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Fern on the Four Mile Trail, Yosemite National Park

The Moon is Full


Ten Lakes Pass and Vicinity

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Ten Lakes Pass and Vicinity
May 21, 2014 09:22PM
Last weekend: an overnighter to a popular, familiar place: the Ten Lakes Pass/Colby Mountain area.

Conditions: as expected, most south-facing areas are devoid of snow; however, significant snow still clings to the north-facing cliffs, especially above 9,000' or so. The trail was mostly clear of snow until near Half Moon Meadow.

Once above the meadow, the Ten Lakes Pass area had essentially 100% snow coverage.

All but the lowest of the lakes was still frozen over. Photosynth

We had passed several people who had turned back short of the lakes due to snow; in fact, the lower part of the trail into the Ten Lakes Basin looked dry. Since we were not bound for the lakes, we dropped towards Colby Mountain, where we encountered deep snow--fortunately, firm enough to make postholing a rarity. The climb up Colby was free of snow.

From the broad top of Colby Mountain we got peeks into the Grand Canyon of the Tuolumne and could see most peaks in northern Yosemite. Photosynth

The next drop and climb followed a familiar pattern: significant snow on the north-facing slopes, little facing the south.

While Colby offered views to the east, we continued onwards, where we encountered a seasoned, solo hiker who had been wandering around all day.

From his perch, we could see towards Pate Valley, Rancheria Mountain, Nance Peak, and other highlights of northwestern Yosemite. A glimpse at the "tail" of Hetch Hetchy revealed a low water line. Photosynth

We followed the solo wanderer though some delightful country, testing our balance and the friction of our hiking shoes....

...and other apparel.

Towards the end, more classic Yosemite: fresh snow-melt water cascading over glacier-polished rocks.

In many places the granite was flat and smooth, but little was very level, so finding a suitable camping spot was a challenge.

Photosynth 1 Photosynth 2 Photosynth 3

Fortunately we found a decent spot, and after struggling with the wind a bit, camp was set up, and we finished dinner just as the sun sat.

The next day, along with the soloist, we retraced our steps more or less back to the trailhead.

Across the way, we saw a few bare patches in the snow that resembled two birds--at least after a stiff climb:

Soon we were once again looking down into the Tuolumne...

...and trying to identify far-away peaks, many visited not too long ago.

From one place we got a peek at Kolana Rock, the top of Tueeulala Falls, and signs of the recent Rim Fire.

We retraced our footsteps up steep snow back to Ten Lakes Pass...

...where we enjoyed our last views of the high country before dropping back towards Half Moon Meadow and Yosemite Creek.

Some of us opted for a short round of "bonus coverage", exploring the granite between the trail and the creek.

Yep, more classic Yosemite: granite and water.

Another great weekend with good friends sharing what we all love to do.

More Pictures
Re: Ten Lakes Pass and Vicinity
May 21, 2014 09:41PM
Right.. Slightly windy? Almost lost a tent and two ground cloths went flying in the air (not ours).

We had our own troubles, though. The absolute hardest time so far pitching one of our shelters. Ever.

I blame what the pink one calls "food mood". Some bird brain didn't eat enough later in the day.... Naughty parrot! I should have given him a cracker!

(And I speak from personal experience! Early on I did not eat enough nor at the right time. I had seriously bad bouts of grumpy. Now I eat regularly and when we hit camp I eat or drink a proper recovery snack, 200 cals of useful fuel to happily set up camp!)

And I was super happy to finally get to sleep with just the bivy under the stars! Yummy! Also decided my decade-plus old synthetic puff pants were near useless and got a new set of down puff pants Tuesday. If I didn't look like the Michelin man before, I sure do now! Sadly, won't get to test them for a couple of weeks!

Have a great weekend, everyone!
Re: Ten Lakes Pass and Vicinity
May 21, 2014 09:55PM
Thank you for the great pictures and trail report. Hopefully the road will be open by Friday and we can go play in the snow at Ten Lakes. With the new snow this week, it will be interesting to see the north east facing trail down into TL basin. Might have to find an alternative spot like Half Moon or maybe Grant Lake with it's south facing approach.
avatar Re: Ten Lakes Pass and Vicinity
May 21, 2014 09:52PM
Sillee Perret, Yosemite iz fur Chick-ons :

Chick-on is looking at you!
avatar Re: Ten Lakes Pass and Vicinity
May 21, 2014 09:55PM
Tanks fur meeting on Sat. You did miss a nice sunrise from a fav-r-right spot dough:

And a great route via Morrison Ridge...

And some classic Yosemite goodness:

But, as ewe well no... not like I wouldn't do it again... and again... and again...

Have fun! N Tanks fur sharon

Chick-on is looking at you!
Re: Ten Lakes Pass and Vicinity
May 23, 2014 07:32AM
Thank for the write-up and pictures! Love the photo of your camping spot (after having fun with the wind) and Chick-On's sunrise photo--especially the cloud.
Re: Ten Lakes Pass and Vicinity
May 25, 2014 04:04PM
Basil-- thanks for the fabulous photos! I did Ten Lakes today to the meadow, then slogged on for about 10 minutes and turned around because of the snow. Temps were in the low 70's so I expect the trail to be traversable within ten days or so.

And.... no mosquitoes! (YET).
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