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Re: TR: Last Weekend in March

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avatar TR: Last Weekend in March
April 20, 2015 02:13PM
I was in Yosemite about three weeks ago for one of my annual "Dewey Point Snowshoe" weekends, this annual trip usually one with three friends. And, like many other Dewey Point Snowshoe weekends in the past few years, we had to go to a plan B, which this year was to head up to Little Yosemite Valley, with Half Dome, Clouds Rest, and Diving Board on the menu of possibilities. Along for the trip this year were El Heffe and Fantastic Mr. Fox; our usual fourth being left at home with some sort of bronchial infection.

We got off to a late start, hitting the trail at Happy Isles after eating a quick early lunch. It was, apparently, spring break for many, and with the unseasonably warm weather the crowds made it seem more like a summer day than the end of March. Lots of people. The falls were flowing




but nowhere near what you would expect in a normal spring. Arriving at the campground at Little Yosemite Valley, we chose one of the spots closer to the river, and, as it turned out, too close to a campspot that had one of the two fire rings, which was shortly thereafter occupied by a group of about half a dozen gentlemen who were apparently there for a party weekend.

As we were getting our dinner going, another fellow, hiking solo, walked by and asked in an English accent..."So, I can just camp anywhere around here? I just arrived from Sydney, Australia at SFO at 9 this morning, drove up, and here I am". Well, here was a guy we needed to know more about, so we pointed him to a nearby camp spot and invited him to join us for dinner, during which he told us his story...he was on his way to attending a conference in San Francisco and took the opportunity to leave a bit early to spend a couple of days in Yosemite. So after a relatively sleepless direct flight from Sydney, he rented a car at SFO, stopped somewhere along the way to pick up a few camping necessities, arrived in Yosemite Valley, secured a wilderness permit and headed up the Mist Trail. he was wondering what he should do on his next couple of days, and we managed to convince him to stick with us and that we would show him a good time.
The party boys at the nearby firepit spot had a nice fire and their boom box going that night, but they seemed to shut down at a reasonable hour, and I always bring earplugs in my kit, in case I happen to be sharing a tent with a snorer, so I slept well. Our new English/Australian friend, Apobateman, was understandably a bit groggy in the morning, but after breakfast El Heffe, Apobateman and I headed up the trail towards Half Dome, while Fantastic Mr. Fox headed off to Clouds Rest solo for the day.

Arriving at the base of the cables, we met up with Chick-on, who had most graciously agreed to take a side trip from his Diving Board trip with Basilbop and JKW, to hold our hands while we went up the downed cables, even providing an extra harness and loop for prussik to Apobateman. There were a couple of folks heading up already, and one coming down. Chick-on helped us with a quick gear check and prussik instruction


and we were off


Having done Half Dome a number of times, I found the going with the cables down no scarier or more difficult than doing it with the cables up, and the fact that we were tied in helped overcome any mental issues.


Soon enough, we were at the top, joining a couple of other folks who were also there.

Chick-on beat a hasty retreat so as to join Basilbop and JKW on their way to Echo Valley. We thanked him, and after a brief stay on top to take the usual pictures, to check out the top of snake dike, to top off our water bottles with the little bit of snow that remained in the sheltered areas


and to scout out our route for the rest of the day


we headed down.

The view down from the top of the cables showed a gathering number of folks, and if I had to guess there might have been around 75 people who did the cables that day, amazing for the end of March but probably not surprising given the weather, the fact that it was spring break, and the ability to avoid the permit process. We saw all sorts of folks, those going up protected, those without protection, the older (one fellow said he was 67) and the younger (an infant strapped to his father's chest...I kid you not...the mother said they were climbers who had done the face of Half Dome so we cut them some slack). One guy who summited earlier than us said that he watched a wingsuit-clad guy jump off. So it was just another crazy day on Half Dome!



Once on the subdome we re-checked the visual of the proposed route


and headed cross country to eighth and quarter domes, which had been on my list of to-do's for a while. El Heffe then headed up to Clouds Rest, while Apobateman and I went straight down the open granite ridglet towards the intersection of the Half Dome Trail and the JMT


On the way, Apobateman spotted a bear running in front of us...quite a thrill, especially considering that we had had a long bear discussion the night before, him telling us that his daughter was terrified that he would be eaten by bears, while I told him that the bears were still probably in hibernation and our chances of seeing one was close to nil.

We arrived a camp around 5:30, Fantastic Mr Fox about half an hour later, and El Heffe about 7. It was a good day for all.

That night was a crazy one, even for the LYV campsite. The party boys were up with their boom box until 2, I am told (thank god for my earplugs), the only consolation being that one of their neighbors told us that a coyote chewed through one of their backpacks to get to some beef jerky while they were partying (instant karma?). The place was packed. and this was one of my favorite setups that I saw as I toured around early the next morning


And, horror of horrors, the solar powered toilets were completely out of toilet paper by about 9 on Sunday morning!

On Sunday we decided to split up...El Heffe had wanted to do the Panorama Trail, which he had not yet done, and we thought it a good idea to get the Australian up to Glacier Point, so they headed that way, while Fantastic Mr. Fox and I headed down to the car at Happy Isles and drove up to Glacier point, where we arrived within 5 minutes of the others. After eating lunch at the amphitheater and enjoying the view


we drove back down to Curry to get Apobateman's car and to clean up at the Curry showers. Apobateman secured a site at Upper Pines, and we decided to head over to the Ahwahnee at about 4 for a celebratory drink before driving back to the Bay Area. Well, the traffic was backup up almost all the way to Curry, so we ended up having dinner at the Ahwahnee bar so as to let the traffic move along. It was a fine way to end a great weekend, and I think that were successful n showing our new found friend from down under a great time!
Re: TR: Last Weekend in March
April 20, 2015 03:24PM
Bearproof,
Great report. One point of clarification regarding the couple with the infant doing the downed cables: They had climbed the face of HD the previous year while she was pregnant.
avatar Re: TR: Last Weekend in March
April 20, 2015 06:12PM
Quote
El Heffe
Bearproof,
Great report. One point of clarification regarding the couple with the infant doing the downed cables: They had climbed the face of HD the previous year while she was pregnant.
An even less known fact is that she got pregnant during their unaided speed climb of the Nose some months earlier.



Old Dude



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 04/20/2015 06:13PM by mrcondron.
avatar Re: TR: Last Weekend in March
April 20, 2015 06:29PM
Quote
mrcondron
Quote
El Heffe
Bearproof,
Great report. One point of clarification regarding the couple with the infant doing the downed cables: They had climbed the face of HD the previous year while she was pregnant.
An even less known fact is that she got pregnant during their unaided speed climb of the Nose some months earlier.

Actually it was an unprotected speed climb Head roll
avatar Re: TR: Last Weekend in March
April 20, 2015 04:37PM
Sweet report! Looks like a great time.
Re: TR: Last Weekend in March
April 20, 2015 04:48PM
Apobateman doesn't know how lucky he was. He came all that way
and ran into people as knowledgeable and experienced as you guys.

Good luck topping that one, Mate.
Re: TR: Last Weekend in March
April 21, 2015 06:32AM
Quote
AnotherDave
Apobateman doesn't know how lucky he was. He came all that way
and ran into people as knowledgeable and experienced as you guys.

Good luck topping that one, Mate.

AnotherDave - you're absolutely right :-). And the irony is that after Yosemite, I was attending a travel related conference in San Francisco centered around the idea of 'The Perfect Trip'. These guys made it 'The Perfect Trip' for me.

Bearproof, El Heffe, Fantastic Mr. Fox and chick-on...thank you for inviting me into your group and sharing your part of the world with me. It was an amazing sequence of events, decisions and good fortune that allowed my path to cross with yours as I strolled into LYV. Incredibly privileged to have been shown some of the highlights in such a short space of time by a great group of people. No idea how I managed to squeeze chick-on's harness around my waist.....I did have to 'suck in' for the whole climb up and down Half Dome!

Yosemite is such a contrast to what we have in Australia and New Zealand. I look forward to repaying some of that hospitality I was shown if anyone is ever heading to this side of the world and wants to venture out into the 'bush'. Though I am sure I will be back to Yosemite in the very near future....
Cheers guys. ApoB
avatar Re: TR: Last Weekend in March
April 21, 2015 03:56PM
Glad you enjoyed Yosemite. I was just sort-of in your part of the world (New Zealand) two months ago, had a great time. In addition to the hiking I brought back six bottles of Central Otago Pinot Noir.
avatar Re: TR: Last Weekend in March
April 20, 2015 06:15PM
It's always nice to help visitors. (is that the weekend I got the harness?)



Old Dude
avatar Re: TR: Last Weekend in March
April 20, 2015 06:16PM
Yep, that was the harness that Chick-on loaned to our English/Aussie friend that I left for you.
avatar Re: TR: Last Weekend in March
April 20, 2015 07:14PM
Looks easy from here:





Chick-on is looking at you!
avatar Re: TR: Last Weekend in March
April 20, 2015 06:43PM
Nice pictures.

(EDIT: never mind, I just saw that this was from three weeks ago! However...I guess a similar question applies, while driving south from Lassen that Sunday I saw thunderstorms along the Sierra, but I think they were in the Tahoe area...)

Did you get any thunderstorm action? I was at Kibbie Lake Saturday (pics coming), and while I stayed dry thunderstorms seemed to follow the mountains just to the north (around 5 to 6:30), I was right on the edge.



Edited 2 time(s). Last edit at 04/20/2015 06:45PM by ttilley.
Re: TR: Last Weekend in March
April 20, 2015 08:45PM
We braved (foolishly?) the traffic out of Yosemite that Sunday afternoon with Chick-On. As we drove out of the part, we could see thunderheads forming, then they just seemed massive. Not sure if any precip fell, or where.

This past weekend, when you were at Kibbie on Saturday, we were in Cherry Canyon. Clouds had been forming and following us down canyon that afternoon, and I was getting pretty sure we were gonna get something, but then it just dissipated, and all we had was wind, and that wind could have been worse. The clouds and colors were lovely! Our TR later this week.
Re: TR: Last Weekend in March
April 20, 2015 09:33PM
It did end up snowing at around 7k ft. Spoke to someone who was at Glacier Point a few days after we wrapped up trek.
Re: TR: Last Weekend in March
April 20, 2015 09:01PM
Keep in mind:
  • Thursday, Chick-On drives out from the Bay Area and hikes to the top of Cascade Cliffs, looks around and decides to camp on Bunnell Point.
  • Friday, he hauls his patootie all the way back to LYV, where he picks up 5 liters of water and goes with us to the Diving Board - it was dry then, and he wouldn't see water again til AFTER Half Dome.
  • Saturday, he leaves us in the morning from the Diving Board and scoots to the Subdome - ALL XC. Goes up Half Dome, having loaned his own harness to the Aussie, making a harness out of rope for himself. Then after Half Dome, he hauls all the way up the Merced Canyon again and meets us on Echo Dome.
  • Sunday, we explore Echo Dome more, and then take the High Trail and scoot down the JMT to the Valley, trying to avoid the crowds. And then drives himself all the way home. Basilbop and I take shifts driving.

The man is an ox. And his GPS tracks look like he's one of those "crazy ants" - all over the place! Seriously impressive. Any ONE of those destinations is probably a decent trip for most backpackers for a weekend. So... for those new to the forum... If you read about something Chick-on did... make sure you look at a topo and understand what you are getting yourself into.
Re: TR: Last Weekend in March
April 20, 2015 09:08PM
Quote
Bearproof
Arriving at the campground at Little Yosemite Valley, we chose one of the spots closer to the river, and, as it turned out, too close to a campspot that had one of the two fire rings, which was shortly thereafter occupied by a group of about half a dozen gentlemen who were apparently there for a party weekend.

Chick-on had been able to text with you that night, I believe. When we heard about what LYV was like that evening, we were even more satisfied with our chosen perch for the night. I'm not good with big crowds backpacking any more... But earplugs. I ALWAYS carry earplugs. No need for me to hear any snoring. It varies. Sadly, if I want to hear frogs, I often have to hear some snoring... I usually drift off without them, but when woken, put them in to finish off the night... ESSENTIAL GEAR... thumbs up

Thanks for the trip report, and what a great time you had! EXCELLENT!
avatar Re: TR: Last Weekend in March
April 21, 2015 07:17AM
Quote
JustKeepWalking
Sadly, if I want to hear frogs, I often have to hear some snoring...

I never knew frogs snored! The other frogs should nudge the offender back awake! winking smiley
Re: TR: Last Weekend in March
April 24, 2015 12:29PM
Quote
PineCone
The other frogs should nudge the offender back awake! winking smiley

Oops... I whacked my hubby one night (after many nudges) thinking it was his snoring that was driving me nuts... But it turned out it was the Catalonian Burro that time!
Re: TR: Last Weekend in March
April 21, 2015 12:24PM
Really fun trip report .Thanks to all for sharing!



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 04/21/2015 12:24PM by lschaaf.
Re: TR: Last Weekend in March
April 22, 2015 08:02PM
Great report- thank you!

That apobateman fellow really scored by running into y'all!

I will keep an eye out and latch onto one of your adventures anytime- well maybe not going up the down cables...

thanks for taking the time to write up the trip-
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