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Re: It's Beginning to Look a Lot Like Summer - The Sequel

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avatar It's Beginning to Look a Lot Like Summer - The Sequel
January 22, 2015 12:35PM
Like Basilbop, I too have had a long(er) standing snow camping trip scheduled annually with friends for the MLK weekend. Our first trip was in 1991, to the Lake Alpine area off of highway 4. The first trip was part of an igloo making class put on by a local mountaineering shop. Back then, there was this white stuff known as "snow":



Over the years the trip morphed into an annual snowshoe to Dewey point, where we would hang out for a couple of nights. Oftentimes we would come across strange "snow" creatures like this one...probably now extinct:

Disclosure: Accomplished Yeti trainer. Do not try this at home



It has been a while since I have been able to do the snowshoe to Dewey Point on MLK weekend. 3 years ago we went up to Yosemite Point, I missed the trip 2 years ago, and last year we did the Old Big Oak Flat Road. It was time to come up with another "Not Dewey point" trip plan due to lack of the white stuff. So this year we headed up to Little Yosemite Valley to base camp, with a variety of potential options for what to do on our free day.


Not knowing the trail conditions, but certain that snowshoes would not be needed, we brought microspikes and headed up to LYV via the winter route, i.e. to the Vernal Falls view bridge, then up the JMT to Clark Point and then down to the top of Vernal Falls, and then up past Emerald pool, which had an amazing amount of snow (frazzle ice?) that had accumulated on it. Enough so that folks were walking out on it to check it out. Probably not a good idea



Then it was up the Mist Trail to LYV. While waiting for the others at the location of the old Snow's Hotel I saw some pieces of glass shining in the sun and found a few pieces of glass and pottery and left them on a nearby rock. Whether from the old hotel, or left by a passerby last month, who knows?

A decent amount of water was flowing over Nevada Falls for this time of year



Arriving at the entrance to LYV above Nevada Falls, we encountered the first bits of snow/ice on the trail...very minimal. We found that in the warm temps it was pretty much melting during the day and freezing at night, so those spots with the snow and ice could potentially be a slip hazard in the morning. But in late afternoon, we were able to walk right through without any issues.

The campground at LYV had probably a half dozen groups of campers enjoying the weekend there, including this rather strange looking fellow


Being down in the trees the campground area held the snow and ice...I would guess about 20% of the area had lingering snow/ice cover of up to a few inches, with the rest of the campground being clear.

On Sunday, we decided to head up to the Diving Board. We followed the climber's trail past Lost Lake, and then followed the ducks


down a bit into the gully NW of Mt Broderick before heading north up the steep gully towards the ridge. As we crested the ridge, we enjoyed the views out to the Valley and beyond



I pointed out to my hiking mates the optional "crack" on the Diving Board that folks could do if they wanted, and also pointed out where to head down off the granite to be able to work up the sand and shrubs to the top. Of course, everybody opted for the crack route, and I was alternately hated and thanked over the course of the next few minutes


The Diving Board was as cool as ever, the only problem being the lack of snow in the view up Tenaya Canyon towards the high country


On Monday we headed on down, stopping for lunch at the top of Vernal Falls. Monday was a free day at the park, and I was amazed to look down over the railings and see a large number of everyday tourists heading up the "closed" Mist Trail to the top of Vernal. Parents, kids, moms with babies, you name it. I asked one fellow who emerged over the top of the gate at the top of Vernal if there was any snow or ice along the route, being especially concerned about the area just below the top of Vernal. After being convinced that it was dry, we opted for that (closed) route down. The trail is closed due to rockfall danger according to the signs, but the trail was completely dry...so from a "slipperiness" factor it was frankly much safer than it would be in the spring when the trail is completely wet with mist.

It was a good trip but I am running out of "Not Dewey Point" options...so will hope - again - for snow for next year!



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 01/22/2015 12:36PM by Bearproof.
Re: It's Beginning to Look a Lot Like Summer - The Sequel
January 22, 2015 04:25PM
Memo to self: Do not leave this earth without
making it to the Diving Board first.
avatar Re: It's Beginning to Look a Lot Like Summer - The Sequel
January 22, 2015 05:07PM
Quote
AnotherDave
Memo to self: Do not leave this earth without
making it to the Diving Board first.

Do not leave this earth at the Diving Board either (i.e no diving, please).
Re: It's Beginning to Look a Lot Like Summer - The Sequel
January 22, 2015 05:47PM
Point taken.
avatar Re: It's Beginning to Look a Lot Like Summer - The Sequel
January 22, 2015 06:06PM
There is always this way down, as reported by Torero14
avatar Re: It's Beginning to Look a Lot Like Summer - The Sequel
January 23, 2015 08:51AM
I'm torn between loving the trip report and being disturbed by the lack of snow. Thanks for the report. Looks like a good time.
Re: It's Beginning to Look a Lot Like Summer - The Sequel
January 23, 2015 03:04PM
Our winter trips started in earnest years ago after taking an igloo-making class off 88/Blue Lakes Rd from an owner of a local mountain shop (Sunrise). The class has been given for decades, when we did it we registered via the Livermore Rec Center. Same course? Different year/location? Changed my views on winter and snow camping forever. From that point on, I loved getting out in the snow to XC ski and snowshoe and backpack!

Edit: Of course, I loved the pics and story, and yes, scary so little snow. I figure might as well enjoy, instead of crying about it, which I kinda want to do at times.



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 01/23/2015 03:05PM by JustKeepWalking.
avatar Re: It's Beginning to Look a Lot Like Summer - The Sequel
January 26, 2015 09:35AM
Well I thought I knew you from somewhere lol....we did that Sunrise Mountaineering igloo trip twice...the second year was a low snow year as I recall and we went up highway 88 as you describe. We had to shovel snow into piles big enough to make igloo blocks. Would have been early 90's...92 or 93 maybe? Was that the trip you mention?
I can still picture the old Sunrise Mountaineering Shop in downtown Walnut Creek. Spent a lot of time there!
Re: It's Beginning to Look a Lot Like Summer - The Sequel
January 26, 2015 03:19PM
Sorry, delay. Was in mountains again. TR coming...

We "discovered" Sunrise when they were in Pleasant Hill. We went there a lot. Now I visit them in Livermore once or twice a year. The year we did the class with Rob, there was a LOT of snow. All we had to do was stomp down the "quarry" and wait... no piling necessary. Each sub-group of 2-3 folks in the class dug out their own quinzhee lower "home" and then cut and built igloo tops. Basilbop and I had a lovely little home. Turns out I am not good at digging snow. We used our saws to cut the blocks. We also built a ginormous Igloo for the group to have dinner in. And there was a moment in there with what was a dozen people when one of the stoves went rogue and the flames scorched the top of the igloo. I was right next to that stove and across the "table" from the single "door" and thought, "well, no way I can get out safely, so I'll just have to see if we blow up or not." Kinda funny once it was under control, but dang. HOT.

Had to be after '99 when we moved up to East Bay? I'll have to go digging through pics or something to get dates.. Maybe Basilbop remembers...

We made one friend during that class, and we still stay in touch with him and have gone on a few backpacking trips with him since. Would do more, but schedules being what they are... But so MANY fond memories of that class... and memories from all the wonderful winter experiences since... that class enabled me to embrace and enjoy winter... not that long ago, so still much to do! And it would help if we actually had winter again... sad smiley
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