in tents awake.

I do agree with Frank also, which is why I suggested splitting up. Might be wise to divide in groups of hiking abilities and the likelihood of actually making it. (this is not an ordinary hike; it covers about 17 rocky rough miles, some at significant altitude, and with nearly the altitude gain/loss you'd get from the coast to Denver and back in a day). Probably 98% of the ones doing it in a day are extremely exhausted and sore at the end of the day, and I'd guess the other 2% is mostly liars 8^).

The outhouses at Vernal and Nevada have 1 and 2 toilets respectively; imagine you're on a hike and just behind a group of 20 people who just got there ahead of you. Staggered groups would be nicer, probably, and at least the faster ones wouldn't be held back by the slower ones, and the slower ones wouldn't feel compelled to hurry when they don't want to.

Gloves, please bring your own and don't leave them there. It's basically littering, and if someone can't prepare enough for Half Dome to bring a cheap pair of gloves, they should stay in the valley anyway.

What kind of gloves, depends. Going down, leather palms are nice, as they slip enough to be just right for a quick controlled descent. Rubber is too sticky for my taste, and the kind with rubber nubs will have those nubs stripped off halfway down, leaving you with slippery canvas gloves which is dangerous. I go up bare-handed, though of course I have the gloves in my pocket for going back down. Bare handed just feels good, has the right amount of traction, and nice and cool besides.





Gary
Yosemite Photo Galleries: http://www.pbase.com/roberthouse/yo
avatar Re: Campsite help
March 18, 2009 06:05PM
I never brought gloves to Half Dome; never needed any either. Hands work fine for me.

Re: Campsite help
March 18, 2009 07:46PM
eeek wrote:

> I never brought gloves to Half Dome; never needed any either.
> Hands work fine for me.
>

Don't your hands get cold during the snowball fight?
8^)

I think I'd have to change my downhill method for no gloves going down. The leather works like cable brake shoes. Skin, probably not...





Gary
Yosemite Photo Galleries: http://www.pbase.com/roberthouse/yo
avatar Re: Campsite help
March 18, 2009 10:18PM
Sierrafan wrote:

> Don't your hands get cold during the snowball fight?
> 8^)

I didn't see much snow there in July.

> I think I'd have to change my downhill method for no gloves
> going down. The leather works like cable brake shoes. Skin,
> probably not...

I come down backwards using a hand-over-hand technique will leaning back. It's fast and gives solid footing.

avatar Re: Campsite help
March 18, 2009 10:35PM
eeek wrote:

> Sierrafan wrote:
>
> > Don't your hands get cold during the snowball fight?
> > 8^)
>
> I didn't see much snow there in July.

While I didn't see snow in late June 2007, I've heard others who have been there tell me there was snow on the top as late as August during a heavy snow year.

> > I think I'd have to change my downhill method for no gloves
> > going down. The leather works like cable brake shoes. Skin,
> > probably not...
>
> I come down backwards using a hand-over-hand technique will
> leaning back. It's fast and gives solid footing.

I did that too. However - I found the cables to be rather smoothed out over time and a bit slippery. The rubber-palmed gloves were recommended to me by others who had done it.

For that matter, the granite surface between the cables has been polished over the years by climbers and has quite a bit less friction than the surface outside the cables. It has a rather noticeable shine now.

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