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Re: Suggestions for backcountry camping this weekend

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Suggestions for backcountry camping this weekend
April 13, 2015 10:06PM
Hi everyone -- first poster here.

I'm planning a two-person, one-night backpacking trip to Yosemite this weekend (4/18 - 4/19) to take advantage of the pre-reservation period and make the best out of the dry winter. I've looked at a bunch of maps and done some trip report research, but I figured local knowledge would be the most helpful in narrowing down the itinerary.

We're looking for a ~10-mile (could be more) backcountry camping trip, probably though not necessarily dispersed camping (LNT of course). Although this is the first time in Yosemite for both of us, we've done plenty of long hikes and backcountry camping. That said, we're not bringing gear for heavy snow traversal, so I'm hoping to keep the trip more or less dry. Given that this is our first visit, I'm looking to maximize the classic scenic views as much as possible.

Here are the routes I'm considering so far. I'd love everyone's input on suitability, conditions, and recommendations. Of course, if anyone has other suggestions for routes, I'd love to hear them. Distances below are from the National Parks trailhead brochure:

Yosemite Valley
- Happy Isles -> Little Yosemite Valley Campground (3.8 - 4.7 mi)
- Happy Isles -> Half Dome (7.0 - 8.2 mi)
- Happy Isles -> Clouds Rest (10.5 mi)
- Happy Isles -> Sunrise Lake (13.2 mi)
- Yosemite Falls -> Eagle Peak (6 mi)
- Yosemite Falls -> El Cap (7.9 mi)

Glacier Point
- Glacier Point -> Little Yosemite Valley (5.2 mi)
- Glacier Point -> Merced Pass (12.8 mi)

Bridalveil
- Bridalveil -> Ostrander Lake (6.2 mi)

Mono Meadow
- Mono Meadow -> Buena Vista Lake (12.6 mi)
avatar Re: Suggestions for backcountry camping this weekend
April 13, 2015 10:34PM
I'd opt for Happy Isle to Clouds Rest. You'll hit both Vernal and Nevada and will get one of the better views from the higest point near the Valley. There has been a no camping zone near Clouds Rest but I'm not sure if it is still in effect. If so then pitch camp outside that zone and day hike the rest of the way to the top of Clouds Rest.

Edit: I looked and can't find anythhing about the area around Clouds Rest being closed to camping. (Meadow fire)



Old Dude



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 04/13/2015 10:43PM by mrcondron.
avatar Re: Suggestions for backcountry camping this weekend
April 14, 2015 04:28AM
This was the closure notice from last Fall: http://www.nps.gov/yose/blogs/Meadow-Fire-Safety-Closures-Update-for-September-26-2014.htm

I haven't seen anything about any parts of this area being re-opened to camping.
avatar Re: Suggestions for backcountry camping this weekend
April 14, 2015 06:33AM
Quote
JRinGeorgia
This was the closure notice from last Fall: http://www.nps.gov/yose/blogs/Meadow-Fire-Safety-Closures-Update-for-September-26-2014.htm

I haven't seen anything about any parts of this area being re-opened to camping.

It's been open since March 12th...
There have been a few (three) trip reports from basilbop hiking around that area since then and
camping in the former no camping zone...
(Not Bunnell, Half a Dome and More, Echoes of Spring ... to name three)

Twas reported by Mr. eeeeeeeek....
http://yosemitenews.info/forum/read.php?3,78889,78889#msg-78889

On March 20th the Old Coulterville Rd. and Road (heading to 140 ... south/west of El Portal)
were both still closed to traffic...
Z bridge by Foresta was a bit toated...




Chick-on is looking at you!
avatar Re: Suggestions for backcountry camping this weekend
April 14, 2015 07:37AM
I've seen those (great) TRs and figured the area was due for re-opening but hadn't seen any announcement. Tanks Sharon...
avatar Re: Suggestions for backcountry camping this weekend
April 14, 2015 06:47AM
If you want to camp in Little Yose Valley be aware that it is not self registration
for that destination and you need to go to the valley and get a permit.
This can add a significant amount of time to your start ...

With the Meadow Fire burn right now... I guess I would suggest to not go towards
Merced Lake simply because it may not be so pretty in some eyes and
I think Merced Lake is too far unless you know what you are getting into.
Clouds Rest is probably too aggressive too for most...
IF IF IF you can get going early and you want the classic then go up the MIST
trail.. not the JMT. go Mist entirely... but if you start too late in the day good luck.
It has gotten really crowded with the almost non winter we have been having.

If you are flush with cash... you could take the Glacier Point "tour" bus up
from the valley and hike down to the valley and make ur hike easier.
Wife and I just did a to and fro Glacier Pt. to Red Peak Pass and
say the bus arrive when we were starting our trek last Sat...
I looked after we got home yesterday and, yikes, it's $25 per person...

O... the self regs permits also say "No Half Dome" ...
but what I would prob. recommend is to self-reg and take Mist up (provided
early start) and then zip THRU little yose valley and hit Half Dome jct.
take a right... hit Clouds Rest Jct. ... go straight a weeeee bit and
see water...
and camp around there... and dayhike up...
or grab a whole lotta water and start up and camp below Clouds Rest with
a sweet view...
Personally I only camp on TOP of Clouds Rest in true off season
when I know no one is going to be dayhiking up there at all hours...
i.e. true winter or very early spring or very very late fall...

Anywho. Have fun

And visit Glacier Pt. even if you don't start there..

EDIT: In case there is any confusion I purposely said Merced Lake above
and not Merced Pass... I wouldn't recommend Merced Pass, Ostrander,
BV Lake, or Sunrise Lake for first time (last is too far)

Be aware... Tioga Road MAY open by this weekend and open up a
whole lotta more options... but you prolly will run into SOME snow...
MAYBE



Chick-on is looking at you!



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 04/14/2015 06:50AM by chick-on.
avatar Re: Suggestions for backcountry camping this weekend
April 15, 2015 03:40AM
Quote
chick-on
Be aware... Tioga Road MAY open by this weekend

Rumor mongering now?
avatar Re: Suggestions for backcountry camping this weekend
April 15, 2015 07:09AM
Quote
eeek
Quote
chick-on
Be aware... Tioga Road MAY open by this weekend

Rumor mongering now?

Well... it's possible...

But I haven't heard anything from HikerChicky395 so... dats all I no.



Chick-on is looking at you!
Re: Suggestions for backcountry camping this weekend
April 14, 2015 10:38PM
Awesome -- much thanks to everyone for the input. I appreciate all the help. Sounds like Clouds Rest is the consensus recommendation, so that's what we'll go with.

A few dumb questions: we're getting in the night before. The Yosemite website says the backcountry permit (which I take it we self-reg for at Big Oak Flat) allows us to camp at the backpacker's camp -- right? Do we just grab an empty spot? What if it's full? And then we park in the eastern side of the parking lot at Curry Village or the trailhead parking lot?

Thanks again to everyone for all the help.



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 04/14/2015 10:45PM by mmester.
avatar Re: Suggestions for backcountry camping this weekend
April 15, 2015 07:17AM
Quote
mmester
Awesome -- much thanks to everyone for the input. I appreciate all the help. Sounds like Clouds Rest is the consensus recommendation, so that's what we'll go with.

A few dumb questions: we're getting in the night before. The Yosemite website says the backcountry permit (which I take it we self-reg for at Big Oak Flat) allows us to camp at the backpacker's camp -- right? Do we just grab an empty spot? What if it's full? And then we park in the eastern side of the parking lot at Curry Village or the trailhead parking lot?

Thanks again to everyone for all the help.

Yes, you can camp at the backpacker's camp.
From my surmation (I have never camped there... I always zip in same day and zip out on out day...)
You offload your stuff about here in North Pines:
http://www.mappingsupport.com/p/gmap4.php?ll=37.743283,-119.566634&z=15&t=t4

Camp is here
http://www.mappingsupport.com/p/gmap4.php?ll=37.744776,-119.566119&z=15&t=t4

Park at TH parking after offload and hike back to camp:
here:
http://www.mappingsupport.com/p/gmap4.php?ll=37.735239,-119.566291&z=15&t=t4

If that full park in curry:
http://www.mappingsupport.com/p/gmap4.php?ll=37.737887,-119.569810&z=15&t=t4

Valley map here:
http://www.nps.gov/yose/planyourvisit/upload/YOSEmap2.pdf

Good luck getting to Clouds Rest... it's a 6K climb from the valley.
And it is gonna be WARM

Don't count on any water beyond here:
http://www.mappingsupport.com/p/gmap4.php?ll=37.744877,-119.503119&z=15&t=t4

If there is ... it'll be in the spring on one of the switchbacks ... the snow has for sure
all melted by Saturday

Have fun.



Chick-on is looking at you!
Re: Suggestions for backcountry camping this weekend
April 17, 2015 10:58AM
I frequently use the backpackers camp in Yosemite Valley. It's quite convenient. Last time I was there, I am happy to say,
the rangers were checking to make sure people had backcountry permits. In the past it has sometimes been a fall out spot for parties-
a pair of earplugs can come in handy. It's an easy walk down the bike path to the Ahwahnee if that interests you.

I usually park at Curry Camp in the dirt lot and walk over, or take the shuttle buses that make continuous loops around the valley. Don't leave any food in your car.
It used to be bear break in central.



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 04/17/2015 10:58AM by lschaaf.
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